5-Star RB Cam Akers 'Looking for That Family Environment' in College Decision

A quick glance at the heavyweight offer list of Cam Akers serves as confirmation of what he brings to the table as a football player. He’s the nation’s No. 2 running back and a top-five nationally ranked player overall in the 2017 class for a reason.

The Clinton, Mississippi, 5-star prospect will get to showcase his talents at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January. He was officially recognized as an Army All-American with a jersey presentation Wednesday morning at Clinton High School.

“It’s definitely a dream of mine that’ll be accomplished to be able to play in this game. It’ll truly be an honor,” Akers said. “I’ll be able to represent for the U.S. Army, as well as represent for my family and the city of Clinton.”

The 5’11”, 212-pound back also will be able to give a first-rate dress rehearsal for the college of his choice. By January, Akers not only will have been committed but also will be preparing to enroll early in time for spring workouts.

Here’s what fun about Akers: No one outside of his family truly knows which way he’s leaning for next-level football. And that’s exactly how he wants to keep things.

Akers, who has more than 20 reported offers, will kick off his official visit schedule next week when he visits Alabama the weekend of Oct. 22. He reconfirmed his visit with Bleacher Report on Wednesday and added that he has a few other visits in mind before he gives a verbal announcement—a decision that, he said, could come sometime next month.

“Everything’s among me and my family right now,” he said. “I haven’t released any lists publicly.”

Alabama gets the first shot at setting the official visit bar high, and that’s something head coach Nick Saban and his staff have excelled at in the past years. The program’s past success in landing some of the nation’s elite athletes serves as proof.

But what other schools are in the running for getting an official visit? Three to watch are Ohio State, Florida State and Ole Miss.

Ohio State’s success rate with elite targets in previous years rivals Alabama’s, and the 2017 recruiting cycle is no different. The two are Nos. 1 and 2 in the latest Scout.com team recruiting rankings, with Ohio State currently holding down the top spot.

Akers has seen what running backs like Carlos Hyde (San Francisco) and, most recently, Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas) are doing in the NFL, and he knows of their histories playing in a Buckeyes uniform and how they performed against Big Ten defenses. Akers is also aware that under head coach Urban Meyer, Ohio State is a legitimate contender to win the College Football Playoff every year.

Ohio State is the lead vote-getter among prognosticators participating in Akers’ 247Sports Crystal Ball, but Florida State is a team to keep an eye on as well. The Seminoles are traditional ACC contenders, and with running backs in the NFL like Devonta Freeman (Atlanta) and Karlos Williams (Pittsburgh), the Seminoles also can boast about turning a college stud back into a pro.

It helps that Florida State currently has one of the premier running backs in Dalvin Cook, a Heisman Trophy hopeful who, according to Chris Johnson of Sports Illustrated, leads all Power Five players in all-purpose yards per game.

The in-state team definitely is one to watch, too. Ole Miss is less than a three-hour drive north of Clinton, and from a proximity perspective, he would play relatively close to home where family and friends could make an easier trip. The future looks bright with Shea Patterson as the heir apparent to Chad Kelly at quarterback and a host of offensive weapons expected to return at wide receiver.

Additionally, of the four aforementioned schools, Ole Miss is the only one without a running back commit. Akers would be an outstanding addition to the 2017 class and a key get for head coach Hugh Freeze and his staff.

Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State all have either classic running backs or all-purpose backs committed. Alabama arguably brings the most intrigue in where Akers ends up. The nation’s top-ranked player, 5-star running back Najee Harris, told Jim Halley of USA Today that he plans on taking all five of his allotted official visits. Whether or not he’s still Alabama-bound is to be determined.

If Harris flips, does this put Akers in the position to be that complementary back alongside 4-star Brian Robinson in the 2017 class? Akers said he had a chance to speak with Harris at The Opening over the summer in Beaverton, Oregon, but the two hadn’t been in consistent contact.

Akers laughs at all the questions, what-ifs and random scenarios. He’s the first to say he won’t allow his process to get overcomplicated.

“Who’s committed where doesn’t really play a role in my process,” he said. “Most schools already have a running back committed. Some have two committed. I’m going to go where I think it best fits me.”

One thing’s for certain: Akers knows what he’s looking for in a winning program. When it’s time for him to announce his verbal commitment, he’ll look for a few things on a checklist.

“I want to be a part of a family environment and be in a good situation,” he said. “I want to be able to go in and work for a starting spot. With every school, there’s a chance at getting a great education and all the opportunities with it, but with me, I’m really looking for that family environment.”

         

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of Scout.com. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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Source: Bleacher Report-CFB News

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