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College football programs are fighting for visits on one last summer recruiting weekend

With so many competing events, where a kid shows up could indicate where his heart is.

The NCAA mandated recruiting dead period ends ends on July 24. High school football practice starts in many places across the Southeast in the first week of August. College football practices start a week or two later.

That leaves exactly one weekend for colleges to thread the needle and get prospects back on their campuses for a football camp, showcase, or event before football really starts.

And so almost every major program is trying to do just that.

Florida has its “Friday Night Lights” event on July 27, and Texas has its “Stars at Night” showcase the same night.

On July 28, Florida State has “Saturday Night Live”, Miami has its “Paradise Camp”, Georgia is having an event in which it will reveal its new locker rooms and facilities to top recruits, and Alabama is having a BBQ. Penn State has its famous “Lasch Bash”.

With all of these events going on simultaneously we’re going to get a great feel for where some recruitments really stand. Teams have had weeks on end to do nothing but recruit these players to their event. They’ve made custom invitations and hundreds of phone calls.

If a committed prospect shows up at a different school, is there reason to question his commitment? If an uncommitted prospect chooses one event over two others, is that school his leader?

Florida may have timed its event the best of all, given that it is possible to attend UF’s Friday event and still make it to the Saturday event in Miami, Tallahassee, Athens, or Tuscaloosa.

And there are some players for whom many of these teams are battling. Like Keon Zipperer, for instance. The Florida four-star tight end told me he’d probably end up at Georgia’s event, which can’t make Miami, Florida, or Alabama all that happy.

Florida State will be getting a visit from the No. 1 player in the country, Kayvon Thibodeaux. Miami is getting Georgia receiver commitment Jadon Haselwood down for its camp.

In recruiting, we always say follow the visits. That will be a very useful axiom two weeks from now.

Many teams have unsuccessfully tried to keep their events quiet.

The reason? Exclusivity. Teams want these events to be exclusively elite prospects, who if they wanted to commit, would be accepted into the class. This allows the events to be more about recruiting than evaluation, though some evaluation will certainly take place.

What the schools want to avoid is high school coaches finding out about the events, and then taking a busload of their prospects who are not elite players up and trying to participate, as often happens in the larger June camps.

Who will do the best job getting kids to campus? We’ll find out in very late August.

Quickly

-Virginia Tech announced the dismissal of Mook Reynolds, a veteran defender. In his place will likely be Devon Hunter, a former elite recruit now in his second season.

-Alabama booted former mega-prospect VanDarius Cowan for a variety of reasons, including a recent arrest. Cowan is a special physical talent. If he gets out of his own way, he could make big time NFL money some day.

-This is an interesting look at where NC State’s talent comes from.

-You won’t believe it, but Alabama got even more top commits this weekend.

-Ohio State picked up a top linebacker prospect.