Adrian Ealy’s list of 12 finalists is about as wide-ranging as a list can be. Now might come a little clarity.
In a tweet he posted last week, the four-star offensive tackle from University School (Baton Rouge, La.) said his final dozen schools are Arizona, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas. That’s five conferences represented in three time zones.
However, Ealy told SEC Country later Monday evening that a handful of favorite have emerged.
“I’ve got my eyes on LSU, Oklahoma, Miami, Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, Michigan and schools like that,” the 6-foot-7, 280-pound prospect said.
Ealy’s recruitment has hit warp speed. With so many schools pursuing him, it has to be hard to keep track of everyone.
“Right now, it’s pretty hectic,” said Ealy, who is the No. 237 overall prospect in the nation, the No. 30 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 9 prospect in Louisiana. “It’s allowed (by NCAA rules) for coaches to start calling me so they’ve really been blowing my phone up. I talk to them each and every day from my school and my house. It’s really starting to get really exciting, but also out of control.”
Ealy said he’s developing strong relationships with several coaches, including LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and new Miami coach Mark Richt and offensive line coach Stacy Searels. However, those relationships will help from just one part of his decision. Ealy has several factors he’ll consider.
Education is No. 1.
“Football’s not forever, so when the time comes and it ends, I want a real good education,” Ealy said.
The next factor in Ealy’s decision will be the ability to get on the field quickly. He doesn’t have to be a starter, he said, but he wants to help out his chosen team as soon as possible.
“I want to be a role player for my team, and whatever accomplishments we can achieve and a place I can feel at home at a school that is striving for me to be the best I can be,” Ealy said.
Despite growing up just down the road from LSU and within a half-day drive to several SEC campuses, Ealy isn’t determined to play in the nation’s most decorated conference.
“They’re all good conferences,” Ealy said. “I grew up on the SEC, but it’s whatever conference gives me the ability to show my talent. It really doesn’t matter to me.”
Ealy grew up watching LSU, and being so close to the program allowed him to see the adversity the Tigers went through last season when LSU’s administration nearly fired Les Miles, only to decided to retain him
“Last season, there’s a lot of things I feel like they’ve got to get better on,” Ealy said of LSU” Everybody’s got to get on board and settle down and I can really start looking at LSU.
Ealy visited Tennessee last fall. He left impressed.
“I just really loved Tennessee when I went up there,” Ealy said. “That was my first time (in Knoxville). They really brought out the red carpet for me, showing me things. And I love the coaches.”
Ealy has seen the Florida Gators up close during a game in Baton Rouge. However, he has yet to visit Gainesville, for an up close inspection of Florida.
“I’m making a trip there this summer,” Ealy said. “They’ve been showing that they really want me. I just love the tradition that they hold down there. I love the stadium. I love the school. It’s really a place I’m trying to go down there and look into. I saw them when they played LSU. I really love the way they play. I feel like they could be a good fit for me too.”
Ealy has taken frequent visits to Mississippi State and said he likes how the school has a rich history of offensive linemen.
“I love Mississippi State,” Ealy said. “I feel like that’s a big offensive lineman school.”
Ealy said he also likes the offensive line tradition at Ole Miss. He said he took note when the Rebels landed five-star offensive tackle Gregory Little from Texas. Little was rated the top offensive tackle in the nation, the top prospect in Texas and the No. 3 overall prospect in the 2016 class.
“That would be pretty cool to be on the other side of him,” Ealy said. “I really am interested in Ole Miss and to see what they have to offer.”
Of course, Ole Miss’ recent offensive line lineage includes Laremy Tunsil, whose draft day circus last week was well chronicled.
“I really don’t worry about it,” Ealy said. “I really can’t talk on that one. I don’t know the circumstances. I would say that’s just him being young and going through things. He made a choice. I don’t think that reflects on anything with Ole Miss.”
Ealy said he’s also interested in Alabama. However, the Crimson Tide haven’t offered Ealy a scholarship yet as they continue to evaluate him. He said he expects a Bama offer soon. Ealy said he hopes to announce his top five schools before football season. He said he’ll visit Tennessee, Florida, Miami, Florida State, Oklahoma and LSU before doing so.
All player ranking and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.