SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Patrick Surtain Jr. is a little more than a month away from announcing his college decision.
Admittedly, the nation’s top-ranked cornerback has had LSU out in front for a year and a half. But as official visits to Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa near, the 5-star prospect admitted that Alabama has certainly closed the gap on the Tigers’ lead.
“It’s very close,” Surtain told SEC Country at the U.S. Army All-American Game media session on Wednesday. “It’s a close race between both those schools. Both schools are recruiting me hard. Both schools have great defensive backs coaches: Corey Raymond and Coach [Derrick] Ansley. Both have great coaching staffs. It’s hard a race between those two [schools].”
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound cornerback will wait until National Signing Day on Feb. 7 to reveal his decision.
Surtain heads to LSU on Jan. 12 right after the dead period for his first official visit. He travels to Alabama on Jan. 19. Both of those official stops loom large in the All-American’s upcoming decision.
“I’m going to take these official visits coming up, and from then on, I’ll make my decision,” he said. “It’s just about getting a bond with the players, talking to the coaches and seeing what best fits for me.”
Among the other factors in his decision include the chance to compete for playing time as a freshman, development at defensive back and the opportunity to play in championship games.
LSU and Alabama certainly check off different boxes in that regard, which is why Surtain is suddenly torn between the two SEC West rivals.
“I’ve been looking at it like they’re [Alabama] losing a lot of defensive backs, so there’s a high chance I can come in and compete and play as a freshman,” he said. “On the LSU side, they’re losing a lot of defensive backs, too, and I look at it like I have the chance to compete and play at a high level.
LSU ended the season with a 9-4 record, but of course, is notorious for it’s “DBU” reputation. That credit goes to Raymond, Surtain’s primary recruiter.
Alabama just punched its ticket to the National Championship Game for the third consecutive year and is in pursuit of its second title.
“I weigh it out like … do I want to go to school and play for championships or write my name out, my legacy out,” Surtain explained. “I’ve been looking at it like that for the past few months. It’s been a hard struggle. This is a tough decision picking my school for the next three or four years and it’s been really tough.”