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Picking 4 college football teams that will level up 2019 recruiting by Signing Day

The run starts with Early Signing Period, and ends in February.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Early Signing Period begins Dec. 19, followed later by National Signing Day in February. If your team is not high up in the rankings at the moment, it’s not time to panic.

While Alabama is almost certainly going to finish No. 1, here are four more teams who could make major jumps, not including the Tide, Bulldogs, Aggies, Longhorns, Ducks, or Tigers (both Clemson and LSU), since I have already covered them in the linked piece.

A team that could climb into the top five: Oklahoma

This one was tough, because there is a lot of competition at the top.

The Sooners currently sit at No. 8 overall, including two five-stars and 10 four-stars committed. But with just 17 commitments, Lincoln Riley and company have a chance to make a move because they have space to add players.

The Sooners already have a great class, lead by five-star receiver Theo Wease and QB Spencer Rattler. WR Trejan Bridges, tight end Austin Stogner, and tackle Stacey Wilkins are also really nice additions.

But the Sooners could use some upgrades on defense. And there’s a good shot those upgrades will come.

It could start with four-star defensive end Marcus Stripling of Houston. The Sooners are believed to have the lead for the impact defender over Texas A&M. Oklahoma is also in strong position with Jeremiah Criddell, a four-star cornerback from Santa Ana (California)

If the Sooners can add Stripling, Criddell, and then a few more valuable pieces, they’d have a shot at the No. 5 slot.

A team that could climb into the top 10: Penn State

Penn State sits at No. 14 nationally and already has an excellent class featuring 16 commitments, 14 of whom are in the top 350 players nationally.

But this class could rocket up the rankings. Three major targets can help it get there.

  1. First is four-star defensive end Adisa Isaac, a defensive end out of Brooklyn (New York). Seemingly everyone has Isaac penciled in for the Nittany Lions.
  2. Then there is Noah Cain, a top running back from IMG Academy (Florida). Cain is going to be a fierce battle down the stretch with Texas and LSU. Cain took a visit to Penn State with his parents and loved it, he told me, but Texas could be tough to beat out.
  3. Finally, D’von Ellies, a four-star defensive tackle from Owings Mills (Maryland) with offers from Ohio State and USC. Penn State is in good position with Ellies.

If the Nittany Lions can add Isaac, Cain, and Ellies, and perhaps one more piece like receiver Cornelius Johnson, it will have a shot to get into the top 10.

A team that could climb into the top 15: Florida

The Gators currently sit 20th in the rankings, and I am confident they can make the climb.

Florida currently has 18 commitments, including 10 four-stars. But it’s who the Gators might add that make them attractive.

Florida could add IMG five-star running back Trey Sanders, though I think Alabama is the safer bet.

The Gators could also pick up four-star Bellflower (California) cornerback Chris Steele and Palm Beach (Florida) four-star cornerback Kaiir Elam. I think the chance that Florida sweeps the cornerback duo is greater than the chance it goes 0 for 2.

Florida also looks good for the Lakeland (Florida) High School four-star trio of DE Lloyd Summerall, TE Keion Zipperer, and OL Deyavie Hammond.

If the Gators keep their current crop, and add five of the six discussed above, there’s even a shot to climb into the top 10.

A team that could climb into the top 20: USC

This almost feels like a cop out, since USC makes a charge late every year. But, there’s no better choice for this one than the Trojans, who currently sit at No. 28 with only 16 commitments. Eight are rated as four-stars.

USC is in contention for a ton of top players, including a pair of five-star California receivers in Kyle Ford and Bru McCoy. The top competition for Ford is likely Oregon, while Texas has done a good job recruiting McCoy.

The Trojans are also in competition for four-star offensive linemen Dawand Jones, Enok Vimahi, and Tristian Miller. The Trojans would be thrilled to land two of those three.

Edge rusher is another important position for the Trojans. Laiatu Latu, Drake Jackson, and Nick Figueroa are three local top prospects who could sign with the Trojans.

And USC is still a contender for Chris Steele, the cornerback prospect mentioned in the Gators writeup.

The Trojans have a great chance to get into the top 20, and maybe even the top 15.

The formula to make a climb in the rankings is room in the class to add more and having a number of targets deciding later. All of these schools have it.