NFL Analysis


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National Signing Day 2023: Everything You Need To Know

Jeremiah Smith stands on the sideline in a black hoodie
Jeremiah Smith attends OSU's football game against Youngstown State. (Lori Schmidt / Columbus Dispatch-USA TODAY NETWORK)

Early signing day is upon us — high school players can start committing to schools on Wednesday. It's already been a wild recruiting season, especially with the transfer portal being busier than ever.

Here are the biggest takeaways entering the offseason in college football:

No. 1 Prospect in the 2024 Class Is Still Undecided 

The top prospect in the 2024 recruiting class is WR Jeremiah Smith from Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Florida. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 185 pounds, Smith has drawn some comparisons to Julio Jones coming out of high school. Smith caught 90 passes for 1,389 yards and 19 touchdowns, leading his team to a 14-0 record during his senior season.

Smith has verbally committed to Ohio State, but there has been a lot of pressure from the other major schools in Florida to keep him in the state. The expectation is the Buckeyes will get the No. 1 player in this class, but that isn’t a lock.

They’ve had quite the track record when it comes to top recruits at wide receiver and putting them in the NFL, which must be weighing on Smith's mind. But there is no place like home. Staying in Florida remains a real possibility for Smith.

Expect Florida State and Florida to continue to put on the full-court press to keep the top prospect in this class in the state. And remember, nothing is final until a player signs on the dotted line. Look for this one to go down to the wire.

Kirby Smart alone on the sideline
Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart looks on in the third quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Georgia Right Back Atop Recruiting Ranks

For most of the college football season, the Georgia Bulldogs were the No. 1 team in the nation. Their three-point loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game was enough to leave them out of the College Football Playoffs and deny them the chance to win three straight national titles. 

The good news for Georgia is they should be right back in next season. The team got fantastic news this week when starting quarterback Carson Beck announced he would return for his senior season. Beck replaced Stetson Bennett in 2023 and had a nice year for the Bulldogs. Keeping Beck in Athens is a huge win, considering how well he played down the stretch for Georgia.

But that’s not the only reason Georgia fans should be fired up. As of today, they have the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation. While Ohio State (five) and Texas (four) have landed more five-star recruits, Georgia has added a whopping 20 four-star recruits (the most in the nation).  

Kirby Smart has always recruited defensive stars, and that was the case again this season. Smart and the Bulldogs have landed the No. 1 cornerback in the nation (Ellis Robinson IV) and the No. 1 linebacker (Justin Williams). They also grabbed the No. 3 linebacker (Chris Cole) and the No. 7 cornerback (Demello Jones). 

After another No. 1 recruiting class, Georgia is right back to being one of the most dangerous teams in the country.

Dylan Raiola throws the ball
Chandler Wolves quarterback Dylan Raiola (1) warms up to face the Centennial Coyotes at Chandler High School's Austin Field. (Alex Gould-USA TODAY NETWORK)

Top Quarterback Prospect Picks Nebraska

As good as the Georgia recruiting class has been, the Bulldogs missed out on their top player. QB Dylan Raiola, ranked as the No. 1 pocket passing quarterback in the 2024 recruiting class, played high school football in Burford, Georgia. Initially, Raiola committed to Ohio State (May 2022) but switched back to his home school of Georgia in May 2023. 

But on Monday, Dec. 19, Raiola made his final decision. He announced on Twitter he was decommitting from Georgia and signing with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. 

Raiola is the No. 6 recruit in the 2024 class but the consensus top quarterback. Choosing Nebraska was a shock, but it’s possible the announcement Beck would return to Georgia sparked this change.

The expectation is Raiola will play right away at Nebraska, but he will certainly have to earn that spot. Make no mistake about it: Stealing the top quarterback in the class away from Georgia is a massive win for Nebraska.

Deion Sanders points on the sideline
Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders on the field against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. (Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports)

Deion Sanders Adds Massive 5-Star Recruit

Coach Deion Sanders said the Colorado Buffalos would be shopping for offensive line help this offseason, and he’s already had great success. Colorado landed the No. 1 offensive tackle in this class in Jordan Seaton from IMG Academy.

Seaton announced his intentions during an episode of "Undisputed" with Skip Bayless, Keyshawn Johnson and Michael Irvin.

Seaton is a five-star recruit who garnered a lot of interest from the typical powerhouses — including Ohio State, Alabama and Florida. But Colorado needs immediate help on the offensive line, so Seaton could play right away as a true freshman. 

Shedeur Sanders was sacked 52 times in 11 games this season and ended up on the sidelines by the end of the year. Adding Seaton should help, but expect Colorado to search for more offensive line help in the next few weeks.

Dillon Gabriel looks to throw
Oklahoma's Dillon Gabriel (8) warms up before the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the West Virginia Mountaineers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. (SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN-USA TODAY NETWORK)

Quarterback Transfers:

We’ve never seen quarterback movement in college football like there has been this offseason. Big-time players and high recruits, including Dillon Gabriel (Oregon) and Kyle McCord (Syracuse), have already switched teams.

USC QB Malachi Nelson, the No. 1 recruit from the 2023 class, announced he was entering the transfer portal last week, and we are still waiting to hear where he might land.

We’ve also seen several draftable quarterback prospects (Tyler Van Dyke, Riley Leonard) opt to stay in college football and move on to different teams. Instead of entering the 2024 NFL Draft as Day 3 prospects, veteran quarterbacks are opting to stay in the college ranks and make money on NIL deals.

This is a great development for college football because the quarterback play across the nation should be better than ever.

Several high-profile quarterbacks are still looking for landing spots, including Washington State QB Cam Ward. Florida State and Miami appear to be the most likely destinations as of publication but don't rule out the possibility of other powerhouses jumping into the race. 

It’s a different world now in college football with high-end quarterbacks moving all over the country. But it should make for some incredible football during the 2024 season.

Here is a quick list of the top quarterbacks who have entered the transfer portal this year and their destinations.

1. Dillon Gabriel, QB, Oklahoma (transferred to Oregon)

2. Riley Leonard, QB, Duke (transferred to Notre Dame)

3. Will Howard, QB, Kansas State

4. Cam Ward, QB, Washington State

5. Kyle McCord, QB, Ohio State (transferred to Syracuse)

6. DJ Uiagalelei, QB, Oregon State

7. KJ Jefferson, QB, Arkansas 

8. Dante Moore, QB, UCLA (transferred to Oregon)

9. Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami (FL) (transferred to Wisconsin)

10. Chandler Rogers, QB, North Texas (transferred to California)