Three players are expected to announce their commitments on Saturday during the Polynesian Bowl.
DT D’Von Ellies of McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.), center Logan Sagapolu of Skyridge (Lehi, Utah) and free safety Noa Pola-Gates of Williams Field (Gilbert, Ariz.) will all declare at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
Tune into the game Saturday night at 7 pm HT to see their decisions.
Prediction: Penn State (Picked Penn State)
This process for Ellies has largely been a lesson to recruiters: Don’t give up. After announcing his top four of Ohio State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and West Virginia in July, Ellies is now down to his top two:
Penn State and USC.
“It’s all about family orientation, the overall feel of the campus, the people in the locker room,” he said Tuesday. “Those are the factors by far that are going to help me make my decision.”
On that note, the distance may play a factor. Is it important to him to stay close at home? Penn State is a little more than 150 miles away from his high school. If he wants to get away, USC is about as far as you can get while staying in the mainland.
Experts tend to think he’ll remain on the East Coast. Penn State has a remarkable recruiting class, but it’s missing one notable piece in defensive tackle. Ellies, the No. 16 DT in the country, would give a big boost to the group, currently ranked No. 11 in the country.
Prediction: Oregon (Picked Oregon)
Sagapolu will choose whether he’s staying in his home state or making the move to the northwest on Saturday. He’s debating between BYU, Oregon and Utah.
Utah and Oregon were the first two schools he knew he wanted to visit, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. BYU moved into the upper echelon later in 2018, and he visited the school on Dec. 15, the week after his Utah trip. His Oregon visit came more than a month earlier, Nov. 3.
But Oregon is fresh on his mind after a home visit from head coach Mario Cristobal and offensive line coach Alex Mirabal on Jan 11, about a week before his commitment date.
— Logan Sagapolu (@lsagapolu77) January 12, 2019
He didn’t give much hint to USA TODAY HSS about his preference, mainly saying he wanted a place he felt comfortable and his family was supportive of. But the fact that he waited for the Polynesian Bowl to announce suggests he already made up his mind.
Prediction: Nebraska (Picked Nebraska)
It comes down to Arizona State, Nebraska and USC for the No. 3 player in Arizona.
Defensive back Pola-Gates has ties to them all. Hometown ASU is in play, and it sounds like he wouldn’t mind staying in state. University of Arizona was also on his list early until the former head coach, Rich Rodriguez, got fired after the 2017 season, Pola-Gates told 247Sports.
Herm Edwards and ASU’s new coaching staff has had a positive impact, though. He told AZC that ASU has been “heavy on my mind ever since the new coaching staff came in.” The school also takes care of at least one of his two factors on his checklist.
“Can my parents get to my games and what will I do outside of football,” he said to AZC. “Coach (Steve) Campbell (Pola-Gates’ high school head coach) said when deciding on a college, picture yourself out of uniform and if you can see yourself at that school without football. If so, then that’s the school for you.”
USC has family ties, though. His cousin goes there and he has uncles who have coached and played on the team, he told 247Sports. It could be noteworthy AZC reported another cousin, three-star DT Matthew Pola-Mao of Chandler (Ariz.) High School, is 50-50 between ASU and USC. Pola-Mao’s 247Sports page also includes Nebraska, making the top three identical to that of Pola-Gates’.
Nebraska is 247Sports’ heavy favorite to land Pola-Gates. The DB told the site head coach Scott Frost has been recruiting him the hardest — the entire coaching staff visited him. He also said the Huskers have the most intense fan base he’s seen. Additionally, he roomed with fellow Arizonan Ty Robinson during the All-American Bowl, who is a Nebraska signee.
It’s not clear which his favorite is, but Pola-Gates said he knows and has informed the program. He’ll tell the rest of the world Saturday.