What to watch for Wednesday as early college football signing period opens

The early signing period in college football enters year five and has become a hot topic recently.

The move to start signing prospects in mid-December rather than waiting until the traditional February signing period gives programs a leg up on trying to score commitments from some of the nation’s top recruits. There are still plenty of top recruits who are uncommitted and may wait until next year to make their decision, though, since the recruiting process was impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The usual suspects are in line to the score the top recruiting classes, with Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Texas A&M among some of the contenders vying for the top spot. But look for Penn State, and playoff-bound Michigan to make a dent in the top 10 rankings.

Most of this year’s intrigue surrounds coaches at established programs jumping ship for greener pastures and those schools and left-over coaching staffs scrambling to make sure previously committed players don’t leave with them.

Here is a primer with some of the teams to look for on Wednesday.

USC

For the obvious reasons, USC will be one to look for on signing day. After Lincoln Riley went west after five successful seasons at Oklahoma, he left a trail of upset fans and athletes in his wake.

Riley is a no-doubt talented recruiter and has loaded up his staff with equally talented recruiters. He also has a nice starting base as talented Jaxson Dart is back and will be his starter at quarterback in 2022. He also got running back Raleek Brown, who committed to Oklahoma when Riley was there, to follow him to USC. Cornerback Domani Jackson is still deciding between the Trojans and Alabama.

Lincoln Riley, the new head football coach of the University of Southern California, speaks during a ceremony in Los Angeles, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

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