The rich continue to get richer on the recruiting trail, but not exclusively so. On an evening where Alabama coach Nick Saban earned a commitment from in-state four-star offensive tackle Amari Kight from Thompson High and Ohio State added in-state four-star LB Cade Stover and five-star wide receiver Garrett Wilson, LSU and South Carolina both drew major commitments from players who crossed state lines.
Wilson’s commitment was the true showstopper of the weekend. A five-star wide receiver from Austin Lake Travis, Wilson committed to Ohio State on Sunday night ahead of a number of other scholarship offers, the most notable being the hometown Texas Longhorns. Wilson said his decision came down to the Buckeyes and ‘Horns, both of whom he has ties to; he lived in Dublin, Ohio, less than 30 minutes from Columbus, until he was in the sixth grade.
“Besides the obvious things Ohio State brings to the table, I’d say the relationship I have with coach (Ryan) Day and coach (Urban) Meyer were very important,” Wilson told 247 Sports. “And I know what I’m getting into. I know the area and the people. The two places it came down to were where I live and where I have lived. Those are the two places I’m familiar with.”
While Meyer said he planned to play Wilson “all over,” the ability for him to play soon after he arrives on campus was also critical to his decision.
“One of the top things that went into my thought process was the opportunity to play early,” Wilson said. “They lose four receivers and maybe others to the NFL draft.”
The night was already shaping up as a good one for Meyer and co. before Wilson’s commitment, too. That’s because four-star linebacker Cade Stover, a star at Mansfield Lexington High in Ohio, also committed to the Buckeyes on Sunday. Stover’s commitment was certainly less surprising than Wilson’s given his geographic roots, but it was still a notable addition given Stover’s status as a top-10 linebacker prospect and top-five recruit in the state of Ohio.
However, it was Kight who drew the largest headlines before the late Sunday commitment of Wilson, and not just because he has the largest body of the quartet. Kight is a veteran starter for Thompson High, where Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s brother Tualia Tagoivailoa — also an Alabama commit — is the star quarterback. Kight announced his commitment with a video produced by 247 Sports showcasing the left tackle working out and starring in practices and games before revealing his college decision.
“When I was at Alabama last week for A-Day, it really sealed the deal,” Kight told Rivals.com. “It just felt like the right time to commit. Alabama has great tradition, I have a great connection with the people there and it feels like home for me there.
“I was not planning to commit this early, so it just kind of happened. A few days after the spring game is when I made the decision. I called up coach [Brent] Key and gave him the news. He was excited and when I told him, he was with his dog, and he even said his dog was excited about my commitment.”
Dog or not, there’s no question that Kight’s youth as an Alabama fan played in to his decision, as did watching another promenade of Alabama players walk across the stage at the recent NFL Draft.
Unlike those other three players, the commitment of Marcel Brooks, a Texas standout, to LSU was all about the opportunity to be a game changer in Death Valley. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder committed to LSU after taking an unofficial visit to the campus with his family over the weekend, deciding that it was the right place for him during the trip.
A similar event helped South Carolina add the biggest recruit yet in its Class of 2019. Four-star wide receiver Traevon Kenion, a North Carolina native, chose the Gamecocks shortly after visiting Columbia. he made his decision public with a commitment video he posted on YouTube and a celebratory Tweet.