With the final quarter of the 2014 recruiting cycle approaching, 247Sports takes a look at the best prospects available at each position. In this series, the industry-generated 247Composite is utilized, which compiles the ratings and rankings used by the major recruiting services and is used in the 247Sports Team Recruiting Rankings, making them the most unbiased and comprehensive in the recruiting industry.
LSU is in a very good position with Malachi Dupre.
In this feature, we take a look at the five best available wide receivers. This is one of the deeper position groups when it comes to prospects that have yet to make a commitment, with two five-star prospects and all five prospects ranked inside the top 120 of the 247Composite. These five wideouts are considered difference makers, so it should come as no surprise that their recruitments are among the most heated in the 2014 recruiting cycle.
1. Malachi Dupre, River Ridge (La.) John Curtis
Dupre has a top four of Alabama, Florida State, LSU and UCLA, with Ole Miss hoping to earn an official visit as well. Most do not expect the No. 1 receiver prospect in the country to go too far from home, so the Bruins are a longshot at best right now. The Seminoles have a connection in a former John Curtis player on the strength and conditioning staff. Alabama would love to add Dupre to its class, but barring any unforeseen surprises, LSU is the prohibitive favorite to land the five-star wideout at the Under Armour All-America Game Jan. 2.
Crystal Ball: 100 percent LSU
2. Speedy Noil, Edna Karr (La.) New Orleans
The top four schools in contention are Florida, LSU, Texas A&M and USC, but the Trojans might be in limbo with the coaching change. Florida will get Noil on campus this weekend, but the Gators are not a serious contender for the five-star either. The Aggies got Noil on campus for the game versus Alabama, and while he enjoyed it, Texas A&M is not considered the favorite. Noil is willing to leave the state if he finds a school that throws the ball and makes him feel comfortable. But with LSU throwing the ball with tremendous success this season, the comfort level in having his cousin Frank Wilson recruiting him, and the strong likelihood that his teammate and fellow five-star Gerald Willis will sign with the Tigers, Noil has those same qualities in his own backyard. Even though he admits to being bombarded about LSU from all directions, in the end, it would be a huge surprise if Noil does not announce his intentions to stay in-state at the Under Armour All-America Game Jan. 2.
Crystal Ball: 89 percent LSU, 11 percent Texas A&M
3. Josh Malone, Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp
Several schools have trended for Malone over the past five months, even though the Top247 wideout has yet to name any school as sticking out. Georgia was the early favorite, with the Bulldogs being the only official mentioned by Malone for several weeks. Then FSU left a favorable impression after an unofficial visit in July, and the Seminoles will get him back on campus Nov. 1 for an official visit as well. But recently the word has been that Malone could end up staying in state, with the Vols making a big push. Tennessee is selling Malone on stepping right in and playing in the SEC, which has piqued his interest. They will have a big opportunity to showcase that this weekend, as Malone will be taking his official visit to Tennessee and attend a pivotal conference game versus Georgia. Georgia has set the bar for Malone, having hosted him last weekend on his first official visit. This weekend could be make or break for Tennessee’s chances. Clemson is also in line to earn an official from Malone. With no decision timeline right now, Malone will continue to evaluate his relationship with the coaching staffs and the chance to play early in each scheme.
Crystal Ball: 75 percent Tennessee, 25 percent UGA
4. Travis Rudolph, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman
Rudolph took his first official visit over the weekend, to Ohio State. Next up is Tennessee next weekend. Alabama and Florida State are in line to host Rudolph as well, but as of now, Rudolph is expected to select Florida at the Under Armour All-America Game Jan. 2.
Crystal Ball: 92 percent Florida, 8 percent Florida State
5. Johnnie Dixon, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Dwyer
Three programs, Arkansas, N.C. State and Ohio State, have already had Dixon on campus for official visits. The Wolfpack’s chances are enhanced by the presences of former Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who is sitting out this season after transferring from Florida. Alabama could be the last trip Dixon makes before making a decision in November, as he hopes to get his commitment out of the way and prepare to enroll early at the school of his choice. Even though the Hurricanes might not earn an official visit before then, they are still a strong contender to land his commitment.
Crystal Ball: 96 percent Miami, four percent Ohio State