The player every college football program is pursuing appears primed for a pivotal stretch of campus trips. Top-ranked 2015 prospect Josh Sweat plans to spend official visits at Ohio State, Oregon, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Georgia, according to Evan Watkins of 247Sports (subscription required).
Sweat, a 5-star defensive end from Chesapeake, Virginia, rose to No. 1 overall in recently updated 247Sports composite rankings. The 6'4.5", 240-pound playmaker impressed at The Opening earlier this month, completing the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds and drawing comparisons to top 2014 NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney.
He holds dozens of offers, and his recruitment seemingly ranks among the most wide-open of any premier prospect in the country. Recent travels to Virginia Tech, Georgia, Ohio State and Florida State provided an indication of which teams were gaining ground.
Tennessee hosted Sweat the day before his visit with the Bulldogs but is on the outside looking in when it comes to official visits. Oregon is arguably the biggest surprise in the mix and represents Sweat's only planned West Coast journey.
Despite sharing his official visit itinerary, the coveted defender didn't outwardly eliminate any programs from contention. On the contrary, 247Sports reports that Auburn and Texas A&M "could come into the picture late," adding more intrigue to the highly publicized process.
Sweat projects as an elite pass-rush presence at weak-side defensive end. He secured 22 sacks last season, tallying 94 total tackles as a junior.
"You have to be perfect against Sweat," 5-star offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt said at The Opening after one-on-one drills. "Otherwise you're done."
Teams will attempt to leave a lasting, positive impact on him during campus visits. Facility tours, family dinners and in-depth discussions with coaching staffs are just a part of the process during multiday stays.
Florida State seems to be gaining ground with fellow 5-star pass-rusher Byron Cowart after a recent visit and landed 4-star end Michael Barnett last month. Oregon doesn't currently hold a commitment from any defender rated higher than a 3-star prospect.
Virginia Tech is counting on proximity and familiarity to push it toward an impactful moment for the program on national signing day. The Hokies hope to keep him home, but he is clearly open to opportunities beyond state borders.
"Wherever I end up at the next level, I want to be able to make an early impact," Sweat said at The Opening.
All quotes obtained firsthand by B/R national recruiting writer Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.
Recruit information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.