College Football Recruiting: Visits That Could Seal the Deal for Top Recruits
Some programs prefer that recruits visit them during the fall so they can show off their game-day environment, fan support and watch the team play. Other programs prefer taking visits in January, after bowl games, so the coaches can have more time to focus on the recruits and one-on-one time.
Several big-name recruits are scheduled to take visits in January to schools they have favored for a long time. On these visits, if things go well, the deal can be sealed and the leading programs can land a commitment.
For this read, we're going to take a look at several top recruits who are scheduled to take upcoming visits to schools that could seal the deal with them.
Johnny Johnson to UCLA on January 18
Johnson has liked UCLA for quite some time, and Scout.com shows that he is set to be in Westwood in mid-January. The 5'10", 180-pound cover corner is from central California and is the type of gritty player that Jim Mora loves.
If things go well, I can see Johnson leaving the visit committed to the Bruins. Washington could be nervous about this trip.
Tyrone Crowder to Clemson and Georgia in January
Crowder likely will not commit until signing day, but he will visit his final two choices in January. Scout.com lists Clemson and Georgia as his favorites, and if the OG prospect is wowed on a visit to either school, that could seal the deal for his commitment on NSD.
The 6'1", 325-pound guard could drop about 20 pounds and become better conditioned, but he has a mean streak, good strength and plays quick for his size.
Matthew Thomas on Any Upcoming Visit
Thomas' favorites are constantly shuffling, and he doesn't really have a time frame on when a decision is to be made. Scout.com says he's got upcoming visits scheduled to USC, Florida State, Alabama and Georgia, plus he'll take an "unofficial official" trip to Miami too.
I can see Thomas being amazed by Los Angeles, loving his trip to Tuscaloosa, having a great time in Tallahassee or Athens and even feeling at home at Miami.
This could go in a multitude of ways, which is why each trip is crucial. If a program plays its cards right, they could seal the deal with Thomas on a trip.
Vonn Bell to Ohio State, Tennessee and Alabama in January
Bell doesn't know when he will commit, but he knows that his final three schools are Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee.
The 6'0", 190-pound DB grew up a Vols fan, but has also hit it off with Urban Meyer and likes Alabama a lot too. According to Scout.com, Bell's scheduled to check out all three schools in person in January, and if any of the trips jump out at him, then I can see Bell making a surprising commitment.
Laremy Tunsil's Upcoming Visits
Tunsil has set four visits, and Scout.com reports that he'll use January to trip to Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Florida State. Also, don't count Florida out just yet.
The trips that I'd advise followers of Tunsil's recruitment to keep an eye on are the Alabama and UGA visit. Those are his top two schools, and if either of those trips are eye-opening, then Tunsil will likely sign there on National Signing Day.
Ole Miss will also roll out the red carpet for Tunsil too.
Reuben Foster to Georgia on January 25
Foster is good friends with Tray Matthews, a safety that is committed to Georgia. The two would like to ball in college together, and the Bulldogs have never stopped recruiting Foster.
The 6'2", 245-pound 'backer is at the Under Armour game this week. He recently told Scout.com that he is scheduled to be in Athens on January 25, and I would look for Mark Richt to really try to seal the deal here.
Robert Nkemdiche to Ole Miss on January 28
This trip is scheduled just nine days prior to signing day, so Ole Miss gets to leave one final personal impression on the nation's No. 1 prospect.
Nkemdiche's brother plays at Ole Miss and it's pretty widely known that his family prefers him to go play with his brother. However, LSU has come on strong lately, and Nkemdiche has several other options.
Yet if Hugh Freeze and Denzel Nkemdiche really pour it on Robert during this visit and Beverly Nkemdiche re-states what her preference is, this could be the visit that locks up Nkemdiche to Oxford.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.