National signing day: five things to watch; six names to know

The Gators seem to be the favorites for Berkeley Prep five-star offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere. [ TIMES FILE ]
The Gators seem to be the favorites for Berkeley Prep five-star offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere. [ TIMES FILE ]
Published February 6
Updated February 6

College football's second signing day arrives Wednesday.

Although more than two-thirds of the country's top prospects signed in December, some high-profile recruits in the area and across the country could still provide the traditional dose of drama.

Here are five things and six names to watch:

Nicholas Petit-Frere's decision. The Berkeley Prep offensive tackle is a consensus five-star recruit and one of the nation's top uncommitted prospects. Florida seems like the frontrunner — which would give the Gators the first five-star recruit of the Dan Mullen era — but Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan are also possibilities. He will make his announcement on ESPNU in the 10 a.m. hour.

Does Florida State make local history? New coach Willie Taggart has already signed one Tampa Bay prospect (Wesley Chapel defensive back Isaiah Bolden) and has oral commitments from two others (Armwood receiver Warren Thompson and Wesley Chapel lineman Chaz Neal). Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar and linebacker James Miller are also considering the Seminoles, giving FSU the possibility of landing five locals. The last time that happened: 1973, when Bobby Bowden had not yet arrived at FSU and the Seminoles were still fielding a freshman-only team.

Can UF snag receiver Jacob Copeland? Five of Florida's last seven top receivers (in ESPN's rankings) signed outside the state. Copeland might change that trend. The top-100 talent visited the Gators last weekend and hails from UF legend Emmitt Smith's alma mater (Pensacola's Escambia High). Alabama, FSU, Texas A&M and Tennessee are also heavily recruiting Copeland, who will announce his decision around 2 p.m.

Who's No. 1? For the first time since 2010, the answer will probably not be Alabama. Ohio State, Georgia and Texas have the consensus top three classes and will all vie for No. 1. Miami is a notch below but still on track for its first top-eight haul since 2008. Don't feel too bad for Nick Saban; his Crimson Tide won't fall outside the top 10 and might finish in the top five.

Bulls boost d-line. USF, which signed 24 players in December, will add two more defensive linemen in what is expected to be an otherwise subdued signing day. Admiral Farragut's John Waller and Venice's Tyrone Barber — both three-star prospects — will sign with USF despite generating late interest elsewhere, according to their respective high school coaches.

At 6-4, 290, Admiral Farragut’s John Waller would give USF some sized on the defensive line. (courtesy of John Waller)

6 other names to know:

Cambridge Christian OL Richard Gouraige: The four-star prospect has been committed to UF since October but didn't sign early. He has considered other programs, including Clemson.

RELATED: HomeTeam 25: Top football players in class of 2018

Plantation American Heritage CBs Patrick Surtain and Tyson Campbell: The five-star teammates are two of the nation's top uncommitted prospects. LSU is the favorite for Surtain, but both are considering Miami and 'Bama.

Lanier (Ala.) QB James Foster: FSU, LSU and Texas A&M have been courting one of the only remaining unsigned blue-chip quarterbacks.

Tampa Bay Tech DL Jonathan King: The former Oregon commit could be the latest in Indiana's local pipeline. Maryland is another possibility.

Are the Hoosiers in the future of Tampa Bay Tech defensive end Jonathan King? (Times file, 2017)

Hillsborough CB Ken Montgomery: A four-star prospect who decommitted from UCLA last fall, Montgomery will choose from among Nebraska, Maryland and Louisville at his high school this morning. If you're big on final impressions, his last visit was to former UCF coach Scott Frost's Cornhuskers.

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