Harrison quarterback Justin Fields will announce his college commitment this morning as part of a pep rally at his high school.
Where will Fields end up? The majority of recruiting watchdogs on 247Sports’s crystal ball index give the nod to Georgia. But it’s far from a consenus.
Florida State was considered the favorite for some time, but Fields’s recent frequent visits to Athens seem to have a lot of writers rethinking that. Combine it with the fact that the nation’s top overall prospect was scheduled to be in Tallahassee this weekend but now appears to have cancelled that trip, and you can see why Seminole fan have some doubts.
Georgia is the home town school, and several of Fields’s close friends have either committed to Georgia or appear to be leaning toward the Red and Black. Fields’s younger sister Jaiden is committed to play softball at Georgia as part of the class of 2019. In college football recruiting relationships matter. Both the family Justin Fields was born into and the friends he’s cultivated over the past few years seem to be leading him to Athens.
If Fields doesn’t choose Georgia it will more than likely be because he decided with his head rather than his heart. Jacob Eason is a sophomore. Jake Fromm won’t redshirt and will be a sophomore next season, but would have only one year of separation from Fields. Georgia’s QB depth chart is going to be a tough nut to crack, assuming both Eason and Fromm are in Athens for the duration.
In the “modern era” of college football recruiting (roughly 1998 to now, when multiple recruiting services sprang up and the internet made recruiting info easy to find) no program has signed three five star quarterbacks in a row. Not Alabama. Not Urban Meyer’s Florida. Not FSU in Bobby Bowden’s heyday. Not Texas under Mack Brown, nor USC under Pete Carroll.
If Kirby Smart and Jim Chaney can convince Fields to join the competition behind two guys with real NFL potential it will have been a master course in persuasion. The sales pitch of course is that Fields’s combination of running and passing is something the ‘Dawgs do not currently have, and which would likely earn him some time in package sets from the beginning. From there who knows?
Fields spent this past Saturday on an official visit to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama/Ole Miss game. The Tide offered Fields some time ago but have recently appeared to turn up the heat. Nick Saban runs the most consistently successful program in college football right now, and that has to count for something. His new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has an NFL pedigree and so far has been wildly successful with sophomore QB Jalen Hurts. Honestly, if Fields wanted to come in, redshirt, and then compete for the starting job as either a redshirt freshman or sophomore (depending on how long Hurts stays), Alabama might make a lot of sense.
He also recently took an official visit to LSU, a late entrant in the sweepstakes. LSU could certainly use help at the quarterback position, and Fields would almost certainly have a shot to play immediately. But I have trouble believing he would travel that far from home to play for a school that’s having meetings about the direction of the program and where the head coach is admittedly taking the playsheet out of the offensive coordinator’s hand at times.
If Fields were seriously considering the Bayou Bengals, I haven’t seen anything that’s gone down in Baton Rouge in the past three weeks that would make him think “Oh yeah. That seals it for me.”
Finally, there’s some thought that Auburn may have a shot at landing the top quarterback in the country. He does play on Cam Newton’s Atlanta-based 7-on-7 team, and has visited the Plains. However, it appears that he may have cooled on the Tigers in recent weeks. I never rule Auburn out on the recruitment of a dual threat quarterback, but that’s just not the direction in which the wind seems to be blowing here.
You can watch the decision through Fox 5 Atlanta’s Facebook page "High5 Sports" beginning at 10:45, with an actual decision likely closer to 11:00. Until then . . .