The countdown toward a commitment continues for coveted Minnesota defensive end Jashon Cornell, putting interested programs in a "now or never" situation when it comes to formally extending an offer.
Earlier this spring, the 6'4", 270-pound prospect pinpointed Aug. 28—the date his senior season kicks off—as decision day. Cornell, who held a dozen offers before an outstanding 2013 campaign, is still considering several schools approximately thee months shy of an announcement.
During the past week, a pair of powerhouse squads ensured they'll at least be part of the conversation.
Alabama and Oregon each presented scholarship offers, creating new possibilities for the dominant pass-rusher.
Cornell, who collected 122 tackles and 29 sacks during the past two seasons, claims more than 30 scholarships. Rated No. 3 nationally among weak-side defensive ends in 247Sports' composite rankings, his frenzied recruitment rivals any of America's premier players.
He is the latest addition to an impressive list of star athletes who've emerged at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul. Notable alumni include Major League Baseball star Joe Mauer, veteran NFL wide receiver Michael Floyd and Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke.
The school's status helped Cornell create opportunities for himself. His next step is to determine where he'll spend the upcoming years making quarterbacks miserable.
His list has always been heavy on Big Ten teams, which makes sense given his regional proximity to those programs. Penn State, Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern and Ohio State are in the mix, though they're chasing after another conference rival at this stage:
Cornell identified the Spartans as his favorite earlier this month during a conversation with Allen Trieu of The Detroit News.
"I will come out with a top eight (soon), but Michigan State is number one on my list right now," he said.
We're still waiting for any indication of a top eight, but there are several suitors beyond the Big Ten.
Notre Dame, Mississippi State and Arkansas have hosted him since last fall. Future campus visits will surely be scheduled elsewhere throughout the summer.
Throw Alabama and Oregon into the equation, and you've got a talented young man with a lot to consider.
Competition is always fierce to crack the Crimson Tide's defensive front, and that may be more true now than ever before. Still, when a four-time national champion coach comes calling, you consider what he has to say.
Oregon is arguably Cornell's most realistic Pac-12 landing spot, though UCLA could make a strong case. The Ducks haven't landed a defensive lineman during this recruiting cycle, so his path to playing time would certainly appear quicker in Eugene than in Tuscaloosa.
The Pac-12 is loading up with talented quarterbacks, including 5-star prospects Josh Rosen (UCLA) and Ricky Town (USC). Oregon's ability to put up points is well known, but the Ducks will struggle to remain afloat in conference title contention without pressuring opposing passers on a consistent basis.
Oregon and Alabama are each able to make a compelling sales pitch to Cornell, but those have been coming at him from all angles for almost two years.
The newcomers don't necessarily need to go to the back of the line, but they're just a couple more contenders in a crowd that continues to grow.
Recruit information and ratings via 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
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