With 36 offers, Texas RB Tavierre Dunlap has ASU near the top of his list
There are these dates being set seemingly every day. Due dates. Deadlines. People need the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, a hollowed space in their calendar to circle. But those in power, in all sports right now, are not chiseling those dates in stone. They’re writing them in pencil with an extra eraser handy.
College football is still on a ticking clock before the season kicks off on August 29. Will those games be played? Will there be fans in attendance? Speculate the day away. Currently, schedules resemble ever-shifting clouds, changing appearance, and location seemingly by the minute.
That’s why it came as no surprise that the NCAA announced last Thursday that the recruiting dead period would be extended through August 31. That offers no definitives for a college football season. It mainly keeps kids off-campus visits, and continue speaking with coaches via Facetime and taking their parents on a dozen virtual tours.
Tavierre Dunlap, a 2021 three-star running back from just outside of Austin, Tex., is also guessing on dates, coordinating with schools about potential timeframes for an official visit. There’s little planning for now. The actual date is still flexible -- if the visit can even happen -- but programs are trying to lure kids on visits, generalizing a month down the road and trying to find a date that may work.
For Dunlap, he’s planned just one visit so far -- a trip to Tempe in November -- he hopes, at least.
“It was pretty important (to plan a visit to ASU),” Dunlap said. “I wanted a school that I knew I would be pretty comfortable taking an official to. Arizona State was one of my first offers, and I was already really comfortable with them. So I have one set to set the standards for other officials I take.”
A visit for Dunlap is the car keys to his recruitment. You can’t start the engine. You can’t go anywhere until you have taken that visit. It’s significant to him -- and should be seen as noteworthy that Arizona State is the first trip he’s scheduled to take.
The 6-foot, 195-pound tailback nabbed an ASU offer from Sun Devils’ running backs coach Shaun Aguano back in January after Aguano and special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum saw Dunlap at his high school in mid-January of this year.
“I’ve been talking to coach Aguano almost every day … As a person, he’s a really cool dude. I did some research on him and found out he was the head coach at (Chandler High School), so he knows what he’s doing,” Dunlap said, before describing his talks with Herm Edwards. “And I’ve talked with coach herm Edwards, and it’s a really cool experience. It’s cool knowing not many people get to experience that … He’s not someone you have to be nervous around.”
While not wanting to reveal the exact schools he’s narrowed down his crop of 36 offers down to, Dunlap admitted that the Sun Devils are most likely in his top five at the moment. And when competing for Dunlap’s services with 28 other schools, including the likes of USC, Washington, Notre Dame, and Michigan, the top five is undoubtedly a formidable group for Herm Edwards and Co.
And what would the Sun Devils be gaining if Dunlap chose to tote the pigskin in the desert? For starters, he carried the ball a combined 300 times for 2,600 yards and 36 touchdowns during his sophomore and junior seasons at Del Valle High.
“The power is still there, but I’m able to beat you with speed and agility. I’m either going through you or around you,” Dunlap said of his skillset. “And I’m versatile catching the ball out of the backfield … (Coaches) say I’m a complete back, and like that, I can get by people with speed but the power is still there.”
Dunlap hopes to commit in December, which would allow him to both sign and graduate in the same month, opening the door for the tailback to join his new college for spring workouts. But, like everything else, that’s just a date. Until then, he’ll try and narrow down his list of 36 to one.
“To make me comfortable, they have to have good people there,” Dunlap said. “I want them to bring me in like family. And I want the school’s degree to hold weight when I enter the workforce … I did the virtual visits (of ASU) and talked to the coaches. Now it’s just like, what’s the place like?”
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