All eyes will be on Cam Akers tonight at 7 p.m. as he will announce where he will play college football. Akers is the #1 recruit in the state of Mississippi, and the #2 RB in the 2017 class according to rivals.com. The 5’11 211 pound running back has offers from schools all over the country, but Akers will reportedly be choosing between Ole Miss, Florida State, and LSU.
The 5-star RB led Clinton High to the 6A state title earlier this year. Playing QB for the Arrows, Akers threw for 3,000 yards, rushed for 2,000 yards and accounted for an outrageous 65 total touchdowns. So will the Mississippi native remain in the Magnolia state, spurn the Rebels for a trip to Tallahassee or spend his college years down on the Bayou at LSU? Each program offers Akers a chance to be successful, but in their own way.
Hugh Freeze and the Rebels are looking to turn the page on their 2016 season, which ended with the Rebels missing a bowl game for the first time during Freeze’s tenure. After a 5-7 finish, the Rebels now have a new OC, DC, WR coach and LB coach, and have turned their attention to the recruiting trail. Landing Akers would be a monuments step in working to return to the prominence of their 2015 Sugar Bowl win. During Freeze’s time in Oxford, the Rebels haven’t had a talent like Akers in the backfield, and a threat like him at RB would give the Rebel offense the kind of balance that they have been sorely lacking. Even with a talented group of receivers and QBs Shea Patterson/Chad Kelly, the Rebels were unable to develop a consistency on offense in 2016. Unable to control the clock with an effective run game the rebels were forced to rely on a quick strike offense, which failed them late in games last season. Freeze and new offense coordinator Phil Longo can offer Akers the chance to get at least 20-25 touches every game to aid in the resurgence of the Rebel rushing attack.
Akers has visited the FSU three times already, and Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles are anxiously awaiting Akers’ decision tonight. Unlike the Rebels, FSU has been able to display the ability to prominently feature a running back in their system. Dalvin Cook emerged as one of college football’s most dynamic players over the course of his career at FSU, and will soon become a top RB prospect in the 2017 NFL draft. Throughout the recruiting process, there’s no doubt that this example has given a leg up to the Seminoles. The Rebels saw firsthand what kind of talent FSU QB Deondre Francois has, and if Akers completes that backfield, the rest of the nation will have to watch out for FSU. The Seminoles currently hold commitments from 4-star backs Zaquandre White and Khalan Laborn. There may not be enough carries to go around if Akers does choose to go to FSU. This is where Ole Miss holds an advantage; the Noles can’t promise Akers the chance to be a featured back like the Rebels can.
Much like FSU, the Tigers have shown that they can develop running backs and give them the opportunity to be successful both in college and the NFL. Another LSU back will be headed to the NFL when Lenord Fournette’s name gets called during the first round of next years NFL draft. When healthy, Fournette was dominant at LSU, and his highly capable backup Derrius Guice stepped in with no drop off in production when Fournette was banged up. Even though Les Miles is no longer at the helm in Baton Rouge, there’s no reason to believe Coach O won’t follow the same script of placing a heavy importance on the RB position. With Guice back for his junior season and ready to be the #1 back, Akers again would have to share the spotlight if he chooses LSU. With uncertainty at the QB position, LSU will rely on the running game, which can be good or bad in Akers situation. Opposing teams will key on the run game and force the Tigers to beat them in the air, meaning a lot of tough sledding between the tackles for any back in the Tigers system. No matter how you look at it though, a high number of carries is in Akers’ future if he picks LSU.
Other schools like Ohio State and Tennessee are in the mix as well. Ohio State can boast championship pedigree as they are back in the College Football Playoff and the Vols are on the hunt for a new lead back after Jalen Hurd announced he would be leaving the program after the 2016 season. Akers was a Crimson Tide commit at one point and has said they are still in the mix, but Alabama holds the commitment of the #1 RB in the class Najee Harris, so it would appear that Akers will not recommit to the Tide. Akers has the talent to turn heads, and whatever program he chooses will be getting a player that you can truly build an offense around.
Akers’ decision can be viewed live on The High School Football Network’s Website at 7 p.m CT. For a link to the HSFN website, click here.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.