Pac-12 powers battling for Rivals250 DL Aaron Armitage
While most high school prospects in New Jersey are back out on the field, coveted recruit Aaron Armitage is stuck without a football season. Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy won’t have football this fall, leaving the Rivals250 defensive lineman with only the option to work on his craft with his teammates in practice. Armitage’s recruitment continues to roll on with five schools still serious contenders but a battle is brewing between two Pac-12 powers.
IN HIS OWN WORDS...
“It's kind of difficult because I can't take visits,” Armitage said. “I’m just trying to go off my feel with virtual tours, talking to the coaches, and getting a better grasp on all the other schools that haven't visited because I've visited only Stanford out of my top five. It's kind of hard to understand what it feels like on the other campuses but I'm just trying to get the best grasp I can by talking to them and seeing what they have to offer virtually.
“With Stanford it's just back and forth,” he said. “They don't talk to me as much but they're there if I need to ask questions or they just check on me once or twice a week just to see how I'm doing. It's pretty chill and it's the same thing with USC, Oregon, LSU, and Florida. They'll all just message me and talk to me about what they're going to be doing this week, how they're practicing, and how they're getting back into the swing of things especially during this virus. It's pretty much the exact same thing between all five of them. They're all hitting me up saying they can't wait to be part of their team.
“I was able to watch Florida and Ole Miss this weekend,” said Armitage. “That was one that I really liked to watch because Florida was messaging me about it the whole week and so was Ole Miss. They're on me too. Coach Partridge messaged me a lot. Florida pulled out the win, which is pretty cool. I also saw LSU and Mississippi State. That was a disappointing. I did not expect that.
“I saw LSU mostly run the 4-3, which stood out to me,” he said. “I really want to be in a 4-3 defense. I like how they also use the defensive ends with size. They have big defensive ends at LSU. Some of the guys are like 315-pounds and then they'll switch it up and put in a rush package and have quick guys off the edge. I like how they utilize that but they really didn't do that much that game because the Mississippi State quarterback went off. He was balling that game.
“I’ve been seeing USC's practices and everything,” Armitage said. “Coach So'oto will FaceTime me almost every morning just to show me what they're up to. They're up really early practicing, getting their speed work and agility in and all that. Coach Helton will hit me up throughout the day sometimes to see how I'm feeling. I know they're practicing and getting ready for the season. I'm just happy that they're going to have a season.
“A couple days ago the Oregon coaches were really hyped up because they got their season back so they were messaging and me blowing up my phone saying how they have a season and they were excited,” he said. “I’m excited for them too. It's pretty chill with them. I get messages and a lot. We talk almost every week. My parents and I will get on Zoom with them almost every week so it's really cool to sit down and talk with them.
“I’m sure my dad probably does have a favorite school and a favorite coach but he won't tell me because he wants to make the decision on my own,” said Armitage. “That's one of the things he focuses on not telling me but I think he might after I make the decision. He knows wherever I go and wherever I'm happy, that's all that matters to him. I'd guess his favorite coach is either coach So'oto from USC or coach Salave'a at Oregon but I think he had to choose a school it would probably be Oregon.
“I might wait it out to take visits but I actually don't know because they extended the dead period to the start of January so it's kind of difficult to just wait and see because they might just push that back even further,” Armitage said. “I don't think they're going to make it sooner like December or November. It's kind of hard because if I was to leave school I'd have to isolate for two weeks before I got back here, so I'd probably just go home and do online classes because I don't want to go through all that again. It's kind of difficult just to get off campus to go somewhere else and do an unofficial visit. For example, Miller Moss and the USC recruits were planning something like an unofficial visit to get out there this weekend. Trying to get out there and then having to come back and isolate for two weeks before I can get back on campus is difficult. I'm just trying to get a grasp on everything through this virtual stuff but I should be good.
“I have no idea what I want to study,” he said. “I might just choose a school, go in there, and see whatever they have to offer and whatever I'm most interested in because I really don't have any idea what I want to pursue. Right now I just want to study football film and play football but it won't last forever.”
As a native Canadian that attends a boarding school, Armitage has been dealt to really difficult hand. The extended NCAA recruiting dead period and COVID pandemic have made it almost impossible for him to take visits to more than one of his top five schools. The longer the NCAA keeps this dead period in place the harder it’s going to be for Armitage to get the information he needs to feel comfortable with a commitment. USC seems like they’re in the best position right now and he would have liked to schedule a visit to see the Trojans this weekend but that isn’t going to happen. Oregon has made some serious headway too and it sounds like Armitage and his family would love to visit the Eugene campus as well. Once the Blair Academy semester ends, Armitage might try to take some visits but, at this point, there isn’t an end to his recruitment in sight.