As the college football recruiting news cycle spun on Thursday evening, the biggest news may not have been an in-home visit made by a college coach or even a top prospect setting an official visit. Though it wasn’t a big surprise, the news of five-star prospects Trey Sanders and Evan Neal setting commitment dates for December 19 put an official ending on their busy timelines down the home stretch.
Each big-time talent out of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy announced the news via Twitter Thursday. December 19 is of course the first day class of 2019 prospects can sign a National Letter of Intent during the Early Signing Period which runs from the 19th through December 21. But most FBS signings will go down on the 19th similar to what we have come to see on National Signing Day the first Wednesday of February. The five-star duo also announced the public decisions will be on television, carried by ESPN.
Sanders, the 6-foot, 214-pound running back, is technically the top-ranked uncommitted offensive prospect not only in the state of Florida but for the entire country on 247Sports (Ohio defensive end Zach Harrison and California athlete Bru McCoy also among the top 10). The one-time Alabama Crimson Tide commitment has taken three documented official visits, to Texas in September, to Florida State in mid-November and most recently to Alabama for Iron Bowl weekend. Florida, where his older brother Umstead is on the football roster, has hosted him for unofficial visits and coaches from all over the country have been in to see him over the last week including Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and many more with the contact period opened up.
Neal is also a former Crimson Tide commitment, though it lasted just over a week compared to some 18 months for Sanders. The defending national champions are also in the mix for the 6-foot-8, 360-pound offensive tackle along with Miami, Florida State, Oklahoma, LSU and others. Neal’s official visits included three this month in Oklahoma, Florida State and Alabama with the final two coming in December. Miami insider Andrew Ivins reports an official visit to the Hurricanes this weekend and Georgia is reportedly in line for the final official visit the following weekend (December 7).
The 247Sports Crystal Ball currently reads Alabama for each standout with 90 percent of the picks for Sanders (Florida holds the remaining 10) and 81 percent of the picks for Neal with Miami holding the remainder at this time. Sanders is ranked as the No. 6 overall prospect in the country according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite, which tabs Neal as the 25th-ranked recruit in the class of 2019. The duo helped IMG Academy to a 7-1 record in 2018 led by an offense averaging more than 40 points per game at the prep level.
Both Sanders and Neal will enroll at their school of choice in January.