4-star wide receiver Speedy Noil has generally been considered somewhat of an LSU lean, but it appears as if another big-time SEC program has a chance to make an impact on the recruiting trail.
There's no surprise here that said big-time SEC program is Texas A&M—arguably one of the hottest programs in the nation both on the field and in recruiting.
According to a report from Max Olsen of ESPN.com, Texas A&M is making some strides for Noil:
A&M gained a serious advantage in the recruitment of Noil when it signed Edna Karr cornerback Noel Ellis in its 2013 class, and Noil likes what the Aggies have to offer after the two visited together in January.
“The coaches were showing respect,” he said. “They were telling me that I would be able to play as a freshman and come in with Johnny Manziel on Heisman watch and come in with Noel and play in a wide-open offense.”
Before we go any further, be conscious of the fact that Noil is from New Orleans, Louisiana, and he admitted via Olsen's report that LSU had a "home team" advantage.
He's been on the Tigers radar for a while now, and the Tigers have been on his interest list for just as long. If there's a team I would consider to be the unofficial favorite for his commitment, it would be LSU. In fact, the Tigers are listed as the top team on Noil's 247Sports interest list, so there's some proof to back that hunch up.
That said, it's tough to deny Texas A&M's recruiting draw right now, and that's intensified considering the Aggies pitch to Noil.
Having a former teammate like 2013 recruit Noel Ellis on the squad could be big depending on Noil's connection to Ellis. Personal connection can be huge in recruiting, so this is a point that A&M really needs to hammer home. Going away to college is tough, especially under the pressure of being a football player, but having a familiar face like Ellis there could really help Noil with that transition.
There's also the Johnny Manziel factor to consider here.
Manziel's hype is undeniable and he does indeed back it up. As a wide receiver recruit, you'd be crazy not to really enjoy the thought of playing football with "Johnny Football" (trademarked?), especially in the Aggies' offensive scheme.
Noil is 5'10'', 175 pounds and runs a 4.45 40 according to 247Sports. He's also the No. 12 wideout in the 2014 class according to the 247Sports Composite. Given the chance, he could put up a ton of numbers at Texas A&M and win some big games.
If given the choice as a wide receiver recruit, who would you rather play for?
The established star, Manziel, or whomever LSU picks to replace Zach Mettenberger in 2014?
No offense to Mettenberger's eventual successor, but I would personally take the chance with the quarterback who won the Heisman as a freshman—especially in that offense. This is, of course, if Manziel doesn't skip out and declare for the 2014 NFL draft, but that seems unlikely.
To be honest, Noil won't go wrong with either choice and he has the talent to be a star anywhere. Alabama, Miami, Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas and USC are the other teams listed as "warm interests" on his 247Sports interest list as well.
For now, LSU should still be considered the leader for Noil's commitment, but if the Aggies really stress his connection to Ellis and the chance to probably play with Manziel—they do have a good pitch.