Dynamic Louisiana athlete Derrick Dillon has commanded national collegiate interest, from nearby LSU to Notre Dame. After spending several months surveying his options, he identified a trio of programs as top contenders during his conversation with 247Sports reporter Sonny Shipp (subscription required).
The 5'11", 180-pound Pine High School playmaker pinpointed Florida State, Texas A&M and Florida as favorites. Dillon, a 4-star playmaker, is capable of playing a variety of positions at the next level, viewed as a defensive back or wide receiver in most recruiting offices.
The Seminoles, Gators and Aggies each see him as a difference-maker on offense.
“I like how they all throw the ball a lot and they want me to play the slot which is where I want to play,” Dillon told 247Sports.
He rushed for 1,927 yards and 26 scores last season, adding seven touchdown tosses at quarterback. Dillon also starred on defense, tallying 29 tackles, three interceptions and a touchdown return.
During the past two seasons at Pine, he accounted for 56 total offensive touchdowns.
Dillon is rated the nation's No. 17 athlete and Louisiana's No. 7 overall recruit in 247Sports' composite rankings. His offer sheet also features Tennessee, Mississippi State and UCLA.
Although he may remain months away from announcing a decision, there are plenty of factors to look into when analyzing his top three options at this point. We highlight the opportunities each program presents.
Head coach Kevin Sumlin has the Aggies flying high when it comes to recruiting. Texas A&M is the top-rated team in 247Sports' composite class rankings, continuing to cash in on its transition to the SEC and the excitement of 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
Dillon, who visited a February junior day in College Station, is the latest Texas A&M offensive target to emerge in Louisiana. The team signed 5-star New Orleans receiver Speedy Noil in February.
He gave the Aggies America's No. 1 2014 receiver to pair with Kyle Allen, the class' top-ranked quarterback prospect. Both players are already on campus, working diligently in an effort to replace Manziel and NFL-bound receiver Mike Evans.
They'll begin working with 4-star Houston product Frank Iheanacho this summer. The promising 6'6" receiver adds another dynamic to an offense that aims to keep rolling with a new batch of key contributors.
Dillon could provide a perfect complement to the electric Noil and physical imposing Iheanacho. Sumlin also holds a commitment from 4-star 2015 tight end Jordan Davis, who presents another downfield threat.
Texas A&M will give Allen every opportunity to play early. His chances of starting as a freshman have increased this spring with quality work and the recent arrest of fellow quarterback challenger Kenny Hill, a sophomore.
Offensive playmakers are attracted to programs with stability at quarterback. The Aggies present an opportunity for Dillon to grow up within a young, potentially explosive offensive attack, catching passes from a player set to stay at Texas A&M through at least 2016.
The Gators also recently hosted Dillon, who traveled to Gainesville one day after stopping at Florida State. He attended a team practice and came away impressed by the way first-year offensive coordinator Kurt Roper dials up plays.
“The offense down there is great they are going to throw the ball a lot,” Dillon told GatorCountry.com reporter Andrew Spivey. “Florida has the kind of offense that I’m looking for in a school because I want to play slot receiver and get the ball thrown to me in college.”
Florida added much-needed offensive firepower during the 2014 recruiting cycle.
Head coach Will Muschamp is well aware an infusion of offensive talent is necessary again in 2015. The Gators crave more depth and versatility throughout the offensive skill positions.
Florida picked up a pledge from 3-star pass targets Tristan Payton and Deondre Farrier during the final week of February. A commitment from Dillon would go a long way toward rounding out the team's future receiver rotation.
Dillon made a trip to Tallahassee last weekend, just a few weeks after receiving an offer from Florida State. The Seminoles' offensive attack controlled the narrative last season, fueling a journey to the national championship with Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston serving as catalyst.
The BCS title adds to a bevvy of accomplishments earned by the program. Obviously the majority of bowl victories and conference championships were won under the watch of Bobby Bowden, but Jimbo Fisher has quickly found his own success with the Seminoles.
Dillon doesn't deny the track record of success is an appealing recruiting tool in Tallahassee.
“All of the trophies they have showcased in one room,” he told 247Sports. “That shows you all of the tradition they have and how much success they’ve had in the past and now with their championship.”
The Seminoles are still searching for at least a couple receivers in the 2015 class, though Jacksonville quarterback commit De'Andre Johnson could ultimately add depth to the position. Florida State aims to replenish its stockpile of receivers, especially since an abundance of skilled pass targets could help ease the transition into life after Winston.
Lane and Rudolph are rated No. 3 and No. 6, respectively, among America's 2014 receiver recruits in 247Sports' composite rankings. It will be tough a tough task to beat out those two for early playing time.