For five-star running back Jacques Patrick of Orlando (Fla.) Timber Creek, the coming weeks will be critical as he enters the stretch of his recruiting process. As it stands he has two leaders - Alabama and Florida State - with others still very much in the mix before he announces his decision on Oct. 27.
"Those are the two schools that have cemented themselves in my top five," said the 6-foot-1, 224-pound Patrick of the Crimson Tide and Seminoles. "I'm going to release the rest of my top five after I visit those two schools at the end of the summer, including (a visit to) Florida too. Florida's going to be my last visit of the summer, when I go for Friday Night Lights."
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Florida's Friday Night Lights camp takes place July 25, and Patrick will attend with teammates from his 7-on-7 club team, The Rat Pak. Prior to that, he'll split six days between visits to Alabama and Florida State for what could determine the course of his college career. He'll be in Tuscaloosa July 13-16, then make the drive directly to Tallahassee, where he'll stay from the 16th to 19th.
Patrick will be met in Tuscaloosa by a familiar face in Lane Kiffin, the Crimson Tide's new offensive coordinator who has been recruiting Patrick since Kiffin was the head coach at USC and Patrick was a freshman.
"It's time to find out the truth, you know, see the plan they have for me," Patrick said of Alabama. "I'm going to be there for three days, so I'll have a good feel for how they do things and how the players like it. It's kind of hard to lie for three days, so I'll go up there and find out the truth."
The Florida State visit will be less about research and more about familiarity.
"That's pretty much to get around the coaches again, speak with (head coach Jimbo Fisher) and hang with (running backs coach Jay Graham), go over some stuff and get around the players. I know a lot of guys up there and I'll just enjoy my time."
Another school still holding Patrick's interest is Ohio State, where he'll take an official visit to see the Buckeyes host Virginia Tech on Sept. 6.
"I like (running backs coach Stan Drayton) and I like coach (Urban Meyer)," Patrick said. "What he's done there the past two seasons is impressive, and every time I'm up there I enjoy myself. I feel like during this process that's one school I like enough to take an official there."
"I had a real good time when I went to Michigan," Patrick said. "Same with Notre Dame. They've both been recruiting me for a long time and I've got interest in them. A&M came on later, but with the recruiting class they're building it's kind of hard not to give them a look."
Two days after Friday Night Lights in Gainesville is when Patrick believes he'll be ready to set his top five. Roughly three months from then, he'll end his recruiting process by announcing his decision. He picked Oct. 27 because that's his younger brother's birthday.
"When I make that decision, the process is over," Patrick said. "The school I commit to won't have to worry about me de-committing, because once I give them my word, it's my word.
"And I'm going to do a lot of recruiting for the school I commit to."
Adam Krohn is a Southeast Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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