National Signing Day 2017: Top head-to-head recruiting battles
Recruitments across the country are in their final stages, and top prospects are engaged in head-to-head battles. We look at the best two-team face-offs for the final week of the 2017 class.
Breakdown: Phillips was elevated to five-star status following an excellent showing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl that was preceded by steady rise of his stock over the last year. Phillips is actually committed to Oklahoma and has been pledged there since October. He made his official visit to Norman in September, which was sandwiched in between visits to Oregon, Notre Dame and Alabama. A fifth official visit has been on the table since, and Phillips decided to use it to visit LSU this past weekend. The Tigers have actually posed a serious threat to Oklahoma for several weeks, and after this weekend’s trip to Baton Rouge, there is a strong sense he may go with LSU.
Breakdown: Once a player gets below three finalists, the dominoes tend to fall toward a decision pretty quickly. That has not happened with Lewis, however, who declared Nebraska and USC as his final two several weeks ago and has held strong to a planned National Signing Day announcement. Location would seem to play a helping role for the home-state Trojans, and indeed Lewis has taken or planned a couple trips to see USC this month. But in this case Lewis has made three trips to Lincoln since last summer, so his familiarity with the Cornhuskers is pretty high as well.
Breakdown: Technically this is a top three for the Arizona native, with Washington making it a trio. The expectation, though, is that the Huskies are on the outside looking in, with the bulk of this decision coming down to Arizona State and USC. Strong arguments could be made for both Pac-12 programs. His grandfather, Melvin Jackson, played for the Trojans, while the Sun Devils are the home-state team. The official visits are all done, and now it’s just a matter of the Rivals100 prospect rendering his decision.
Breakdown: Ruggs was one of the heroes of the Army Bowl, getting deep for a 61-yard touchdown reception for the victorious East team. There was a top five out there for Ruggs not long ago, but this battle has been shaping up as an ACC-SEC showdown between those conferences’ traditionally top recruiting schools. He visited each program earlier this month and actually is scheduled to head up to Penn State for an official visit this upcoming weekend. When decision time does come around, though, the story will be whether the Seminoles can go into Alabama’s backyard and steal one.
Breakdown: We do not want to completely minimize TCU’s chances here. After all, any time you can get a prospect on your campus, you have a shot to get him. However, the Horned Frogs are playing from well behind their SEC foes in this battle, and despite his planned official visit there this weekend, this has been shaping up as a battle between Alabama and LSU for some time. He traveled to Baton Rouge for the Jan. 13 weekend and Tuscaloosa for the Jan. 20 weekend, so both campuses are fresh in his mind ahead of his upcoming decision.