It’s commitment season and many highly-rated prospects have been announcing their college decisions. The next one up is five-star Julian Fleming. On Friday, the No. 1 wide receiver in the Rivals100 out Catawissa (Pa.) Southern Columbia will announce his commitment to Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State or Penn State. Today, experts from around the Rivals.com network examine where Fleming might end up playing his college football.
Southern Columbia High School has been a successful program for a number of years now. It has only suffered nine losses this decade, and only one since Fleming entered high school. Sophomore year, the first of back-to-back state championship seasons for Southern Columbia, is when Fleming started reeling in offers. His list of scholarships expanded exponentially and dozens of visits followed.
Penn State was the early favorite for Fleming because of family ties to the university and his many relationships with players and students in State College. He built relationships with the coaches at Penn Sate and at the many other programs that offered him. As Fleming took a closer look at his offer sheet, a few programs started to emerge as major contenders. Coaching changes after last season helped some programs and hurt others in their pursuit of Fleming.
Fleming whittled his list of contenders down to Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson and Georgia. Each school has gotten him on campus at least once, but the only official visit he’s taken was to Alabama last month.
“The Crimson Tide has recruited Fleming for the last few years. However, they have also experienced a few changes at offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. Fleming had built a very good relationship with Josh Gattis (former Alabama WRs coach) prior to him leaving to become the Michigan offensive coordinator. He did have a connection with new receivers coach Holmon Wiggins, who recruited him for Virginia Tech. It helped land Alabama an official visit in April.
“Alabama has become a well-established school for producing elite wide receivers which has included players like Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley and the 2018 Biletnikoff winner Jerry Jeudy. Cooper also won the award in 2014. Alabama is a strong attraction for top wideouts. Fleming is high on the recent tradition at the position. His high school quarterback the last few years, Stone Hollenbach, is also an invited walk-on (2019) for the Crimson Tide. Alabama has done a good job recruiting him despite the coaching changes, but it’s a long shot for him choosing the SEC power.” - Andrew Bone, BamaInsider.com
“Clemson made a favorable impression when Fleming visited for the first and only time in early March, and there was reason to think the Tigers would have traction with a top receiver prospect. But our sense was that both Fleming and his family felt a better personality fit with Ohio State, while all the talk about Penn State’s proximity and the girlfriend effect was just noise. Fleming’s return trip to Ohio State later in March got the ball rolling toward his decision, and once he announced three weeks ago that he had an announcement date, the writing was on the wall for the Buckeyes by process of elimination.” - Paul Strelow, TigerIllustrated.com