College Football Recruiting: Where Are Top 2014 Prospects Leaning?
In the wake of national signing day 2013, another year of tireless recruiting awaits coaches across the country.
While various recruiting sites work endlessly ranking the next batch of college-ready prospects, most universities have been building relationships with 2014 recruits for months, even years.
Whether through promises of success and grandeur or more personal measures, every coach has his own way of posturing recruits, as there's no sure-fire means of reeling in the nation's top talent.
That being said, it's obvious what many schools have to offer, be it location, conference, facilities, legacy, preparation for the NFL or any other potentially attractive quality. This further confuses the decision process for impressionable 17 and 18 year-old kids, causing the chaos that epitomizes college football recruiting each year.
That being said, some prospects seem to have their minds made up before the process even begins. Those players are referred to as "leans" in the recruiting world, meaning particular schools have an outstanding chance of landing these recruits based on a number of factors, including those listed above.
Who are the biggest recruiting leans for 2014? That's what we'll explore.
Sony Michel to Miami
Miami head coach Al Golden courting Sony Michel. Via 247Sports
Chances are that school will be Miami.
Despite stating, "There'll probably be other schools in it," Michel made it clear that "Miami will be in there" (via Rivals.com).
Florida State is likely to garner a visit, but the admitted Cane fan seems enthusiastic about the opportunity to play for his childhood favorite.
Despite pending sanctions, Michel is leaning toward "Da U."
Kain Daub to LSU
Kain Daub is one of the premier linebackers in the 2014 class. Via 247Sports
Despite flourishing last season in Gator and Seminole country, linebacker Kain Daub is an LSU lean.
He was formerly committed to the Tigers before transferring to Sandalwood High School where his head coach Adam Geis encouraged him to re-open his recruitment.
Geis spoke with Aaron Suttles of TideSports.com, saying:
I had a good talk with him. He probably committed too early. I never let my kids commit early, and he was a transfer and was already committed when he came in. (Via TideSports.com)
While Daub certainly seems to respect his new coach's opinion, this doesn't appear to be a situation where the coach pushes the player to attend a particular school.
According to Rivals.com, the 6'3", 240-pound linebacker's top choices are LSU and Alabama; however, the departure of former Alabama coach Jeremy Pruitt, Daub's primary recruiter for the Tide, gives LSU the advantage here.
That being said, don't be surprised if FSU sneaks into play, as former teammate Demarcus Walker, who plays for the Noles, will surely be in Daub's ear about joining him in Tallahassee.
Bo Scarborough to Alabama
Bo Scarborough at the Under Armour All-American combine. Via Rivals.com
This may seem like a cop-out considering Bo Scarborough is already committed to the Crimson Tide, but after Nick Saban and company signed four running backs on national signing day, one would think the 4-star back would weigh his options.
I just don't see it happening.
Scarborough hails from Tuscaloosa, meaning he lives no less than 20 minutes away from Bryant-Denny Stadium. Growing up in such an area almost guarantees Scarborough is an Alabama fan, and according to reports, he's already recruiting for them:
I was selling [Reuben Foster] on how Alabama does things. I told him that no matter where he goes we're still going to be boys, but I want him at Alabama. I just think he should come to Alabama to play with me. (via TideSports.com)
It sounds like his decision is pretty set in stone. I wouldn't expect any surprises in his recruitment, barring a drastic development.
Cameron Sims to LSU
Cameron Sims, 4-star wide receiver according to Rivals.com. Via Rivals.com
LSU rarely misses on highly-rated, in-state talent, and this case appears to be no different.
Cameron Sims, a 6'4", 190-pound wide receiver from Monroe, Louisiana seems to be all but a lock to the Tigers. Les Miles and the staff just need to offer.
While the 4-star Rivals250 Watch List receiver's recruitment isn't as set in stone as those of some leans of this class, LSU stands the best chance to land Sims at this point.
Todd Kelly to Tennessee
Todd Kelly, a Nashville native, would make Tennessee's 2014 secondary outstanding. Via Rivals.com
Butch Jones needs major help resurrecting the Volunteers lackluster program, and in order to do so, he needs to lock down the state.
While this is every program's goal, Tennessee is in a unique situation, because they are without a doubt the premier athletic institution in-state, despite last year's blowout loss to Vanderbilt.
With Wharton, who is a 4-star defensive back from Nashville, already in the fold, adding another Rivals250 Watch List defensive back would be huge for a Volunteer defense that has struggled mightily.
Though Kelly remains open, I think the draw of playing with another elite corner from his home state will make him a Vol.
Additionally, Kelly's school, Webb, is a private institution supported by many known Tennessee boosters, further lending that Kelly will be pushed to wear the orange and white.