Tangie Warrior can be a bit coy when asked where her son, four-star safety Nigel Warrior, is leaning in his recruitment. However, she is willing to admit the list is shrinking.
“I don’t think it’s really that wide open,” she said of her son, who is the No. 4 safety prospect in the nation and the No. 7 overall prospect in Georgia. “I think he’s narrowed some things down that he likes and that he doesn’t like but has he told me? No, but I think he has it down to three.”
As for the makeup of that final three, Tangie Warrior conceded even she didn’t have a great grasp on it.
It’s unclear if the Vols are in that final grouping for the talented prospect from Peachtree Ridge High School (Suwanee, Ga.). However, the Vols can tug at Warriors’ heart strings unlike any other school he’s considering. His father, former defensive back Dale Carter, was a standout for the Vols before embarking on a 12-year NFL career from 1992-2005. Emotions are admittedly a factor for the Warriors as they try to make their decision based on logic more than emotional ties.
“It has to be business, but I think there are a lot of emotions and I think they weigh heavily on Nigel,” Tangie Warrior said. “He spent time there with his dad, going to visit and going to games.”
Like many prospects, Warrior has had to endure several coaching changes. Former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is now the head coach at Georgia. Former Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is now the defensive coordinator at Alabama. Auburn and Tennessee both underwent coaching changes after replacing their defensive coordinators. So did LSU.
The Warriors will take their official visit to Tennessee this weekend. It will be another opportunity to get to know newly hired defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, who replaced John Jancek, avery involved player in Warrior’s recruitment.
“It has progressed very well,” Tangie Warrior said of the transition from Jancek to Shoop. “We met him. He came to visit Nigel at the school and sat down with me as well. He seemed to fit right in with the rest of the crew at Tennessee…It was almost like he just blended right in. The personality just goes along with (linebackers coach Tommy) Thigpen and (defensive backs coach Willie) Martinez.”
Still, all of the changes have taken their toll.
“It’s been crazy,” Tangie Warrior said. “Very, very crazy. It’s almost like a school is recruiting him very heavy and he thought he had built that relationship and was considering the school, then the coaches changed and they’re pulling him to come to that (new) school. It became ‘Hold up a minute.’ It was like the only team that seemed kind of steady was Tennessee, and then the defensive coordinator leaves Tennessee.”
Tangie Warrior surely has some input in her son’s decision, but she’s chosen not to be too influential.
“I kind of backed up from trying to pick and choose,” she said. “My decision was to get to know each and every school he was interested in so if he was to choose, I would have a relationship with them.”
In fact, the entire family is taking a wait-and-see approach to their evaluation. Don’t expect an announcement until Warrior signs his national letter of intent at the College Football Hall of Fame on National Signing Day (Feb. 3).
“I will tell you, we’re getting very close but my advice to him was to take that very last visit and let’s sit down and take the three days and make a list over what you like and what you don’t like because with Tennessee, obviously, it’s the legacy,” Tangie Warrior said. “He’s been there since he was a small boy. Alabama, they stand out so much because of the championships and Nick Saban being a great leader.
“Georgia, because he’s from Georgia. He watched Georgia play and you always wish to play for your home team. Auburn was kind of new on the list. We went to visit the facility. They have a state of the art in their program…Not to leave out LSU, because they’re known as D.B.U. All (defensive backs) that come out of there are great.”
Auburn’s stance is somewhat tenuous. The Tigers are making a late push, and Warrior has a longtime relationship with former Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton. Both went to Westlake High School in Atlanta. That will make things a bit tough on Tangie when the Super Bowl rolls around. Does she root for Newton of the Carolina Panthers or former Vol Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos?
“Absolutely I root for both of them,” she said, “but I do have a little favorite in Cam Newton.”
All player ranking and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.