Top 100 ATH Malaki Starks sets commitment date
The commitment date is set for one of the best in the country.
The four-star out of Jefferson High selected that date to honor his father's birthday.
"This is a big deal for me and my family, so to do this on my dad's birthday is an honor for me," said Starks. "I have been thinking about this for a few weeks, and I know I can fit in at these three schools, and they can develop me.
"I want to get my recruiting over with so I can focus on Jefferson, my senior year, and get ready to graduate in December."
The 6-foot-2, 191 pound rising senior has visited Tuscaloosa twice and Athens over half a dozen times, but he has not been able to spend time on the Clemson campus. He had plans to last spring before the pandemic shut visits down. The Tigers have still done a great job recruiting him, and he has a connection to the program.
"My uncle (Jerome Williams) played at Clemson, so a lot of my family are Clemson fans, and I grew up following the program. I have not visited, but I know a lot about the program, what the school is about, and I really like what Clemson is about.
"Their culture is what stands out most to me. They are about helping people, and I love to do stuff like that. What they do there just fits me and who I am. I love the culture at Clemson."
Mickey Conn is the lead recruiter, and the two have developed a strong bond as well. They have been in contact for well over a year, and Conn is recruiting Starks to play safety in Clemson's defense.
At Alabama, Charles Kelly is leading the way. Starks has tripped to Alabama for a game and a Junior Day, so he knows about the environment in Tuscaloosa.
"Alabama is about winning, and they know how to win there," said Starks. "They have great coaches that know how to develop players, and it is a program that I know I would compete against the best at. When I think about Alabama, I think about winning."
He also had a long zoom call with head coach Nick Saban earlier this week.
"Talking to coach Saban was great. He talked to me about the program, he shared a lot of information with me about Alabama, and he spent a lot of time talking to me about how Alabama does things. Everything he said was great."
At Georgia, the local school, Kirby Smart has been heavily involved in Starks' recruitment. Jahmile Addai was recently hired by Smart, and he has gotten in the mix quickly too.
"It is really a lot of coaches at Georgia that talk to me, but coach Addai and coach Smart are ones I talk to a good bit," said Starks. "With the Georgia coaches, they make me feel like family. I have a great connection with them, I know some players there, and it is just that family feel that stands out most about them.
"I have visited a lot, I love the atmosphere, and the feeling I have there is what I like most."
Starks knows the three finalists, and he is certain it will be one of the three national programs, but he is not ready yet to make that announcement. He needs these last few weeks.
"I am not 100% sure on which school," said Starks. "I have an idea, but I am not all the way there. I still need to talk with the schools, I want to talk more with my family, and I need to figure it out here soon.
"It is tough because of not being able to visit as much as I was hoping, and it is a big decision, but I will be ready. I am going to think about it, talk about it a lot, look everything over, and then be read March 25."