Just three wins away from ending his high school football career with an Alabama state championship, Ben Davis understands he's also entered crunch time as a college recruit.
The nation's top-ranked inside linebacker, now less than 11 weeks separated from national signing day, plans to utilize three remaining official visits. Davis always anticipated using all five official visits, though he's decided to call an audible regarding destinations.
The coveted 6'3", 240-pound playmaker told Bleacher Report he will no longer visit Ole Miss this weekend for the Rebels' Nov. 21 game against LSU. Furthermore, the 5-star recruit doesn't expect to spend time in Oxford before signing day.
Instead, he'll use the next few days to relax and focus on a Gordo High School squad that remains unbeaten through 12 games. It's a decision that essentially knocks the Rebels out of this equation and opens the door for new contenders.
Davis still envisions official visits at Auburn and Alabama in January. He'll see both programs in action next weekend while attending the Iron Bowl in Auburn.
These bitter in-state rivals are accustomed to fighting for elite talent, but the battle becomes more personal in this case. Davis is the son of all-time Crimson Tide tackles leader Wayne Davis, linking him to the program as a potential legacy player.
He's already traveled to Georgia and LSU this season, leaving one last official visit when you factor in impending stays at Alabama and Auburn.
Davis is "not 100 percent sure" about which school will receive his fifth and final visit, but the choice seemingly centers on Notre Dame and Michigan, two schools that haven't been heavily affiliated with his recruitment to this point.
"I really want to get up to South Bend. I've heard it's a great place to be," Davis said.
The Fighting Irish extended a scholarship offer in early March, just weeks before the Wolverines joined a nationwide chase.
"Coach [Jim] Harbaugh has been in the NFL, and I think he's a great leader. I know [running backs coach] Tyrone Wheatley really well too," Davis said.
He's maintained contact with running back Kareem Walker and defensive tackle Rashan Gary, both rated No. 1 at their respective positions in 2016 recruiting class rankings, since meeting the New Jersey duo at a camp. Both players are projected to sign with the Wolverines in 247Sports' Crystal Ball, and Davis has monitored their flirtations with Michigan.
"I know they've visited the school a lot, so that makes me eager to go up there and see for myself," he said.
Devin Bush Jr., who was roommates with Davis this summer at The Opening, has a top two of Michigan and Florida State. He spoke highly of the Wolverines during discussions between the two, providing another positive impression for Davis.
While Davis will undoubtedly face immense expectations on defense at any college, he believes there could be an opportunity beyond linebacker in Ann Arbor.
"[Michigan defensive back] Jabrill Peppers is kind of an all-around guy. They let him play offense. I'd like the chance to play a little offense too, so that might be something they would let me do. Go score some touchdowns," Davis said.
He's a highly effective wide receiver/tight end hybrid at Gordo, evidenced by impressive game highlights:
While the status of Notre Dame and Michigan remains a bit murky in this recruitment, Davis considers those two of his six "favorites." Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and LSU are more firm members of that list, which remains unordered for now.
LSU likely helped itself in this race during Davis' trip to Baton Rouge last weekend.
"They weren't able to come out on top [against Arkansas], but overall it was a great visit. I talked to [head coach] Les Miles and all the defensive coaches," Davis said. "They told me they have a big need for linebackers, so the opportunity for me to come in and play early is there. If I choose LSU, that will be a place I play early and often."
Davis' relationship with Tigers defensive coordinator Kevin Steele dates back to his tenure as an Alabama assistant. Consider LSU a legitimate contender moving toward signing day.
"They've got a great university, great facilities and great coaches. LSU is still on my list of top schools," Davis said.
Florida State was featured in his top five approximately six weeks ago, but, like Ole Miss, the Seminoles' stock is slipping here. Davis definitely won't use an official visit in Tallahassee, though he didn't close the door on a potential unofficial trip.
While plenty wonder where the dominant defender will play college football, he's currently focused on the task in front of him. Davis is attempting to lead Gordo into Alabama state championship action Dec. 3, exactly two months shy of national signing day.
"I need to feel in my gut which school is the best fit," he said. "Just be real with myself about which is truly the best opportunity."