From top prospects competing against one another to big verbal commitments being made, the Under Armour All-America Game week provides a strong glimpse into the future of college football.
The next crop of talent begins with some of the top recruiting storylines in the class of 2020, several still to be determined even beyond the Early Signing Period.
Of about the top five highest-rated prospects heading into the event, three have some questions to answer of their recruitment. SI All-American Jordan Burch, the defensive end who picked South Carolina last week but elected not to sign, will have the chance to clarify the move and end any speculation and/or hope for the elite programs who missed out on the pledge like Georgia, LSU, Clemson and Alabama. The class headliner for Will Muschamp's program will also have plenty of eyes on his game throughout the week as he aims to solidify himself as the premiere defensive line prospect in the country. Among pass rushers also at the UA All-America event, Alabama signee Chris Braswell, Washington's SaV'ell Smalls and Georgia's Mekhail Sherman are among the worthy challengers.
A pair of elite offensive prospects are looking to end the process during the game's broadcast Thursday. Running back Zach Evans (Houston, Tex./North Shore) has been talked about for years with the likes of LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia and others attached to his name at various points. The Bulldogs certainly hold the most public buzz heading into the week, something the on-site media will look to confirm this weekend as prospects arrive.
May the same hold true for the top uncommitted tight end in the country, Darnell Washington? Georgia appears to be gearing up for a monster close towards the traditional National Signing Day and the Las Vegas (Nev.) Desert Pines prospect would help the program climb up the SI All-American rankings quickly. Miami, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee also hosted the 6-foot-7 specimen on official visits. Washington was back and fourth on signing during the early period.
SIAA selection Avantae Williams is back on the market following a year-long pledge to the Oregon Ducks. The DeLand (Fla.) star has long been linked to the in-state Florida Gators but Georgia has long lurked and Ole Miss could become a trending topic in regards to his recruitment. The safety projection does not have a planned announcement date but should be busy with visits throughout the month of January. Expect Lane Kiffin's new staff to be among those hosting Williams, possibly for the final weekend before pen meets paper February 5. Miami, where he was once committed, is still in the race as well.
- Quarterback Chandler Morris, son of Auburn offensive coordinator Chad Morris, is still on the market. The former Arkansas commitment doesn't appear likely to follow his father to AU, a move that can open the door for Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and others.
- Offensive lineman Sedrick Van Pran is a verbal commitment to Georgia but did not sign this month following the departure of Bulldog offensive line coach Sam Pittman.
- Running back Danyiel Ngata is a Clemson legacy who remains uncommitted. Arizona State, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are in the mix.
- Defensive back Dontae Manning, among the fastest prospects set to compete in Orlando, is set to commit at the game Thursday. Oregon and Georgia got the last two official visits before the dead period.
- Wide receiver Elijah Badger, a teammate of Ngata's at Folsom (Calif.) High School, is committing during the broadcast. May each end up at Arizona State?
- Defensive end Jason Harris is also popping at the game. He has a national offer list and has already used four of his official visits. The Arizona native has Colorado, Arizona, UCLA and Indiana among his choices.
- Offensive lineman Marcus Henderson took an official visit to Missouri in November and has a scheduled trip to Arkansas to get a look at Pittman's new staff.