The recruiting dead period is finally over, and coaches can again visit with prospects. With a couple of weeks left before National Signing Day, here’s the scoop on the 2017 recruiting class.
Do you remember the feeling you would get toward the end of the school year? You’re just ready to get it over with, take a little break and have some fun, but you’re forced to sit through those last few days. Yeah, that’s the point I’m at with this recruiting cycle.
It happens every year: wearing out from keeping track of hundreds of kids and which of the 128 programs they’ll attend.
Or, and this is just a thought, I could be worn out because of this new diet I’m on. That whole “new year, new me” mindset is great for the first few days until you walk past a steakhouse on your way home from the gym and can literally taste a 16 oz. porterhouse – all just by begrudgingly breathing through your nose for one second too many.
It was just as bad on Wednesday when my co-worker, Erik, brought back soft-baked cookies from Publix after returning from his trip to Tampa for the national championship game. Now, all I want is a chicken tender Pub-sub — literally all I want.
Okay, enough about food. Let’s talk recruiting.
Devon Hunter Decision
A few months ago, I would have thought Torrian Gray would get the job done and convince the country’s No. 1 safety to spend his college football career in Florida. Now, I’m not so sure. Hunter is set to announce his college commitment on Jan. 20, and it appears he is going to stay close to home and play for Virginia Tech.
He would easily be the biggest commitment Justin Fuente has picked up during his young tenure in Blacksburg. And it’s certainly possible we could see Hunter playing right away as a true freshman next season. He’s that talented.
Marvin Wilson Momentum
To be fair, it isn’t so much the momentum the nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle has but more so for the schools recruiting him. Hollywood Marv is set to spend his fourth official visit in Baton Rouge on Friday, and LSU certainly needs to hit it out of the park in order to stay in the race for Wilson. Ohio State wields the advantage of already having pledges from a few Texas natives. Baron Browning, Jeffrey Okudah and J.K. Dobbins are all set to play in Columbus. Imagine adding someone like Wilson, who compares his game to that of Warren Sapp, to the Ohio State defensive line.
Now, reportedly, Wilson received visits from both the Florida State and Oklahoma coaching staffs on Thursday. That should go to show how important Wilson is, as his recruitment is still wide open at this point. Hell, even USF has a chance because Wilson loves Charlie Strong that much. The Bulls are the fifth team in his top five, but the odds don’t favor them.
Clay Helton needs to use the momentum he collected with Sam Darnold’s amazing run this past season to finish strong on the recruiting trail, and it looks like he’s going to do just that. The USC staff is going into full ABC mode — always be closing. The Trojans are hoping to add 5-star offensive tackle Austin Jackson, 5-star wide receiver Joseph Lewis and 4-star athlete Greg Johnson, among other. They’re also hoping to lure 5-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon away from the likes of Alabama and Georgia, but it’s not likely. Regardless of Solomon’s decision, expect USC to finish in the top 10.
Tyjon Linsey’s Decommitment
I won’t lie. I was completely shocked by this. By all accounts, the Buckeyes were lining up to pair Grimes and Lindsey up with Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor and the rest of Zone 6. Michigan State is going to do its best to reel him in. The Spartans already have 4-star wide receiver Hunter Rison. But I don’t see that happening. Nebraska is the biggest player here. The Cornhuskers already have Keyshawn Johnson and Tristan Gebbia on board for 2017, so I’d expect Linsey to end up in Lincoln as well. Oregon is also going to make a big push late.
If Oregon can somehow manage to land Lindsey, that would be a huge pull. Regardless, the Ducks are already picking up some talented pieces. They’re trying to reel in 4-star athlete Bruce Judson, who was committed to Taggart at USF. Oregon is also in on 4-star wide receiver Jeff Thomas, but I believe he’ll end up playing for Mark Richt at Miami.
Still, it will be fun to watch the Oregon staff finish off this cycle as it still takes shape, itself. It looks like the Ducks will land 4-star running back Cordarrian Richardson, and they have a shot at 4-star tight end Josh Falo, too. With 4-star cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Thomas Graham Jr. already committed, Oregon simply needs to convince Deommodore Lenoir to re-join the class. That trio would definitely brighten the future of the secondary in Eugene for Taggart and defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt.