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Early signing period, recruiting: South Florida’s top players

The early signing period is back.

For three days, starting at 7 a.m. on Wednesday and ending Friday, high school seniors are able to sign and send in their national letter of intent to their football program of choice, locking in their commitment for good and putting an end to their recruitment instead of waiting for National Signing Day in February.

This marks the second year of the early signing period. In 2017, all but 79 of ESPN’s top 300 recruits signed in December.

For most of South Florida’s top high school players who are signing during this three-day period, sending in their national letter of intent is merely a formality. Most of Miami-Dade and Broward’s top college prospects this cycle have been verbally committed to their school of choice for months now.

But for a few local kids, the decision on where they will play college football is coming right down to their signing day ceremony.

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Like Carol City’s four-star defensive back Jarvis Brownlee, who is deciding among Florida State, Miami and UCF. Brownlee de-committed from UM on Thursday after news came out that Manny Diaz was leaving Miami to become the head coach at Temple. Teammate Malcolm Ray, a three-star defensive tackle, has been committed to South Florida since August but is coming off an official visit to Florida State that he called “perfect” in an interview with 247Sports.

Like St. Thomas Aquinas’ four-star safety Jordan Battle, who has been an Ohio State commit since late June but has been targeted heavily by Alabama since Ohio State coach Urban Meyer announced that he will not return next season.

Like Southridge cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, the sixth-ranked player in the state who will decide between Georgia and Miami on Wednesday but not make his decision public until Jan. 5 at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.

Like IMG Academy’s Dontae Lucas, a four-star offensive lineman who has been verbally committed to Florida State since April but announced on Dec. 7 he will be deciding among FSU, UF and Miami at a ceremony in Miami on Wednesday.

Overall, Wednesday will be a busy day for the South Florida high school community.

St. Thomas Aquinas will have 15 players send in their national letter of intent, including nine players who are ranked among the top 100 in the state.

Four players from South Dade will sign. Wide receiver and Clemson commit Frank Ladson, the No. 4 player in the state for this cycle, headlines the group. Linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste (UCF), wide receiver Najeh Baker (Toledo) and cornerback Felix Nembhard round out the group.

Six Carol City players will sign, with Brownlee, Ray, running back Nay’Quan Wright (Florida) and quarterback Daniel Richardson (Central Michigan) headlining the ceremony.

Palmetto’s defensive back Cornelius Nunn (Syracuse), Eddie Williams (FAU) and Jason Vaughn (USF) will sign Wednesday.

Gulliver Prep’s D’Sean Perry will sign to play at Virginia.

Columbus has four players set to sign on Wednesday: Defensive lineman Jeramy Passmore (Indiana), tight end Gary Cooper (Indiana), Kalani Norris (Georgia Tech) and offensive lineman Luis Cristobal (Georgia State).

From a college perspective, the Miami Hurricanes have six players committed from South Florida, highlighted by a trio of Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna defenders in safety Keontra Smith, cornerback Te’Cory Couch and defensive lineman Cameron Williams. St. Thomas Aquinas linebacker Avery Huff and defensive lineman Anthony Munoz will also send in their letters of intent on Wednesday. Northwestern linebacker Samuel Brooks is also signing early.

The Florida Gators are slated to see two committed players from South Florida sign early in Wright and Carol City offensive tackle Wardrick Wilson. The Florida State Seminoles have just one area high school player committed to their class as of Tuesday in Central offensive lineman Maurice Smith. The UCF Knights have four South Florida players committed so far this cycle: Deerfield Beach defensive end Miles Dickens, Central linebacker Tatum Bethune, Carol City wide receiver Amari Johnson and South Dade linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste.

South Florida’s top prospects

South Dade WR Frank Ladson (No. 4 prospect in Florida): Committed to Clemson; signing Wednesday.

Southridge CB Tyrique Stevenson (No. 6 in Florida): Undecided; Signing Wednesday, but not making decision public until Jan. 5.

Cardinal Gibbons DE Khris Bogle (No. 7 in Florida): Undecided, considering Miami, Alabama and Tennessee among others; signing Jan. 5.

St. Thomas Aquinas S Jordan Battle (No. 10 in Florida): Committed to Ohio State; considering Alabama; signing Wednesday.

Chaminade-Madonna WR John Dunmore (No. 17 in Florida): Committed to Penn State; considering Miami; expected to sign Wednesday.

Deerfield Beach LB Ge’mon Eaford (No. 24 in Florida): Committed to Oregon; signing Wednesday.

University School RB Kenny McIntosh (No. 25 in Florida): Committed to Georgia; signing in February.

Chaminade-Madonna S Keontra Smith (No. 26 in Florida): Committed to Miami;

St. Thomas Aquinas DE Braylen Ingraham (No. 27 in Florida): Committed to Alabama; signing Wednesday.

St. Thomas Aquinas LB Anthony Solomon (No. 28 in Florida): Committed to Michigan; signing Wednesday

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