Justin Fields has been recruiting topic No. 1 since he de-committed from Penn State.
In that time, he’s visited at least five programs — Georgia, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Alabama. Rumors have flown all over the place, but SEC Country went straight to the source at The Opening in Oregon to see how Fields perceives his own recruitment.
Per his conversation with SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner, the rumors all over the Internet appear to be much clearer than Fields’ own outlook.
“I have no idea. I wish I had a leader. I have to be honest. But I don’t have any idea,” Fields said. “(I will) probably not (decide in the summer) because I have no idea. I wish I knew where I wanted to go.”
Most believe Georgia, Auburn, Florida and Florida State are the four programs to watch closely, though Fields informed SEC Country that a recent visit to Alabama has the Crimson Tide firmly in the picture now, as well.
Going forward, the game for each program will be finding out what advantages that program has over the others involved.
In Auburn’s case, it might be Fields’ perception of the close-knit environment. He was recruited by offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey when Lindsey was still at Arizona State. Fields said that prior relationship doesn’t necessarily give Auburn an extra edge, but his relationship with Lindsey and other coaches on staff might.
“Coach Chip is a big family guy, and I love the way he coaches,” Fields said. “I just love how Auburn is really family oriented. I feel like I fit in good with them with what coach (Gus) Malzahn has done in the past with quarterbacks like me.”
When Fields says, “quarterbacks like me,” the immediate reaction by Auburn fans is Cam Newton.
Newton’s recruitment was the last time Auburn courted a 6-foot-5 dual-threat quarterback with a rocket arm and running ability that can alter a game. Conveniently for the Tigers, Newton has served as a mentor for Fields during much of the recruiting process since Fields plays quarterback for Newton’s 7-on-7 team.
Fields doesn’t want to overplay Auburn’s chance just because of his mentor, but Newton’s relationship with the Tigers’ program will only assist when decision time arrives.
“I’m very close to Cam. We used to communicate every week, but since 7-on-7 is over, we kind of stopped a little bit. But, he’s talked to me about recruiting,” Fields said. “He doesn’t really lean toward Auburn. Of course you know he went there. He doesn’t lean toward any school. He wants me to make the best decision for me and my family.”
With Fields saying he has “no idea” where he wants to go, it’s possible this recruitment stretches past the summer. He hasn’t set an official timeline, but said he will “probably” take his five official visits at the beginning of his senior season to help him get the situation out of the way as soon as possible.