Weekend Visit Preview: Five schools with big visits
This upcoming weekend is the calm before the November official visit rush, when high school seasons begin to wrap up and prospects try to squeeze in game weekend official visits before the college football season ends. While there are not a ton of big visit events happening around the country this weekend, there are still a few schools who will have important recruits on campus.
This has not been the inaugural season for head coach Willie Taggart that Seminole fans had been hoping for, but he has a chance for that signature win this weekend with undefeated and No. 2-ranked Clemson coming to town. And, what do you do when you have a national showcase game in your stadium? You host a big group of recruiting visitors.
The Seminoles are putting together a star-studded visitor list for this weekend, headlined by five-star official visitors Quavaris Crouch and Kardell Thomas. The only drawback to the weekend is that it is a noon kickoff, which makes it difficult for prospects with Friday night games to drive in on time. But that is the advantage of residing in the most talent-rich state in the country – plenty of top targets are within a morning’s drive of your campus. Recruiting is still going strong with a class that ranks Top 15 nationally and second in the ACC with just 16 total commits.
Penn State hopes it did not spend all its recruiting capital on the White-Out game against Ohio State last month. Even though the Nittany Lions dropped that game by a 28-27 final, it was a big recruiting success with an atmosphere hard to match anywhere in the country. That game had 10 official visitors and several dozen more unofficial visitors, including several five-stars. Penn State is close to overtaking Michigan for the No. 1 2019 class in the Big Ten, but it also has Ohio State breathing down its neck.
While this upcoming weekend will not be as big from a recruiting standpoint, it is nonetheless important as a few key official visitors head to Happy Valley, including Rivals250 offensive tackle Trevor Keegan, the top-ranked prospect in Illinois’ 2019 class, and Mark-Antony Richards, a Rivals100 running back out of Florida who Penn State is trying to steal from Southern schools. Although Beaver Stadium is unlikely to have the atmosphere it did when Ohio State came to town, the lights will be on by the end of Saturday’s game against Iowa, which is a sneaky-good contest between two very strong Big Ten programs.
The post-Lamar Jackson era has not been kind to Louisville thus far, but what would cheer the Cardinal faithful up is a big commitment from a hometown Rivals250 prospect. The problem for the Cardinals is that fellow in-state school Kentucky and Purdue and are putting up a big fight for Louisville Moore four-star defensive end JJ Weaver. This weekend will be Weaver’s official visit to his hometown school, and the Cardinals need to hit a home run to keep him from leaving the ‘Ville.
The Cardinals' quarterback of the future, high three-star Jaden Johnson out of Memphis, is also expected to be in town as an unofficial visitor. He will no doubt be an advocate on Louisville’s behalf. The Cardinals need something good to happen after a 2-5 start, along with a recruiting class that ranks 60th and 12th in the Big Ten. If the Cardinals were able to reel Weaver in, he would be the first four-star in the 2019 class.
Florida State, Penn State and Louisville have some pretty important official visitors coming in this weekend, but let me make the case for Missouri having the most important official visitor of the weekend. Drew Lock is expected to be among the top quarterbacks taken in next spring’s NFL Draft. The highest-ranked quarterback on Missouri's roster is Lindsay Scott Jr., who was the No. 32 JUCO prospect in the 2018 class.
This weekend, however, Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant will be officially visiting with a graduate year to spend with whichever team he chooses. This would be an outstanding transition addition for Barry Odom and Co. while they prepare Scott or 2019 commit Connor Bazelak or whoever asserts themselves in the absence of Lock. Arkansas grad transfer Jonathan Nance and 2019 three-star Aidan Harrison, the first Missouri commit in 2019, will also be in Columbia this weekend on official visits.
From the outset we noted this was going to be a light visit weekend, and our last selection for the biggest recruiting visit weekends arrives on the strength of just one primary prospect. Canton, Mich., defensive end Darius Robinson makes his third of four planned official visits this weekend to Syracuse in conjunction with the Orange’s home contest against NC State.
Robinson told me earlier this week he was “excited” for the upcoming trip to Syracuse, and he has just one more official visit to schedule with Michigan State before he makes a college commitment. Syracuse has recruited the state of Michigan well recently, signing a prospect out of the Great Lakes State in each of the last three classes. It does not have one in 2019, however, and it could use the addition of Robinson, a 5.7 Rivals rated three-star, to bolster a recruiting class that is ranked only ahead of Kansas among Power Five programs.