Scout's Take on Where the 2017 Top 25 are Leaning Early

May 3 -- Scout takes a look at where the 2017 Top 25 are leaning early in the spring evaluation period...

With the spring evaluation period in full swing (mid-April to the end of May) and nine months until National Signing Day 2017, Scout takes a look at where the Top 25 players in the 2017 class are leaning, how solid are those who have already given a school a verbal commitment and which schools have the best chance to snag an uncommitted five-star.


1. Najee Harris, RB, Antioch (Calif.)

http://www.scout.com/player/191061-najee-harris?s=73

It has been over a year since the No. 1 player in the country committed to Alabama and while he's saying he's still committed to the Tide, everyone is still trying with him.  He visited Washington and Ohio State in the spring, the latter for the Buckeyes' Spring Game and has been to UCLA a number of times in the spring and the Bruins are making a huge push for Harris.  But despite the push from all over the country, he still hasn't wavered from the Tide and for now, we'll still say the Tide bring him in come February, but they'll have their work cut out for them holding off UCLA and Ohio State.


2. Dylan Moses, ATH, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy

http://www.scout.com/player/171434-dylan-moses?s=73

Despite what he says, Scout still feels LSU is the team to beat for Dylan Moses. He has high interest in west coast schools, Alabama, Texas, and a some others, but he's from Baton Rouge (La.), he has family connections on the LSU staff, and the tigers are still in a very good spot for this five star.


3. DeAngelo Gibbs, ATH, Loganville (Ga.) Grayson

http://www.scout.com/player/182072-deangelo-gibbs?s=73

This five-star athlete is not going to reveal too much when he does open interviews, but when digging behind the scene, three schools continue to come up -- Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. If we had to make a favorite at this stage, it would be Tennessee.


4. Devon Hunter, ATH, Chesapeake (Va.) Indian River

http://www.scout.com/player/184433-devon-hunter?s=73

Hunter can play on either side of the ball and schools are telling him that. He also can have basically his pick when it comes to a school. The four schools to watch the most with Hunter are ClemsonFlorida, Alabama and Virginia Tech. He plans to make official visits before he makes his decision, but Clemson is the school to beat at this time.


5. Foster Sarell, OT, Graham (Wash.) Kapowsin

http://www.scout.com/player/183469-foster-sarell?s=73

The top offensive tackle in the country, Sarell has offers spanning the country and while Notre Dame is making a push for him, it really seems to be a battle between homestate Washington and the Rose Bowl champs, Stanford.  And the edge seems to be going heavily towards the Cardinal, who took another Pierce County native, Josh Garnett, in 2012 and turned him into an Outland Trophy Winner and a First Round NFL draft pick and Sarell is an even better prospect at the same stage than the former five-star.  The Cardinal seem the prohibitive favorite to do it again five years later.


6. Tedarrell Slaton, OG, Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage

http://www.scout.com/player/182677-tedarrell-slaton?s=73

Slaton recently named Clemson his top school. He has had different leaders over the last few months. He really likes Alabama, he speaks highly of Michigan, and there will likely be many more schools to get a strong look at Slaton before all is said and done.


7. Austin Jackson, OT, Phoenix (Ariz.) North Canyon

http://www.scout.com/player/183127-austin-jackson?s=73

Jackson is a tough read here, simply because there hasn't been a ton of information floating around about him. He camped with USC last June and walked away with a scholarship offer from the Trojans. The big tackle has some strong family ties to the program including a grandfather who played on the Trojans National Title teams in the early 70s. Both in-state schools, Arizona and Arizona State are on Jackson heavily right now a well and you can expect both to stay in this one until the very end. Texas A&M, which has recruited the state of Arizona heavily the last few years, is another program we've heard Jackson is intrigued by. National programs like Alabama, Michigan and Nebraska are involved as well so Jackson's recruitment will an interesting one to follow.


8. Joseph Lewis, WR, Los Angeles (Calif.) Hawkins

http://www.scout.com/player/193382-joseph-lewis?s=73

Lewis appears to be as open right now as you can possibly be and isn't close to naming a top 5-7 at the moment. He'll take a ton of visits in the summer and then said he would like to also take his official visits in the fall as well. USC is his top local option but we don't think Lewis is locked in towards staying close to home. Arizona is a school we know he likes and Nebraska is another program that is putting the full court press on. He loved his recent visits to Michigan and Notre Dame and he could possibly return for an official visit in the fall. Florida is another offer that Lewis was excited about and we could see the Gators getting an official visit as well.


9. Marvin Wilson, DT, Bellaire (Texas) Episcopal

http://www.scout.com/player/192587-marvin-wilson?s=73

With the sudden departure of Bo Davis from Alabama, could that mean the Tigers now control the recruitment of the No. 1 defensive tackle? Plenty of school will get to fire a shot, as Wilson has indicated that he will play his recruitment out all of the way until national signing day.


10. Stanford Samuels III, CB, Pembroke Pines (Fla.) Flanagan

http://www.scout.com/player/194459-stanford-samuels-iii?s=73

This five star is a Florida State legacy, and the Seminoles are the school to beat here. Clemson, Georgia and Michigan are still in this race, but if Samuels III doesn't choose FSU, it will surprise many.


11. Darnay Holmes, CB, Calabasas (Calif.)

http://www.scout.com/player/183790-darnay-holmes?s=73

Holmes was planning to announce on June 23 but has now decided to push back his commitment date. The athlete said he wants to take his official trips before he makes his announcement so look for a decision to come sometime in October or November. UCLA has been the team to beat followed closely by Nebraska and Stanford for some time and he'll likely visit each program one more time, although the trips to UCLA and Stanford could be unofficial visits. Miami will likely get an official visit and Ohio State remains in the mix as well.


12. Tate Martell, QB, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman

http://www.scout.com/player/179608-tate-martell?s=73

Martell has been committed to Texas A&M for some time now but will now take his official visits and there's a feeling his commitment isn't nearly as strong as it once was. He recently visited Ohio State and if Martell ever opens up his recruitment, we could see the Buckeyes as a major player. There has also been some recent buzz that UCLA is an intriguing option for Martell and we won't be surprised if USC makes another run at him as well. The issue in recruiting Martell is his recruitment could drag out if he plans on taking all of his visits, especially if he remains committed to A&M. Unless a college is planning to take two quarterbacks, it's tough to envision too many programs going all in on with Martell and passing on other quarterbacks who aren't currently committed to anyone.


13. Wyatt Davis, OG, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco

http://www.scout.com/player/194475-wyatt-davis?s=73

The top offensive lineman in California, Davis landed his first offer from Alabama the week of Signing Day when he was a sophomore and since then, has been offered by just about every major program, including most of the Pac-12.  Alabama is still doing well for Davis and could be the out-of-state favorite, but you can't count the two L.A. schools completely out, since both have recruited Bosco well, nor can you count out Stanford, a school that Davis is intrigued by.  And Washington could be a darkhorse to keep an eye on.  Right now, we'll give the edge to the Tide, but the Pac-12 schools will still have their say.


14. Josh Myers, OT, Miamisburg (Ohio)

http://www.scout.com/player/184752-josh-myers?s=73

Myers gave the homestate school, Ohio State, a commitment back in January and is solid to the Buckeyes.


15. Anthony Hines, ILB, Plano (Texas) East

http://www.scout.com/player/179859-anthony-hines?s=73

Hines has not named a narrowed down list of favorites, but Texas has been able to get him on campus a couple of times this off-season. With offers from 75% of all D1 schools Hines does have some great options to consider. He will be an early enrollee.


16. Lamont Wade, CB, Clairton (Pa.)

http://www.scout.com/player/190852-lamont-wade?s=73

Wade said he will cut his list in the coming weeks, but he told Scout there are several teams he speaks with the most, and where he could visit in the summer. Wade said the mutual interest is there with Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Tennessee and Duke, but his school, Clairton, has a pipeline to Pittsburgh. That said, he made several trips to Penn State since the start of the New Year, and he is a huge priority for Penn State. If you subscribe to the "watch what they do, not what they say" philosophy, Penn State is in good shape.


17. Jeffrey Okudah, S, Grand Prairie (Texas) South

http://www.scout.com/player/189493-jeffrey-okudah?s=73

Okudah has not made any secrets that the Buckeyes are leading in his recruitment and until he says otherwise or something changes there is no other reason to go against that.


18. Devonta Smith, WR, Amite (La.)

http://www.scout.com/player/198193-devonta-smith?s=73

Smith was at one time committed to Georgia and the reasons behind that were Jeremy Pruitt and Sam Petitto -- both are now at Alabama. You pair those two with Smith's close friend, Alabama 2016 signee Shyheim Carter, and it places the Tide on top.


19. Baron Browning, OLB, Kennedale (Texas)

http://www.scout.com/player/191624-baron-browning?s=73

His father played at TCU and he has had the opportunity to make multiple visits to the campus. Texas is also in the hunt. But the out of state dark horse to watch here is UCLA. If Browning makes it out to California again to see the campus it could be a big visit for him.


20. Shawn Robinson, QB, DeSoto (Texas)

http://www.scout.com/player/189390-shawn-robinson?s=73

Robinson committed to nearby TCU last June and has remained solid to the Horned Frogs.


21. Cam Akers, RB, Clinton (Miss.)

http://www.scout.com/player/187912-cam-akers?s=73

Not often do prospects decommit from Alabama, but Akers did that earlier this year. He is likely to play in the SEC still, but not for the Crimson Tide. Georgia and in-state Mississippi are two schools high on his list. LSU and Tennessee are there as well. Outside the SEC, a school to watch is Ohio State.


22. A.J. Epenesa, DE, Edwardsville (Ill.)

http://www.scout.com/player/183229-a-j-epenesa?s=73

Epenesa committed to Iowa in January and he is completely solid to the Hawkeyes.


23. VanDarius Cowan, OLB, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.)

http://www.scout.com/player/193853-vandarius-cowan?s=73

Cowan committed to Alabama in early April over offers from everywhere, including the Big Three from the Sunshine State and seems to be all Tide now.


24. Stephen Carr, RB, Fontana (Calif.) Summit

http://www.scout.com/player/193389-stephen-carr?s=73

Carr gave an early commitment to USC and we think the Trojans are still in a good spot. He did take recent unofficial visits to Michigan and Miami and both programs impressed him quite a bit. Carr said he wants to take all five of his official visits in the fall but doesn't have anything set up right now. If there's a school we think could give Trojans fans cause to sweat a bit, it would be the Wolverines but again, his commitment to USC looks solid right now.


25. Lagaryonn Carson, DE, Texarkana (Texas) Liberty-Eylau

http://www.scout.com/player/195497-lagaryonn-carson?s=73

The Lone Star State defensive end committed to Texas last October and remains solid to the Longhorns.



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