With the summer officially underway, prospects are travelling nationwide to see different college campuses. Gerard Ross, an assistant coach at Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian and the head coach of Pro Impact Sports, a 7-on-7 squad consisting of players from Northeast Florida, collected a group of players and hit the road over the past week.
In total, Ross is travelling with five prospects, as the Fruit Cove (Fla.) Bartram Trail duo of quarterback Nathan Peterman and wide receiver Jared Crump are joined by the Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian trio of running back Marvel Taylor, safety Lynn Griffin and junior safety Nick Washington. The trip involves stops at South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Alabama, Southern Miss and Vanderbilt.
Ross explained the reasoning behind the trip throughout the Southeast.
"For the kids who are already offered by a school, it gives them an opportunity to get a feel for the coaches and the campus," Ross said. "It helps to show that everyone has facilities, so facilities aren't of that much importance, it is more about the people. It really gives the kids a chance to get to know the coaches for real, in-person, so when they get back home they can really evaluate who they are talking to and how much they care about them. They can build relationships."
"On the other end, for kids who haven't already been offered, it gives them a chance to also see the campus and hopefully become motivated to go back home and work harder," Ross added. "They also have a chance to get in front of these coaches, work out with them, and maybe earn an offer. If they don't get an offer, hopefully they return home ready to work harder with a chip on their shoulder. Hopefully it makes them a better player."
With the tour still ongoing, Ross had some immediate results to report.
"(Alabama) Coach (Nick) Saban sat down with (Nathan) Peterman and also liked Jared Crump a lot also," Ross said. "It helped those two guys out a lot. Coach Saban said they are going to keep up with Nate and depending on what happens at quarterback for them, he could be a guy they recruit going into the season."
At this time, Peterman holds offers from Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida International, Jacksonville State, Miami (Ohio), Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, Wake Forest, and Western Michigan. Crump's offer list consists of Cincinnati, Duke, Florida International, Liberty, Middle Tennessee, North Carolina State, Southern Miss, Troy, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and West Virginia.
Nick Washington, who will be just a junior next season, is already emerging on the national radar and picked up two huge offers over the past two days after stops on a pair of SEC campuses.
"Nick has picked up offers from Alabama and Auburn during the trip," Ross said. "Coach Saban personally told Nick he was offering."
Alabama and Auburn join the likes of Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Carolina, UCF, and Virginia in offering Washington.
An upcoming stop will be at Southern Miss, which will be pivotal for Lynn Griffin. Griffin has been offered by the Golden Eagles as well as Connecticut, Miami (Ohio), and Troy.
"Lynn really likes Southern Miss," Ross said. "He is looking forward to learning more about them."
Amongst the final stops will be a camp visit at Vanderbilt. It could mean good news for all of the prospects, including Marvel Taylor who has yet to receive his first offer.
"The Vanderbilt coaches are really interested in Marvel working out for them," Ross said. "Marvel, Lynn, Nate, and Jared are going to get in front of their offensive staff and show them what they can do. They are interested in offering all of those guys, well they have already offered Jared, but they are going to work them out and if it looks good, an offer could come from them."