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National signing day is next Wednesday. Who is left to sign?

SHARE National signing day is next Wednesday. Who is left to sign?
Utah football head coach Kyle Whittingham and BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake react to a question.

Utah Utes football head coach Kyle Whittingham and BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake react to a question during a ceremony for the Coaches Legacy Golf Invitational at Hidden Valley Country Club in Sandy on Monday, June 6, 2022.

Mengshin Lin, Deseret News

Starting in 1981, when the NCAA scrapped early signing periods, the first Wednesday of February was the national signing day for college football prospects.

Over the years, it became akin to a national holiday, at least for college football diehards.

That all changed in 2017 when the early signing period was reinstated. Since then, most of the top prospects across the country have elected to sign letters of intent in mid-December, relegating the traditional national signing day to an afterthought.

National Signing Day still exists, though, and in less than a week — on Feb. 1 — almost all remaining high school prospects will sign with their future college programs.

In Utah, only the reigning Pac-12 champion Utes have an unsigned high school prospect that is currently committed (among the three FBS programs in the state).

Consensus three-star wide receiver Kainoa Carvalho, out of Kahuku, Hawaii, opted to sign in February in order to to compete in track and field this spring, per 247 Sports.

Listed at 5-foot-7, 165 pounds, Carvalho is an offensive and special teams skill position player extraordinaire, having played receiver, kicker, kick returner and running back in high school.

“With Kai-Kai, he just works hard. He works for everything he gets,” Kahuku head coach Sterling Carvalho told Bedrock Sports Hawaii. “He’s not the biggest guy. Actually, he’s the shortest on our team, but he just plays with that chip that regardless of size, ‘I’m going to show you how big my heart is.’ And he just gets out there. He’s dynamic. He’s electric, It’s unreal. And he does it with a smile.”

Are there any other high school prospects in play for the Utes, BYU Cougars and Utah State Aggies?

As far as top prospects go, there is only one — Four-star tight end Walker Lyons.

Per 247 Sports’ Brandon Huffman, Lyons remains a coveted prospect for Utah — BYU was in the mix early in the recruiting process (Lyons’ parents are BYU alums) — though Georgia, USC and Stanford are also in the mix.

Lyons originally committed to Stanford, but de-committed after former Cardinal head coach David Shaw resigned.

Georgia had an in-home visit with Lyons this week and On3 Sports considers the Bulldogs the favorite to land Lyons at this point, though 247 Sports still has Stanford as Lyons’ most likely destination.

Lyons will serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prior to playing college football, so he will make his CFB debut in 2024.

Interest in Lyons is understandable, as explained by 247 Sports’ national recruiting analyst Chris Singletary.

“With the evolution of the tight end position in college as well as in pro football, Lyons has a lot of the traits and skills that will allow for him to be a weapon for the offense on both levels,” Singletary wrote. “His football intelligence stands out with his route running, ability to get open and understanding what the defense is trying to take away in their coverages.

“Good overall player that gives his team two-way snaps as a defensive end. Ultimately he should have a productive college career as a starter and all-conference player. A future in the NFL is something that I see pro him.”

There remain a few top prospects that could decide to play in either the Pac-12 or Big 12 as well.

Per On3 Sports, five star athlete Nyckoles Harbor is considering Oregon, five-star tight Duce Robinson is a Georgia-lean, with USC still in the mix, four-star quarterback Jaden Rashada – a former Florida signee — is looking at Arizona State or TCU, four-star cornerback Rodrick Pleasant is choosing between USC, Oregon and UCLA, and a pair of four-star linebackers (brothers Andrew Harris and Michael Harris) are considering UCF.

The other major storyline, per Huffman, is Colorado and new head coach Deion Sanders.

Former five-star Miami commit Cormani McClain — who early in the cycle visited BYU — flipped his commitment to the Buffaloes and is expected to sign with Colorado.

With his signing, Sanders will have flipped major five-star recruits in back-to-back seasons, after luring 2022 No. 1 overall recruit Travis Hunter to Jackson State (over Florida State).