Evans Seven: Programs hosting important visitors this weekend
This weekend is one of the lighter ones for official visits, but there are still a few programs attempting to make up ground with their top targets. In this week’s Evans Seven, we look at which schools have the most on the line over the next few days and which could be on a cusp of a Rivals150 commitment.
2021 Rankings: Rivals150
Auburn has not struggled to lure some of the best 2020 talent to campus in recent weeks and will be back at it again over the next few days. Cliff Omoruyi will take his official visit, and while the Tigers have not been connected to him throughout his recruiting process, they are attempting to catch some momentum with the elite rim protector.
Kentucky, Memphis, Pitt, Rutgers and TCU are just a few of the others fighting for his commitment. Top-50 guard Matt Murrell will join Omoruyi this weekend and while many believed that he was set to commit to Vanderbilt after the hiring of his former high school coach, that was not the case. The Commodores remain in the picture, but Florida, Ole Miss and Memphis are also in the mix.
Henry Coleman just visited Durham two weeks ago and after his trip to Virginia Tech this weekend, a decision does not seem too far away. In the backcourt, it is DJ Steward who they have zeroed in on and will get the chance to host this weekend. A premier shot-maker, Steward secured the Duke offer this summer and many believed that a commitment would immediately follow. Steward remained patient with the process before narrowing his school list, however. And while Duke is in a decent spot, it still is battling many others, including Louisville and Texas. A commitment will not be made this weekend, but a decision should be made sometime this fall for one of the more heavily coveted, nationally recruited guards.
Miami got the ball rolling earlier this month, thanks to the commitment of Matt Cross. The four-star forward should answer many of the Hurricanes' pressing issues in the frontcourt, but questions remain in the backcourt, which is why Niels Lane and Earl Timberlake have remained priorities for Jim Larranaga’s program. Each descend upon campus this weekend and each would be tremendous additions.
Lane just visited Florida last week and will be off to Texas for his final official visit next weekend. A commitment is not too far off, as Miami attempts to gain ground with the ever-improving guard. Timberlake remains a guessing game, as six are vying for his commitment. Visits are still scheduled for North Carolina and Seton Hall for the coming weeks, while Pitt, Providence and South Carolina remain involved. Could Larranaga strike magic again in his old stomping grounds in the nation’s capital with the DMV native? Time will tell, but this is definitely a vital weekend for the Hurricanes.
4. NOTRE DAME
The Irish are currently empty-handed in regards to the 2020 class, but they have been able to get a leg up in the 2021 class, thanks to last month’s commitment from JR Konieczny. The Rivals150 junior will be on campus Saturday, as will Blake Wesley, another top local product that found a seat in the newly updated rankings.
The Irish will be focusing most of their attention on the two seniors on campus: Elijah Taylor and Jakobe Coles. The feeling with Taylor is that he is not too far off from deciding. He visited Florida last week and Seton Hall right before that visit. Coles has a diverse school list he settled upon that features Butler, Loyola-Chicago, Minnesota, TCU and Texas A&M. Notre Dame needs a big man badly and of the two, Taylor seems the likeliest to commit to the Irish.
It's a massively important weekend for Oregon as it hosts not just one top 10 prospect, but two: Jalen Green and Scottie Barnes. Each will be taking an official visit, with Green visiting the Eugene campus for the first time.
This will be Green's first official visit he has taken during his senior year, but just last week he was on the campus at USC. Auburn, Kentucky and Memphis will have the opportunity to impress Green, too. And while Oregon is playing catch-up, if anyone can keep the Fresno native on the West Coast, it is the Ducks.
Barnes, on the other hand, was a big fan of the program growing up and will return to Oregon after taking an official visit to Eugene last year. Florida State is the primary program standing in Dana Altman’s way from securing the versatile and talented forward. A commitment might not be made this weekend, but this trip could put the Ducks solely in the driver’s seat.
6. PENN STATE
It is a battle between Penn State and Pittsburgh on the football field Saturday, which should bring a raucous crowd to Beaver Stadium. Such an atmosphere should be the perfect time for Pat Chambers’ staff to roll out the red carpet for its five top recruits.
Two members of that group have already committed, as Caleb Dorsey and Dallion Johnson will be taking their official visits to the Big Ten program. Joining them will be DJ Gordon and Matt Zona. Gordon will be beginning his official visit tour, as Minnesota, Pitt, Seton Hall and VCU are a few others vying for his commitment. Zona has seen his recruitment pick up lately, but PSU has a great shot. He is expected to visit Notre Dame at the end of the month with a decision not entirely too far away - and Vanderbilt has begun to pick up ground. Lastly, Gabe Dorsey, the younger brother of Caleb Dorsey, will be taking an unofficial visit.
7. VIRGINIA TECH
It is likely the final time that Henry Coleman will be on the Virginia Tech campus before he commits. The top 50 forward has been a priority for the Hokies dating back to his freshman year, when Buzz Williams was overseeing the program. Mike Young has only ramped up his attention toward the super-productive senior, which is why they still have a chance in landing the talented prospect.
Coleman remains focused on a group of four that also includes Duke, Michigan and NC State, although this is more of a battle between the Blue Devils and the Hokies. Virginia Tech has already secured the backcourt of its future with Rivals150 guards Joe Bamisile and Darius Maddox committing to the program. Now, the Hokies need a big man badly.
If not Coleman, Xavier Foster would do. The top 50 center is visiting Blacksburg for the first time, but the Hokies are playing catch-up against Iowa and Iowa State. Meanwhile, Providence remains a dark horse in the battle for the talented big man.