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Saturday, April 21, 2012
Breakdown of Levenberry's final trio

By Dave Hooker

The battle for E.J. Levenberry is almost over.

The linebacker from Woodbridge (Va.) C.D. Hylton will announce his college destination on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET.

An early announcement is a bit startling, but the prospect has certainly taken steps to gather information. Levenberry and his father, Eric Levenberry, have scoured the eastern half of the nation scouting multiple schools. They've been as far south as Tallahassee, Fla., to visit Florida State and as far west as Oklahoma to check out the Sooners.

Levenberry's list has been in constant flux. He was once smitten with Tennessee early in his recruitment, but coaching changes in Knoxville seemed to alter the Vols recruiting as they backed off of the four-star linebacker. Alabama was slow to recruit Levenberry then ramped up its recruitment last month. The response from the Levenberrys to 'Bama's overtures was strong, but apparently not strong enough.

Levenberry isn't doing any interviews while he contemplates his decision, but his father confirmed that the three finalists are Florida State, Michigan and Oklahoma. Here is a breakdown of each possible destination:

Florida State: The Levenberrys raved about various visits to Tallahassee. They've spoken highly of the facilities and coaching staff, particularly head coach Jimbo Fisher. They've also talked about bonds with current players and an appreciation of the campus. Florida State was once considered a strong leader, especially since Levenberry frequently said he'd like to play college football in the south. Since then, more competition has surfaced from the west.

Michigan: Although the Levenberrys haven't said so, the Wolverines could now be the leader. The timing might indicate as much. Levenberry is set to announce his decision just after a visit to Ann Arbor. That's a sudden change. He once planned to announce his commitment later this year, possibly on National Signing Day. The only departure from that time frame was when Levenberry said he could see himself committing during Michigan's spring game if he were so moved. The Levenberrys have compared Michigan head coach Brady Hoke to Eric Levenberry, a law enforcement officer who likes Hoke's disciplined, yet supportive, style of coaching.

Oklahoma: Levenberry would be a good fit for the Sooners and they've certainly continued to linger in his recruitment. Levenberry has visited the school twice so he's obviously interested. Still, it seems a long shot that Oklahoma could best both Florida State and Michigan, where Levenberry seems so drawn.

My prediction: I wouldn't have picked against Florida State under any circumstances throughout most of Levenberry's recruitment. However, the timing and admiration for Hoke makes me think Michigan wins in a tight victory. Certainly a commitment to Florida State wouldn't surprise me, but the picture of Levenberry in a Michigan jersey that went viral is hard to forget.