Week 7 of the college football season has another interesting Saturday slate and with high school football all but wrapped up nationally, checking in on top recruits hitting the road is no small task.
To the surprise of no one, the marquee matchups on the field often reflect the most critical prospect visits and Saturday is no different. The two hottest visit destinations for top talent line up with the only two ranked vs. ranked contests on the slate.
Top-ranked Georgia is hosting No. 11 Kentucky while No. 25 Texas welcomes unbeaten and No. 12 Oklahoma State to town. Kirby Smart and Steve Sarkisian, respectively, will have big names in town but don't sleep on the matchup in Knoxville between Lane Kiffin's Ole Miss Rebels and his old program Tennessee. The Vols have a chance to make major moves on and off the field.
SI All-American looks at the 10 biggest visits expected around the country Saturday.
Travis Hunter - Georgia
The nation's No. 1 recruit is now confirmed to be in Sanford Stadium for the second visit to Athens in three weeks despite considerable noise he may or may not be in town. Hunter continues to make headlines because of his loyalty to Florida State despite its on-field struggles, even with Georgia pressing to keep him in-state and getting him on campus for the Arkansas domination. He continues to show no waver in the status of the pledge, even after making visits. But with Georgia's reputation, there will be some unease in Tallahassee until he signs on the dotted line. The Early Signing Period opens December 15.
Walter Nolen - Tennessee
The highest-ranked uncommitted recruit nationally, Walter Nolen draws headlines no matter which campus he ends up checking out. Fresh off of a trip to College Station to see Texas A&M, which has surged up the top-flight defensive lineman's list, it will be critical for Josh Heupel and his staff to reaffirm its positioning with Nolen and his family. The senior's younger brother and parents are all expected to make the short trip to Knoxville as UT battles A&M, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and others for one of the most disruptive prospects at the position in some time. It's a sell out at Rocky Top and if there was any curiosity if the 'love' was coming from Vol faithful, check out the UT students artwork on Friday.
Arch Manning (2023) - Texas
Do we need to continue introducing the junior quarterback? Any time the SEC and NFL legacy visits any program it is major news and UT has been at the forefront of the discussion with the New Orleans native for some time. Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian and quarterback coach AJ Milwee watched Manning in person on Thursday night and the family made it over to Austin on Friday for a multi-day trip to town. It goes without saying that there is chief competition for arguably the top 2023 quarterback in the land, with trips to Alabama, Clemson and Ole Miss still to come this fall. Georgia already got him on campus and LSU remains in the hunt, too, in what will be the most talked about recruitment in some time when all is said and done.
Denver Harris - LSU
The nation's top cornerback recruit has had a who's who list of suitors when it comes to defensive back reputation, and the Tigers get him in town for the matchup with Florida. Harris took trips to Alabama, LSU and Texas in June and those programs figure to be battling it out for the Houston (Texas) North Shore star, so any return trips for games are big in the recruitment. LSU, of course, has chatter around the future of its coaching staff, but while Ed Orgeron is still in charge he will continue to swing for the fences and ace recruiter and position coach Corey Raymond is still in town at last check. Fellow elite defender and SI99 defensive line recruit Anthony Lucas is expected in Baton Rouge, too.
Marvin Jones - Georgia
The nation's No. 3 edge rusher has been busy of late, taking trips to Oklahoma and Florida State, with Alabama and Ohio State still on the fall docket, but who could deny Georgia for any top prospect at this point? The Bulldogs weren't primary contenders for the FSU legacy earlier in his recruitment but Jones has repeatedly said he's in no rush to make a final call, great news for the Bulldog pitch as it continues to display the top program and defense in the country. The program is expected to lose great talent up front after the 2021 season so the pitch all but makes itself to one of the nation's most physically-gifted pass rushers. The longer Jones waits to make a commitment, the better for UGA, we suspect.
Evan Stewart - Texas
The top 15 overall recruit has made headlines for years in the recruiting game, including when he made his original commitment to Texas back in February. The speedy in-state wide receiver is back on the market but the Longhorns remain in the hunt and like Manning, Stewart has already been in town this weekend for some time. The senior has extra time on his hands having opted out of the remainder of the 2021 season so his recruitment will be center stage as UT battles Alabama, LSU and Florida for one of America's best two-sport stars.
Luther Burden - Georgia
How's this for timing? Burden is down to three programs with a decision coming on Wednesday and the Bulldogs will get the last visit from the No. 2 wide receiver recruit. Burden was at Missouri, the local program, of late as well but the timeline of spending an official visit weekend at UGA for what should be a top 10 game has to push the recruitment in their favor just ahead of the commitment. Alabama is the third finalist and it's tough to count out the program for any recruit, but the ball appears to be in Georgia's court if it can close -- which is has done better than just about any program over the last half decade.
Lebbeus Overton (2023) - Tennessee
To make this list as a junior speaks to the type of prospect and pass rusher the Peach State native is. Overton has a gaudy offer list and a bevy of blue bloods after his commitment, so recent trips to Kentucky and now Tennessee could go a long way if any surprise programs are going to remain in the hunt for the premiere prospect. He has ties to Alabama, of course isn't far from Georgia and he's already been to Oklahoma and Texas A&M this fall.
Khamauri Rogers - Mississippi State
A sneaky big visit in Starkville is that of the state's top prospect and SI99 cornerback Khamauri Rogers. The lengthy cornerback, who is beginning his ACL rehab while finalizing his recruitment, remains committed to Miami and plans on being a Hurricane as things currently stand. But of course the 2-3 start in Coral Gables has him in contact with a trio of SEC programs, MSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee, just in case. Despite growing up an Ole Miss fan, it will be MSU who has Rogers on campus most down the stretch. The Alabama game will be his second game visit in Starkville and he has yet to take his official visit to the in-state school, too, so don't forget to track the visits if and when there is a move made on Miami's staff.
Earnest Greene - Texas
The Sarkisian rebuild of the Texas brand has a lot of potential flash in it with Manning and Stewart types on the target list, but the coach would be the first to tell you he has to hit in the trenches before any flash can translate on Saturdays. Greene is the top offensive line talent from the state of California, prepping at Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, and he has the ability to play across the front given the scheme. It's part of the reason why UT is in a dog fight with Ohio State and Georgia, among others, to reel in one of the top remaining offensive line recruits in the class of 2022. Greene is clearly on board with bolting the home state to play his college ball and while others draw bigger headlines, a win in this recruitment would validate Sarkisian and UT's standing as a recruiting power regardless of position.