Four-star offensive tackle Aliou Bah surprised many when he released his top six in recent days, not because of the teams that made it but because of one glaring omission.
Ohio State was considered a front-runner – and some believed the favorite – in Bah’s recruitment for months but the Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy standout did not have the Buckeyes on his new list.
Texas A&M, Texas, Penn State, Florida State, Florida and Oklahoma made the cut and in today’s Ranking The Contenders, we look at Bah’s six favorites as he works toward a decision.
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1. FLORIDA STATE
Originally from Memphis, there are some ties to Florida State coach Mike Norvell from his time coaching in that city and some familiarity already built in. Bah is expected to be one of many top prospects at the Florida State spring game this weekend which could give the Seminoles an edge in his recruitment. The relationship between Bah and offensive line coach Alex Atkins is getting strong but by no means does this feel like Florida State has a huge advantage yet in the four-star’s recruitment.
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2. TEXAS A&M
One really positive aspect for Texas A&M here is that Bah is getting recruited hard by the Aggies and he’s taking notice. The four-star has mentioned it in interviews, he’s talked about the Aggies’ consistency on the recruiting trail and as his list has been altered over the last few months, A&M has stayed consistently on it. However, position coach Josh Henson is also going after so many other offensive linemen it’s hard to gauge exactly where Bah fits in the puzzle. There’s a lot of interest there, though, so A&M deserves a prime spot on this list.
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One other program to watch here is Florida especially since the Gators are really high on four-star teammate Tyler Booker’s list, that could be a selling point for the elite offensive linemen to come to Gainesville together. But because Bah’s list has changed so much and because there is still a lot of moving parts in his recruitment, it’s no lock at all the Gators will land Bah when it’s time for him to decide. Florida is close to IMG, it’s an SEC power and so there’s a lot to like but others could be just as high on this list.
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4. PENN STATE
If Bah visits Penn State, then the Nittany Lions could be the team to move quickly up this list and there’s no reason to think the four-star offensive tackle won’t make his way to Happy Valley. Visiting is going to be key for a kid from Memphis who’s now playing in Florida to get on campus, experience what Penn State has to offer and see if he likes it. With Bah’s long-held interest in Ohio State, playing in the Big Ten has seemed intriguing so Penn State could become a player especially since Lions commit Drew Shelton is also at IMG.
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Counting position coach Bill Bedenbaugh out is always foolish because he’s one of the top offensive line coaches in the country in terms of recruiting players and developing them once in Norman. But the feeling here is that there could be a handful or so of prospects who are really high priority for the Sooners and that those relationships could have been built over a longer period of time. Bah is circling that top group but right now it feels like Oklahoma is not at the top for him.
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This is a surprising finalist because Bah has not talked much about the Longhorns through his recruitment and there were definitely some question marks about how this exactly played out that the Longhorns made the list. Are there some targets higher on the board? Almost definitely. But if Bah visits and there is some chemistry there then Texas cannot be counted out yet.
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