It’s just over one month until the 2016 season begins and just over six months until the recruiting class of 2017 can sign their National Letters of Intent. With fierce recruiting battles underway for the top recruits in the country, it’s a good time to get to know the players who appear poised to become college football stars in the near future. So far, we’ve analyzed Najee Harris, Dylan Moses, DeAngelo Gibbs, Devon Hunter, Foster Sarrell, Tedarrell Slaton, Austin Jackson, Trey Smith, Stephen Carr, Darnay Holmes and Stanford Samuels III, some of the top-rated recruits in the class of 2017, according to Scout.com. This week, it’s Cam Akers, the No. 4 player in the class.
Name: Cam Akers
Rank: No. 4 overall, No. 2 running back
Height/Weight: 5'11”/212 lbs
High School: Clinton (Miss.) High
Commitment status: Uncommitted
Scouting evaluation (from Scout.com)
Akers is a strong, physical back who can run through tackles. He sticks his foot in the ground and gets down hill. Not elite top-end speed, but quick, explosive and fast enough. Can run inside or on the perimeter with his size and skill-set. Has the ability to play in different schemes but made more for a pro-style offense. Can catch the ball out of the backfield and is very productive.
Akers’s recruiting stock just keeps rising. After earning a five-star rating from Scout.com this spring, he rose into the top five following an impressive showing at The Opening. The high school quarterback projects as a running back in college but lined up in the backfield, in the slot and at wideout at The Opening, scoring from each position. He also showed off what a complete back he is, running a 4.41-second 40-yard dash.
Akers arrived at The Opening in Florida State pants, but don’t read too much into that; he’s previously been seen in an Ohio State hat, Georgia gloves and Tennessee wristbands. He committed to Alabama in August 2015 but decommitted in March. Now Akers has a top 10 of Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Cal, Alabama, Florida State, Auburn and Ohio State and plans to trim that list to six or seven schools soon.
He has been busy this summer, taking unofficial visits to Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida State, Georgia and Auburn, and he chatted with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh at a satellite camp in Mississippi in June. “I came out here so I could personally meet coach Jim Harbaugh,” Akers told Scout.com. “That’s really why I came.” Akers said he’s considering taking an official visit to Michigan this fall.
The Clinton, Miss., native takes a lot of pride in his home state but claims that doesn’t necessarily give Ole Miss an edge despite his frequent visits to Oxford. Until he narrows down his list from 10, Akers isn’t revealing much about any leaders. He plans to announce his decision in December and enroll early at whichever school he signs with.
How he fits
Akers is the type of prospect who will arrive on campus immediately prepared to contribute on the field. He has the size to make the leap to the college level and speed and skills to be successful. He’ll be particularly useful catching passes out of the backfield.
Given his college-ready ability, it’s no surprise Akers hopes to get on the field right away. That makes a school like Tennessee—where running backs Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara are both likely to leave for the NFL after this season—a tantalizing opportunity. “They want me to take the throne when they leave,” Akers told Scout.com.