The early signing period begins on Wednesday, naturally national analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald have plenty of thoughts leading up to it. During this weekend’s Rivals Roundtable, the guys discuss a handful of signing day related topics.
1. What program stands to gain or lose the most during the early signing period?
Bossi: The clear answer is Arkansas. New coach Eric Musselman got the job just in time to try and load up with a tremendous group of products raised in the Natural State. Four-star combo guard Davonte Davis is the first to say yes. Top 50 wing Moses Moody decides on Saturday night, four-star point guard KK Robinson decides soon, four-star forward Chris Moore has a decision next Saturday and four-star big Jaylin Williams is almost done with his visits. Any two of them would be huge, more than that and it’s cause for a party.
Evans: When it comes to who might commit during the early period, Alabama is the program that has the most on the line. There is a chance Nimari Burnett could sign early now and we already know that five-star Isaiah Jackson is deciding. Four-star Keon Ambrose-Hylton is expected to end his college recruitment sometime in the coming days and that is three of the Tide’s top targets that will either create a tremendous first year class for Nate Oats, or send them back to the drawing board and scrambling through the spring.
McDonald: Alabama is swinging for the fences in Oats' first full cycle as the head coach, and a few of his top targets plan on making decisions during the early signing period. Jackson took an official visit to the school last month and has a commitment date set for next Saturday. Burnett is another coming off the board next week. Alabama has yet to land a 2020 commitment, but could leave the early signing with two instant impact prospects in the fold.
2. Of the players committing in the next week or so, whose decision is most important?
Bossi: I’m going to go with five-star Burnett here. He’s been so tough to read and I can legitimately see him ending up at any of his finalists of Alabama, Michigan, Oregon or Texas Tech and he’s a difference-maker for all of them. His announcement comes on Tuesday and he’s going to get the signing period off to an explosive start for somebody.
Evans: Bryce Thompson. The five-star guard is down to a final four that consists of Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. I don’t see him choosing UNC seeing that they are full for the fall and distance could be factor, too. Does he give OK State another tremendous piece in the backcourt and raise the program’s ceiling even higher alongside Cade Cunningham? Does he buy into the allure of the OU program and have a team entirely built around him similar to Trae Young three years ago? Is he the one to change the narrative at Kansas and make it okay to for a top-flight prospect to commit to KU despite the allegations surrounding it? The importance of his decision weighs heavily on all of those involved.
McDonald: Thompson's decision will be a big one for whatever school lands him, but also for the schools that miss out on him. Kansas is dealing with the NCAA cloud hanging over the program, which is making it harder on Bill Self and his staff to attract top talent, so landing a five-star prospect would be huge. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State could potentially pair him with Cunningham to for a really nice backcourt in Stillwater next season. Thompson's decision is a big one.