Linebacker Raekwon McMillan currently sits atop recruiting boards in college football offices across the country. The dominant 5-star linebacker remains uncommitted as he considers several BCS powerhouse programs, but he has set an announcement date.
McMillan posted his intentions on Twitter Monday.
Decision date - Dec. 16th at my school— Raekwon McMillan™ (@Kwon_daTRUTH) November 25, 2013
He holds offers from Florida State, Oregon, Ole Miss, Notre Dame and many other programs. 247 Sports and several other recruiting outlets identify Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Clemson and Georgia as his top choices.
McMillan, a 6'2", 242-pound playmaker from Hinesville, Georgia, is listed as the nation's best inside linebacker and No. 16 overall prospect in 247 Sports' composite rankings. The Liberty County High School standout is arguably the most coveted uncommitted recruit in the country.
With his nationwide recruitment reaching its final stages, let's take some time to identify and analyze his top options. The dominant defender is likely to make an early impact wherever he ends up, but each situation is uniquely suited for a player of his stature.
The two-time defending national champions have dominated again during this 2014 recruiting cycle. Alabama added 5-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand earlier this month, cementing Nick Saban's class as the current national No. 1.
Hand is hardly alone as an elite defender bound for Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide are ready to welcome in several top-tier linebackers who will be forced to fight for early playing time.
Saban has stockpiled talent through three consecutive No. 1 recruiting classes. As a result, the depth chart at linebacker is amazingly stacked, leaving little room for even the nation's most talented collegiate newcomers to crack a rotation and earn significant playing time.
McMillan was in attendance for Alabama's victory over LSU during his official visit weekend in Tuscaloosa.
McMillan watched Clemson lump up The Citadel this past weekend. He spent time with the Tigers during one of his final stops on a nationwide official visit tour.
Clemson is largely young at linebacker. McMillan almost assuredly could compete for a starting position during his freshman training camp. The Tigers have plucked up a few key linebacker prospects during this recruiting cycle, but, as in most classes across the country, he would clearly be the crown jewel of the bunch.
The Tigers have developed a reputation as an explosive offensive team during Dabo Swinney's tenure. If Clemson can match that offensive talent on the defensive end, there's no reason why this program can't compete for BCS titles in the coming years.
McMillan is the kind of talent who could help pave that path.
Clemson already found a future star on offense with a commitment from Deshaun Watson, a record-setting quarterback from Georgia ranked No. 1 nationally among dual-threat passers. If the Tigers land McMillan to lead the defense, the two Peach State products could win plenty of games together.
The Bulldogs are hoping hometown appeal wins over. There's a pride factor involved for players who decide to stay near their roots and suit up for Georgia.
The program has an excellent history at the position, and it wouldn't take long for McMillan to emerge as a face of the team. Mark Richt isn't shy about sending newcomers onto the field, evidenced by the use of linebacker Leonard Floyd this season.
The Bulldogs hosted McMillan in September. It was his first official visit experience, and it gave him the inside look at a team that pegged him as a top target long ago.
Detric Dukes, a 4-star prospect, is the team's lone linebacker commit in this class. Georgia won't lose a ton of talent at the position, but there will likely be a sizable exodus following the 2014 season.
The Bulldogs are always competitive in the SEC. But they haven't been able to get over the hump against the conference's elite in recent years. McMillan would be the team's third 5-star commit, joining running back Nick Chubb and defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard.
Gainesville is the final stop on McMillan's whirlwind recruiting journey. He will attend the Gators' Nov. 29 matchup against rival Florida State, another team that has made an offer to the linebacker.
His official visit couldn't come at a worse time for the team. Florida has suffered six straight losses, hitting a new low last weekend with a home loss to FCS opponent Georgia Southern.
The program is in peril right now and third-year head coach Will Muschamp isn't making many friends on campus these days. Even if the university grants him job security moving forward, there are no assurances that his coaching staff won't be shaken up.
In fact, it would be a major surprise if Florida doesn't dismiss several assistant coaches after a stunningly disappointing season.
The silver lining in this situation is an impressive 2014 recruiting class that is viewed as a program savior with each passing game. The Gators hold commitments from 5-star playmakers Will Grier (quarterback), Ermon Lane (wide receiver) and Dalvin Cook (running back).
The Gators' offense has been stagnant for too long, and no defender likes to carry the weight of a lagging offensive attack. McMillan would have to buy into the potential of his 2014 classmates in order to feel solid about a commitment to Florida.
McMillan made his way to Columbus in late October. Urban Meyer's reputation as a world-class recruiter is deserved, and he views the linebacker as a primary target.
Aside from currently boasting a nation-best win streak and a two-time national champion coach, the Buckeyes' best sales pitch may be to stress the importance of playing alongside fellow stars. Ohio State landed a pair of special outside linebackers earlier in the recruiting cycle, and they would team up perfectly with McMillan at Ohio State.
Ohio State has produced plenty of professional linebackers during the past decade, and that's something you can't undervalue for an elite player like McMillan. Getting to the next level is always part of the equation.
Where will Raekwon McMillan play college football?
The allure of Alabama is difficult to ignore, along with an opportunity to join a rising contender at Clemson.
Both of those options will ultimately trump Florida and Georgia, but they won't measure up to what Urban Meyer can offer at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes haven't lost a single game in his two seasons at the helm, and McMillan wouldn't face the alarming linebacker depth that Alabama features. In Columbus, he could mature with a terrific collection of incoming defenders that complement his skill set.
Ohio State is routing opponents and now likely sits one Florida State or Alabama slip-up away from the title game. If the team can take down Michigan, expect the celebration to continue into December when McMillan commits to the Buckeyes.