In his weekly series, Rivals National Recruiting Director Adam Gorney offers his thoughts and opinions on recruiting topics and storylines that impact the national landscape.
STOKES COMMITMENT IS BIG
Kye Stokes had one of the most incredible months of landing offers in recent memory as the three-star athlete from Seffner (Fla.) Armwood got South Carolina, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Miami, Georgia and Alabama all since April 20.
Which makes his commitment to the Buckeyes all that more impressive that coach Ryan Day and his staff could go back into Florida and beat all the regional powers for his pledge. He’s a three-star now but reviewing his film it’s very impressive, he’s a phenomenal athlete and he could be someone climbing the rankings soon.
DID FLORIDA STATE FINALLY GET ITS SAM HOWELL?
When Rivals recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt visited Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy a few weeks ago he said four-star quarterback A.J. Duffy reminded him a little of Sam Howell and that’s a big statement not only from a physical standpoint but his ability to throw the ball around the field.
Remember, Howell had been committed to Florida State before flipping to North Carolina and the Seminoles beat out Arizona State and Michigan State for Duffy, who’s originally from Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde. FSU has Duffy and four-star Nicco Marchiol committed at quarterback this cycle and both are very talented but I give the edge to Duffy right now.
ATKINSON COULD BE A STEAL FOR VIRGINIA
Beau Atkinson was back at Virginia last weekend for its spring game and the Cavaliers are making him a big priority in this class. He would be an absolute steal for UVa because the Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road four-star defensive end is really talented and reminded me of a leaner, more athletic, Braiden McGregor at the recent Rivals Camp Series event in Atlanta. I would watch out for Cal and Stanford, and if Clemson offers then it could be tough, but Virginia has to like its chances and that would be huge.
PENN STATE STILL IN IT FOR DENNIS-SUTTON
If recruiting rankings were based solely on physical appearance then four-star defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton might be No. 1. The Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh recruit looks fantastic, is a physical freak and has Penn State, Alabama and Georgia at the top of the list. The word is that the Nittany Lions still look best in his recruitment and this is another important battleground pledge that Penn State should win. If the Lions need to keep elite Mid-Atlantic talent from leaving to the SEC if they’re going to compete for a playoff spot and Dennis-Sutton is a good one to watch.
HUNTER RANKING DEBATE CONTINUES
Travis Hunter is currently ranked No. 12 nationally and if I could go in today and switch his ranking higher, I would love to do it. He’s clearly one of the best players in the country, a two-way standout at receiver and cornerback who could legitimately see time both ways for the Seminoles. But just how high is the debate? I wouldn’t mind seeing him at No. 2 overall, he’s that impactful on the field but the real question becomes whether he should be considered for the top overall spot. That’s a debate we will have in the coming weeks leading into our summer release.
ARMELLA’S RANKING IS RIGHT ON
Watching the NFL Draft over the last week, and just following this for a living, short-armed offensive tackles are not ideal but it’s also not the end of the world as we saw with Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater both coming off the board early in the first round and both have slightly underwhelming arm length. That could also be the case with the top offensive tackle in this class but Julian Armella is such a physical presence, so athletic at the position and such a competitor on the field that our bet is that his arm length won’t be an issue over time, either. The Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas standout actually reminds me a lot of Slater when it comes to playing style and since we didn’t rank Slater appropriately I’m happy we have Armella up so high.
CB DEBATE WILL BE HEATED
I’ve discussed this topic before but it needs to be talked about again because cornerback is one of the most interesting positions in the 2022 class. Domani Jackson tops the list now and is the No. 2 prospect nationally but there will be many other corners who could come for that top spot. Jackson certainly had his moments during his shortened junior season but there are some questions as well.
Denver Harris is an interesting prospect, and I definitely love Ohio State commit Jaheim Singletary’s length and bouncy athletic ability at corner, too. Michigan commit Will Johnson is just massive and then this past weekend former LSU commit Khamauri Rogers had an impressive showing. I have a name in mind for the top spot but that’s going to be a great debate, too.