National Signing Day 2013 live blog
SI.com's team of analysts will provide running analysis throughout National Signing Day. Our partners at Rivals.com will provide the latest news. All listed times are ET. For additional coverage, track our Signing Day Storify, list of Top 100 recruits, team-by-team commitments and more.
Gabriel Baumgaertner: It's been a little more than 11 hours since the excitement began, and unlike last year, there won't be any post-Signing Day announcements from members of the Rivals' Top 100. The only lingering question is when Priest Willis will fax his letter to UCLA, as he couldn't officially send it to the Bruins on Wednesday because his mother wasn't in town to sign. Drama surrounding parents' signatures took on even greater significance this year, particularly after Arkansas commit Alex Collins' mother confiscated his National Letter of Intent.
Ole Miss, Alabama and UCLA will remember today fondly, while USC, Georgia and Miami will likely consider what they could have done differently.
Thanks for joining us on the SI.com live blog, and be sure to read through our Storify for a recap of the best moments in social media throughout today's long but entertaining day of hat selections.
Gabriel Baumgaertner: Five-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes went through one of the most eventful recruitments of this year's class, and it ended with him choosing a school more than 2,000 miles away. The mammoth defensive tackle who was originally committed to USC announced that he would sign with Notre Dame on Wednesday night.
The Irish accidentally let the cat out of the bag earlier in the day when they put Vanderdoes' name on a list of signed players released to the media. The elite prospect also considered UCLA, Alabama, USC and Washington. Vanderdoes is the fourth five-star prospect in Brian Kelly's 2013 class, joining running back Greg Bryant, defensive back Max Redfield and linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Rivals.com: Running back Ezekiel Elliott, the top-rated player in the state of Missouri, reaffirmed his commitment to Urban Meyer and Ohio State. The 6-foot, 198-pound back chose the Buckeyes over nearby Mizzou.
Elliott is the 84th-ranked recruit in this year's Rivals100. He attended John Burroughs School in St. Louis, where he rushed for more than 1,700 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns as a senior.
Gabriel Baumgaertner: In his postgame press conference following USC's Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech, Lane Kiffin indicated that the result was disappointing, but the future was bright. "After this game, we're going to sit down and analyze everything we're doing," Kiffin said. "Then we're going to sign the number one [recruiting] class in the country and go back to work."
Indeed, when Kiffin made that statement, the Trojans had the nation's top class. But just over a month later, USC has fallen out of Rivals' top 10. Kiffin suffered through a rash of decommitments this week, including from five-star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, four-star defensive end Torrodney Prevot and four-star defensive end Jason Hatcher, the last of whom signed with Kentucky.
USC also lost pledges from five-stars Max Redfield and Eddie Vanderdoes, as well as from four-star defensive lineman Kylie Fitts. Fitts planned on enrolling early at USC, but he was told there was no room for him given USC's scholarship reductions. After a series of decommitments, USC tried to re-recruit Fitts, who instead committed to UCLA on Tuesday night.
It's worth noting that the Trojans still have a small but extremely talented class, and five-star prospects Max Browne (quarterback), Su'a Cravens (safety), Leon McQuay III (safety) and Kenny Bigelow (defensive tackle) are already enrolled. And Kiffin did add one more player on Wednesday, signing linebacker Quinton Powell from Daytona Beach, Fla.
Still, it's tough not to wonder what could have been. USC once seemed poised for a historic haul; as of 5 p.m. on Signing Day, it sits at 13th in Rivals' team rankings -- four spots behind UCLA.
Ben Glicksman: It's official: Five-star defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson has signed with the Crimson Tide. A longtime Texas commit, Robinson decommitted over weekend, then later voiced his displeasure with the way the 'Horns handled the news.
After securing Robinson's National Letter of Intent, 'Bama has now locked up five of the top 36 prospects in this year's final Rivals100.
Rivals.com: Dabo Swinney and Clemson continued their big day by adding a four-star offensive guard to the Tigers' 2013 class. Tyrone Crowder, a 6-2, 315-pounder, picked Clemson over Georgia late on Signing Day.
Crowder is the 184th-rated player in the Rivals250 and the 11th-ranked offensive guard. He was a standout at Richmond County High in Rockingham, N.C.
Ben Glicksman: And the rich get richer. Already with 15 four- and five-star recruits in its class of 2013, Alabama added another top prospect by landing Norcross, Ga., running back Alvin Kamara on Wednesday afternoon. Kamara was sensational as a senior, rushing for 2,264 yards and 26 touchdowns to lead his high school team to a 15-0 record and a state Class 6A championship.
As mentioned below, Kamara will join a Crimson Tide backfield brimming with talent. Kamara, Derrick Henry, Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones are all bound for Tuscaloosa, where T.J. Yeldon rushed for 1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns as a true freshman last season during 'Bama's journey to the BCS title. Other weapons set to join the Tide in 2013 include tight end O.J. Howard and receiver Robert Foster.
Kamara's commitment also deals another blow to Georgia, which has failed to land top in-state talent this year despite coming just yards shy of a trip to the national title game.
"Georgia is my home state and that's all great, but Alabama is where I felt more comfortable," Kamara told ESPNU after his decision.
Rivals.com: Four-star wideout Shelton Gibson is going to West Virginia. The No. 129 prospect in the Rivals250 chose the Mountaineers over Ohio State and Tennessee on Wednesday afternoon.
The 6-1, 175-pound Gibson was a star at Cleveland Heights High in Ohio. He's been regarded as a heavy West Virginia lean since he tweeted out a photo of himself wearing a Mountaineers jersey last month.
Ben Glicksman: We've reached the mid-afternoon Signing Day lull. Only a few top prospects remain up for grabs, headlined by running back Alvin Kamara, who will pick between 'Bama and Georgia at 3:35 p.m., and defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, who will sign with Alabama, Notre Dame, USC, UCLA or Washington at 8 p.m.
In order to pass the time until the last major commitments, here are three takeaways from the early Signing Day action:
• The South still reigns supreme: As of 2:30 p.m., seven of Rivals' top 12 classes hailed from the SEC. That total includes teams that have received limited publicity on Wednesday, such as LSU (No. 5) and Georgia (No. 12).
• Jim Mora knows how to recruit: Talented quarterback Asiantii Woulard, the MVP of last summer's Elite 11 quarterback camp, has become the most recent standout to announce for the Bruins. Six four-star prospects committed to Mora after Jan. 20, including defensive back Tahaan Goodman and defensive end Kylie Fitts.
• 'Bama will boast a plentiful backfield: Andy Staples wrote last week that Nick Saban is selling running back prospects on the idea of splitting carries. That strategy is obviously paying off. Prior to Kamara's decision, here are the names expected to populate the Tide's 2013 tailback depth chart: T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake, Jalson Fowler, Dee Hart, Trey Roberts, Derrick Henry, Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones.
Rivals.com: Jermaine Grace, a four-star linebacker out of Miramar High in Miami, will stay local and play for Al Golden and the Hurricanes. The 6-1, 196-pounder is the 201st-ranked player in the Rivals250. He is the 17th-ranked outside linebacker in the class of 2013.
Grace chose the Hurricanes over USF, Syracuse, Florida State, Kentucky and Tennessee.
According to CaneSport.com, Grace chose Miami because he can "have my friends come see me play and the education [is great]."
Grace added, "Being able to stay home, come home for Sunday dinners and be able to see my friends whenever I wanted, that was a great decision for me."
Rivals.com: Four-star defensive tackle Keith Bryant will sign with the Seminoles. At 6-2 and 306 pounds, he is the 17th-ranked defensive tackle in the country. He hails from Delray Beach, Fla.
Bryant chose Florida State over Arkansas, Tennessee, Miami and Purdue. He also visited FAU during this cycle, but was reportedly sent home for not taking the visit seriously.
Gabriel Baumgaertner: Heralded prospect Eddie Vanderdoes wants you to know that he has not signed any papers. Arguably the top remaining uncommitted prospect in the class of 2013, Vanderdoes will announce at 8 p.m. between UCLA, Alabama, Notre Dame, USC and Washington. The problem? Notre Dame's athletic department submitted a press release with Vanderdoes' name on its list of signed players this morning. The Irish quickly claimed they made a mistake, but many assumed the defensive tackle's recruitment was over several hours before he was due to announce.
So Vanderdoes took to Twitter to set the record straight.
"I'll put my life on it that I have NOT signed one paper yet," he tweeted, followed by "Apparently I am silently committed everywhere." He concluded with "Got these grown men trying to mess up what I've been dreaming of since I was little. Stop it with these sources an (sic) wait 'til 5."
The Placer, Calif., native has had an adventurous recruitment since he decommitted from USC in December. Vanderdoes took official visits to USC, Alabama and Notre Dame within the last month. He took his official visit to UCLA in November.
Most pundits expect Vanderdoes to sign with either Notre Dame or UCLA.
Gabriel Baumgaertner: Two touted defensive ends out of Texas landed in unlikely destinations on Wednesday, when one surprisingly changed his mind at the very last minute. Daeshon Hall of Lancaster, Texas -- who had been committed to Washington since June -- faxed his National Letter of Intent to Texas A&M. Hall was expected to be part of a loaded Washington class assembled by super-recruiter Tosh Lupoi; instead, he opted to join Kevin Sumlin's stockpile of talent in College Station.
Hall and Joe Mathis of Upland, Calif., had been the top defensive end recruits for the Huskies, and while the Aggies reportedly pursued Hall vigorously, he did not switch his pledge until this morning. That choice appeared to influence the decision of Houston's Torrodney Prevot, who decommitted from USC earlier this week. Prevot told the Trojans' coaching staff yesterday that he would not sign with USC and would choose between Texas A&M and Oregon. With Hall ultimately committing to the Aggies, Prevot signed with coach Mark Helfrich and the Ducks.
Hall's decommitment was "not unexpected" according to Rivals.com's West Coast analyst Adam Gorney, but it still deals a significant blow to the Huskies' haul. Lupoi is regarded as one of the top young recruiters in the nation, and he doesn't typically lose players who commit.
Rivals.com: Four-star quarterback Asiantii Woulard announced his decision to sign with UCLA.
"Obviously, they have a great coaching staff in Jim Mora and the guys they hired under him," said Woulard, who chose the Bruins over Clemson and Kentucky. "Also, for what I want to accomplish after college, it's a great opportunity for networking."
Woulard indicated that he wants to major in communications.
At 6-3 and 205 pounds, Woulard from is the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the nation. The Winter Park, Fla., product is the 141st-ranked prospect in the Rivals250.
Rivals.com: Four-star outside linebacker Quinton Powell will sign with USC instead of Florida. The decision comes as welcome news for the Trojans, who have seen their class lose several top recruits over the course of the past few weeks.
A 6-foot, 190-pounder out of Daytona Beach, Fla., Powell is the 190th-ranked prospect in the Rivals250. He is rated as the 15th-best outside linebacker in the country.
Ben Glicksman: The best name in the 2013 class is officially bound for Tuscaloosa. Dee Liner, the aptly named four-star defensive tackle out of Muscle Shoals, Ala., signed with Alabama on Wednesday afternoon.
A longtime Auburn pledge, Liner decommitted following Gene Chizik's ouster in November. He compiled 79 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and four sacks as a senior, and he'll enter a Crimson Tide system that has an established tradition of churning out NFL-caliber defenders.
More than anything else, this announcement signals more of the same: On Signing Day, Nick Saban gets what he wants.
Gabriel Baumgaertner: South Plantation, Fla., running back Alex Collins, who announced on television on Monday that he would attend Arkansas, canceled his signing ceremony at his high school this afternoon. His name placard was removed after Collins and his family told the South Plantation athletic director that they wanted more time. Collins' verbal commitment to the Razorbacks was considered a surprise, as he was widely expected to sign with nearby Miami. We noted earlier that the commitments of Collins and fellow South Florida product Denver Kirkland signaled a big win for Bret Bielema and Arkansas. That may change by the end of the day if Collins doesn't sign with the Razorbacks.
*Update: ESPN's Corey Long reported that Collins' mother confiscated his National Letter of Intent and left the school. According to the NCAA website, a recruit must be 21 or older to sign the NLI without parental consent. For additional info and social media reaction surrounding this situation, click here.
Rivals.com: After publicly voicing their displeasure with Chip Kelly's departure to the NFL, twins Tyree and Tyrell Robinson decided to stick with the Pac-12 program on Signing Day. Both players are listed as athletes: Tyrell is the 138th-ranked prospect in the Rivals250, and Tyree is the 153rd-ranked talent.
Both San Diego natives explored other options, including USC, Ohio State and Washington. Both stuck with new coach Mark Helfrich and the Ducks. Tyree cleared up any speculation with his signature.
"I just got to my school, and I am getting ready to go inside and sign," he said. "I am going to sign with Oregon and will send them the fax right after I sign it."
Gabriel Baumgaertner: After securing the signature of No. 1 overall recruit Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss continued its Signing Day surge by signing three more stud prospects: offensive linemen Laremy Tunsil and Austin Golson and defensive back Antonio Conner. The Rebels are building their best class in program history and are garnering the most attention since Eli Manning lined up under center.
Tunsil is widely considered the best offensive lineman in the nation. In an interview with SI last month, Rivals.com's Southeast analyst Kynon Codrington said that he's convinced Tunsil will succeed at the next level. "Tunsil has the footwork, agility and lateral ability to be a premier left tackle," Codrington told SI. "He moves like a tight end and has prototypical size to anchor the blind side. If he continues to progress, I feel he will be an All-America player and NFL starter."
Not initially considered an Ole Miss target, Tunsil visited Oxford last month and was apparently blown away by recruiting coordinator Chris Kiffin. Like Tunsil, Golson chose Ole Miss over more traditional regional powers (in his case, Florida State). The linemen may need a year before they can anchor the trenches for the Rebels, but it's still a bounty for offensive line coach Matt Luke.
Conner, meanwhile, is a local product from South Panola (Batesville, Miss.) High. With his hometown only 26 miles away, Conner opted to stay put and become the sixth player among the nation's top 150 recruits to join the Rebels.
Ole Miss isn't merely stockpiling elite talent; coach Hugh Freeze has established some nice balance in the class. Of those six players, two are offensive linemen (Tunsil and Golson), one is a receiver (Laquon Treadwell), one is a running back (Mark Dodson Jr.), one is a defensive lineman (Nkemdiche) and one is a defensive back (Conner).
Rivals.com: Twin brothers Mackensie and Mackenro Alexander were rumored to be a package deal for much of the recruiting process, but on Signing Day, the pair decided to split up. Hailing from Immokalee, Fla., Mackensie chose to play for Dabo Swinney at Clemson, while Mackenro elected to sign with Gus Malzahn and Auburn.
Mackensie was a four-star cornerback and U.S. Army All-American. Mackenro was a three-star prospect as a linebacker in high school, but he projects to play safety at Auburn.
Last week, Mackenro said teams who thought they could jump in on him late to secure his brother were not going to succeed.
"I'm going to just stay true to me and to the teams that have been on me since the start, even when I was going through some troubles and some things," Mackenro said.
"Wherever I go, I'm going to make them love me. I'm going to make so many plays, and I'll be deadly out there."
Rivals.com: Four-star wide receiver Stacy Coley, the 111th-ranked recruit in the Rivals250, announced that he will sign with Miami. The 6-1, 175-pounder from Oakland Park, Fla., selected the Hurricanes over Wisconsin, Arkansas, North Carolina, LSU and Vanderbilt.
Coley is the 13th-ranked wide receiver in nation.
Ben Glicksman: The Terrapins may have struggled on the field in recent seasons, as Randy Edsall and Co. went just 4-8 in 2012. On the recruiting trail, however, Maryland has done an admirable job of locking up local talent.
Friendship Collegiate Academy linebacker Yannick Ngakoue -- the top-ranked 2013 prospect in the greater D.C.-area -- signed with the Terps on Wednesday. Ngakoue recorded 17 sacks and two forced fumbles as a senior, and he should bolster a Maryland group that ranked 56th in the FBS in scoring defense last year.
Receiver Stefon Diggs made 54 catches for 848 yards and six touchdowns as a true freshman in 2012. Ngakoue will look to make an equivalent early impact in College Park, Md.
Ben Glicksman: If any program was in dire need of a Signing Day coup, it was Auburn, which is coming off one of its most disastrous seasons in recent memory. The Tigers went 0-8 in SEC play and struggled mightily on defense in 2012, ranking 97th in rushing defense and 99th in pass efficiency defense, respectively.
Auburn recruiting was reeling following the decommitments of Dee Liner and Reuben Foster, the latter of whom signed with Alabama despite having an Auburn tattoo on his arm. The Tigers appeared poised to fall even farther behind their SEC West counterparts, particularly with the haul being assembled at Ole Miss.
Malzahn's squad still has a long way to go, but its success on Wednesday is certainly a good start. By adding Adams and Daniel to the fold -- and possibly its quarterback of the future in Jeremy Johnson, who accounted for 3,899 total yards as a senior at Carver High -- Auburn took the first step toward turning things around.
Rivals.com: Fort Lauderdale wideout Jordan Cunningham announced Wednesday morning that he would sign with Vanderbilt. Cunningham is the 183rd-ranked prospect in the Rivals250. He chose the SEC program over Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State and Stanford.
Cunningham is a 6-foot-3, 175-pound target, and he said he chose Vanderbilt because of its combination of academics and athletics.
Rivals.com: Defensive end Chris Jones, the No. 20 overall prospect in this year's Rivals100, honored his verbal commitment to Mississippi State on Wednesday. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder signed with the Bulldogs, immediately becoming the headliner of their 2013 crop.
A Houston, Miss., product, Jones went largely unnoticed for much of the cycle. He shot up the recruiting rankings after an impressive senior campaign.
Ben Glicksman: It may have gone overlooked amid Ole Miss' plethora of signings, but five-star defensive end Chris Jones' decision to stay with Mississippi State comes as a huge relief to Dan Mullen and staff. Jones had been committed to the Bulldogs since June 2012, but seemingly every SEC power made a push following his senior-year success: Alabama, Florida and Ole Miss all attempted to woo the prolific pass-rusher.
In today's recruiting world, Jones is something of an anomaly. He flew under the radar despite his immense size and potential, and he didn't really burst into the national spotlight until he stole the show at the Under Armour All-America Game. Part of that is a byproduct of his move from Nettleton, Miss., to Houston, Miss., before his junior year. By transferring, he nearly fell off the map.
Yet if his senior stats at Houston High are any indication, it's no wonder why he became such a hot target. He amassed 160 tackles, 45 tackles for loss and 14 sacks as a senior and could quickly develop into the centerpiece of Mississippi State's defense.
Rivals.com: Five-star safety Vonn Bell took his final visit to Tennessee, but ultimately his decision came down to relationships. In that regard, Urban Meyer and Ohio State held the edge over Butch Jones and the Vols.
"Coach Meyer is my boy, man," Bell said. "He is really a player's coach kind of guy. He's real close to his players, just seeing how their life is and helping them with any problems. He is always behind them and showing that he cares for them. He did the same thing at Florida; he always has a friendship with his players like later on down the road."
By signing Bell, Meyer, who is coming off an undefeated season in Columbus, may have locked up the No. 2 spot in the Rivals' team rankings.
Gabriel Baumgaertner: Notorious for his ability to flip recruits right up until they have to send their faxes, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer again landed two key prospects who hail far from Columbus, Ohio.
Two days after flipping star DeSoto (Texas) High running back Dontre Wilson from the Oregon Ducks, Meyer showcased his recruiting acumen yet again by landing five-star safety Bell. The Rossville, Ga., product was reportedly choosing between Ohio State, Tennessee and Alabama.
This was a significant victory for Meyer. While Rossville isn't as far from Ohio State as it may seem (466 miles), SEC programs typically have a stronghold on the top players from the Peach State. And though Florida, Texas and California are considered the most talent-rich states, Georgia featured a tremendous group in the class of 2013, including four five-star players. Eight of the top 10 prospects from the state committed to SEC schools. The other two (Bell and Trey Johnson) committed to Ohio State.
Before Bell announced his commitment, Meyer indicated on ESPN that there was one player the Buckeyes "were waiting on," and that their class was otherwise complete. By finishing his class with one of the best defensive backs in the nation, Meyer has again pulled off a stellar recruiting effort.
Rivals.com: Five-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams closed the book on his recruitment by declaring for Auburn on Signing Day. The 25th-ranked player in the Rivals100 was down to Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Alabama.
A star at Dooly County High in Vienna, Ga., Adams was considered an Auburn lean for much of the process. But given the coaching turnover following Gene Chizik's ouster, it was widely speculated he could end up elsewhere.
Adams becomes Auburn's second major commitment of the morning. The program also signed Elijah Daniel of Avon, Ind.
Rivals.com: Longtime Arizona State quarterback commitment Joshua Dobbs was a late target for Butch Jones and his staff at Tennessee. But the January push worked. Dobbs faxed his National Letter of Intent to Knoxville early Wednesday morning.
Standing at 6-3 and 190 pounds, Dobbs is the 20th-ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation. He had been committed to Arizona State since the middle of June.
Gabriel Baumgaertner: At one point, Miami was considered the favorite to land local high school stars Matthew Thomas and Denver Kirkland. Yet coach Al Golden wasn't able to land either player, and the Booker T. Washington High teammates will head north to play college football.
Thomas committed to Florida State and Kirkland picked Arkansas in separate announcements on Wednesday. Thomas, a five-star linebacker, is the second top-flight commit to choose Jimbo Fisher's squad in recent days; Rivals.com reported yesterday that onetime USC pledge Jalen Ramsey would flip to Florida State.
Landing Thomas is a huge moment for a team that lost six coaches in the offseason, including defensive coordinator Mark Stoops and linebackers coach Greg Hudson. New defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has made an enormous splash by landing Thomas and Ramsey, two players who are expected to become stars in Tallahassee.
Kirkland's commitment to Arkansas is equally devastating for Golden, as it's the second stunner to hit the Miami recruiting scene in two days. South Plantation, Fla., running back Alex Collins also unexpectedly committed to the Razorbacks on Monday night.
These commitments could have long-term implications for new Arkansas coach Bret Bielema. The fiery head coach essentially stole two of the region's best players from a school that places a premium on retaining its local talent. While Al Golden may have once envisioned the massive Kirkland (6-5, 333 pounds) paving the way for Collins, the Miami natives will be doing it Fayetteville instead.
Rivals.com: Four-star offensive tackle Denver Kirkland was the center of a controversy in the days leading up to Signing Day. Miami coach Al Golden offered him an ultimatum: commit or lose his offer.
The Miami native and Booker T. Washington High standout elected not to give his pledge. Then he spurned the 'Canes by committing to Arkansas.
The 166th-ranked player in the class of 2013 is a big addition for Bielema. Kirkland's decision was aided largely by the relationship between Razorbacks assistant Randy Shannon and high school coach Tim "Ice" Harris.
Rivals.com: For the better part of two years, Matthew Thomas has been a focal point of Florida State's 2013 recruiting efforts. Now, the Seminoles have their man.
Thomas, the No. 15 overall player in this year's Rivals100, signed with Florida State over Miami on Wednesday morning. A tall, rangy linebacker, he becomes the first five-star -- and the crown jewel -- in Jimbo Fisher's class.
Rivals.com: While Laremy Tunsil has drawn comparisons to D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Ole Miss would more than welcome a second version of Michael Oher. A five-star offensive tackle from Lake City, Fla., Tunsil announced his decision to sign with the Rebels early on Signing Day.
Many, including Georgia pledge Brandon Kublanow, expected the 6-6, 295-pound tackle to land with the Bulldogs.
"I was really shocked," Kublanow said. "Me and him have a pretty good relationship and I've pretty much talked with him a ton this past couple of months, and he seemed locked into coming here [to UGA]."
Rivals.com: Once the owner of the top-ranked class in the country, Florida continues to bolster its 2013 haul. It took a step in that direction on Wednesday, signing four-star defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick.
A Port St. Lucie, Fla., native, Bostwick chose the Gators over Miami -- one of several prospects to do so in this cycle. The 'Canes have particularly struggled to land players to fill out their front seven.
Rivals.com: One of the worst-kept secrets in recruiting was made public on Wednesday morning, when No. 1 overall prospect Robert Nkemdiche announced his decision to sign with Ole Miss. Nkemdiche was the top-ranked player in the Rivals100 from wire-to-wire, and he demonstrated his dominance at this year's Under Armour All-America Game.
The 6-5, 260-pound end will join his brother, Denzel, on the defensive side of the ball. He is expected to make an immediate impact in Oxford, Miss.
Ben Glicksman: Sure, it was expected. That doesn't make Nkemdiche's commitment to Ole Miss any less monumental. By securing the consensus top recruit in the nation, the Rebels set in motion what could be a terrific Signing Day.
Nkemdiche, who finished his varsity career at Grayson High with 43 sacks, should immediately contribute to a defense that tallied 38 sacks last season, the second-most in the SEC. He'll team up with his brother, Denzel, a second-team All-SEC selection who registered 82 tackles as a freshman in 2012. And Nkemdiche didn't downplay his early expectations. On ESPNU after his announcement, he said, "I just wanna be a freshman All-American and do some special things."
More pressingly, Nkemdiche's decision could help sew up the commitments of other top 2013 prospects. Five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil will sign with Ole Miss, Alabama, Florida State or Georgia. Four-star safety Antonio Conner will select Ole Miss or 'Bama. And four-star offensive tackle Austin Golson will pick Ole Miss or Florida State.
It's worth noting, however, that touted defensive end Elijah Daniel flipped from Ole Miss to Auburn just moments before Nkemdiche's commitment. That's certainly a setback for Ole Miss, and an encouraging start to the day for Gus Malzahn. But it won't offset the excitement prompted by Nkemdiche's decision. The Loganville, Ga., product may have just made a program-changing pledge -- one that won't fully be realized until he takes the field with the rest of Rebels next fall.
Rivals.com: As the world waited for Nkemdiche to announce his decision, four-star defensive end Elijah Daniel made the first major flip of the day. Daniel is the No. 107 player in the Rivals250. He had been an Ole Miss commitment since late November. On Wednesday morning, however, he faxed his National Letter of Intent to Auburn.
Daniel is a strongside end from Avon, Ind. He took his final official visit to Auburn during the last visit weekend of the recruiting season.
Get ready, everyone. National Signing Day 2013 has finally arrived. Many of the nation's top-ranked prospects are set to announce their college destinations, and the day starts off with a bang: Prized defensive end Robert Nkemdiche is scheduled to commit at 7:35 a.m. Five-star linebacker Matthew Thomas, defensive tackle Montravius Adams and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil are all set to announce before 10 a.m.
We'll be here all day analyzing the latest signings, flips and offbeat declarations, and our partners at Rivals.com will chime in with breaking news as it occurs. For additional coverage throughout the day, be sure to check out our Signing Day Storify, 2013 announcement schedule, list of the Top 100 prospects and Rivals' up-to-the-minute team rankings.
College football's annual offseason Christmas is here. Let the commitments commence.
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