The nation’s No. 1 prospect, Justin Fields, is set to announce his commitment on Friday morning. And there’s a pretty good chance he ends up in the SEC, based off his finalists.
Georgia, Auburn and LSU all made the cut, along with Florida State, for the 5-star quarterback from Kennesaw, Ga. Many experts believe Georgia to be the favorite to land Fields, who was at one point a Penn State commitment. Fields will announce his decision at 10:45 a.m.
Should Fields pick an SEC school, he would be the eighth No. 1 overall prospect since 2000 to commit to an SEC school. Interestingly enough, the previous seven prospects ended up going to seven different schools.
Below is a look back at each No. 1 overall prospect and how they fared at the school. For the most part, the nation’s top prospect has at least been a quality player, with many even living up to the hype.
2006 Andre Smith, Alabama
Smith, who was listed as an offensive guard prospect, was the No. 1 overall player in a class that featured the likes of Matthew Stafford, Tim Tebow and Gerald McCoy. Smith hailed from Birmingham and stayed home to play for the Crimson Tide and then-coach Mike Shula. But Shula was fired after Smith’s freshman year and replaced, of course, by Nick Saban.
Smith was a two-time All-SEC offensive lineman and was named a first-team All-American in 2008. He also took home the Outland Trophy, which is given to the nation’s best offensive lineman, that year. Smith declared for the draft after his junior year and was drafted with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. He currently plays for the Cincinnati Bengals.
2010 Ronald Powell, Florida
Powell committed to Urban Meyer on the heels of another strong season for the Gators. After playing as a rotation player as a freshman linebacker and then becoming a full-time starter as a sophomore, Powell tore his ACL in the spring going into his junior year and then again while rehabbing from that knee injury. Powell left for the NFL following his 2013 season and has bounced around the NFL. Due to his injury, Powell never lived up to his potential.
2011 Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
Clowney was unquestionably the biggest recruiting win for Steve Spurrier, as he stayed home to play for the Gamecocks instead of heading to Alabama or Clemson.
Clowney had monster freshman and sophomore seasons. While his junior year stats didn’t match, he had still done enough to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Clowney was also a key piece on some of the most successful teams in South Carolina history. He somehow managed to live up to the hype and continues to do so for the Houston Texans.
And let’s not forget that Clowney delivered one of the best hits of the 21st century:
2012 Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri
As Missouri was heading into the SEC, it came with a huge recruiting win. Gary Pinkel and the Tigers managed to keep the uber-talented Green-Beckham in state to play for the Tigers. He posted solid numbers as a freshman but exploded as a sophomore. He hauled in 59 catches for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns as Missouri took home the SEC East title in their second year in the conference.
But Green-Beckham was kicked off the team before his junior year after having been suspended indefinitely. He then transferred to Oklahoma in hopes of playing but was denied by the NCAA. He was taken in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft but has already bounced from the Tennessee Titans to the Philadelphia Eagles and now is a free agent.
2013 Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
Nkemdiche falls somewhere between Clowney and Green-Beckham. Nkemdiche spurned Clemson and a slew of SEC schools to go play with his brother, Denzel, and Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss.
He helped lead a dominant defense and take the Rebels to back-to-back 10-win seasons. And he was an All-SEC first-team player in his junior year. But he got into trouble a handful of times, and it doesn’t help that Ole Miss is being investigated for 21 football violations that occurred while Freeze was the coach and Nkemdiche was on campus.
After a bizarre hotel incident, where Nkemdiche fell from the fourth floor of a hotel room in Atlanta, Nkemdiche was suspended for his final college game. He declared for the 2016 NFL Draft, where he was taken in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals.
2014 Leonard Fournette, LSU
Fournette wowed college football with his explosive runs and his man-child abilities. After rushing for a 1,034 yards as a freshman, he blew up as a sophomore. He compiled highlight run after highlight run. He finished the season with 1,953 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns.
While he was plagued by injuries in his junior season, and his team’s inability to beat Alabama, Fournette was a college football superstar and certainly deserving of the No. 1 overall prospect rating he was bestowed. He sat out LSU’s bowl game in order to prepare for the 2017 NFL Draft, where he was taken with the No. 4 overall pick.
2015 Trent Thompson, Georgia
Thompson was the last No. 1 overall prospect to sign with an SEC school, as the 5-star defensive tackle elected to stay home and play for the Georgia Bulldogs. He battled injuries as a freshman, but like so many others on this list, he blossomed as a sophomore. He punctuated the season with 3 sacks in Georgia’s bowl game.
The Albany, Ga., product was leading a stout Georgia defense before sustaining a knee injury against Tennessee. But so far, Thompson has proven to be the wrecking ball many thought he was going to be coming out of high school.
*All recruiting rankings are based off the 247Sports composite rankings.