football

Huggins trims list to five finalists

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Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep running back Savon Huggins said he wanted to get down to a final five schools around the same time his season started. So with his Marauders set to kick off their season this Saturday, Huggins has made his cuts. Who makes the final five for Jersey's top player?
"Savon is down to five and they are, in no order, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Pitt, North Carolina and Florida," said Huggins' father, Wendell Huggins. "It was a hard process to get down to these and I can tell you it came down to Pitt and Wisconsin to make it five. Wisconsin did a really good job recruiting him as well. But these are the five and he's relieved to get down this far."
Huggins, a 6-foot, 190-pounder, is ranked as the nation's No. 9 player at his position, has more than 40 offers and is one of the most coveted uncommitted players in the nation. His father breaks down what Savon and the family like about each school that made the cut.
"With Notre Dame, they have a great tradition, he really loved his visit out there and he likes the way the program is run. Being the only spread offense on his list, he was a little concerned. But he was pleased to see how they ran the ball and used their backs last weekend so that put some of those doubts to rest.
"With Rutgers, they've always been there and there was no doubt they would be in the final five. They were his first offer, he knows the staff really well and there is a comfort level there because he's been there so often.
"For Pitt, it came down to the atmosphere and the camaraderie he felt there on both of his visits. Coach (Jeff) Hafley has been all over him and recruiting him very hard, they have shown a high interest in him from the start and he has a good feel for the program.
"North Carolina, we have a lot of family in the area and that's comforting, and he likes the atmosphere. It's a college town and everything is close but he can go off campus to family if he wants a home-cooked meal. It's a laid-back atmosphere and he likes that and what Butch Davis is doing there as a coach is impressive. They almost beat LSU with a lot of second and third stringers so he's recruiting talent.
"Finally with Florida he really liked his visit and they are really, really after him. They've recruited him hard from the start and the questions he had and still has about the offense were offset by how much he liked it down there. On his visit, the quarterback (Jeff Driskel) and fullback (Hunter Joyer) came to campus just to talk to him and he already knows Will Hill and Josh Evans and they have been working him hard as well. They have a ton of athletes, everyone he ran into was a four- or five-star and he likes the skill level there."
Next up for Huggins, aside from his season opener, is to set up some official visits.
"We'd like to take all five if we can, but we're not sure if that's possible or necessary," said his father. "I know he would like to see a game at Florida and at Notre Dame this year, but it's hard even when we have a Friday game because there is practice on Saturdays so that's between him and the coach. Otherwise we'll take them after the season, but I hear there is a lot of pressure put on during these visits so we'll see if we need them all."
And is there a leader at this point?
"No leader right now," his father said. "A lot of people think he's a lock for Rutgers but it's all going to come down to how the teams play this season and how his visits go. If he knew where he wanted to go right now he'd commit, but things are still wide open."
As a junior, Huggins rushed for 1,544 yards and 22 touchdowns.
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