After the Arizona Wildcats and Miami Hurricanes were linked to a recruiting scandal unearthed by an FBI investigation last Tuesday, five-star recruit Nassir Little immediately eliminated them from consideration, he told ESPN.
The Department of Justice’s complaint alleged Arizona and Miami may have offered a recruit (many believe was Little) over $100,000, so Little felt it was best to distance himself from the allegations.
"For me, I just didn't want to be mixed in a situation where any of the accusations seemed like it was true,” he said. “Because it wasn't.”
1 Family, Little’s AAU team, also denied the accusations, saying in a statement that Little and his family “did not ask for, nor were offered money by an institution or individual.”
Little, the No. 9 prospect, committed to North Carolina over Georgia Tech and Duke on Wednesday, which he said would have happened anyway.
"Every school I was considering was because I had a genuine interest in them,” he said. “North Carolina had been the school I wanted, regardless.”
However, Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress reported many coaches backed off their recruitment of Little because they believed he was “Arizona-bound.”
And shortly after the FBI’s findings went public, Little tweeted (and deleted) that he had re-opened his recruitment, lending some credibility to that report.
“I just block it out, they can say they want,” Little said. “I just focus on myself, and do what my heart desires."
Regardless, Little is one of three top-10 prospects to drop Arizona from consideration since the FBI’s investigation went public last week.
While Arizona’s 2018 recruiting class is still intact (for now), it’s pretty clear the FBI investigation has already hindered the program’s recruiting efforts.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire