The date is February 6th, 2019. It’s national signing day. Athletes across the nation will announce where they’ll spend the next four years.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, the number one ranked player in the nation says, “After careful consideration I’ve chosen to play my college football at Florida A&M University.”
While the odds of this happening is slim, Thibodeaux took a visit to FAMU while on his recruiting visit to Florida State and tweeted about how much he enjoyed his visit.
I’m loving #FAMU i might have to rebook my flight and stay a couple more days— kayvon thibodeaux (@kayvonT8) July 28, 2018
I had an unbelievable time at #FAMU , special thanks to the Admins, SBI, student-body, & Football staff and especially @HCWillieSimmons for inviting me down. #MoreThanAnAthlete #HBCU pic.twitter.com/10yq3Gf7tt— kayvon thibodeaux (@kayvonT8) July 29, 2018
Thibodeaux’s visit to FAMU, an Historically Black College & University was easily the talk of the campus.
The Rattlers have a storied legacy, winning 12 Black college football national championships. In my opinion Thibodeaux deserves credit for taking the time to visit the school.
For those who don’t know as recently as 1970, SEC football teams were still all white. There was a time when black recruits who we’d consider five star talents would go elsewhere. NFL Hall of Famers such as Deacon Jones and Bob Hayes attended HBCUs not out of want, but because they couldn’t play elsewhere. Greats such as Jerry Rice, Michael Strahan and Walter Payton also ended up at HBCUs.
Given how much fun Thibodeaux had on his visit to FAMU, could more premier players follow his lead and visit non-legacy CFB programs and even turn down blue-blood programs?
What would the college football landscape look like if a talent like Quavaris Crouch, who’s the 40th ranked player in ESPN’s top 300 chose to play for his hometown Charlotte 49ers instead of attending Alabama.
Or take four-star athlete like Zion Puckett. If he accepts the offer from nearby Georgia State University instead of heading to Ann Arbor to wear the maize and blue.
What if the recruiting playing field were equal and star recruits really gave consideration to group of five programs and the FCS.
Which programs around the G5 would be best equipped to join Houston and land a five-star recruit?
In no particular order here’s five G5 schools from the AAC, Sun Belt and C-USA that have the best chance at landing the number one recruit in the nation.
University of Central Florida - The author discloses his bias as a UCF alum. That aside, the 2017 National Champions are coming off an undefeated season. Additionally, the Knights have an indoor field house and a Disney-esque resort under construction for its athletes that should be complete by 2019.
University of Houston - 45 Wins in the last five seasons from a program that experienced a dark period in the 90’s and early 2000’s is impressive. The university’s social media team deserves kudos for their hashtag “H-Town Takeover” branding has been plastered over recruits Twitter since its creation.
University of South Florida - The Bulls have two 10-win seasons in the past three years and 29 wins over that span all together. The university is working towards indoor practice facility and what’s in place is top notch.
While it may not have an on-campus stadium, the chance to play in an NFL facility is appealing and like Orlando, Tampa provides all of the luxuries that come with living in Florida.
Georgia State University - Two bowl appearances in three seasons for the Panthers are nice for what many consider a startup program. But they hit a goldmine when they were able to acquire the former Turner Field from the Atlanta Braves. Having a state of the art stadium in downtown Atlanta, along with a modern practice facility is a major selling point.
Florida International University/Florida Atlantic University - These rivals won’t like being paired together. But Lane Kiffin has always been a fantastic recruiter. Coming off of an eleven-win season, the Owls have a near 100,000 square foot facility slated to open in 2019.
As for FIU quite frankly, they have Butch Davis and other schools don’t. His track record as a recruiter speaks for itself and while they would have to compete with the crosstown Hurricanes for recruits, UM’s facilities for being such a storied program are abysmal.