Now that the Class of 2018 is officially on the clock, several of the nation’s top players have begun to cut their lists in advance of a commitment announcement.
Today, experts from the Rivals.com network examine where five-star running back Zamir White might end up playing his college football. The candidates are North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia and Alabama.
The Situation: White is one of the nation’s top overall players regardless of position and schools have been jockeying to land his commitment for more than a year. But with a June decision date approaching fast, White recently trimmed his list to four schools: North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Clemson. At various points during his recruitment it seems as if each one of the aforementioned programs have held the lead for White and now they will battle out over the next few months. With a decision coming into focus we asked our team experts to state the case for their respective programs and let National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell issue a verdict.
North Carolina: “North Carolina has a few things going for it in its pursuit of Zamir White. In no particular order: Given that White is from Laurinburg, North Carolina, he's surrounded by Carolina fans from a town that has produced quite a few Tar Heels in the past. He grew up a UNC fan and has been to Chapel Hill many times. With the program primed to put two backs into the NFL this year, and considering Gio Bernard's success from a few years ago, UNC can help its cause by selling that it will preserve a back physically. Larry Fedora doesn't wear down his backs. Bernard, Elijah Hood and T.J. Logan all got plenty of touches at UNC but weren't overused, and given a back's short "lifespan" in football, helping preserve the kids could work in UNC's favor.” – Andrew Jones, TarheelIllustrated.com
Georgia: “Georgia's move to take a single back in 2017 and opting to turn away Rivals250 prospect Toneil Carter may end up looking quite astute if the Bulldogs are able to reel in Zamir White. The depth chart going forward is quite favorable, and Georgia just got back-to-back visits from the five-star ball carrier. Any school could use 'Zeus,' but Georgia may need him the most. Keeping White from the likes of Clemson and Alabama would also be quite sweet for Kirby Smart and company, a staff which seemingly prides itself on recruiting first and foremost.” – Jake Reuse, UGASports.com
Alabama: “Alabama has done a great job of recruiting elite running backs to Tuscaloosa since Nick Saban's arrival. It doesn't hurt that Alabama has two Heisman Trophy winners at the position in Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry. Alabama signed two elite backs in the 2017 class, including the No. 1 overall player in the Rivals100, Najee Harris. White has taken a few visits to Alabama. He was in Tuscaloosa this past weekend for Junior Day. The Crimson Tide are certainly in the race for his signature, and he will get recruited by one of the best, if not the best running backs coach in the country in Burton Burns. Alabama uses multiple backs in every game. It might be a scary sight for opposing defenses to see A thunder-and-lightning situation with Harris and White.” – Andrew Bone, BamaInsider.com
Clemson: “Georgia and Alabama own the momentum, as evidenced by his trail of visits. So Clemson has work to do, specifically in closing the gap those two forged with White’s mother. Multiple contacts close to the prospect have long insisted White intends to stay close enough for his family to watch him play. Clemson’s case is built upon being the best of both worlds – it’s the closest option with the best football program. Plus, the Tigers have taken just two scholarship running backs the last three classes – so there’s opportunity to sell, perhaps made more attractive when conjoined to the arrival of the nation’s No. 1-ranked quarterback in Trevor Lawrence. The reasons people have presumed Clemson the odds-on favorite for quite awhile haven't changed.” – Paul Strelow, TigerIllustrated.com
The Verdict: At one point, I was convinced that White would end up at Clemson and might even commit around Signing Day for the 2017 class, but his recent visits to UGA, the tradition they have with Keith Marshall and especially Todd Gurley hailing from North Carolina in addition to their recent running back success has me thinking Georgia would be the pick if he chose today. - Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell