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Countdown to Signing Day - December 13, 2020

Track college football recruiting news as it happens, all in one place
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As SI All-American tracks college football's top prospects in the class of 2021, there have been spikes in movement each day leading up to the Early Signing Period kicking off December 16.

From prospect commitments to decommitments, new scholarship offers, the shuffling of top schools to deciding whether or not to sign in December or wait until the traditional period beginning February 3, there hasn't been a lack of news items to stay on top of.

In our attempt to keep our audience informed each step of the way in the race for America's top college football recruiting class, we will chronicle the latest news as it comes across our desk in one-stop shop fashion.

(All times Eastern Standard Time)

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7:57 pm - Several more decommitments today

With SI99 CB Nathaniel Wiggins decommitting from LSU and flipping to Clemson last night, there's been several additional decommitments from today:

RB Montrell Johnson and WR Tyrese Johnson decommitted from Arizona, with Illinois losing S Joriell Washington. The Wildcats and Illini each fired their head coach this weekend.

Texas A&M has lost its pledge from LB Kaci Seegars. Also, Iowa State learned today that K Cole Becker will not be a Cyclone, choosing instead to commit to Colorado. 

6:30 pm - Auburn QB of the future still on board

Houston (Texas) North Shore quarterback Dematrius Davis Jr. has been committed to Auburn since May and he remains "100 percent" on board despite the dismissal of Gus Malzahn on Sunday. The dual-threat did confirm plans to indeed sign this week. 

3:30 pm - TCU adds an in-state defensive back

TCU picked up a big win on Saturday, in blowout fashion, and added to the commitment list a day later in Marvin Covington. The Mansfield (Texas) Lake Ridge DB picked the Horned Frogs over the likes of Baylor, Houston and others in the region. TCU is up to nine commitments in the class of 2021. 

2:35 pm - Maason Smith down to a final 4

Maason Smith, the No. 36 player in the SI99 and No. 6 IDL prospect, told SI All-American this afternoon he is down to a final core four schools. LSU, Georgia, Alabama and Miami are all in the final boat for the 6-foot-4, 320-pound mammoth.

Smith announced via his twitter account that he indeed will sign during the early signing period that begins on Wednesday.

2:24 pm - Auburn dismisses Gus Malzahn, recruits react

Auburn has just fired head coach Gus Malzahn, the school announced. He is owed a $21.45 million buyout, but is gone from The Plains nonetheless. Malzahn was 67-35 in eight seasons with the Tigers, going 2-5 in bowl games. 

Auburn finished this season with a 6-4 record. Currently, it has just 12 commitments in its 2021 recruiting class with Signing Day fast approaching Wednesday.

SI99 defensive lineman Lee Hunter, a lifelong fan and longtime commitment, was surprised by the news, though he says the interim tag on defensive coordinator Kevin Steele elevating to the head coach spot is a positive.

Fellow SI99 AU pledge Ahmari Harvey, one of the nation's top safety recruits, is now unsure of inking with the program on Wednesday. 

"It’s shocking because this coaching staff was the reason I chose Auburn," Harvey said. "I might look at some decisions."

Penn State has been in touch with the Harvey camp of late.

Deerfield Beach (Fla.) defensive back Phillip O'Brien says he will stick with the program as of right now though signing on Wednesday could be up in the air. 

"Everything the same as of right now, still 100% committed," O'Brien said. "Will talk with family."

SI All-American IDL candidate Marquis Robinson stated this afternoon, "I feel I need to trust the process. Coach showed me something that I never saw in myself. I'm forever grateful for Coach, but me and the guys are trusting the process."

1:50 pm - Illinois' top recruits react to Smith news

With the program moving on from Lovie Smith, several recruits are still allowing the dust to settle before moving forward with their status on the commitment list. The Early Signing Period, where most expected to officially sign with Illinois, kicks off Wednesday. 

Wide receiver commitment Pat Bryant admits Smith was one of the reasons he picked the program. Now he has doubts about Wednesday.

"I don't even know what to say," he said. "But Coach Lovie and Coach Stoker were the main reasons I wanted to go to Illinois. I’m gonna see what kind of info I can get about who’s gonna be the new HC and just go from there."

Quarterback commitment Samari Collier says he is planning on breaking down his options with his family and high school coaches before making any decision. 

Collier later confirmed he plans on signing on Wednesday as planned. 

1:20 pm - Mississippi record-breaking QB picks Southern Miss

It's been a busy few weeks for Ty Keyes. He helped Taylorsville (Miss.) to a third state championship in four years as the starter last weekend, helped quarterback in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game on Saturday and he comes off the board to Southern Miss on Sunday. New USM coach Will Hall previously held Keyes' commitment as the offensive coordinator at Tulane and now the senior becomes the Golden Eagle headlining pledge. 

Keyes, who holds the state of Mississippi's all-time yardage record, tells SI All-American he will sign with USM on Wednesday. 

12:20 pm - Lovie Smith out at Illinois

Not the most surprising news, but as most of this cycle's dismissals, the move is being made just days ahead of the first batch of prospects expected to sign. Smith's record as the head man at Illinois is 17-39 since taking the job in 2016. The program was 2-5 in 2020 with victories over Rutgers and Nebraska in November.

15 class of 2021 prospects are currently committed to Illinois, the majority of which were expected to sign on Wednesday. The program made the transition news official this afternoon. 

9:00 am - Texas' top commitment may not be signing Wednesday

A weekend incident, not football or recruiting related, could lead to a more complicated signing process for Ishmael Ibraheem. The longtime in-state Texas commitment out of Dallas (Texas) Kimball, also a preseason SI99 member, was arrested and detained on Saturday according to Dallas County arrest records. He was charged with evading arrest.

Ibraheem was expected to sign next week and enroll at UT in January. 

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