Recruiting Rumor Mill: Visits continue, front-runners emerge for some


National recruiting director Adam Gorney is back with his Recruiting Rumor Mill, which features recruiting chatter and news from around the country.

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It is still very early for the 2024 cornerback, but Penn State has jumped out as one of his top schools because of its facility and coaching staff standing out so much. “Felt like home” was used at least once, and the interest from the coaches during his visit to Happy Valley definitely left an impression. The Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph’s standout is not rushing his recruitment but Penn State should stick around until the end.

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Armella is going to make his own decision, but in recent days his father, Enzo, visited LSU to talk with coach Ed Orgeron and new offensive line coach Brad Davis, and the chatter is that it went really well. Enzo Armella has known Orgeron for more than 30 years and the message from Davis on how they would develop the five-star offensive tackle was perfect. Alabama, Miami and Florida State are majorly in the running, but LSU looks like it has the edge right now.

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Mississippi State remains the front-runner for the Madison (Miss.) Madison Ridgeland Academy three-star linebacker, and that has to be great news for the Bulldogs, especially since he’s coming off a visit to Stanford. The Cardinal definitely impressed him and Blanton also likes Texas A&M and South Carolina, but Mississippi State remains on top.

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Auburn and Texas A&M still stand high for the high three-star quarterback from Memphis (Tenn.) Pure but he continues to visit Memphis (he had another trip there recently), and the rumor is Georgia Tech has stepped it up a lot in recent weeks. Carter flew in and threw for Florida coach Dan Mullen, but he didn’t spend a lot of time on campus so it’s hard to know where the Gators stand right now.

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The feeling for so long was that Georgia still had the edge over every other team, even after visits, and it could still be very difficult to beat the Bulldogs. But South Carolina really impressed the four-star tight end from Cumming (Ga.) West Forsyth. How the Gamecocks will use the tight end definitely stood out, but so did all his talks with the coaches and players. Right now, Georgia, Michigan and South Carolina are highest on his list.

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Edwards remains committed to Appalachian State and has not landed a Miami offer yet, but he recently worked out there at camp and he loved the experience. He grew up a Canes fan and it was a big deal that he got to see Michael Irvin and others at the camp. The three-star DB from Clewiston, Fla., is committed elsewhere, but the feeling is if Miami comes through with an offer it would be close to a no-brainer flip.

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Florida remains a front-runner for Gibson, who is a legacy with the Gators, and another visit there over the weekend definitely stood out. But the four-star receiver also took a visit to Auburn over the last few days and the new coaching staff there definitely did a great job showing Gibson everything he wanted to see while there. None of his top teams are pushing a commitment, so Gibson is not rushing. Florida might be tough to beat, but Auburn left him something to consider.

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Oklahoma had been the front-runner for the 2023 high four-star receiver, with Texas and Texas A&M also high on the list, but the rumor is LSU is now No. 1 after Hale visited there recently. From the energy of the coaches, the atmosphere and the wide receiver tradition, the Tigers definitely left a big impression. The Longview, Texas, standout is expected back for a game in the fall.

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This past weekend Hinzman visited Iowa and it was another standout visit for him as he especially liked the players there and the camaraderie that he saw between all the sports. The Hawkeyes are under serious consideration, with Ohio State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Alabama also in the mix for his commitment. The next step could be to take another trip to see the Crimson Tide, or the chatter is it’s possible the Hammond (Wisc.) St. Croix Central standout decides to make his pledge. The Badgers still might be tough to beat, but watch Ohio State and Notre Dame, too.

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Miami, Auburn and Georgia remain the three front-runners for the massive offensive tackle from Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth, and the Hurricanes could have taken a big step forward recently after Hood visited for Paradise Camp. Miami’s edge could come from Hood watching position coach Garin Justice in action. But more schools could be added to the mix, and LSU, Florida and Michigan are now stepping it up as well.

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Miami is the early front-runner for the 2023 receiver from Miami Northwestern, especially after working out at Paradise Camp. Jean especially hit it off with the coaching staff and he loved the positive energy during the camp. Georgia, Pitt, UCF, West Virginia and others are involved, but Miami is the team to beat right now.

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A top seven was released in May, but the high three-star tight end from Gooding, Idaho, could be getting closer to a decision and the rumor is that Michigan has definitely moved way up the list. Oregon State, Boise State and others are chasing hard, but a recent visit to Ann Arbor gave Loveland the idea of Michigan’s high-end education, playing in the Big 10 and being on one of the biggest stages in college football. Others are still in the running, but Michigan has moved way up.

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After a bunch of visits in June, including to Florida, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma and others, the rumor is Ohio State is the leader for McClellan because of the family atmosphere there, the brotherhood among the players and his relationship with position coach Larry Johnson. Oklahoma was always a top school, but a late offer might have pushed the Sooners down as everybody else loaded in with earlier ones.

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There is still confidence that USC will land the high four-star receiver from Anaheim (Calif.) Servite but the rumor is some schools high on his list are nervous that McMillan could go to Arizona. He recently had an outstanding visit with Servite teammates QB Noah Fifita, (who’s committed to the Wildcats), and four-star USC tight end pledge Keyan Burnett. Arizona is a real player now in McMillan’s recruitment.

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Tennessee is out for the three-star offensive tackle from Orlando (Fla.) Boone because of a conversation over possible sanctions on Rocky Top, according to a source. But Nelson is thinking about a commitment July 4 anyway, with Miami, UCF, Duke and Utah as the four finalists. That date is not locked in, though, because Nelson is worried he might be rushing a decision and could need more time.

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Iowa could be making a run in the Nwankpa sweepstakes as two things mainly stand out about the Hawkeyes to the high four-star safety from Pleasant Hill (Iowa) Southeast Polk: He is so familiar with so many people there since he grew up with them, and his relationship and respect for defensive coordinator Phil Parker is second to none. Ohio State is believed to be out front, with Texas A&M battling as well, but Nwankpa is going to take things slowly and the Hawkeyes are still in it.

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Texas A&M, USC, LSU, Alabama and Texas are the teams Owens is most focused on after his recent de-commitment from the Longhorns. Ohio State just offered, but the rumor is the Buckeyes don’t yet join that top group because the 2023 standout wants to see how aggressive they become in the next few months. A recent visit to College Station stood out because Owens has seen a massive change in the culture around the program since the last time he was there as a freshman.

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Coach Mike Norvell’s energy and perseverance stood out most to Powers when he visited Florida State recently, and now the rumor is the Seminoles are the team to beat in his recruitment. The three-star tight end from Duncanville, Texas, is scheduled to commit in early July, and it would be surprising if FSU wasn’t high on the list.

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The belief is that the high four-star defensive end from Baton Rouge (La.) Madison Prep is down to Alabama and LSU, but the rumor is that Florida is very much in the picture as well and the Gators should not be counted out. Only time will tell if Florida can beat the two SEC West powerhouses, but Wiggins’ recent visit to Gainesville went great. He loves the coaches there and Florida’s plan to let him play all over the defense stands out.

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