Next week marks the sixth year of the early signing period as National Signing Day takes over the college football world on Wednesday, Dec. 21. With the NCAA transfer portal becoming more prevalent than ever, NIL dominating the landscape and another coaching carousel that resulted in over 20 head coaching vacancies, more and more players are locking in their decisions well in advance of the December signing period let alone waiting until February.

The 2023 recruiting class has had a full evaluation period and spring official visits -- experiences many in the 2021 and 2022 recruiting classes were not afforded -- which also meant more expedited recruitments. The normal recruiting process also meant a familiar face has returned to the top of the college football recruiting mountain: Alabama.

Heading into the December National Signing Day, the Crimson Tide hold the No. 1 spot with just over a week left to try and secure the top class. Can anyone catch Nick Saban and Alabama in the early signing period? Let's have a look at some of the top contenders, beginning with a look at the Tide's haul to this point in the 2023 cycle. 


Early signing period: Who will finish No. 1?

1. Alabama

SEC West rival Texas A&M signed a generational class in the 2022 cycle, but Alabama is Alabama and Nick Saban is Nick Saban.  How good is this class? Seventeen players in the Top 247, including an astounding 11 prospects in the Top 100, are headed to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The commitment on Monday of five-star EDGE Keon Keeley gave the Tide their second No. 1 prospect at his position from the prep ranks, joining No. 1-ranked safety Caleb Downs.