football Edit

Midwest Spotlight: Prospects whose commitments were delayed

Rocco Spindler
Rocco Spindler (Josh Helmholdt / Rivals)

There has been a rush of commitments since the beginning of April, many from prospects who have accelerated their decisions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has paused the sports world. Without the ability to take college visits, though, other prospects have pushed planned commitment dates back. In those recruitments, there are programs helped and programs hurt by postponement.


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How Plans Changed: Burton had decided which five programs would be receiving official visits back in the winter, and that tour was supposed to start the weekend of April 10 with a trip to Ohio State. The four-star lineman was then going to complete all five of his official visits in the spring period and announce his commitment on August 24. Now that he will not be able to complete those visits before his decision date, Burton has determined he will push his commitment back.

Who It Hurts: Ohio State was going to roll into the last part of Burton’s recruitment with a lot of momentum. Not only did he have the official visit planned, but a trip to Columbus with teammate Dekel Crowdus to see a spring practice was planned for March 20. Although Burton did not plan to decide until August, Ohio State seemed to have this scripted pretty tactically, and now that is kaput.

Who It Helps: Burton has already determined that Kentucky is going to get his last official visit. The home-state program getting the last say is a powerful position to be in, but a delay may help programs like Penn State and Texas even more. Those programs are part of Burton’s top seven, but were not among his five official visit destinations when those were determined in the winter. A pause gives those schools time to make a play for one of those five spots.


How Plans Changed: Carnell always planned on making official visits before announcing his commitment, but he expected those trips to happen in the spring. With no known start time for visits, though, it is pushing Carnell’s planned decision timeframe back. If trips can still be made in June and July, a summer decision could still be possible. Otherwise, there’s the possibility this recruitment could go into the season.

Who It Hurts: Carnell released a top three of Missouri, Purdue and West Virginia on April 5, and with a group that small there is not a big disparity between the teams a delay helps and the teams it hurts. If Carnell forfeited future visits and went with a decision right now, though, my pick for him would probably be Purdue because that is the school he knows best out of the three. If a postponement hurts any school, it probably hurts Purdue the most.

Who It Helps: West Virginia did not offer Carnell until December, so the Mountaineers would benefit from a longer timeframe so they can narrow the familiarity gap with a school like Purdue. Carnell only made his first visit to Missouri the weekend before the NCAA put recruiting back in a dead period, so the Tigers would benefit from a longer timeline to this decision as well.


How Plans Changed: Keeler has been building a massive offer list for over a year. He had planned to narrow it down to the five schools he would officially visit going into the spring, then make a commitment in June. Last week, though, Keeler said he would be postponing those plans because he is “definitely not ready right now.”

Who It Hurts: For this one we have to go back to the beginning of the current dead period, because it sure seems like Keeler’s recruitment has evolved considerably in the last seven weeks. Back at the end of the winter, Minnesota and Nebraska were getting a lot of attention, but this dead period seems to have allowed other schools to grab his attention.

Who It Helps: The recruiting slow down has already helped several programs, but most notably Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights did not even offer Keeler until April 21, but there was an established relationship with offensive line coach Jim Panagos there from his previous stint at Minnesota, and subsequent virtual visits has made Rutgers a major player in this recruitment.


How Plans Changed: Spindler released a top 10 in early March that included Alabama, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame and Penn State. He had planned to schedule his five official visits between April 1 and May 15, which was his stated decision date. When the dead period hit in mid-March, though, all those plans were postponed. Spindler still wants to take his five official visits and does not plan to commit until those are done.

Who It Hurts: Had Spindler maintained his current mid-May commitment timeline without taking any additional visits, the only logical choices would have been Michigan and Notre Dame. Most, including myself, believe Notre Dame has the upper hand at this stage, so not deciding now hurts the Irish the most. They still can be the favorites to pull this off in the end, but from a pure percentage standpoint, those chances would have been higher if a decision was coming this month.

Who It Helps: Spindler has only visited four of his top 10 programs, so a postponement helps every single one of those programs he has not visited yet. As long as a program still has a shot at hosting Spindler for an official visit, that school has a shot to land his commitment. Spindler was about to pare his list down to a top five before the shutdown occurred, though. Penn State was going to make that cut and reportedly had already lined up an official visit with Spindler. A postponement to a decision helps the Nittany Lions and probably Michigan as well if they are, in fact, trailing Notre Dame right now.