Leave it to the Class of 2013 to provide a drama-packed final official visit weekend of the cycle in the Southeastern Conference.
The recruitment of five-star defensive end Chris Jones is turning into quite the in-state battle between Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Five-star defensive end Chris Jones (Houston, Miss.) continues to be a tug-of-war between in-state rivals Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Late Friday night and early Saturday, reliable sources indicated to 247Sports and multiple other outlets that Jones was in Oxford, Miss., for an unofficial visit.
Jones then denied he was in Oxford via text message to multiple reporters.
Jones then met with the Mississippi State coaching staff and went to Starkville for an unofficial, attending the Bulldogs’ basketball game. After the game, he went on the record again saying he was heading back to Houston, Miss.
Then, late Saturday night, Kipp Adams of ESPN.com reported Jones was back in Oxford. That was followed by confirmation of the report by Rebels247 and 247Sports.
Jones then again denied he was in Oxford to multiple outlets via text.
Prior to Jones’ official visit to Ole Miss last weekend, he went on the record as saying he had no intentions of making the visit, then showed up in Oxford. Sources indicate he indeed was there both times this past weekend.
The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder does plan to stay in-state and both programs are doing all they can to land him. It’s going to be a photo finish when he announces at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, which is national signing day.
Foster’s mad dash
Not to be outdone, five-star linebacker Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala.), who did not take a scheduled official visit to San Diego State, was at Auburn, then abruptly left and ended up at Alabama in the evening, along with four-star Tide running back target and lean Alvin Kamara.
There were plenty of rumors as to why Foster left Auburn suddenly (no confirmation on any of it), but most agreed it was not a good sign for the Tigers, who looked to be in great shape to re-land their former commit.
Foster is scheduled to announce his decision on Monday.
The question now becomes for Auburn, if Foster does head elsewhere, does this impact any other of the highly-regarded prospects that the Tigers were in the thick of things for. Five-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County), five-star defensive end and Auburn commit Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga.), five-star defensive end and Ole Miss commit Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind.) and a host of other prospects were on campus for official visits this weekend.
No. 1 visits LSU
The nation’s top overall prospect, Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga./Grayson), made an official visit to LSU this past weekend and from all indications had a good visit. The word out of Baton Rouge is that this could get interesting between now and his announcement on Wednesday, which is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. at his school. The Tigers have always lurked with Nkemdiche, even when it looked like he was Alabama-bound early, when he was committed to Clemson and now recently when he looked to be all but a lock for Ole Miss. At the end of the day, it’s hard to see him not heading to Oxford, but at least coming off of his official visit to LSU, it’s a contest.
Big finish for Bama?
It looks like Alabama could be in great position to close with a bang and round out the nation’s top overall class. Five-star A’Shawn Robinson, who has been committed to Texas, now has the Crimson Tide on top. Then, you have the Foster situation that could end up going Alabama’s way. The Tide is involved with several other highly-regarded prospects that could end up in Tuscaloosa as well.
And to think some Alabama fans were concerned about a slow finish to recruiting.
JC Shurburtt is the National Recruiting Director at 247Sports. Follow him on Twitter @jcshurburtt