Quarterback is the most important position in football. Most college programs want to carry four on scholarship, which means most schools will sign a QB every year.
Typically, only about 20 or 25 are rated four- or five-stars, so demand for elite QBs far outpaces supply. And teams usually do not move on from their No. 1 targets to accept a commitment from another until it is clear that they are out of the running for their first choice. Lesser-rated recruits know this.
Given that teams rarely rotate quarterbacks, a top QB will often want to reserve his spot with the school of his choice. QB is also the noted position of leadership, so a committed QB often become a class’ lead recruiter.
Every year, we track the dominoes as they fall. QB1 picks school A, so School B moves on to QB2 as School C moves on to QB3. But then QB1 decommits from School A, and the cycle is thrown into chaos.
It's like securing a date for prom. Schools must properly assess a prospect's interest, and prospects must not wait too long for offers that never come. Overplaying one’s hand can be as bad as underplaying it.
Winter 2015: The first dominoes
Sometimes, QBs commit so early that the recruiting industry has not caught up to them. Most schools are not going to accept commitments four years in advance, unless they are confident the player will be a special talent.
This cycle, it starts in Nov. 2015, more than two years ahead of Signing Day.
North Carolina has started the 2018 cycle by adding James Foster, of Montgomery (Ala.). Foster has just finished his sophomore season and is not yet rated.
Christmas comes early for Chris Petersen. The Washington Huskies finish at 7-6, and they land Jacob Sirmon of Bothell (Wa.). This is a celebrated get for the Huskies after missing local five-stars Max Browne and Jacob Eason in previous years.
And Auburn has added Joey Gatewood, a massive 6’5, 230-pound prospect. Gatewood’s throwing is a work in progress, but his size and athleticism are a good fit for the Tigers’ spread-option attack.
February 2016: USC makes its move
Ten weeks after Washington got its man, USC lands QB Matt Corral, of Westlake Village (Calif.), beating UCLA and Texas A&M. Corral is considered a five-star QB, and some believe he could be the best in the country.
May 2016: Notre Dame strikes gold
Notre Dame has gone to the historic land of QBs, Western Pennsylvania. Phil Jurkovec, of Gibsonia (Pa.) is rated as the No. 1 dual-threat in the country, a five-star, and the No. 9 overall player. A May visit to South Bend sealed the deal, so Alabama, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Tennessee, Penn State, UCLA, and Pitt will look at other options.
Jurkovec is an an excellent athlete on the gridiron and basketball court, and should have time to develop at Notre Dame behind former blue-chip QBs DeShone Kizer and Brandon Wimbush. Urban Meyer had been personally recruiting him, but will now likely have to turn the heat up on Georgia QB Emory Jones. Jurkovec has great size, at 6’5, 200 pounds at the end of his sophomore season.
A lot of schools are still figuring out who to offer, which is fine, considering the class of 2018 will not sign for another 20 months.
June 2016: Kentucky lands a QB with interest from big programs
The summer is always a popular time for quarterbacks to commit, as they attend camps at schools and work with potential future position coaches. Many schools will not accept a commitment unless the player comes to camp.
Kentucky adds Jarren Williams over offers from USF, Colorado, WVU, and Houston. Out of Lawrenceville (Ga.), Williams has good size at 6’3, 205, and excellent athleticism. Getting Williams’ commitment after losing 2017 QB Mac Jones to Alabama reduces the sting.
It’s 592 days until National Signing Day 2018, but Kentucky fans are optimistic about holding onto Williams. Florida State, Florida, and other top schools want him to come to camps, where he could potentially earn committable offers. But Kentucky isn’t waiting. This could also signal a shift in Kentucky’s offense toward using more quarterback mobility than in a typical air raid attack.
July 2016: Stanford and Ohio State strike in the Southeast
Wake Forest gets a big pledge from three-star Sam Hartman, the No. 17 pro-style QB for 2018. There is always risk that things could change if bigger schools come along.
Gunnar Holmberg of Wake Forect (NC) commits to Duke, his only FBS offer. We’ll see if there are any other that come his way. Duke is not a premiere program, but a Duke offer comes from David Cutcliffe, whose eye for QBs is well-respected.
Jack West, a four-star from Saraland, Ala. commits to Stanford over some big-time offers from Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, and Louisville.
West, who told SB Nation during the Under Armour Future 50 event that his favorite quarterback growing up was AJ McCarron, is an Alabama kid. But Alabama’s 2017 class has two quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones, in addition to a potential true-freshman starter, Jalen Hurts, and other QBs on scholarship.
The path to playing at Stanford is more clear. Stanford has now landed commitments from Southeastern QBs in consecutive classes, with West joining 2017 QB Davis Mills of Atlanta.
It’s not clear who Alabama will pursue, but the Southeast is loaded in 2018.
Arkansas landing Connor Noland is big for Bret Bielema, keeping the top-10 QB in-state. He picked the Razorbacks over out-of-state offers including Penn State, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss. Noland, from Greenwood, has committed to play both baseball and football.
After missing on Jurkovec, Ohio State rebounds as Emory Jones, 2018’s No. 2 dual-threat, commits to Ohio State over Tennessee and Georgia after attending a Buckeye camp. We’ll see if Jones, from Franklin, Ga., will keep his commitment to play away from home.
Tennessee and Georgia are still in play for another big-time QB from north of Atlanta by the name of Trevor Lawrence — who is regarded by many as the best player in the country overall.
August 2016: Oklahoma goes to Cali
Oklahoma lands the nation’s No. 5 pro style QB in Cameron Rising, though he held offers from Michigan, LSU, UCLA, and Alabama. The Sooners make Rising, a native of Newbury Park, Calif. feel at home and a true priority.
Three-star Dejuan Ellis commits to Virginia Tech over Maryland. He isn’t yet ranked, but he’s been a known recruit since he was in middle school.
Cade Fortin commits to Texas A&M over Louisville, Oklahoma State, UNC, and West Virginia. Oklahoma State still has options like Tanner Mordecai, Casey Thompson, and Spencer Sanders. Considering Fortin’s from Suwannee, Ga., his recruitment could become interesting if Georgia starts recruiting him hard. But at this point, Georgia has targets higher.
And Colson Yankoff, of Couer d’Alene (Idaho), picks Oregon over Utah, Duke, and Washington State, among others. The four-star has good size and is athletic, but the competition he faces in Idaho is rather suspect.
Thirteen of 65 Power 5 schools have secured a QB commitment, more than a year and a half before Signing Day 2018.
Sept. 2016: Teams continue to evaluate options as high school and college seasons begin
Arizona’s first commitment comes from quarterback Jamarye Joiner, a local who announced shortly after he was offered.
Oct. and Nov. 2016: Oklahoma State and Cal make moves
Oklahoma State lands four-star Spencer Sanders away from his home-state schools of Baylor and Texas Tech. It comes seven weeks after losing out on Cade Fortin to Texas A&M. Sanders, a 6’2, 190-pounder, is the No. 29 prospect out of the state and the No. 8 dual-threat in the class.
Three-star Adrian Martinez commits to Cal despite offers from Utah, Washington State, and Colorado. The No. 15 dual-threat, from Fresno, Calif, is a solid pickup.
December 2016: Penn State and Clemson pick superstars from the Peach State
Texas hires coach Tom Herman, who played his college football at Cal Lutheran University. So did Nicko Rising, the father of Oklahoma QB commit Cam Rising. Will Texas be able to get in on Rising’s recruitment?
Penn State head coach James Franklin is able to land four-star quarterback Justin Fields. The Tennessee staff recruited the Kennesaw. Ga., native hard, but the edge goes to the Big Ten champs.
Georgia is still expected to pursue Fields, depending on where things fall, as the Bulldogs wait on Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall recruit nationally.
Three-star pro-style prospect Jason Whitaker commits to Northwestern’s 2018 class over fellow Big Ten schools Wisconsin and Indiana.
Colson Yankoff’s commitment to Oregon was short-lived, lasting less than six months. After the Ducks fired head coach Mark Helfrich, Yankoff steps back. Since his June commitment, Yankoff has added offers from Tennessee and Nebraska. TCU, Baylor, North Carolina, Oregon State, Missouri, Cal, Washington, and others join after he backs off his pledge.
Shortly before Christmas, a huge domino falls, as five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 player overall, has picked Clemson. Lawrence has it all: size, arm, release, accuracy, instincts, and athleticism. While the Tigers do have a commitment from 2017 five-star QB Hunter Johnson, who is set to enroll to start the spring semester, Lawrence is viewed as a superior prospect.
In fact, Lawrence is regarded by many as more talented than any QB recruit in the class of 2017, even though Lawrence is a year younger than the class ahead of him. If Deshaun Watson turns pro, the Tigers will have a lot of options to continue his legacy. Out of Cartersville, Ga., Lawrence is a major win in the Peach State, a key stronghold for the Tigers.
Georgia is still expected to recruit Lawrence. However, this could be tricky, with Jacob Eason entrenched as the starter and 2017 four-star Jake Fromm set to enroll. It’s possible that this commitment allows Georgia to focus on flipping Jones or Fields from OSU or Penn State, respectively.
But Lawrence is the No. 1 prospect and lives just 80 miles from campus, so the Bulldogs will likely keep recruiting him. Georgia has to assess how committed Lawrence is to Clemson, and compare his commitment to those of Fields and Jones. Losing top Peach State QB Watson to Clemson in 2014 stung, and losing Lawrence would be a similar gut punch.
Another quarterback who went out-of-state is San Marcos (Calif.) four-star Jack Tuttle, who commits to Utah over Washington State, Wisconsin, and Arizona State. The Utes made Tuttle a big priority.
Who would’ve thought that Vanderbilt would end up with 2018’s No. 11 pro-style quarterback? Well, Allan Walters pledged to the Commodores. The Highstown, N.J., native picked Vandy over Rutgers, Michigan, Alabama, Louisville, Texas A&M, and West Virginia.
Three-star Colorado QB Blake Stenstrom commits to Colorado, his only offer. Strenstrom is the son of former Stanford and NFL quarterback Steve Stenstrom.
Jan.-Feb. 2017: New names emerge as Miami shows faith in an intriguing, but inconsistent talent
James Foster, who committed to North Carolina back in Nov. 2015, has decommitted. Missouri is considered the top contender.
Brennan Armstrong, a three-star from Shelby, Ohio, is the first quarterback for what will be P.J. Fleck’s first full class. Armstrong picks the Gophers over Virginia and North Carolina.
Four-star Artur Sitkowski has committed to Miami over South Carolina, UNC, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, and UCLA. Florida was considering him, but they have quarterbacks higher on the board.
This is a bit of a gamble for the Hurricanes, but one that could pay off. Sitkowski has a great frame, has a big arm, and is athletic. But many schools are playing wait-and-see with him, wanting to get him into camp this summer and see how he does this fall.
The reason? Sitkowski, who announced his transfer to powerhouse IMG Academy from New Jersey in December, had a rough junior season. He threw for just 1,190 yards and had five touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Michigan State lands three-star Theo Day roughly one month after extending an offer. Day picked the Spartans over Minnesota and Western Kentucky.
Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente adds his second quarterback to his 2018 class in four-star Quincy Patterson. The Chicago, Ill. prospect picks the Hokies over Mississippi State, NC State, and Illinois. Given Dejuan Ellis’ pledge to Virginia Tech, we’ll see if both end up signing with the Hokies.
A major name is emerging on the West Coast: Dorian Thompson-Robinson. From Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, he hasn’t been a starter, but was the backup to star 2017 QB Tate Martell, who signed with Ohio State.
“DTR” tells SB Nation that he knows Michigan and UCLA will make his final group, whenever he pares it down. He is also excited about a recent Florida State offer.
March-April 2017: Committed stars are visiting other schools?
Justin Fields, whose Penn State commitment is one reason the Nittany Lions’ 2018 class is rated so highly, impresses in the Nike Regional Camp in Orlando.
Quarterback Justin Fields seems like he’ll be one of the darlings of recruiting. He drew rave reviews at Nike’s regional recruiting camp last weekend in Orlando, where he measured in at 6’3 and ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash.
Fields, who is also a baseball star, is seeing his stock rocket, and is now considered the No. 1 dual-threat and the No. 2 overall QB.
While Fields maintains he is committed to Penn State, other schools, including Florida and Florida State, are turning up the heat on the Southern prospect.
Jack Tuttle looks great at the Los Angeles Nike Opening Regional, leaving many believing that the Utes got the jump on Pac-12 rivals by going all-in to secure his commitment early.
Four-star Colson Yankoff, the former Oregon commit, picks Washington despite Chris Peterson already having a verbal from Jacob Sirmon. We’ll see if both end up signing with UW, but our guess would be that one of them wavers. With Yankoff off the market, Nebraska, TCU, and Cal have to turn to other options.
Wyatt Rector, a three-star out of Leesburg, Fla., commits to Virginia, his only listed offer. Rector reportedly was told by UVA coaches that he shared physical characteristics of former 6,000-yard BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, whom the staff coached in Provo.
Another three-star that commits to his first offer is Coran Taylor, from Peoria, Ill, who jumps on Illinois. He led his Periora team to a Class 5A State Championship.
NC State’s Devin Leary is the first quarterback for the Wolfpack’s class. He committed over West Virginia, Wake Forest, and Maryland. The four-star from Sicklerville, N.J. tells 247Sports that head coach Dave Doeren’s staff won him over.
The nation’s No. 13 dual-threat, four-star Tyler DeSue, commits to Maryland over UCF and NC State. With Leary committing to NC State, UCF recruited DeSue hard. Instead, his verbal is to the Terps, who could have their second blue-chip QB signee in two years.
One of new Texas coach Tom Herman’s biggest commits comes from four-star Casey Thompson, who has committed to the Longhorns. While Thompson did have big offers like Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Penn State, it’s unclear how many would still have accepted his commitment, given that they all have taken a QB. North Carolina was pursuing him strongly.
Thompson is actually an OU legacy; his father, Charles, played quarterback. But the nation’s No. 7 dual-threat is a great fit for Herman’s offense.
Emory Jones, from just outside Atlanta, maintains he is “110 percent” committed to Ohio State. But he tells SB Nation that he plans to visit Florida, Florida State, and Alabama. He also took a secret visit to Georgia, the news of which he was hoping would not get out.
"I did visit Georgia, but it wasn't supposed to get out," Jones said. "I went on a Friday and stayed until Sunday. I just wanted to hang out and talk some football with Coach [Jim] Chaney and chill with some of the players and Coach [kirby] Smart."
Jones visiting schools much closer to his home cannot have the Buckeyes feeling great, but that he made a return visit to Columbus in April probably helps.
Justin Fields visits Tallahassee in April after his 7v7 team played a tournament there. The Seminoles and Gators are turning up the heat on the Penn State commit, but the Georgia native made sure to visit Penn State for its spring game and maintains that he is committed.
Three-star James Foster commits to Missouri over fellow SEC offers from Tennessee and Georgia. Foster, a native of Montgomery, Ala., was Barry Odom top quarterback target. Foster was committed to UNC from Nov. 2015 until his decommitment late last year.
Having missed out on several targets, Tennessee has landed QB Michael Penix, of Tampa Bay. Penix is an intriguing lefty who may have become an option for in-state schools. Miami already has a commitment, and Florida and Florida State have higher priorities.
Remember how we noted a few months ago that Oklahoma QB commit Cameron Rising’s dad played at Cal Lutheran just a few years apart from Texas coach Tom Herman? Well, the four-star Newberry Park (Calif.) QB has flipped his commitment to Texas.
“I wanted to be sure so I visited more schools and even returned to Oklahoma for their spring game. Again, Oklahoma came out on top. AND THEN I WENT TO TEXAS and got that feeling Coach Smith told me about. I could feel the energy throughout the entire program — the coaches, players, recruits and fans. I want to be a part of building something special, something historic and know that Texas is the place for me.”
This is a major strike in the rivalry, even if Rising might not be as good of a fit for Herman’s offense as fellow UT commit Casey Thompson. But Texas only has two scholarship quarterbacks as of April 2017, so getting to four could help cement the position.
Where does Oklahoma turn? Well, the Sooners are trying to flip Texas’ other QB commit, Casey Thompson!
“I’ve been knowing,” Thompson said of Rising’s commitment and whether or not it impacts his pledge to Texas. “Me and the [Texas] coaches have a very good relationship. I knew they planned to take 2 from the jump. Their current QB room is thin!”
Thompson is, after all, an Oklahoma legacy.
In addition, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley is now following Oklahoma State commit Spencer Sanders on Twitter, though Oklahoma is yet to offer.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson has committed to UCLA over his other finalist, Michigan.
His commitment is well-timed for Jim Mora’s Bruins. They are likely to lose rising junior Josh Rosen to the NFL draft after this season, leaving a hole that’ll need to be filled. Thompson-Robinson will be arriving in Los Angeles just as a spot opens up. He could torment Pac-12 defenses for several years.
Previewing the spring and summer
Where does Michigan turn? Word in the industry is that the Wolverines are willing to accept a commit from Orlando (Fla.) QB Joe Milton, who has been high on Florida and Georgia. Milton has recently visited all three, plus Florida State, which has declined to offer.
Milton is a fascinating prospect, with one of the strongest arms you will ever see, but also major questions about consistency and accuracy.
If Milton can learn to change the speed and arc on his throws to fit the situation and read defenses more quickly, he could be a beast at the college level. But with two consecutive seasons at the high school level under 50 percent completions (46 percent as a junior), that is not a guarantee.
The Wolverines are also involved with Chanler (Ariz.)’s Tyler Shough, a prospect whose stock has skyrocketed thanks to the camp and 7v7 circuits.
Kentucky held Jarren Williams’ commitment for 10 months. They couldn’t hold him for the 20 months between June 2016 and National Signing Day. The Lawrenceville (Ga.) prospect is being pursued by Alabama, Florida, and Florida State, though it is believed the bigger schools want him to come to camp and throw over the summer before accepting a commitment. The decommitment does not come as a surprise, as Williams has visited many schools in April.
And Cal lost its commitment from Adrian Martinez, who is now widely expected to pick Tennessee, which already has a quarterback but may be looking to take two.
As of April 25, 15 of the current top 20 quarterbacks are off the board.
That means if schools want to get a super elite prospect, they will likely need to flip someone like Jones or Fields.
Four-star North Charleston (SC) prospect Dakereon Joyner holds a lot of offers, but only some schools want him as a QB, something he wants to be. Clemson wants him as an athlete. But South Carolina and NC State have offered him to play QB.
Lefty three-star Cammon Cooper is one to watch. Out of Lehi (Utah), Cooper has recently added offers from Georgia and Tennessee and is high on Washington State and Arizona State, he told SB Nation.
Corona (Calif.)’s Tanner Mckee is a large pro-style passer to watch. He has made recent visits to Georgia and Duke, picking up offers.
It looks like a battle between LSU and TCU for Bossier City (La.)’s Justin Rogers. Rogers is an intriguing option who keeps getting better.
Mississippi State looks to be sitting pretty for Sachse (Texas) QB Jalen Mayden. Mayden plans to commit on May 23, and Mississippi State would seem like a fit, as the Bulldogs ask their QBs to run a lot while developing passing skills at their own pace.
Remember, though, that despite quarterback options drying up, there are still nine months until Signing Day.
The evaluation period is just beginning, during which coaches hit the road to visit prospects at their schools during spring practice.
New offers fly out during this period, as do offers to attend summer camps. New prospects emerging and top recruits flipping will make this a fascinating race, and we’ll be updating this diary as often as news breaks.
May 2017 is for a Michigan man
Shortly after returning from its trip to Italy, Michigan indeed landed Milton, an intriguing prospect discussed thoroughly in the March-April section, above. Georgia is still involved with McKee, Fields, and Emory Jones. Florida and Florida State are involved with Fields and Williams, the former Kentucky commit, as is Georgia as of early May. Florida State has also offered Tyler Shough (discussed above).
Wisconsin adds Chase Wolf, and Boston College adds Matt Valeccee.
And industry chatter now suggests that Martinez, the recent Cal decommitment, could be headed to Oklahoma, not Tennessee. But that chatter turns out to be wrong, as Martinez commits to Tennessee just a few days later.
Pitt has also added QB Nick Patti, of Montvale (NJ). And Wisconsin pulled the offer of committed QB Ben Bryant, who was tweeting about his recent offer from Georgia. Because schools cannot comment on unsigned prospects, we do not know both sides of the Bryant story
And Jarren Williams, who decommitted from Kentucky in May, has recommitted. The situation with the bigger offers on the table, like Alabama, Florida, and Florida State, remains unchanged — they want him to throw at their camp before considering taking a commitment.
Mississippi State beats out Baylor, Nebraska and notable others to land Jalen Mayden, a dual-threat passer from Texas. Baylor will pursue Tanner Mordecai, of Texas, and Gerry Bohanon, of Arkansas.
And interestingly, after offers from Florida State and UNC, Tulsa lost QB commitment Jace Ruder, who decommitted. With big offers coming in for the Norton (KS) prospect, there may be a major sleeper in the town of less than 3,000 people.
TCU has landed Justin Rogers, the No. 3 prospect out of Louisiana. It’s a huge pick-up for the Horned Frogs, who will need Rogers by the time he steps on campus in Fort Worth.
You’ve got Kenny Hill and Shawn Robinson, but behind them are Grayson Muehlstein and walk-on Jordan Kitna (along with a few other walk-ons). By the time Rogers gets to campus Hill will be gone, and Robinson will most likely be the starter. Similar to this season, where Robinson enrolled early and was bumped to No. 2 on the depth chart this spring, Rogers will have a good chance, as an early enrollee himself, to jump up the depth chart in spring ball to at least No. 2.
Oklahoma has landed three-star quarterback Tanner Mordecai, who makes for a a solid back-up plan to replace the loss of Cameron Rising.
June brings camp season and movement
The Elite 11 Finals always provide an excellent chance to compare top QBs against one another. But they also bring rumor and resulting drama.
The big bombshell to drop, just shortly after the Finals concluded, is Justin Fields decommitting from Penn State. The move was not unexpected, but was still followed with great interest. The top four teams emerging seem to be Auburn, Florida, Florida State, and Georgia, in no specific order.
Auburn has the Cam Newton connection, as Fields idolizes the former Tigers QB and plays on his 7v7 team, which is sponsored by Under Armour, as is Auburn. If 7v7 was like AAU in basketball recruiting, the apparel company connection might be seen as the most important piece in this recruitment. But football is different, so we’ll wait to see if it matters. Auburn also has a wide open QB room after transfer QB Jarrett Stidham leaves in a year or two.
Florida, having just accepted a transfer from QB Malik Zaire may offer the most immediate playing time, especially if class of 2016 QB Feleipe Franks is not developing as fast as UF would like. And Fields is a better prospect at the same age than Franks.
Florida State has Jimbo Fisher, the coach among the four schools with the clear best track record for developing quarterbacks, and has some room given that 2015 signee De’Andre Johnson and 2016 signee Malik Henry are no longer with the program.
And Georgia is the in-state school, which cannot be ignored, but it has signed five-star QBs in back-to-back years, so playing time might be the toughest in Athens. His sister has also committed to play softball for Georgia.
Fields took his time in making the decision to decommit, so it’s a good bet that he will take some visits before making a new commitment, though I’d expect it before the end of summer.
Where will Penn State turn after losing Fields? The two obvious candidates are NC State commit Devin Leary, of New Jersey, and Virginia Tech commit Quincy Patterson, of Chicago. New Jersey is a traditional stronghold for Penn State.
What about Alabama? Folks with whom I spoke at Elite 11 believe Alabama is trying to flip USC commit Matt Corral and Utah commit Jake Tuttle. The key to getting any West Coast kid to leave California and come to the deep South is to get him on campus for multiple visits.
And keep an eye on Oregon with Colson Yankoff. Yes, the Yankoff who decommitted from the Ducks and flipped to Washington after Mark Helfrich was fired. Oregon is still pursuing him aggressively.
Louisville has added an intriguing player in Jordan Travis, of Palm Beach (Fla.). Travis was starting to pick up interest from some more Power 5 schools.
North Carolina has received a commitment from Tyler Shough. He verballed to the heels over Michigan. The four-star is the No. 10 pro-style QB in the country.
Matt Corral has decommitted from USC, and the five-star is officially on the market. It’ll be interesting to see which schools will go after the Cali native in the coming months, and if the rumors about Southeastern QBs showing increased interest are true.
Corral and fellow five-star Justin Fields spoke at The Opening Finals about similar schools that are recruiting the two, including Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, and Florida State. The two have upcoming visits to the schools on the horizon, which should clear things up in terms of where they end up. Both also said that the two having the same offers doesn’t bother them, as well.
July sees new commits, visits
Justin Fields has made good on his word from The Opening, visiting all of his top schools since returning home. His most recent visits were to Florida State, and Florida.
The Fields race is now down to Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, and potentially USC, as the Florida Gators took a commitment from Matt Corral, a fellow five-star who was down to Georgia and Florida. Most seem to be picking Georgia or FSU as the landing spot for fields.
Florida desperately needs a good quarterback, so it’s a smart move to take Corral and not wait around to see what Fields does, as Georgia is believed to be doing. Georgia has the luxury of doing so after signing elite prospects in Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm in back-to-back years.
Meanwhile, the recruiting world waits to see if Fields will commit before his senior season begins, or if he will wait to take some official visits.
A slow August and September
Given the start of fall camp for both high schools and colleges, few visits are being taken, nor are commitments being given.
- Kentucky QB commit Jarren Williams is still solidly committed to the Wildcats, but is still listening to LSU and South Carolina.
- Stanford and Alabama are looking like top options for QB Tanner McKee, who will take a Mormon mission for two years before enrolling.
- Justin Fields has still not decided on his college choice, as we speculated that he would not before his senior season.
October: The biggest Domino falls
In early October, Georgia landed Justin Fields, the most coveted recruit in the country. The momentum built by Kirby Smart’s program, and distance from home helped Georgia get his pledge. Georgia is now absolutely loaded at the QB position, with three five-star types either on campus or committed. It will be interesting to see how Georgia handles Fields with Jake Fromm and Jacob Eason already on campus.
Fields picked Georgia over Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, and LSU. Alabama is showing increased interest in Jarren Williams, the Kentucky commitment. Ohio State is as well, according to Williams, despite having a commitment from Emory Jones.
Oregon also took advantage of distance, program momentum, and a poor start by UNC to flip Tyler Shough, an Arizona native, to the Ducks.
At the end of the month, Missouri lost a verbal commitment from James Foster, whom had been committed since April. Increased interest from LSU seems to have been a major reason for the move by the Montgomery (Ala.) star, and Foster plans to visit the Tigers on November 11.
November: Alabama and Ohio State will topple a few more tiles
November has been quite busy for QB recruiting.
Artur Sitkowski, a New Jersey native who plays for IMG Academy in Bradenton (Fla.) switched his commitment from Miami to Rutgers. This would seem like a major coup for Rutgers, but Miami fans don’t seem all that concerned considering Sitkowski has struggled this year at IMG Academy. If Rutgers can get him to translate his physical tools into production, that will be a big win for the Scarlet Knights.
The bigger news, however, comes from some reading of the tea leaves in Tuscaloosa and Columbus.
Emory Jones, a long-time Ohio State commitment, is now widely expected to flip to Alabama. While Jones is not the only top QB the Tide is pursuing (see also: Tanner McKee), he does seem like the most likely to end up in the class.
In response, Ohio State has offered Jarren Williams, who is currently committed to Kentucky. Williams has a great relationship with Kentucky, but the Buckeyes and Wildcats are simply a different class of program. Miami and Auburn are also in on Williams.
One other prospect to keep an eye on: Matt Corral, the California QB who is committed to Florida. Florida is without a head coach after firing Jim McElwain, and it’s yet to be seen if Corral will fit the new Gators’ system, or if he’ll have a good relationship with the new staff.
After visiting Miami for the win over Notre Dame, Williams decommitted from the Wildcats. This will be an extremely interesting recruitment to watch down the stretch.
December brings big changes
December saw many changes to the quarterback recruiting landscape.
After decommitting from Kentucky, Jarren Williams flipped to Miami.
Following the hire of Dan Mullen, Matt Corral flipped from Florida to Ole Miss, which seems like a better scheme fit since Mullen’s offenses require the QB to run a lot.
Ohio State accepted a commitment from Texas QB Matthew Baldwin, perhaps because it’s aware of the chance it loses Emory Jones to Alabama, Florida, or Florida State. Jones has visited all three schools in recent weeks.
And Justin Fields confirmed he will sign in the new Early Signing Period, which means Georgia is a lock to keep him.
All rankings via the 247Sports Composite at time of writing unless otherwise specified.