National Signing Day 25 Players You Should Know, Why They're A Big Deal

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National Signing Day 25 Players You Should Know, Why They're A Big Deal

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National Signing Day 25 Players You Should Know, Why They're A Big Deal

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National Signing Day – the early version – happened. Who are the 25 players you should know, and why are they a big deal?


National Signing Day – early version – 2022. 25 Players You Should Know

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National Signing Day and college football recruiting have become Blockbuster in a streaming world, so it’s okay if you’re not constantly hitting refresh hoping beyond reason that your school’s NIL deal is strong enough to pry away a talented teenager from someone else’s offer.

However, Signing Day – the early version – is still a big deal when it comes to the top prospects.

Either 1) most of the 25 players on this list will be the foundation of their respective schools for the next two years before they turn pro, and/or 2) several will transfer, and/or 3) a slew of them will be just okay and won’t live up to the hype.

No matter how they all pan out, these are the names who’ll be a part of your college football life – and possibly the NFL, too – for several years.

25. Brandon Inniss

Position: Wide Receiver
Committed: Ohio State
What He’s A Big Deal: Oklahoma was close getting him, but Ohio State closed this summer. The Florida native has the skills to be the next great Buckeye receiver.

24. Reuben Owens

Position: Running Back
Committed: Texas A&M
What He’s A Big Deal: A speedster who fits the Texas A&M style, he was going to Louisville … and then he wasn’t. He’s got the talent to be an instant factor.

23. Cedric Baxter

Position: Running Back
Committed: Texas
What He’s A Big Deal: Originally he was thinking about Florida State, but the big banger of a back from Florida changed his mind and chose Austin over Florida and Texas A&M.

22. Hykeem Williams

Position: Wide Receiver
Committed: Florida State
What He’s A Big Deal: Alabama, Georgia, and Miami all made the full court press, and Pitt was on the radar, but the big target might be the star of the FSU class.

21. Justice Haynes

Position: Running Back
Committed: Alabama
What He’s A Big Deal: The shifty all-around back got away from Georgia and should quickly be a big part of the rotation at Bama.

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20. Nicholaus Iamaleava

Position: Quarterback
Committed: Tennessee
What He’s A Big Deal: Josh Heupel got him early in the process, and now the spotlight is on. The Vols are already strong with quarterback options, but the 6-6 size and arm are enough to be in the fight right away.

19. Jurrion Dickey

Position: Wide Receiver
Committed: Oregon
What He’s A Big Deal: Very big, very physical, and very, very fast, he’s got No. 1 target talent who might be the offensive standout in a loaded Duck class.

18. Samson Okunlola

Position: Offensive Tackle
Committed: Miami
What He’s A Big Deal: Mario Cristobal is rebuilding the program on the offensive front, and he was able to get the 6-4, 300-pounder away from Alabama to potentially be the anchor.

17. James Smith

Position: Defensive Tackle
Committed: Alabama
What He’s A Big Deal: It was a fight to get him. The 6-3, 300-pound ultra-quick interior defender perfectly fits what Alabama does. All the other big-name SEC schools thought so, too.

16. Peyton Bowen

Position: Safety
Committed: Oklahoma
What He’s A Big Deal: He was going to Oregon, and then flipped late to Oklahoma … that was all after originally appearing to be a lock for Notre Dame. He still needs to add some bulk, but he’s going to be all over the field in a free safety way.

15. Damon Wilson

Position: Edge Rusher
Committed: Georgia
What He’s A Big Deal: Ready right out of the gate, he might be the best pass rusher in the 2023 recruiting class. He’s versatile, but the Dawgs are going to bring him off the edge.

14. Makai Lemon

Position: Wide Receiver/Cornerback
Committed: USC
What He’s A Big Deal: If you liked what the USC wide receivers did this year, get ready for more with Lemon – with more of a physical element. He might be too dangerous as a receiver to move to defense.

13. Peter Woods

Position: Defensive Tackle
Committed: Clemson
What He’s A Big Deal: Yet another great Clemson defensive tackle, he’s versatile enough to play just about anywhere on Dabo Swinney’s front. He might not be a massive anchor, but he can move.

12. Keon Keeley

Position: Edge Rusher
Committed: Alabama
What He’s A Big Deal: The Florida native was in the mix for Notre Dame and Ohio State, but he might just be the next Will Anderson for the Tide defensive front.

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11.Jaquavious Russaw

Position: Linebacker
Committed: Alabama
What He’s A Big Deal: You want to talk about fitting the Alabama mold at linebacker, he already has the size with the guided-missile toughness to eventually be the team’s leading tackler.

10. Kadyn Proctor

Position: Offensive Tackle
Committed: Alabama
What He’s A Big Deal: Really, really big, he’ll be around 320 pounds on his 6-6 frame to work at either tackle spot for the Tide. It might take a year to get there, but he’s an all-conference caliber starter somewhere on the front five.

9. David Hicks

Position: Defensive Tackle
Committed: Texas A&M
What He’s A Big Deal: Texas A&M knows defensive tackles, and it just got a great one away from Oklahoma. He’s big with the quickness to live behind the line.

8Dante Moore

Position: Quarterback
Committed: UCLA
What He’s A Big Deal: He was off to Oregon, Bo Nix decided to stick around for another year, Moore switched to the Bruins late in the game. He’s a pro style passer with next level skills.

7. Caleb Downs

Position: Safety
Committed: Alabama
What He’s A Big Deal: Just like some of the other top parts in the loaded class, Nick Saban got a guy who fits the Bama type. Very physical and very fast, he’s not huge, but he hits.

6. Jackson Arnold

Position: Quarterback
Committed: Oklahoma
What He’s A Big Deal: He’s not all that big, but he’s quick, has a good arm, and he works with what the Oklahoma offense does. Think Dillon Gabriel with more running.

5. Francis Mauigoa

Position: Offensive Tackle
Committed: Miami
What He’s A Big Deal: Samson Okunlola might turn into one of the main men of the Miami class for Mario Cristobal’s offensive line at tackle, but Mauigoa has the bigger upside as a massive mauler who can move. The NFL look and skills are all there.

4. Zachariah Branch

Position: Wide Receiver
Committed: USC
What He’s A Big Deal: Really, really, really fast, here’s the deep threat explosive star for the passing game. Makai Lemon is the physical prospect for the receiving corps, Branch should be the playmaker.

3. Cormani McClain

Position: Cornerback
Committed: Miami
What He’s A Big Deal: He needs to add a little weight, but he’s got the range and talent to potentially work just about anywhere in the Hurricane secondary. He’ll end up being the team’s top corner.

2. Malachi Nelson

Position: Quarterback
Committed: USC
What He’s A Big Deal: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that Arch Manning guy is the big name in the process, but Nelson is every bit the star prospect. He’s got arm and accuracy to be USC’s next statistical superstar.

1. Arch Manning

Position: Quarterback
Committed: Texas
What He’s A Big Deal: He’s got the game to go along with the last name. Talent-wise he’s as strong a quarterback prospect as any since Trevor Lawrence. Having the family tutoring takes his upside to another live.

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