Not only are high school prospects taking advantage of the early signing period, but junior-college players are making up their minds, too.

According to the composite rankings at 247Sports, there are 18 kids at the JUCO level rated 4-stars for the class of 2018. Seven have already signed a letter of intent with a program in the SEC.

The biggest name is Saivion Smith, who is the No. 2 junior-college recruit in the country and No. 1 corner available. He’s on his way to Alabama, which will likely lose most of its star-studded secondary — junior safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison are candidates to leave early — to the NFL Draft.

However, Smith was a 4-star signee for rival LSU just two years ago. He redshirted out of high school but transferred the following spring.

While there are usually multiple reasons for players packing their bags, it was widely reported that Smith failed to make an impression with the Bayou Bengals. Whether or not he can with the Crimson Tide remains to be seen.

Jarrett Stidham was the headliner for the last recruiting cycle, as he was the No. 1 junior-college recruit in America and No. 1 quarterback on the board. He went with Auburn — Florida and Texas A&M were also in the running for his services — and may have changed the course of the 2017 campaign as a result.

A 66.7-percent passer with 17 touchdowns against just 4 interceptions, Stidham was instrumental in the Tigers winning the West.

Still, Stidham wasn’t a traditional JUCO kid and never actually played a game at that level. After exiting Baylor, he spent 2016 serving as a local high school’s scout-team QB.

Alongside Smith, receiver Stephen Guidry (Mississippi State), defensive end Travez Moore (LSU), offensive tackle Badara Traore (LSU), defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt (Georgia), tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson (Tennessee) and safety Marlon Character Jr. (South Carolina) are the other 4-star JUCO signees on their way to this conference.

Stidham was one of eight 4-star recruits from the junior-college ranks a year ago but the only one to make a significant impact.

A 66.7-percent passer with 17 touchdowns against just 4 interceptions, Stidham was instrumental in the Tigers winning the West.

To be fair, defensive end Isaiah Buggs has done some good things for Alabama. While he has recorded just 2.0 tackles for loss in 12 games, his 43 total tackles are seventh-best on the Crimson Tide.

Arkansas lost most of its receiving corps from this past year — Drew Morgan, Keon Hatcher, Jeremy Sprinkle, Dominique Reed and Cody Hollister were all seniors — so adding wideout Brandon Martin and tight end Jeremy Patton as JUCO transfers made sense. However, they caught 20 passes combined this season and scored no TDs.

Offensive tackles Elliot Baker and D’Marcus Hayes chose Alabama and Georgia, respectively. Neither threatened the starting lineup.

On the defensive line, tackle Javon Kinlaw is a solid rotation player for South Carolina with 18 tackles in 12 contests. But end Chauncey Rivers, who could’ve been a starter for Mississippi State, was ruled academically ineligible before the opener.

Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody is suggesting that recruiting JUCO players is a waste of energy. That being said, expectations should be held in check. Needless to say, Stidham (above) was an outlier — he was only on the market due to the then-mushrooming mess at Baylor. More often than not, junior-college transfers should be viewed as little more than additional depth.

Limited skills on the field. Poor decisions off the field. Dubious work in the classroom. Most of them wound up in JUCO for a reason.

Kongbo didn't make a single play behind the line of scrimmage last year. This year, his 2.5 sacks weren't exactly Barnett- or Vereen-like.

For every Stidham, there are several Bakers. He was the No. 1 junior-college offensive lineman in the nation last year, by the way, but hasn’t played a single snap for ‘Bama. He’s buried on the depth chart behind more gifted underclassmen.

For every Stidham, there are many Martins and Pattons. Not only did the Razorbacks lose all those targets off the 2016 roster, but Jared Cornelius — the leading returning receiver for the Hogs — ripped up his Achilles in Week 3. But it was a lower-ranked JUCO addition, Jonathan Nance, who made a much bigger splash than either Martin or Patton.

For every Stidham, there are unfortunate twists like that of Rivers. Too many talented kids can’t get their studies together.

Maybe Guidry is the primary option in the passing game that Bulldogs signal caller Nick Fitzgerald needs so desperately. After all, nobody in maroon and white topped even 275 yards receiving this season.

Coincidentally, another former junior-college transfer was supposed to be Fitzgerald’s new No. 1 in 2017. Donald Gray — a 4-star signee three cycles ago — averaged 18.4 yards per reception in 2015 and then 17.3 in 2016, but it was only in a secondary role behind the departed De’Runnya Wilson and Fred Ross.

With defensive coordinators more focused on him this season, Gray’s yards-per-catch average has fallen all the way to 8.9.

Perhaps Wood-Anderson can be a key contributor for what has been a weak aerial attack on Rocky Top. Ethan Wolf, who caught between 21 and 24 passes each of the last four seasons as a reliable tight end, is out of eligibility.

But the last time Tennessee signed a highly coveted JUCO player, it was defensive end Jonathan Kongbo from the 2016 class. As a matter of fact, the Canadian product was the top junior-college recruit in the nation — the Volunteers already had Derek Barnett and Corey Vereen rushing the passer — with 25 offers on the table.

Kongbo didn’t make a single play behind the line of scrimmage last year. This year, his 2.5 sacks weren’t exactly Barnett- or Vereen-like.

There have been a few notable performers recently who graduated from junior college and made an impact in the SEC. While the batting average isn’t particularly high, a few singles and doubles made their way into the proverbial box score.

In 2016, wideout Javon Wims showed up at Georgia. Currently, he’s the Bulldogs’ leading receiver with 38 catches. In 2015, running back Alvin Kamara — his first stint in the conference at Alabama didn’t go well at all — came to Tennessee. He left a third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints and is already a Pro Bowler.

But for every Wims and Kamara, there are countless Charles Baldwins and Chase Abbingtons. Who, you say? Exactly.