9 big-time 2016 recruits who could flip their commitments by Signing Day
What does a verbal commitment mean in college football recruiting? For most teams and coaches, a pledge from a highly touted recruit can spark a sense of comfort, if only temporarily. But nothing truly matters until a player signs on the dotted line. And with only a few days remaining until National Signing Day, coaches all over the country find themselves delivering last-minute sales pitches—even to committed prospects.
So who has a chance to flip their commitment? SI.com offers nine players, listed alphabetically, who could surprise with a late change in their college decisions on or before Signing Day.
Tyrie Cleveland, committed to Houston
Cleveland’s commitment to Houston in December marked a huge get for head coach Tom Herman. But on Jan. 19 the No. 2 wide receiver in the class of 2016 tweeted that he would “make his college decision in less than two weeks.” That placed Cleveland’s earlier pledge to the Cougars on much shakier ground. The 6’3”, 190-pound wideout from Westfield High in Houston has now taken visits to Arkansas and TCU and will venture to Florida for his final visit. Right now the Gators are the team to watch.
Jamel Cook, committed to Florida State
Cook has been committed to the Seminoles for a year, but his recruitment hasn’t stopped. According to the Palm Beach Post, the Miami native and four-star safety visited Tallahassee last weekend but plans to travel to USC this week. He will then decide between Florida State and Trojans on Signing Day. That means the No. 3 safety in the class of 2016 might not be a lock for the ‘Noles after all.
Erick Fowler, committed to LSU
Fowler, a four-star defensive end prospect out of Manor, Texas, committed to the Tigers last summer. But on Jan. 8 he told the Austin American-Statesman that his family hoped he’d change course and flip to Texas. The Longhorns have made a late push for the 6’1”, 235-pound prospect, as have Oklahoma and Oregon. Fowler reportedly visited Texas on Jan. 15 and LSU last weekend. The Tigers might have to put in extra work to solidify his commitment.
Patrick Hudson, committed to Baylor
The four-star offensive lineman from Silsbee, Texas, is a longtime Baylor commit, but he could find himself landing at another school in the Lone Star State. Earlier this month Hudson took an official visit to Texas that reportedly lasted three days. He also visited Georgia last weekend and is slated to travel to Arkansas before Signing Day. Hudson, a 6’5”, 320-pound offensive guard, would be a huge get for Longhorns coach Charlie Strong, especially since it would double as a blow to Art Briles’s class at Baylor.
Mark Jackson, committed to Texas A&M
Jackson, a four-star defensive end out of Cibolo, Texas, has given Charlie Strong a lot of love lately. Jackson visited Texas on Jan. 15 and then made an unofficial stop in Austin last weekend, one day before heading to College Station for his official visit with the Aggies. Oklahoma gets Jackson’s final official visit this week, meaning Texas A&M had better hope it left a lasting impression on the prospect.
D'Vaughn Pennamon, committed to Ole Miss
Pennamon, a four-star running back from Manvel, Texas, took official visits earlier this month to both Texas A&M and Alabama and told AL.com he was treated like a “high priority” by the Crimson Tide. The Rebels get the last shot at securing the 5’11”, 200-pound back’s signature: He heads to Oxford for his final official visit this weekend.
Andrew Pryts, committed to Penn State
Pryts is a Penn State legacy—his father, Ed, played linebacker for the program—and committed to the Nittany Lions in August. However, he hasn’t let his family history or his pledge get in the way of his recruitment. Pryts took an official visit to Stanford on Jan. 15 and earlier described the loss of Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop to Tennessee as “unfortunate” in an interview with PennLive.com. But the four-star safety reiterated that he won’t choose a school based on a coach. Still, the Cardinal are using this opportunity to fight hard for Pryts’s services.
Garrett Rand, committed to Wisconsin
A Chandler, Ariz., native, Rand is a longtime Badgers commit despite hailing from Pac-12 country. But one school on the West Coast is working hard to lure the four-star defensive tackle out of his Big Ten pledge. Rand took a visit to UCLA last week and could turn into a big piece of what is currently the Pac-12’s top class (No. 11 in the country, per Scout.com). The Bruins remains in the running for a handful of other top recruits like five-star linebacker Mique Juarez.
Mike Williams, committed to Stanford
Williams, a four-star defensive tackle from the Dallas area, has been committed to the Cardinal since July but might opt to stay closer to home. This week he tweeted the date of National Signing Day with three emojis denoting Stanford, Texas and SMU. The 6’1”, 300-pound prospect visited Texas last weekend after traveling to Stanford on Jan. 15. He also tweeted pictures with both David Shaw and Charlie Strong this week.