Top Landing Spots for Bryan Bresee, CFB's No. 1 Overall Recruit for 2020
Back in November, Bryan Bresee, the nation's top defensive prospect, released his top six schools.
They may not be his final six, but his visit pattern since then proves he's zeroed in on Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.
The 6'5", 290-pound strong-side defensive end is a tough-nosed, talented prospect who is still receiving major offers; the Oregon Ducks flew in with one this week, for instance. By the time the pen meets the scholarship papers, everybody in the nation is going to be after Bresee.
Who can't use a jumbo athlete who can come off the edge and get after quarterbacks or grow into an interior lineman, after all?
But where wlll Bresee end up? Which school makes the most sense? Where does he appear to be most interested? From a pair of SEC powerhouses to a trio of Big Ten towers to the national champions, Bresee has a star-studded group of top schools.
Let's rank the landing spots in his top six.
6. Michigan Wolverines
Of all the schools in Bresee's top six, you hear the least about the Michigan Wolverines.
Is that an indication of his interest level, or does he just need to establish a better relationship with the coaching staff? Regardless, Jim Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Don Brown and Co. need to ramp up their recruitment.
He hasn't mentioned the Wolverines much since placing them in his top six in November.
Since then, the Wolverines crashed and burned at the end of the season, getting dominated by Ohio State and then Florida in the bowl game. Maybe his lack of visits to Ann Arbor since then is a sign.
Brown is revered as a developer of talent, and though the Wolverines lost a ton of it after the 2018 class and have recruited well enough to keep churning those guys out on that side of the ball, it looks like an uphill battle to land Bresee.
He'd be a perfect fit for the Wolverines, and Brown would work wonders with his abilities.
Though he isn't quite as athletic as Rashan Gary, he's a jumbo defensive end who could fill that void, and he's talented enough to step in and play right away. He's quick off the ball, aggressive and uses good leverage.
But if he's going to wind up in the maize and blue, they need to get him back on campus ASAP. If that doesn't happen, a school higher on this list will win the Bresee sweepstakes.
5. Alabama Crimson Tide
You can't ever count out the Crimson Tide for top-ranked prospects. Featuring elite recruiting classes every year that Nick Saban has stood at the helm of the most consistent powerhouse in college football, Alabama's name obviously carries a ton of weight with recruits.
It's no different with Bresee, who listed Alabama in his list of contenders.
But just how big of a player are the Tide? While they may wind up being a major one before Bresee's recruitment is over, if he comes to the SEC, it's hard to see him not winding up in red and black.
The Tide recruited one of the top defensive line classes ever in the '19 cycle, led by star Antonio Alfano of New Jersey, and UA has experienced success in Bresee's native Maryland recently too (as well as every other state where Saban treads).
Just like always, Alabama is surging in the recruiting rankings for 2020 already, with 11 pledges in the second-ranked class. The Tide will be right there at the top again, and Bresee could highlight it. They grabbed longtime assistant Sal Sunseri from the Florida Gators, and now he's recruiting Bresee.
Sunseri has a rich history of landing top-shelf prospects along the Atlantic coastline, dating back to his early days with Saban, and he'll try to do the same with Bresee. The prospect already visited UA twice, and he'll probably be back.
"I was pretty close with Coach Sal down at Florida," Bresee told BamaOnLine's Hank South. "I've known him from before. We were in contact. When Coach Sal got back in (to Alabama), we started talking again. He said they wanted to come down and watch a game."
Bresee notes in the article he had a good relationship with former UA defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi, and if Sunseri establishes that same rapport, the Tide could surge up this list. Right now, though, they look like they're on the outside looking in.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes
New Ohio State head coach Ryan Day isn't struggling with recruiting early in his tenure replacing Urban Meyer, but several recruits are going to take a wait-and-see approach with the Buckeyes now.
Bresee may be one of those, as indicated by his lack of visits to Columbus in 2019. He has traveled to Penn State, Clemson and Georgia since then, and while that may not be indicative of his interest, OSU needs to get the nation's top defender back on campus.
The lack of recent attention has Bucknuts.com reporter Bill Kurelic backing off his confidence of his 247Sports crystal ball pick for the Buckeyes.
"Again, I still think Bresee could end up at OSU, but I would not say I am highly confident at this point," he wrote. "I just think the Buckeyes are a legitimate contender."
At one point early in his recruitment, it looked like Bresee was a strong lean to Ohio State, but there have been a lot of changes since then. Of course, it was well-known when Bresee listed his top five that the future in Columbus wouldn't include Meyer on the sideline, and he still put them up there.
With Bresee's recruitment expected to go deep into the 2020 cycle, there's still plenty of time for Day and Co. to develop a relationship with him. Of course, it's easy to see him in a Buckeyes uniform because he would be a carbon copy of the Bosa brothers who've been so dominant in recent years.
Bresee needs to establish a relationship with new Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and get back to Columbus. If that happens, it may just rekindle that old flame.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions
Bresee is basically in the backyard of Happy Valley in nearby Maryland, and Nittany Lions coach James Franklin has experienced success in luring prospects from that state.
Bresee's Damascus home is roughly three hours from State College, and PSU was one of his first Power Five offers, receiving it from Franklin after visiting for a junior day. He's also visited at least four times since, so the interest is genuine.
Franklin is a former assistant with the Maryland Terrapins, and he has lured six prospects from that state in the past three years to Happy Valley. Bresee could be next.
The thought of teaming him with elite defensive end Micah Parsons and 4-star Adisa Isaac has to be exciting for PSU fans, but there's a long way to go. According to Patrick Burns of the Daily Collegian, Bresee visited as recently as January, where he took in a wrestling match with Franklin and some staff members.
What once seemed like it was going to be an Ohio State-Penn State battle has gotten a little more crowded at the top, but that's no reason to discount Franklin's ability. Distance could be a factor whether Bresee mentions it or not, and if proximity is considered, that favors the Nittany Lions.
Common sense tells you the longer Bresee drags out his recruitment, the better it bodes for Penn State. The Lions struggled a season ago in a campaign that concluded with a loss to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl, and Bresee probably wants to see some improvement.
If PSU can show it, the Lions may just land one of college football's top prizes.
2. Clemson Tigers
If there is a team trending in the Bresee sweepstakes, it's the national champion Clemson Tigers.
How could you not want to play for Dabo Swinney? If you're an offensive player, you get to come up with elite signal-caller Trevor Lawrence. If you're a defender, there's a vacancy sign flashing, and you get to play for fiery coordinator Brent Venables, who is producing NFL talent year after year.
With guys like Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Albert Huggins off to the NFL, the Tigers are going to need a couple of elite recruiting classes to restock the shelf on the defensive front.
Not only does Bresee get the opportunity to play for a champion, but he could be firmly in the rotation as a true freshman. That's why the past four crystal ball selections for Bresee have gone to Clemson.
One of the biggest selling points with a lot of Bresee's top choices is his relationship with players already on the teams and incoming recruits. He mentioned to TigerNet.com's David Hood several guys he's becoming close with who are already on the Tigers.
Clemson's pedigree of producing elite defensive linemen is big too.
"That definitely helps," he said. "They have had some really great players, and they have three that might go in the first round this year. That is big. [Defensive line] Coach [Todd] Bates and Coach Venables are doing a really good job."
There are a lot of factors that seem to be pushing Bresee to play his college ball in South Carolina, and though there's a long way to go, Clemson is surging.
1. Georgia Bulldogs
If any team can jump Clemson to take the poll position for Bresee's services, it would be the Georgia Bulldogs.
The way coach Kirby Smart has recruited the past three cycles is impressive, and the Bulldogs are loading up on the defensive line. Bresee has established a strong relationship with several UGA players, including the nation's top prospect in Nolan Smith from the '19 cycle.
That's going to bode well for the Bulldogs, but they will need new defensive coordinator Dan Lanning (who was with the team as the outside linebackers coach) to establish the relationship former coordinator Mel Tucker had with Bresee.
It's all about relationships in recruiting, and Bresee has a comfort level with the Dawgs. It's obvious he's feeling them right now by how much he's visiting, as DawgNation.com's Jeff Sentell notes Bresee has visited Athens at least four times in the past 14 months.
From that article: "Nolan gets all of me," Bresee said. "He was with me at the G-Day visit with me. We hung out there."
Then there's this: "I have talked to a bunch of people who are really thinking about Georgia. I will just say that if I could play with him and play with them, then it would be a lot of fun."
He told Sentell that both parents, his sister and her boyfriend will also be heading down. That doesn't sound like just a weekend trip. In fact, despite the flurry of Tigers interest, it sounds like Clemson is just trying to keep pace.
Call it a gut feeling, but right now I think he ends up with the Dawgs.
All recruiting information is from 247Sports, and rankings are from the 247Sports composite.
Brad Shepard covers college football for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @Brad_Shepard.