National Signing Day primer: Tide to roll again with top recruits

National Signing Day is Wednesday, when the best high school football players all over the nation make a binding choice on which college program to play for by signing a letter of intent. NSD actually just marks the first day of a weeks-long window in which the NCAA allows players to sign. However, as the first day of the signing period has become something of a celebration for college football fans, the vast majority of prospects will sign Wednesday morning. Many have been verbally committed for months, though -- as is the case every year -- a few will make an 11th-hour change of mind. Here are a few things to expect Wednesday:

1. Alabama on top again. Alabama coach Nick Saban has made a habit of collecting the No. 1-ranked signing class in the nation, and this recruiting cycle is shaping up no differently. The Crimson Tide currently has the top spot in the rankings, and here's one reason that's not likely to change: Alabama has already enrolled 12 recruits for the spring term, including all five of its 5-star players and five more 4-star players. As such, if Alabama loses any recruits on signing day, they won't come from that group.

2. Rich get richer. Naturally, it's the blue-blood programs that dominate NSD. Rounding out the top 5 after Alabama, per, are Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan and Florida State. That list is, of course, subject to change as a few elite recruits who are still undecided tip the scales on signing day. But the next five who might crash the party are tradition-rich programs, as well: LSU, Oklahoma, USC, Texas A&M and Auburn.

3. Higher than expected. Coming off a disappointing 6-7 season, Maryland's signing class is sitting at No. 17 in the nation. How does that happen? Second-year coach D.J. Durkin has hit some big targets in his program's backyard, piling up six commitments from 4-star recruits in the Maryland and Washington D.C. area. Two of those, Anthony McFarland Jr. and Marcus Minor, are from Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic, a powerhouse program that Durkin will need as a long-term pipeline.

4. Lower than expected. For a program that's won the SEC East for two years in a row, Florida isn't sitting as high in recruiting rankings as fans expect. UF currently has the 20th-ranked class in the nation, and that's simply not high enough for an SEC cornerstone program that sits in the center of one of the nation's most fertile states for talent. Don't be surprised if UF makes a strong late push, perhaps with some top players already committed quietly, but for now, things don't look great.

5. Biggest fish unhooked. A few of the elite prospects who remain uncommitted, and some of the schools they are considering: Bellaire (Texas) Episcopal DT Marvin Wilson, nationally ranked No. 6 by 247sports (LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, FSU, Texas); Lee County (Ga.) DT Aubrey Solomon, ranked No. 25 (Alabama, Michigan, Georgia); Madison (Ala.) James Clemens DL LaBryan Ray, ranked No. 26 (Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Ole Miss); Los Angeles Hawkins WR Joseph Lewis, ranked No. 31 (USC, Nebraska); Phoenix North Canyon OL Austin Jackson, ranked No. 35 (USC, Arizona State, Texas A&M).

6. Moses' time. Remember Dylan Moses? Even if you don't follow recruiting, you might recall hearing news of a player so good, he was gathering major scholarship offers before he even entered high school. His time has finally come, and after originally committing to LSU as a high school freshman, he ultimately chose Alabama and is one of the Tide's aforementioned early enrollers.

7. Trending up. More and more, top recruits are accelerating their high school curriculum enough to graduate in December and enroll in college for the spring semester. Part of the attraction is that they're eligible to participate in spring practice and get an early jump on earning a role as a freshman. As an example, aside from Alabama's 12 early enrollers mentioned above, Oklahoma and Michigan have 11, Ohio State and Texas A&M have nine, and all but one school ranked in the top 10 have at least six, per

8. Harbaugh hype. You didn't think Jim Harbaugh would let NSD pass without Michigan attracting as much attention as possible, did you? For the second year in a row, the program will broadcast a web stream of its "Signing of the Stars" event, in which the newest Wolverines are highlighted in a live presentation featuring special guests at UM's Crisler Center. Among this year's A-list is former Michigan and Pittsburgh Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley.

9. Best names. Three of our favorite names from the class of incoming recruits: Ye'Majesty Sanders (Jacksonville State), DeeJay Dallas (Miami), Cutter Leftwich (Texas-El Paso).

10. Kiffin signs dismissed FSU QB. New Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin has a highly touted and controversial quarterback in his first signing class with the Owls. De'Andre Johnson, who was dismissed by Florida State about a year and a half ago, has enrolled at FAU after spending the 2016 season at East Mississippi Community College. FSU dismissed Johnson after surveillance video at a Tallahassee, Fla., bar captured Johnson striking a female bar patron.

11. Bloodlines. As always, plenty of incoming college players have fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins who have played in the NFL. Here are a few of note:

Michigan State: WR Hunter Rison, son of former MSU and NFL star Andre Rison

Virginia Tech: DE Robert Porcher IV, son of former Detroit Lions DE Robert Porcher

Michigan: QB Dylan McCaffrey, son of former Denver Broncos WR Ed McCaffrey

Tennessee: DT Kivon Bennett, son of former Buffalo Bills LB Cornelius Bennett

Purdue: QB Griffin Alstott, son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers FB Mike Alstott

N.C. State: TE Adam Boselli, son of former Jacksonville Jaguars OT Tony Boselli

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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