Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst Sam Spiegelman, along with Corey Bender from GatorsTerritory.com and Ryan Young of TrojanSports.com, tackle three topics in recruiting and determine whether or not they believe each statement.
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1. Jeremiah Alexander will end up back in Alabama’s class.
Gorney’s take: FACT. The Clemson visit blew him away. Everything went well on that trip, the Tigers emerged as a major frontrunner and it looked like at least for a little while that he could end up there. But Alabama has once again come calling, coach Nick Saban and others have made the state’s top player a major priority in this class and it looks like the Crimson Tide could close him out. Alexander was already once committed to Alabama, so he likes a whole lot about the program. It looks like he will head back into the recruiting class.
Spiegelman’s take: FACT. This is a two-team race with Alabama and Clemson leading the way. After making his way to Clemson at the beginning of June, Alexander named the Tigers as the team to beat and their ascension was noteworthy. However, since then Alexander has been back to Tuscaloosa on three occasions, and the one-time Alabama pledge is a priority for Saban on defense. Entering Thursday’s decision, the Tide feel like the team to beat.
2. After the Elite 11, Devin Brown is the quarterback most worthy of a rankings bump.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Brown was fantastic. He might have been the biggest surprise of the event with his arm strength, his accuracy and the fact that the USC commit looked as good for long stretches as any quarterback at the event. But there are two three-star quarterbacks that deserve a more significant rankings bump: Penn State commit Drew Allar and Michigan State pledge Katin Houser. Allar and Houser had breakout performances, and I especially liked Houser throughout the weekend as he showed off a great arm, surprisingly good athleticism and the ability to make the gauntlet of throws. Brown was great, but he’s already a four-star. Allar and Houser are even more worthy of moving up.
Young’s take: FACT. No quarterback exceeded expectations more at Elite 11 than Brown. Part of that is he simply didn’t have the national profile of many of the other QBs entering the event, so when he came out and consistently looked like one of the top-five passers there through each day, each drill, each competition, it was frankly eye-opening. The comments from other players at the tournament reinforced that as well. It’s not as if Brown was totally off the radar or anything – we have him ranked inside the top-200 and he is committed to USC – but he simply wasn’t previously in any conversations about the top QBs in this class. Now, he needs to be. And this fits the narrative of his football trajectory as a late-bloomer who sprouted up through a significant growth spurt between his freshman and junior years, who didn’t really play in an offense geared toward putting up huge passing numbers at Queen Creek in Arizona and who is now seeing his physical tools refine and sharpen just as he’s about to take the reins of that high-scoring Corner Canyon offense in Utah this fall. Those that didn’t take notice of Brown’s Elite 11 performance will get another chance to evaluate his surging stock this fall as he plays in the same offense that positioned Jaxson Dart to set state records last year. But yes, Brown showed at Elite 11 that he is better than his current ranking as the No. 9 pro-style QB in this class. A few years after finding a hidden gem out of Arizona in Kedon Slovis, the Trojans look to have done it again with Brown.
3. Florida has a real shot to land four-star defensive end Quency Wiggins.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. I completely understand that Wiggins had a great visit to Florida and that there are unique connections there so the Gators could be a major player for his commitment. But history is not on that side and there’s where I’m leaning. LSU really does have a vice grip on top in-state prospects. In the 2021 class, LSU landed all top-five players. In 2020, it was four of the top five. In 2019, it was eight of the top 10. In 2018, it was three of the top four. Not only do the Tigers keep the best players home, but during those recruiting cycles none of the top players in the state went to Florida. This could definitely be different and Wiggins has a lot of interest in the Gators, but there is a massive hill to climb and I just don’t see it right now.
Bender’s take: FACT. Although he resides in LSU’s backyard, Florida is definitely a legitimate contender for Wiggins after hosting him for an unofficial visit last month. Overall, you can say Wiggins’ time in Gainesville was an eye-opening experience, as the Rivals100 defensive lineman says it was the most love a school has shown to him on any visit. He “can’t wait” to return for his official visit as well. Head coach Dan Mullen and defensive line coach David Turner are leading UF’s pursuit of the 6-foot-6, 264-pound defender, while fellow Louisiana native and UF defensive tackle Jalen Lee pushed all the right buttons during the visit as well. Wiggins is well aware of the program’s success between the white lines, but it’s the home-like feel in Gainesville that boosted UF’s standing in his recruitment. LSU is going to be difficult to edge out, while Alabama is heavily in the mix as well, but Florida solidified its standing last month. I would say Florida’s in that top 2-3 range.”