Arik Armstead: The Pros and Cons of Notre Dame, Alabama and His Top Suitors

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IDecember 12, 2011

Arik Armstead: The Pros and Cons of Notre Dame, Alabama and His Top Suitors

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    One of the nation’s most sought after recruits is lineman Arik Armstead. He had originally committed to Southern Cal, but reopened his commitment this October.

    There are a number of teams vying for his services, and for good reason—he is 6’7” and 280 pounds. Most schools are recruiting him as an offensive tackle, but Rivals lists him as a defensive end—yes, an end, not a tackle.

    Armstead is also a 3-star prospect in basketball, and there is a strong chance he could be a two-sport athlete in college, especially with the news that he would be eligible to play from the moment he arrived on campus—he will graduate early and plans to enroll for the spring semester wherever he goes.

    Here’s a breakdown of his top suitors.

The Others

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    Every major school on the West Coast, and some of the top programs from the East, have offered a scholarship to Arik, but most no longer have a chance. He has already taken four of his five official visits and is leaning towards Auburn as his fifth. Here are three of the important names that could pop back up.

    Texas: The Longhorns are the only Big 12 school still in somewhat of a contention for Armstead, which likely means they are out of the running. In terms of basketball, the team could certainly use his size because the team is rather small.

    Washington: This Pac-12 school on the rise could sneak in because the defensive ends have not been terribly productive, and there will be an open spot at offensive tackle for next season. The basketball team is good, but has lost three straight close games.

    USC: He committed to the Trojans really early in the process, but since decomitting, has not talked much about them. What exactly that means, if anything, is anyone’s guess.

Auburn

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    The Tigers will likely be the last team Armstead will visit, and there will be plenty of spots available on the depth chart. Corey Lemonier has been sensational this season at defensive end, but Nosa Equae has not been at all. Both offensive tackles will graduate at the end of this season.

    The problem is, Auburn is a really young team and brought in a ridiculous amount of talent at both positions. Playing time could be a serious issue both in the short and long term because it will be hard for the coaches to accurately project which players will develop physically and mentally.

    The basketball team there is not that good, either, but new coach Tony Barbee could persuade him otherwise.

    The chances of him becoming a Tiger look slim.

Alabama

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    Arik is a defensive guy, and there may not be a better fit for a guy of his size than Alabama. The Tide’s current defensive ends are 285 and 319 pounds, and both are juniors. They did bring in Jeoffrey Pagan and LaMichael Fanning, who are similar in size but not necessarily in talent.

    It would be unlikely that he plays offensive tackle at Alabama because of five-star recruit Cyrus Kouandjio signing last season, and D.J. Fluker will be the other offensive tackle for a while. The team has had absolutely no trouble getting their linemen into the NFL on either side of the ball.

    Fitting for basketball could be interesting depending on if Armstead plans on playing immediately. The Tide are ranked, and their two main scorers are forwards, which is where he plays. If that is not an issue, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in Crimson.

Oregon

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    The Ducks are making a hard push for Armstead, and an in-home visit early in December proved valuable. According to his father, Coach Azzinaro laid out a clear plan for how he will be used in Oregon’s attempts to build a bigger and taller defensive line.

    Haloti Ngata is from Oregon and has been incredibly successful in his NFL career since leaving in 2006, which should ease any concerns of the team not getting linemen into the league.

    The school just redid the basketball court and is committed to making the team relevant again. Oregon is certainly a heavy contender.

Cal

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    The Bears are the hometown team, and Arik is really familiar with the school and its players. It has also sent Cam Jordan and Tyson Alualu to the NFL from its defensive line as well as a number of other high-profile players like Aaron Rodgers, Tony Gonzalez and Marshawn Lynch.

    The basketball team is good, and the coach has already said he wants Armstead playing this year, so that shouldn’t be a concern.

    The biggest question would have to be the future of Jeff Tedford, who is considered on the hot seat by many people, especially after Washington State, Arizona and UCLA all went out and got big-name coaches.

Notre Dame

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    Armstead definitely liked Notre Dame after visiting and raved about the coaches and fans. “I think what stood out the most was the support they have with their fan base, and the coaches there too, it feels like it’s real tight knit.”

    The biggest problem will be playing time because the Irish brought in five guys projected as defensive ends last season. Some of them have or will become outside linebackers in their 3-4 system, but it would be hard to pass on this 280 pounder.

    From all of his quotes, Arik certainly seems set on playing defense, but playing time would not be much of a concern if he switched to offensive tackle at Notre Dame.

    The basketball team could certainly use him as soon as possible because Tim Abromaitis is done for the year and they are in the Big East, which is a basketball giant. It should be interesting to see what happens with his recruitment.