Southeast Spotlight: Best two-team recruiting battles
There are multiple recruitments in the final weeks prior to the Early Signing Period coming down to two teams. We take a look at those situations for Southeast prospects.
Ishmael Sopsher -- LSU vs. Alabama
This is a battle that is going to go all the way to National Signing Day in February. There may be official visits to other schools taken, but this is going to come down to Alabama and LSU. This is a fight between Nick Saban and Ed Orgeron for one of the top defensive linemen in the country.
Sopsher’s last visit was to Alabama, a couple of weeks ago, and he will see the Crimson Tide play again this weekend when he takes in his first game this season at LSU. There is a strong case for each school. LSU is the home-state school and Sopsher said he and Orgeron have a special connection. Alabama has had some major success under Saban in Louisiana and he is very familiar with Tuscaloosa. This one will go all the way to the end.
Jadon Haselwood -- Georgia vs. Miami
The five-star wide receiver re-opened his recruitment early in October and the early enrollee has a lot of eyes on him. Haselwood decommitted from Georgia days before his official visit to Miami, so many view the Hurricanes as the favorite. He is expected back at Georgia in a couple of weeks when the Bulldogs host Auburn.
He is not down to two schools, and Auburn and Oklahoma are contenders, but this could be shaping up to be a Kirby Smart—Mark Richt showdown. Haselwood has already taken his official visit to Oklahoma and Auburn is expected to receive one. There is a chance Haselwood waits for the All-American Bowl on Jan. 5 in San Antonio to announce his decision.
Wandale Robinson -- Nebraska vs. Kentucky
Robinson is having a monster senior season on the field and he’s also been very busy off of it, taking several official visits around the country. He has a final five schools, Alabama, Ohio State, Purdue, Kentucky and Nebraska headed into a Thursday decision, but make no mistake -- this one is really coming down to a two-team battle.
Nebraska is pitching Robinson an immediate impact role in the Huskers high-powered offense, while Kentucky is pitching him on the potential to stay home and be a star and set himself up for life after football with the strong alumni base in the Bluegrass State. Robinson is announcing his decision in a commitment ceremony at his high school, so Kentucky fans are holding out hope he picks the Cats, but things seem to be trending Nebraska’s way.
Derick Hall -- Auburn vs. Mississippi State
When will this one end? It has looked on more than one occasion that Hall was set to commit to Gus Malzahn or Joe Moorhead. Auburn had all the momentum late in the summer, and at least twice, it appeared that Hall was ready to be a Tiger. Mississippi State has really closed the gap and made this a very close, intense battle over the last six weeks though.
This race could end at any time. And it could go either way. Florida State and LSU cannot be ruled out yet, but Hall is expected to pick Auburn or Mississippi State. He has really connected with each staff and sees the chance to play early at each school. He has taken an official visit to Auburn, but he still has that visit to Mississippi State if he chooses to take it.
Milton Wright -- Kentucky vs. Purdue
Wright is an odd case because he keeps such a low profile it’s hard to truly track what’s going on in his recruitment. Ohio State and Alabama have both been factors along the way but it seems as if both have shifted their focus to other prospects. That has allowed the Boilermakers and Wildcats to make Wright a top priority.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm has deep ties to Kentucky and it’s paid recruiting dividends since he arrived in West Lafayette, most notably with Rondale Moore. Brohm and his staff are pitching a pairing between the two Kentucky natives with the thought that the attention Moore draws will only make it easier for Wright to have a big freshman season. The pressure will be on Kentucky to not let Wright slip out of state, especially if they don’t land Robinson when he makes his announcement this week.