Star safety Leon McQuay III - Bud Elliott (SB Nation)
Five of the top six safeties in the country, according to 247Sports, have yet to make a final college decision.
Here's a look at the recruitments of the top five uncommitted safeties in the 2013 class, a list that is nearly that of the top five safeties in this recruiting cycle.
1. Batesville (MS) South Panola's Tony Conner
Ranked as the top safety in the country by 247Sports and a top-15 player nationally by the 247Sports industry composite, Conner's recruitment will take some time to play out, as he told 247Sports more than a month ago that he will announce at the Under Armour All-American game in early January. At the time, he added that he's "wide open" in the process.
However, his 247Sports profile doesn't quite agree with that assessment, listing his home state Ole Miss Rebels as "warmer" than the rest of the competition, which includes Alabama ("warm"), LSU ("cool") and Mississippi State ("cool").
247Sports national analyst Gerry Hamilton has the most recent scoop on Conner ($):
In a recent visit to South Panola, it was very evident that Conner should be considered a lean to Ole Miss. It was also apparent how much Conner likes Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Ole Miss, Alabama, Mississippi State and LSU are expected to get official visits in December. If a program is going to pull the upset, having a great relationship with Conner’s mom is imperative.
One thing to watch -- Conner is teammate's with Deon Mix, a four-star offensive tackle who is committed to Mississippi State. The 6'2, 205-pound safety has also said in the past that playing time will be a factor, which could favor the Bulldogs, who can offer that early.
2. Rossville (GA) Ridgeline's Vonn Bell
The elite playmaker, who found himself around the ball more times than not as a junior, only has one interception this season, but then, Ridgeline hasn't played any close games either. One thing is clear -- the lack of mind-blowing stats this season haven't dimmed his star at all or stopped colleges from coming after him.
Bell recently narrowed his list to Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee. His high school coach, Mark Mariakis, believes that all three are even ($):
I think all three are dead even. I’m not sure if he will take official visits to all three, but he will visit Ohio State because he’s been to Alabama and Tennessee a number of times.
Like Conner, Bell has not taken any official visits during the season, opting instead to focus on his senior year, but may try to catch a game in Columbus after Ridgeland finishes their campaign. Bell did, however, visit Alabama unofficially in early September.
Keep an eye on the Tennessee coaching situation. If head coach Derek Dooley gets fired, it could impact Bell's decision, though he has been a Volunteer fan long enough that the school just across the border from him could hang in the race enough without Dooley at the helm.
3. Seffner (FL) Armwood's Leon McQuay III
Unlike the two prospects mentioned above, the 6'2, 185-pound McQuay has been taking his official visits this fall during his football season, with Oregon the latest and Michigan looming this weekend. After traveling to Ann Arbor, McQuay will trip up to Tallahassee to see Florida State later in the month and USC in early December.
At Oregon, the technology there impressed the Florida safety ($):
I saw some of the coaches during the weekend. They had a lot of meetings on Sunday and stuff. Coach Neal is my primary recruiter from Oregon. Coach (Chip) Kelly sat down and talked me for a while on Sunday. I didn't know Oregon had a music program and they are starting an audio engineering program. They have so much technology up there. They are years ahead of everyone else up there.
With the decommitment from California safety Max Redfield from USC, the Trojans now have room in their class to take McQuay. Many consider USC and Florida State to be the leaders for his services.
The consensus four-star prospect plans on enrolling early, but his timetable currently calls for an announcement at the Under Amour game.
4. Mission Viejo (CA)'s Max Redfield
Another big, athletic safety at 6'3 and 195 pounds, the consensus four-star prospect committed to USC back in July, but he opted to open up his recruitment once again in early November, sparking speculation that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are now the leaders to land his signature once National Signing Day comes around in early February.
Redfield has an official visit planned to Washington this weekend and may also take a trip to Oregon to watch the Ducks. However, don't count out the Trojans as long as they have a spot left for him, as Redfield has not eliminated the possibility that he could re-commit, though it is relatively rare for prospects to do so.
5. Rancho Cucamonga (CA)'s Tahaan Goodman
With Su'a Cravens, Redfield and Goodman all emerging from the state of California in this cycle, the state has managed to produce three of the top six safeties in the entire country this year.
Another consensus four-star prospect (surprise, surprise), Goodman missed out on a trip to Baton Rouge that has been re-scheduled, but there's a chance that he could nab the spot in USC's class that was once held by Redfield. In that respect, it could come down to an all-Los Angeles battle for the 6'1, 185-pounder.
After having to cancel that trip to Louisiana, Goodman said that he will take all five of his official visits ($), as he has not yet used even a single one this fall:
I know I'm going to take all five official visits before making my decision. I'm definitely waiting and taking my time with the process. I know I will visit those three schools and I'm also looking at Oregon, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Washington and ASU for the final two visits.
With so many visits still planned, Goodman won't be making a decision any time soon, meaning there's plenty left to happen in his recruitment, even at this late stage.