The nation’s fifth-ranked fullback prospect has an impressive list of early suitors, but isn’t quite ready to take any of them up on their offers.
Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Christian standout Brannan Southerland has drawn scholarship offers from Auburn, Georgia, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Florida State, Florida and North Carolina among others.
Those seven schools represent his favorites, but he isn’t tipping his hat on a leader.
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“I’ve grown up a Georgia fan ever since I was a little kid, and I always thought that was the place I’d like to play someday,” Southerland said. “But now, being a little older, I guess I’m more open to all of these other options. I look at things a little different now. I want to find the best fit for me, whether it’s here close to home or off somewhere like Notre Dame or Oklahoma.
“I’m not in a hurry to make a decision or anything. I’m definitely going to take some visits first.”
Southerland (6-2, 220, 4.5) says his first tough decision may be deciding which side of the ball he wants to play. While many project him as a top fullback, he’s also getting a long look as an inside linebacker. As a junior, he rushed for more than 550 yards and supplied tough-nosed blocking for Micah Andrews, who had a whopping 2,871 yards and 25 touchdowns last season and signed with Wake Forest in February. On the defensive side of the ball, he recorded 143 tackles.
“I love both,” he said. “Having to pick one is going to be really hard. On offense, it’s fun to carry the ball every now and then or to go try to get a knockdown block. On defense, it’s fun because all you have to do is read the play, run as fast as you can, and go hit somebody.
“It seems like I change my mind on which one I like most just about every day.”
As far as the schools recruiting him are concerned, Oklahoma and Notre Dame have recruited him as a fullback. Auburn, Georgia, Florida State, Florida and North Carolina have indicated linebacker might be a good fit, but are open to allowing him to try either position, Southerland said.
He noted he'll be watching all of the schools on his list closely this season to see how they perform.
"I want to see how they play. Like Florida - I want to see how they look in their second season under coach Zook."
Academically, Southerland projects as a full-qualifier with a 3.2 GPA and a 1080 on the SAT. He plans to take the test again in October in an effort to eclipse 1100.