B/R Recruiting Notebook: 5-Star LB Has Commit Date; 4-Star OT Sets Officials

Damon Sayles@@DamonSaylesNational Recruiting AnalystAugust 22, 2016

Kennedale, Texas, 5-star linebacker Baron Browning is weighing the option of playing college football in-state versus playing out of state. He has 40 reported offers and said he will announce a top five soon.
Kennedale, Texas, 5-star linebacker Baron Browning is weighing the option of playing college football in-state versus playing out of state. He has 40 reported offers and said he will announce a top five soon.Credit: Student Sports

Let the regular season commence.

While football started last week for some college football recruits, many will kick off their seasons this week and next. And while the excitement of the season is the first priority for athletes ready to get back on the field, recruiting still plays a significant role—particularly with athletes setting and scheduling official visits.

Last weekend was slow in having athletes nationwide give their verbal commitments, but Boise State proved to be a big winner in landing Midlothian, Virginia, 4-star athlete Jermani Brown. A onetime Arizona State pledge, Brown told 247Sports' Steve Wiltfong that he'll play cornerback in college.

Here are the latest updates on a few athletes drawing major attention in the college football recruiting world.


5-star LB Browning: Stay in-state or play elsewhere?

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Baron Browning
Baron BrowningCredit: 247Sports.com

Will he stay in-state or venture off to a new horizon? That's the question that Kennedale, Texas, 5-star linebacker Baron Browning has heard more and more as his decision date inches closer.

Browning, the nation's No. 8 overall player and No. 2 outside linebacker in the 2017 class, will announce his verbal commitment on Nov. 29—which also is his father's birthday. And when he hears the question about where he wants to play, he gives an answer that's become the standard.

"I'm 50-50 with it," Browning said. "If I play in-state, all of my family will get to see me play. The bonus of playing out of state is that it'll give me the opportunity to mature more and be my own man. I'll have to grow up quick, because my parents won't be there."

A onetime Baylor commit, Browning said he's still weighing all options and doing research on athletic programs and academic reputations for a few schools. He has 40 reported offers but said he's looking to "drop a top five really soon."

"I'm not going to base my decision just off a school that gets a lot of wins or dominates," said Browning, who plans to study computer software engineering and also learn about entrepreneurship in college.

"There are three main things I look for. One, a coach who will truly develop me and [make] me more of a technician on the field. Two, a university that'll help me grow on and off the field. And three, a place with networking and alumni opportunities to help me with life after football. I understand that football doesn't last forever."

If Browning chooses to commit to play out of state, he'll join a growing list of Texans who have chosen to leave the state to play college ball. Texas and TCU are hoping for news swayed their way. His father played at TCU in the 1990s. Texas, however, leads in Browning's 247Sports "crystal ball" predictions.


5 officials chosen, 3 set for 4-star OT Wilson

Isaiah Wilson
Isaiah WilsonCredit: 247Sports.com

Brooklyn, New York, 4-star offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson told Bleacher Report on Sunday that he's grown even more and slimmed down. The towering lineman from Poly Prep said he now stands 6'8" and weighs 345 pounds.

One lucky school will get Wilson's signing day signature in February, and that decision will be aided once he takes his official visits. Wilson said three of his five officials have been set in November: Florida State (weekend of Nov. 11), Michigan (Nov. 18) and Alabama (Nov. 25). Florida State hosts Boston College, Michigan hosts Indiana and Alabama hosts Auburn in the Iron Bowl during those respective weekends.

Additionally, Wilson said Georgia and USC also will get official visits. He's yet to schedule dates.

"These official visits will be my parents' first times on each campus. They're going to play a role in how I view the schools," Wilson said. "I want to get their feedback on everything, and I want to feel like I'm at home. I want to be comfortable around the players and coaches and be able to joke around with people.

"I'm from New York, so I don't need the super city life wherever I go. I just want my parents to feel comfortable leaving me."

Wilson said he will make his decision either at the Under Armour All-America Game or on national signing day. For now, his focus is Sept. 3, when Poly Prep opens the season against Fort Hamilton High School.

"To me, that's exciting. Three years really went by really quick," he said. "It's been good being a leader for my team. I can't wait to start my senior year."


New Gamecocks DE pledge eyeing major target

Madison, Georgia, 4-star defensive end MJ Webb ended his recruiting process Friday when he committed to South Carolina. He became the Gamecocks' 20th pledge and committed to head coach Will Muschamp over offers from SEC foes Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Webb is commit No. 20 for South Carolina. He's got his mind set on who No. 21 could be.

"I'm about to start hitting up Jamyest Williams," Webb said, referring to the 5'9", 170-pound, 4-star cornerback from Loganville, Georgia. "He's a lockdown corner and an unbelievable athlete. Just because he doesn't have the size doesn't mean anything. He brings speed and great agility to the table, and his nose for the football is like no one else's."

Whether or not it gets Williams, South Carolina is getting a gem in Webb, the nation's No. 8 strong-side defensive end. A shade under 6'3" and 271 pounds, Webb had 77 tackles—including 12 for loss—and seven sacks as a junior.

Webb, Williams and 4-star outside linebacker Hamsah Nasirildeen—who committed to the Gamecocks last Tuesday—would make up a nice, young defensive trio for Muschamp and his staff to work with. The good news for Gamecocks fans is that Williams—who is committing on Saturday—has been trending heavily toward South Carolina, according to his 247Sports crystal ball predictions.


4-star LB Anthony monitoring top 10

Jordan Anthony
Jordan AnthonyCredit: 247Sports.com

The versatility of 4-star IMG Academy athlete Jordan Anthony is one of the primary characteristics that makes him such a wanted college recruit. With 24 reported offers, Anthony, rated the nation's No. 7 outside linebacker, can play linebacker or running back and is expected to get snaps on both sides of the ball for IMG.

Now at 6'1" and 230 pounds, Anthony announced his top 10 in May and said he's focusing on narrowing his list soon. He plans on committing after the football season.

Jordan Anthony @Jordan_LittleBO

Thanks to @RobertJudin and @CampusInsiders for the help with my Top Ten list. Here it is! https://t.co/RHNRJHbDSl

"All of those schools have been on me since my sophomore year, and they've been pushing hard to get me," Anthony said. "I'm looking at all the programs as a whole and what I can get out of them with football and where they stand with my major. I want to major in business and finance."

Anthony, who is from Maryland, said playing for the Terrapins is something that has crossed his mind. Schools like Michigan, Clemson, Oklahoma, Penn State and LSU also are strong contenders in his recruiting race.

Anthony has been at IMG since his the start of his junior year, but you can bet that his friends and family are hoping he chooses to come back home for college ball.

"Maryland is about seven minutes away from my house; it's basically my area," Anthony said. "Playing in front of people I grew up with and coaches who coached me in the past is something I've thought of. Plus, I know they're trying to build that DMV [Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia] movement.

"I'm looking at all the schools and asking if I can see myself playing there. I want to know that the coaches are fired up and the players are fired up to be there every day."


Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles


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