Best Available: Ten safeties still on the board
Nearly 75 percent of the Rivals250 in the class of 2019 were committed to college programs entering their senior year. That leaves a very small pool of potential prospects as programs gear up for the early signing period, which starts on Dec. 19. This week we take a position-by-position look at the top prospects still on the board.
RELATED: The 2019 safety position rankings
The safety position is not as deep at the top as previous classes have been, but Hill stacks up very well with the best safeties to come out in recent years. There are few flaws in the game of the five-star, who combines excellent speed with tremendous ball skills and tackling ability. Hill has not released a top group since April when he named Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma as favorites. There is no declared timetable for a decision.
Official visits spots are being snapped up quickly in the race for Cine, and in this case the Texas native may wish he was able to take more than the NCAA-limited five. Cine got to work early, taking advantage of the new spring official visit period to see Penn State (June 8), Texas (June 15) and Michigan (June 22). He has an Oct. 5 official visit date scheduled with Florida and Georgia will get his last, but Cine may circle back with unofficial visits to Michigan and Texas.
Among the teams still pursuing safety prospects, Alabama has to like where they sit. They are the suspected team to beat for five-star Dax Hill, and Arizona product Noa Pola-Gates has had the Crimson Tide atop his list for several months. Can they take both? Will they take both? If not, the teams sitting next best for Pola-Gates appear to be Nebraska, Penn State and USC. Official visits to Penn State (Sept. 28) and Nebraska (Oct. 20), along with a Nov. 23 trip to Alabama, have been scheduled.
Catalon's high school career is over sooner than he had anticipated following a season-ending knee injury earlier this month. Fortunately for the four-star safety his recruitment was well underway and his future should still be secure with programs like Arkansas, Clemson, Texas and TCU in his top eight. Clemson had been named as a favorite earlier in the process, but Arkansas looks like it will get the first official visit from Catalon on Oct. 5.
When Robinson released his top six last spring there were obvious schools like Auburn and Georgia on there, but another survivor that may have been a surprise was UT-Chattanooga. Robinson’s former high school head coach, Shelton Felton, was on staff with UT-Chattanooga at the time, but has since moved to a Tennessee program that was not in Robinson’s original top six. At the end of the day, though, South Carolina is the program viewed to have the best shot here.
Williams came out with a top eight last March, but then continued to add new offers. One of those offers came from LSU in March, and the Tigers were rewarded with his first official visit the weekend of Sept. 7. Additional official visits are scheduled to Missouri for Sept. 21 and Alabama Sept. 28, but whether or not he will take more is unclear. Williams has targeted an October decision time-frame, so if he sticks to that there are not many more potential weekends left.
Since naming a top five of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Ole Miss and Georgia in May, Andrews has not had much to say about his recruitment. Even when he announced that top group he left it open for new schools to join, and was seen in Tallahassee over the summer attending a Florida State camp. But, this is a recruitment that could use an update because a lot can happen in four months and what is happening in Andrews’ recruitment today is not well-known.
The last four-star on this list, Scott has excellent coverage skills for the position, but he can also run the alleys and be an asset in run support. His offer list is just over 10 schools deep, however, and eight of those are Power Five programs. He listed NC State and Pittsburgh as schools that stood out right as spring came to an end, then made visits to both programs in June. Maybe a big start to his senior season will jump-start this recruitment again.
One of the biggest safety prospects on this list, Brown is caught between that position and linebacker and is being recruited by different schools for both. Several Power Five defenses run a hybrid of those two positions, though, which could end up being a fit for Brown as well. He made his first official visit of the recruiting process in June to Pittsburgh and looked poised for a summer decision, but since then there has been little movement in Brown’s recruitment.
Like Brown, Calvert may be outgrowing the safety position and be headed for linebacker in college. In fact, he lined up at middle linebacker for the majority of his junior season. Interestingly he doubles as a quarterback on offense, which attests to his ball skills. Michigan State and UCLA are the two schools that stand out in this recruitment. He plans to officially visit both of them this fall, and could have a decision soon after.