While the Masters golf tournament has always had the tag-line of “A Tradition Unlike Any Other” (thanks for nothing, Jim Nantz!), college football has a traditional completely unlike any other as well: High football players decommitting right before Signing Day and throwing everyone into a frenzy. It happens every year and as we once again learned this weekend, nothing has or will change in 2013 either.
So with Signing Day now less than 10 days away, who are the players who may pull the old switcheroo this year?
Here are five to keep an eye on:
5. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Nashville, Tennessee
Currently Committed To: USC
Could Flip To: Florida, Florida State
Like a big chunk of USC’s once-famed and now quickly falling 2013 recruiting class, Ramsey- rated by some as the top corner in all of high school football- is now looking around. Ramsey committed to the Trojans back in July, but took official visits to Washington and Mississippi State during the regular season and more recently to Florida and Florida State as well.
For the Trojans, it won’t be easy holding onto the five-star cornerback as they go head-to-head with two of the nation’s top recruiters. You’ve got to think that Ramsey was impressed by the development of the entire Florida defense in year two under Muschamp (especially cornerback Matt Elam) and Jimbo Fisher and Florida State are always known to close strong in recruiting.
Our Hunch on Ramsey: Ramsey sticks with the Trojans and ends up putting pen to paper with Lane Kiffin on Signing Day.
4. Dontre Wilson, RB, DeSoto, TX
Currently Committed To: Oregon
Could Flip To: Ohio State
Even prior to Chip Kelly’s departure from Oregon, Wilson made grumblings about looking around, and when Kelly did eventually bolt to Philadelphia the No. 100 ranked player overall by Rivals.com took full advantage of the opportunity. He visited Ohio State this past weekend and is slated to visit Oklahoma State next weekend as well.
Beyond Wilson, bad news could get worse in Eugene, as Urban Meyer and his staff have been relentless in trying to snag Kelly’s ex-recruits, visiting San Diego wide receiver Darren Carrington last week as well, to the point that Carrington is now also projected to visit Columbus next weekend. Thankfully for the Ducks, two of their other top commitments, San Diego athletes Tyree and Tyrell Robinson have already re-affirmed that they will sign with the Ducks.
But with Wilson and Carrington, it will be a wait-and-see approach right up until Signing Day.
Our Hunch on Wilson: Wilson has seemed less than enamored with Oregon lately. Don’t be surprised to see Urban Meyer swoop him up at the 11th hour.
3. Chris Jones, DE, Houston, Mississippi
Currently Committed To: Mississippi State
Could Flip To: Ole Miss
Few players flew higher up the recruiting rankings this year than Jones, so it only seems natural that with Signing Day approaching, he recently took a visit to the program which is currently flying up the recruiting rankings, Ole Miss. The Rebels had an unbelievable group of visitors on campus this past weekend, including the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country Laremy Tunsil, the No. 1 wide receiver (and Ole Miss commit) Laquon Treadwell and the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect Robert Nkemdiche as well as Jones.
Following the visit, early reports are that Jones had a blast and could very well end up in Oxford when all is said and done. At this point, can you count out Hugh Freeze on any prospect? Especially after the Rebels beat Mississippi State on the field this past fall?
Our Hunch on Jones: Again, can you bet against Freeze at this point? Jones to Ole Miss.
2. A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Fort Worth, Texas
Currently Committed To: Texas
Could Flip To: USC, Alabama
While all the buzz around USC’s recruiting is about the players who could end up signing elsewhere on National Signing Day, there’s also a real possibility they could get at least one major star to flip course the other direction and end up in LA. Crystal Ball Run has heard from multiple people in the recruiting world that current Texas commit A’Shawn Robinson could end up a Trojan when all is said and done.
And really, Robinson has done little to dispel the rumors in recent weeks. Although he has been committed to Texas since the summer, Robinson took a visit to USC back in December on the weekend of Texas’ football banquet when most of their top recruiting targets were in town. Robinson also visited Alabama this past weekend.
There is good news for Mack Brown and Texas however: Robinson will make his final official visit to Austin this weekend.
Our Hunch on Robinson: If he weren’t going to Austin this coming weekend, we’d be more concerned about a flip. However with one last chance to impress, look for the Longhorns to seal the deal.
1. Carl Lawson, DE, Alpharetta, Georgia
Currently Committed To: Auburn
Could Flip To: Tennessee, Clemson
At the time of Gene Chizik’s firing in December, the Auburn Tigers were in the midst of putting together one of the best recruiting classes in the country, one which included top inside linebacker Reuben Foster, top defensive tackle Dee Liner and Lawson, the nation’s No. 4 player according to Rivals.com. But while Foster and Liner have since re-opened their recruiting, Lawson has remained committed to the Tigers and Gus Malzahn’s staff.
Of course that hasn’t stopped Lawson from taking other visits either, with the five-star defensive end traveling to Clemson and Tennessee in back-to-back weekends, before cancelling a trip to North Carolina this past Friday. He will spend the final weekend before Signing Day at Auburn, but was especially vocal recently about his time spent in Knoxville with Butch Jones and his staff.
In terms of Lawson, it seems like he is completely up in the air at this point and it’s impossible to say where he’ll end up when all the dust settles.
Our Hunch on Lawson: Lawson (and really, his family) seemed a little too excited following his trip to Tennessee. Our guess it that he ends up as the first big-time recruit Butch Jones lands on Rocky Top.
For all his opinion, insight and analysis, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.
Be sure to follow Crystal Ball Run @CrystalBallRun.