College Football will add even more drama to an incredibly hectic time of year on Wednesday, with the introduction of the new early signing period for recruits. Although the signing period will be new for all schools nationwide, nothing about the day will be familiar to many schools across the state who are still adjusting to newness within their own facilities.
The news of Scott Frost leaving for Nebraska wasn’t really much news at all by the time the story broke, conveniently during the teams most dramatic part of the season in the waning minutes of the AAC Championship. What has transpired since then is more than some programs go through in a decade.
Athletic Director extraordinaire, Danny White, was able to act swiftly in replacing Frost, bringing in former Missouri Offensive Coordinator, Josh Heupel. The tasks set forth for Heupel, were made that much more difficult when Frost decided to strip the entire UCF staff and take them to Lincoln. Those decisions have left UCF in a state of flux both on, and off the field, as the rare occurrence of decimating an entire staff has left the program with no choice but to allow the now-Nebraska staff to call the shots in the upcoming Peach Bowl when the Knights face the Auburn Tigers on New Years Day.
Meanwhile Heupel and Co. enter Wednesday’s early signing period with the 84th ranked class in the country according to rivals.com. With little to no action expected Wednesday, the staff-in-waiting must continue to protect against poachers like Frost, who have already begun recruiting current UCF commits to join the former staff in Nebraska.
In Gainesville, things around the University of Florida seem to be a bit more settled, although not even a month has passed since new Head Coach, Dan Mullen, took over the program. Ranked 40th nationally by rivals.com entering Wednesday, the Gators look to land a few key pieces on Wednesday that will give the class further momentum for the next signing period in February.
Most notably, the Gators look to add 6-foot-3, 195-pound, Emory Jones, a current Ohio State quarterback commit who will sign with either the Buckeyes or the Gators on Wednesday at an 11:35AM announcement. Jones is considered the 4th ranked duel-threat quarterback in the 2018 class. Safety, Trey Dean, is also expected to sign with the Gators on Wednesday over Alabama. Both Jones and Dean are from Georgia.
In Tallahassee, the unexpected departure of Jimbo Fisher a day prior to the Seminoles final regular season game, left the Noles in unfamiliar territory. After earning bowl eligibility for a record 36th consecutive time, Florida State quickly hired Willie Taggart away from Oregon after only one season. Taggart brings a wealth of knowledge and familiarity back to the state, after spending the previous four seasons at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
The sudden changes have inflicted their damage in recruiting for the Seminoles, who enter Wednesday’s signing period ranked 59th nationally. Expected to receive signatures from three currently committed players, the Seminoles continue to hold out hope on prospects like James Cook, the brother of former Seminole running back and current NFL star, Dalvin Cook. James is currently committed to Georgia, and will make his announcement official on Wednesday at 10AM.
A few Central Florida area prospects will be making their college choices on Wednesday. Orlando Jones offensive tackle, Devin Hayes, is expected to sign with Florida Atlantic, while teammate and high profile cornerback, Sevyn Banks, looks to make his long time commitment to Ohio State official. Orange City University High School running back, Lorenzo Lingard, is expected to hold his commitment to the Miami Hurricanes.