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Evans Seven: Most important official visits of the weekend

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Trayce Jackson-Davis
Trayce Jackson-Davis (Jon Lopez/Nike)

It is the first full weekend of official visits, thanks to the kickoff to the college football season. In this week’s Evans Seven, we take a look into the seven most important official visits taking place and the chances of the respective programs landing commitments from their visitors, whether that happens this weekend or later in the process.

MORE: Top recruiting battles | Twitter Tuesday mailbag

1. UCLA 

Keion Brooks
Keion Brooks

The Chip Kelly era kicks off this weekend in Westwood, and his basketball counterparts are hoping to use the pigskin showcase to impress two highly coveted prospects from the Midwest. The state of Indiana produced Kris Wilkes and the Bruins are hoping to pillage the Hoosier State again, as Keion Brooks and Trayce Jackson-Davis will take the cross-country flight to UCLA.

Brooks, a five-star wing, has been thought to be headed to Michigan State or Indiana, but getting a glimpse of the West Coast program on a late summer weekend could sway him some. The same could be said for Jackson-Davis, a five-star big man who played alongside Brooks on the travel circuit. The prevailing thought is that Indiana is the heavy favorite, though he has refuted such claims in recent weeks as Wake Forest, Purdue, Iowa and Michigan State remain in the hunt, too.

UCLA is not the favorite for either, but with two 2019 commits already in hand, the Bruins are willing to go big in hopes of completing another nationally ranked recruiting class this fall.

Chances of a commitment from either of the two: 20 percent


Omar Payne
Omar Payne (Nick Lucero/

The Seminoles have yet to make a dent in the 2019 class, and while that likely won’t change after this weekend, they will still host three of their top targets to kick off September.

Omar Payne will begin his visit tour, and while Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Texas, Louisville and UCF make up the rest of his final seven, the thought of the Osceola, Fla., resident leaving the area is a bit difficult to fathom, which would work in the favor of FSU.

Payne will be joined by Rocket Watts, a top 50 guard and one of the top scorers in America. Florida State might be the dark horse in the Michigan native's recruitment, as the Seminoles battle such others as Michigan State, Missouri, Marquette and Louisville for his commitment.

Lastly, Kai Jones, one of the top breakthrough performers from the travel circuit, will visit the Tallahassee campus. This will be the Bahamian’s first official visit, and while he is far from a decision, look for Leonard Hamilton’s bunch to wow the prospect who played his high school career in Orlando and will complete his prep career this fall in New England.

Chances of a commitment from any of the three: 70 percent


Will Baker
Will Baker (Nick Lucero/

It is the weekend that Texas has been looking forward to (and no, we are not talking about the beginning of Tom Herman’s second year in Austin). Rather, the Longhorns’ top frontcourt target in the 2019 class, Will Baker, will make the short drive over to the campus for a 48-hour stay.

Many believed a commitment was forthcoming following the July evaluation periods, and UCLA had garnered most of the buzz surrounding the talented senior. Nothing has happened since then, outside of an unofficial visit Baker made to the Westwood campus earlier this month. Stanford and Georgetown round out his final four, but many see this as a two-horse race. Can Shaka Smart tap into his recent big-man voodoo? His program has produced one-and-done standouts Jarrett Allen and Mohamed Bamba in the past couple of years.

This is a big one for Texas, and a commitment does not seem near. But with each passing day things looks better for the Big 12 program, and this weekend could place the Longhorns in the driver’s seat for the local star.

Chances of a commitment: 55 percent


Samuel Williamson
Samuel Williamson (Nick Lucero/

Could this be the weekend that things come to an end for Samuell Williamson? The top 50 wing has scheduled five official visits and has two other in-home dates set for next month, although the Jayhawks will be pushing for a verbal pledge.

Williamson is your prototypical jumbo small forward prospect who has thrived in Lawrence in recent years, something that Bill Self will definitely be selling to the four-star prospect. Williamson’s mother and sister attended Kansas, so there is an immediate connection. Oklahoma, Louisville, Texas Tech and Texas A&M are the four others in contention. Could Williamson call it a day with things this weekend? It would not entirely surprise.

Chances of a commitment: 70 percent


EJ Liddell
EJ Liddell

Chris Holtmann has quietly put together one of the more promising classes nationally. Already locked and loaded with two top 30 prospects in the 2019 class as both DJ Carton and Alonzo Gaffney will be visiting Columbus this weekend, too, the Buckeyes need at least one more player this fall, and they are hoping that EJ Liddell might be that guy.

The top 50 forward is the definition of versatile, as he fits the mold of the ultra-valuable small-ball power forward who can wreak havoc on an opposing defense. The prevailing thought is the Buckeyes are the favorites for his services. Kansas State, Wisconsin, Missouri and Illinois are the four others making up his final five, with the latter two perceived as OSU’s stiffest competition. Liddell is more than likely to take all his visits, but look for the Buckeyes to do all that they can to eke out another commitment from a heavily prioritized Midwest prospect.

Chances of a commitment: 60 percent


Victor Iwuakor
Victor Iwuakor (Nick Lucero/

The Sooners will welcome in two heavily coveted prospects to campus this weekend, each more than capable of producing during their first year in college.

Victor Iwuakor, an intimidating rim presence known for his explosiveness, high-motored play and paint production, will spend his first official visit on the Big 12 program. Next weekend, Iwuakor heads to Texas Tech, and the conference foes are thought to be the top two contenders for his services.

Alongside him is Jalen Hill, a younger-for-his-grade-level small forward who is a member of the Rivals150. Lon Kruger has become known for his reliance on high-powered offensive weapons, and Hill fits that bill.

A commitment from either of the two is not expected, but that doesn’t mean the Sooners won't be pressing for one. They will rely on De’Vion Harmon, the already-committed top-30 guard, to help their cause because he will be on campus, too.

Chances of a commitment from either of the two: 65 percent


Armaan Franklin
Armaan Franklin (

Purdue has become known for its ability to land, develop and cultivate talent in the frontcourt. That is all true, but the Boilermakers have had great success recently thanks to the depth that they have possessed in the backcourt, too. Entering the new season with a potential national player of the year in Carsen Edwards, the Boilermakers are hoping they can bolster their long-term talent to prepare for when Edwards departs.

Armaan Franklin and Brandon Newman, travel teammates with the Meanstreets program, will head to the Big Ten campus. Franklin, who just visited Indiana last week, holds IU, Purdue and Xavier in his final three, and he is much closer to making a commitment than others.

The pulse on Newman is not as good, but Ohio State, Xavier, Indiana and the Boilermakers are the four most often talked about in regards to the Rivals150 prospect. It would be a surprise for Purdue to not land one of the two, and the Boilermakers should be helped some this weekend by also hosting already-committed seniors Isaiah Thompson and Mason Gillis.

Chances of a commitment from either of the two: 90 percent