In the aftermath of National Signing Day, the talk of the recruiting world wasn’t Texas A&M’s No. 1 recruiting class. Everybody was talking about five-star Lebbeus Overton reclassifying from the 2023 class to the 2022 class. With that announcement on Thursday morning, the defensive end out of Milton, Ga., confirmed rumors of him forgoing his senior season, which had been circulating for a couple months.
While revealing his plans to reclassify, Overton went public with a list of five final contenders vying for his commitment. Texas A&M, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Oregon all made the cut and the plan is for each to get an official visit before a final decision is made, according to Eunice Thomas, Overton’s mother.
Overton was at Texas A&M during the weekend before the dead period and used that time to really focus on getting to know new Aggies defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin. The Aggies are in a very good spot with Overton as his recruitment heads into the stretch run.
Georgia is rumored to be one of Overton’s top schools but the loss of Dan Lanning hurts, especially after Scott Cochran lost touch with Overton while dealing with off-the-field issues. Those two coaches were carrying the majority of the load recruiting Overton so it’s up to Kirby Smart and the rest of the staff to pick up the slack.
Oklahoma seemingly has a lot going for it at the moment. New head coach Brent Venables built a strong relationship with Overton while he was at Clemson. Of course, Overton’s father played for the Sooners, too. Oklahoma isn’t the only team in Overton’s top five where he would see playing time early in his career but he could, theoretically, make a huge impact for Oklahoma and that carries a lot of weight with him and his family.
Ohio State was Overton’s last visit before the lengthy pandemic-induced recruiting dead period and he hasn’t been back to Columbus since. Defensive line coach Larry Johnson’s relationship with Overton and his family is still strong and is likely the only reason the Buckeyes are still this involved in his recruitment. It will be interesting to see how his official visit goes and what it does to Ohio State’s chances of signing him.
Oregon’s best weapon in Overton’s recruitment is Lanning. While coaching at Georgia, Lanning was the biggest reason for the Bulldogs gaining momentum in his recruitment. Now that he is running a program of his own, Lanning knows all the right buttons to press and, like Oklahoma, the Ducks can offer the opportunity to have a major impact on the program.
NIL opportunities will surely be plentiful for Overton at whichever school he ends up choosing. All five of his finalists have demonstrated the ability to help their players land lucrative NIL deals but two schools might be better positioned in this area than the other three.
The fanbases and boosters at Texas A&M, Overton’s mother’s alma mater, and Oklahoma, where his father played, have long-standing relationships with the family and that could pay dividends down the road.
In the next couple weeks Overton will iron out his official visit plans but a lot of it will hinge on his basketball schedule, according to Thomas.
Milton High School is the reigning 7A state champion and ranked in the top 10 this season so a deep playoff run is expected and that could wreak havoc on Overton’s potential visit schedule. He will likely end up taking a series of back-to-back mid-week official visits. Spring break dates at each school will also be important to track. Georgia’s starts the earliest on March 7, but it’s more likely that Overton’s official visits take place no sooner than the second half of March.