This year's National Signing Day is rapidly approaching, and there's a number of things that can be highlighted for that special day for prospects and colleges. However, we are going to focus on five things that will have major ramifications on the future of college football. Now, let's highlight these storylines of interest.
DE Decision Time
One of the top three recruits in the country this year (per 247Sports) has yet to sign with a team as J.T. Tuimoloau, the pride of Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, WA., boasts 24 offers and comes in at 6'4" and 277 lbs. as an edge defender. Alabama and Ohio State are listed as favorites for his services, but the Tide currently has a trio of DEs signed in this year's class while OSU currently has one.
As you can see in his Hudl film, Tuimoloau is long, strong, and athletic; all qualities you want in a DE. Whatever team he signs with is going to get a special athlete that can really blossom with a quality DL coach.
QBs on the Move
There's going to be a bit of drama in the Transfer Portal this season as we have a pair of four-star quarterbacks in the Portal that are immediately eligible. Austin Kendall, formerly the West Virginia QB that threw two TDs in this year's Liberty Bowl, is the second-highest rated passer in the Portal while UNC's Jace Ruder, who broke his collarbone in 2018 and then broke his leg the following season, is also on the move.
It is interesting to note that out of the top ten highest rated QBs in the Portal, only four have signed with Power 5 schools so far. With the 2020 season wreaking havoc on eligibility and who's staying where, there might not be as many opportunities to compete for jobs as therewould be in other seasons, so this will be something to keep an eye on.
Adding a five-star recruit to your program can make a huge difference, but it's not a prerequisite to having a great team. Out of the top ten recruiting classes in the country this year, two have not signed five-stars to their class: Notre Dame and Oregon. Indiana and Oregon aren't the football hotbeds that other states are, but those programs do a great job with player development and make the most out of what they have.
In Oregon's case, they do a good job of competing against the PAC-12 for recruits as 15 of their 21 recruits hail from the West Coast (plus Colorado, which is not on the coast but definitely west). On the other hand, Notre Dame is effective at using its national brand as it has signed recruits from 15 different states in this class. These are two very different situations but these programs have found a way to build competitive teams every season, and it all starts with recruiting.
Starman, Waiting in the Portal
It's not all that often you see a former five-star in the Portal, but that's exactly what we have this year as LB Palaie Gaoteote IV is leaving USC after missing time in 2020 due to a concussion/leg contusion. He will have to sit next season, but having a talent like his on the roster will be hard for many teams to pass up.
At 6'2" and 250 lbs., Gaoteote is the prototypical run-stuffing ILB and his senior season film is outstanding as well. He would really thrive in a defense with 4-2/3-4 principles so it'll be interesting to see where he ends up.
It's Good to Be King
To say that there isn't a program quite like Alabama would be a gross understatement. The defending national champion currently has the highest rated signing class this year, which has their fifth-highest rated recruit of all time (JC Latham), and the Tide has a five-star RB commit that has yet to sign in Camar Wheaton.
To compound matters for the rest of college football, Bama has 15 offers out to recruits that are currently uncommitted. Now, most of those likely won't end up at Alabama but keep an eye out for which team RB Kyree Young, WR Brian Thomas Jr., WR Destyn Hill, and S Terrion Arnold sign with as the Tide is a major player for all of those recruits.
Jordan Rinard is a contributing writer for GMTM and a Recruiting Editor for Hustle Belt. He will always hold onto the belief that Jim Brown is the one true GOAT.