NEW ORLEANS — One of the headliners of Sunday’s New Orleans Nike Opening Regional camp was 5-star running back Cam Akers.
The 5’11 ½”, 212-pounder from Clinton High School (Mississippi) didn’t disappoint en route to earning a coveted invitation to The Opening.
The Magnolia State’s top overall prospect didn’t wait long to announce his presence, as he posted eye-popping numbers in the testing portion before the drills began.
Akers ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds and posted a vertical jump a shade under 41 inches. Those numbers helped him also earn the ratings title for Sunday’s event:
“I just want to prove myself," Akers told Bleacher Report. "A lot of people thought I was slow coming into this camp. I had to come out here and prove some people wrong. I just want to earn my stripes.”
The former Alabama pledge has attracted interest from heavyweight programs across the country since reopening his recruitment last month.
“Recruiting can’t pick up much more than it already has,” Akers joked.
Three programs that have been able to get Akers on campus recently include Georgia, Ohio State and Tennessee.
He spoke a bit on each of those visits.
Georgia: “[Head] Coach [Kirby] Smart being a family-oriented man, I like him. I like [running backs] coach Dell McGee and [offensive coordinator] Coach [Jim] Chaney, too. Everybody there is family-oriented, and they produce great backs also.”
Ohio State: “It’s rich in tradition, and they have a great coaching staff. With [Head] Coach [Urban] Meyer, they have a really good tradition with running backs.”
Tennessee: “I have a great relationship with [Running Backs] Coach [Robert] Gillespie and [Head] Coach [Butch] Jones. They have a great situation there and a great school.”
The coming weeks and months should be busy for the nation’s No. 3 running back and the No. 35 player overall in the 2017 cycle. Return trips to Athens and Knoxville are on his agenda, but a powerhouse from the ACC will get the chance to impress him.
“This summer, I’m going back to Georgia, Tennessee and Clemson," Akers said. "I’ll be at Florida State next weekend. I plan to get back to Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and a lot of other places too this summer."
Despite losing his pledge, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and his staff aren’t giving up on a player who has accounted for more than 8,000 yards of total offense and 84 touchdowns over the last three seasons.
“I decommitted because I wanted to re-evaluate things, not because [Alabama] did something wrong,” Akers said. “I just wanted to take a step back and make sure it is the best decision for me and my family. The schools on my list, I just want them to recruit me and my family. Everyone is equal.”
With Akers—who reports a 3.1 GPA and plans to major in sports medicine, business or communications—planning to become an early enrollee, the summer visit spree will be critical for each school that is lucky enough to get him on campus.
However, Akers said he’s still in the process of mapping out a firm plan of when a final decision could come.
“I’m not sure," Akers said. "Me and my family will sit down and talk about it soon. I will be an early graduate, so we will talk about whether we want to wait until the end before enrolling or if I want to commit before then.”
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.