One of the most talented football players in the 2013 class is still unsigned and has yet to make his decision, and that's 4-star athlete Cornelius Elder.
Elder checks in at 5'10'', 165 pounds and he's ranked as the No. 7 athlete in the 2013 class (according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings).
He's going to represent a very big signing once he does make his decision, but where that will be seems to be the question on everybody's mind.
Elder is considered to be one of the better overall football players in the 2013 class, but he also wants to play basketball at the college level. In fact, according to Jerry Meyer of 247Sports on Twitter, it seems as if Elder's preference is basketball:
Note on Cornelius Elder: he truly wants to just play hoops, but has enormous pressure on him 2 play football. Football typically wins.— Jerry Meyer (@jerrymeyer247) February 8, 2013
For all intents and purposes it seems as if basketball will play a major role in his decision. Where is still very much so up in the air, but we do know when. Elder took to Twitter to say that he would sign on February 20th:
Decision date is feb 20th— Corn Elder (@AIR_CORN23) February 7, 2013
We have the when locked down, and that's a big first step, but now let's analyze the possibilities for where.
As it stands, Georgia Tech is listed as the favorite on his 247Sports interest list and he just recently took an official visit there. It is worth noting that he took an official visit to Auburn in late January, and he officially visited Ohio State early in January as well.
Both schools have made offers to him and both schools have been extremely hot on the recruiting trail. Gus Malzahn and the Tigers finished the 2013 cycle extremely strong and the future of the program is very bright. The same could be said for Urban Meyer and Ohio State, and the Buckeyes have legitimate national championship aspirations.
One of the most important things for the 5-10, 165 Elder is having the opportunity to play both sports on the next level. Also a standout basketball player at Ensworth High, Elder notes that Malzahn had a plan for what he would do at Auburn playing both football and basketball and that’s important to him.
“That’s very important,” Elder says. “Sometimes schools talk about you playing both, but you never really get to meet the basketball coaches. Me getting to meet the coaches really says something.
“Coach Malzahn showed me a schedule that I would be working with if I went there to play both,” he adds. “It was pretty big for me. It lets me know they are serious about it and they would let me do it.”
This could end up being the factor that separates Auburn from the rest of the pack, and it could even give the Tigers an advantage over Georgia Tech when all is said and done.
From a football perspective, Auburn would be a great fit. Malzahn's fast-paced spread offense would cater perfectly to Elder's skill set, and he could play in the backfield or even bump out and be extremely effective in the slot. Auburn may have had a down year, but Malzahn is the right coach for the job, and the Tigers will be back and competitive in the SEC in 2013 and beyond.
Elder would have the chance to play high-level SEC football, but at the same time it's rather obvious that Malzahn made a concentrated effort to include basketball as part of the visit too. According to Caldwell's report, Elder was able to watch basketball practice and one can only imagine that the visit made a huge impact on him from both a football and basketball perspective.
Where will Elder sign?
If we've learned anything from this 2013 recruiting cycle it's that anything can happen, but we also saw how important momentum and hype was on the recruiting trail.
Auburn is riding a serious wave of momentum after signing day, and Malzahn made the perfect pitch to Elder. Basketball will be a huge factor in his decision, and the Auburn Tigers catered to that interest on a football visit. That could really cause Auburn to stand out as Elder's signing date approaches.
Georgia Tech may be the favorite right now, but don't be surprised if he signs with Auburn on February 20th.