In what would have been the biggest pull in the entire country in the 2018 cycle, Mark Richt was instead unable to sew up the most highly-touted of the American Heritage prospects and #1 corner in the nation, 5-star CB Patrick Surtain Jr., who gave his pledge to Alabama over longtime favorites LSU and hometown Miami on National Signing Day.
The nation's No. 1 CB has made his decision— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) February 7, 2018
Patrick Surtain Jr. is heading to ... Alabama over #LSU. He credits championship culture in Tuscaloosa, Ala. https://t.co/JPhDx4bYXe pic.twitter.com/hsRgoXrrPV
Surtain Jr. ends a national recruitment shrouded in mystery and relative silence by leaving home and spurning his former head coach, Miami CB coach Mike Rumph. In a time where it seems to be the trend in South Florida to go away for school, Surtain Jr. is not the first to demonstrate that type of mentality, especially considering he had the option to go literally anywhere he wanted.
The U.S. Army All-American was considered an LSU lean for the vast majority of his recruitment, in part due to family ties to the Baton Rouge region, and seemed to keep Miami far off to the side on his back-burner. But dad (former Miami Dolphins star CB Pat Surtain) and mom made no secret about their desire to keep their son home at Miami and Surtain Jr. slowly began to ramp up his interest in the Canes as the 2017 season went along, first visiting campus for multiple practices, then for the Notre Dame game in October. An unofficial visit for the Miami-Duke basketball game in January would lead to an official visit on the last weekend before Signing Day, taken after OV’s to LSU, Alabama, and Clemson.
While having the last visit can sometimes be seen as having an advantage in recruiting, it seemed the visit was more out of respect for Rumph and mere window-dressing than actual, legitimate interest from Surtain Jr. Because, to be fair to the coaches, Surtain Jr. was always a pipe dream. It sucks to lose the top corner in the nation from your own backyard, yes, but in reality, Surtain Jr. never wanted to stay in his backyard. His recruitment always had the feel of a kid yearning to leave home and that is exactly how it played out.
In the end, the allure of Nick Saban and Alabama was too much for even the longtime favorites LSU to overcome, and that is what pushed Surtain Jr. to the Crimson Tide.
All the best to Patrick Surtain Jr. in his future endeavors.