With Jalen Ramsey's decision right around the corner, here's my assessment of the seven schools vying for the ESPN 150 cornerback from Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy. Ramsey will announce his decision Monday at 2 p.m. eastern.
--Clear-cut favorite – Southern California
Everything seems to point to the Trojans. Ramsey visited USC's campus twice in less than a month and will announce his decision just a few weeks after those trips. That obviously shows strong interest in the Trojans and the timing is just too significant.
It seems former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin will nab the top prospect from the Volunteer state. Kiffin's sales pitch is strong. He has USC poised for a title run despite the dark cloud of NCAA sanctions. And since he left Tennessee, the Vols have posted back-to-back losing seasons.
Also, while Los Angeles may seem a long way from Nashville, there are plenty of direct flight between the two cities.
--In the running – Tennessee and Vanderbilt
While it's possible that in-state pressure and the chance to play close to home could lure Ramsey to Knoxville, it seems doubtful. Frankly, the Vols haven't done a great job establishing themselves with top, in-state prospects so there doesn't seem to be a strong loyalty that other schools enjoy. Yet Ramsey has shown interest in the Vols. Moreover, he has many around him that would like to see him in orange so Tennessee is worth mentioning.
Vanderbilt is a bit more intriguing. In the past two recruiting seasons, the Commodores have bested Tennessee for a handful of top prospects thanks to their hustling ways. Remember, Ramsey goes to a academic-rich private school near Vandy. Academics and proximity play in the Dores' favor. However, USC has a pretty strong academic offering as well.
--Long shot – Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Washington
It would be a shock if Ramsey committed to any of these schools on Monday.
--Here's a video clip of Ramsey's strong performance at the Nike Football Training Academy in March. Ramsey, a four-star prospect, is rated the 57th overall prospect in the country and the seventh best cornerback in the nation.