SAN ANTONIO - In years past, the U.S. Army All American Bowl has been the place for top prospects to announce their verbal commitments live on national television. This year, however, there could be as few as seven players letting the world know their intentions. But there are still some big ones with a bit of suspense.
The William Campbell saga continues as everyone tries to guess where the Detroit Cass Tech defensive tackle is headed. Campbell will be an early enrollee so wherever he commits on Saturday will quickly see this big man on campus. The consensus in San Antonio is he will select LSU, but there is a bit of Michigan hope left alive. One player on the West squad said he is 100 percent sure that Campbell is headed to Baton Rouge, while a coach on the East squad who is close to the big man said he has no idea where he's headed. Campbell himself said that he's likely to have a Michigan hat on the table Saturday just days after saying that the Wolverines were eliminated.
Many say that the connection to LSU for Campbell is current Tigers offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale, a former five-star from Cass Tech who committed to LSU a couple years back. According to two different sources, however, the only contact Campbell has had with Barksdale has been on his official visit back in November and the two haven't spoken since. So what is the lure to LSU? The defensive line tradition is the key according to most. Other hats expected to be on the table when Campbell announces are Florida and Miami, but neither school seems to be a favorite.
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Linebacker Jon Bostic from Wellington (Fla.) Palm Beach Central is also an early enrollee. He left practice Tuesday to take an exam to complete his final course. While Bostic lists Clemson and LSU in his final five and could have the hats of both programs on the table, this battle is down to the three in-state powers. Florida is the clear leader here and barring something unusual, Bostic will be in Gainesville soon.
Fayetteville (N.C.) Jack Britt offensive tackle Xavier Nixon is also down to three schools and is also likely to end up at Florida. Miami and LSU are the other two finalists for Nixon, but he has been deemed a lock for Florida since his second visit there months ago.
Minneapolis Breck wide receiver Bryce McNeal has been pretty good about keeping people in the dark regarding his decision, but sources on Wednesday again confirmed that Oregon is the leader and likely choice. Clemson is the other candidate, as it seems that Minnesota and Colorado are out.
And four-star offensive lineman Brennan Williams from West Roxbury (Mass.) Catholic Memorial is choosing between North Carolina and Boston College, and sources say that UNC is a near lock to get the nod Saturday.
DECISION ON DECISION
Two four-star prospects are making a game-time decision on whether they'll make an announcement on Saturday. Hampton (Va.) Phoebus quarterback Tajh Boyd might make his decision by the weekend. If he does sources say he'll choose Oregon over Ohio State for a few different reasons, including the fact that a guy named Terrelle Pryor is already under center in Columbus. Boyd, however, might delay his decision and take an official visit to either Boston College or Clemson on Jan. 9.
Tucson (Ariz.) Palo Verde Magnet athlete Adam Hall could announce as well. If he does it is likely to be Arizona over Cal, according to sources. Hall, however, has official visits set with Southern California (Jan. 9) and Oregon (Jan. 16) and if he decides to take those all bets are off.
Finally, East St. Louis wideout Kraig Appleton could arrive in San Antonio on Friday and still make his announcement between Illinois and Wisconsin. He is currently committed to Illinois, but rumors persist that Wisconsin could steal him away.
Andalusia, Ala., linebacker Nico Johnson is being worked by some of the LSU commitments and leans this week and is apparently looking at taking an official visit to Baton Rouge. However, he is very solid to Alabama, according to numerous sources, and has always dreamed of playing for the Tide, so if he does make the trip don't expect much to come of it.
If you base things on talking to the players on the West squad, Bastrop, La., wideout Rueben Randle will end up at LSU over Alabama in the end. However, the nation's No. 1 player has his official visit set to 'Bama for Jan. 16, the same weekend that West quarterback and Tide commitment A.J. McCarron will be visiting.
Although he's not in this game, Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln safety Jawanza Starling's ears must be ringing. One player here this week who is close to Starling said that the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is more likely to end up at Georgia than Florida State. If Starling, whose cousin is Georgia cornerback Bryan Evans, picks the Dawgs it would be the second year in a row that a top defensive back from Lincoln spurned the Seminoles. Last year cornerback T.J. Bryant stunned many by choosing Southern California over FSU.