As the recruiting cycle approaches the first day prospects can sign their letters of intent, one of the best athletes in the state of Arizona is still undecided.
Todd Peat Jr., a 6'3", 300-pound defensive lineman from Corona del Sol (Tempe, AZ), is down to three schools: the hometown Arizona State Sun Devils, Big XII powerhouse Nebraska and the ultra-competitive Oregon State Beavers.
Nobody is certain where Peat will opt to enroll, but no matter what school is lucky enough to obtain his services, that program will be better suited moving forward with Peat than without.
While Peat might be the best defensive lineman in the Grand Canyon state for 2011, his younger brother Andrus Peat, a 6'5", 300-pound offensive tackle, is slated to be the top offensive line prospect for 2012.
After witnessing Cyrus Hobbi, another highly-recruited lineman from Scottsdale, AZ, spurn the Sun Devils for greener pastures last Friday, most fans have become thick-skinned. That is not to say maroon and gold supporters are expecting Peat to commit elsewhere.
Peat has been attending ASU football games since he was a young child. The question is, can Peat become a player inside Sun Devil Stadium starting next fall?
There is no doubt that Peat is the Sun Devils most coveted recruit still unsigned. With the early departure to the NFL from All-American defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, ASU has two glaring weaknesses on defense, and both revolve around the starting defensive tackles.
Signing Peat would certainly fill the void up front defensively, as well as quieting the critics about missing out on one of the best local offensive line recruits in state history.
Peat could opt to enroll at virtually any university across the country. He holds written offers from Alabama, Arizona, Miami, Stanford and Wake Forest, yet the Nebraska Cornhuskers flexed their muscles to be the kingpin in the Peat sweepstakes.
It is tough to overlook the tradition, history and accomplishments that Nebraska has racked up in the past, and moving forward into the new Big Ten Conference, that perennial power status seems intact.
Nebraska finished the 2010 season at 10-4, replicating their 2009 performance with former Husker great, Ndamukong Suh. Most fans in the "sea of red" expected a conference championship and aspirations of a BCS bowl appearance, but a second straight Holiday Bowl appearance was in store.
With a dominant running game returning, perhaps another top-tier defensive tackle is the only thing separating Nebraska from reaching elite status in 2011. Peat would fit that mold perfectly in Nebraska.
It is tough to name a darkhorse in a three-team race for Peat, but if one had to be tabbed as such, the Oregon State Beavers would fit the bill. Following a 5-7 record in 2010, Mike Riley needed to retool his normally ultra-competitive Beaver squad.
One of Oregon State's few bright spots during a rough season was defensive tackle Stephen Paea. After earning All-Conference recognition the past two seasons, Paea will not test his talents in the NFL.
Peat would be an ideal fit at the heart of Mark Banker's aggressive schemes defensively. At 6'3" and 300 pounds, the frame to be a dominant run stopper for years to come is evident.
If immediate playing time is what Peat desires, Oregon State appears to have a clear path to the starting rotation.
All things considered, the overall sentiment remains that Peat will choose the Sun Devils. Perhaps that is more hopeful than a certainty, but being located less than two miles away from Sun Devil Stadium has to play a role in his decision making.
How much of a role location plays is still left to be determined. The lure of playing in a packed environment each and every week at Nebraska has to be intriguing, as is early playing time in Corvallis.
Following Wednesday's whirlwind of college announcements, everyone will know where Peat will enroll in 2011.