Fact or Fiction: Alabama will be just fine at quarterback
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
MORE FACT OR FICTION: Mack Brown is a top-10 recruiter as head coach
1. Alabama will be just fine at quarterback.
Farrell’s take: FACT. Remember when Jake Fromm flipped from Alabama to Georgia? Alabama went out and got a guy named Tua Tagovailoa and they were just fine. Drake Maye, who flipped from Alabama to North Carolina this week, is a talent, but I’ll bet you that Alabama ends up landing a higher-ranked quarterback in the 2021 class.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Alabama is going to be just fine. The Crimson Tide have five-star freshman Bryce Young coming in and he could be the future at the position, so it’s not a huge deal if the Crimson Tide go into 2021 without a quarterback commit or someone a little further down the rankings. Maye was a nice prospect, but there are many other options in the 2021 class at both pro- and dual-threat quarterback and it’s still an incredibly attractive place to play. I’m not going to worry about Alabama quarterback recruiting.
2. Sam Howell should be in the Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields conversation for next season.
Farrell’s take: FACT. Look at the numbers and tell me why Sam Howell shouldn’t be in the discussion for the nation's top quarterback. He threw for 3,641 yards with 38 touchdowns and only seven interceptions as a true freshman while leading UNC to a five-win improvement, and he didn't have near the talent around him that Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields have.
As the talent on the roster improves, and it will with this incoming freshman class, Howell is expected to get better. I’m not sure he can match his freshman numbers, that’s a high bar to set, but this kid is the real deal and if he played for a blueblood, he’d be getting much more attention.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. There is no question that Howell had a phenomenal freshman season that surprised everybody in his productivity, but there’s also something called the sophomore slump: Defenses start figuring out some tendencies and if you don’t have a second- and third-act then you’re in trouble.
Howell will be very good as North Carolina’s quarterback but the Tar Heels also start the season against UCF and Auburn in the first two weeks. I’m giving Howell his due and he was super impressive as a freshman, but putting him in the same category as Lawrence and Fields is a bit much for me.
3. Wisconsin and Iowa are recruiting at a higher level in 2021.
Farrell’s take: FACT. They may not be taking the world by storm in recruiting and that’s expected, but the Badgers and Hawkeyes are being mentioned more and more it seems after solid seasons last year. There are no big coaching changes or big changes to the style of play, so I’m not sure what’s causing it, but both programs are seeing a little bump. It’s not often you see both teams in the national top 10 to start a recruiting cycle, but there they are.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Wisconsin did an especially impressive job in-state with its 2020 class landing the top four recruits led by offensive linemen Trey Wedig and Jack Nelson, who could both be superstars in Madison. The job they’ve done with local prospects in 2021 has also been impressive as the Badgers have commitments from the top four players in-state again and they needed to hold off some other regional powers to land those guys.
I also like the job Iowa is doing loading up some with regional recruits and the Hawkeyes have a huge opportunity with four-star tight end Thomas Fidone and four-star defensive end T.J. Bollers, the top-two players in the state who remain uncommitted. As the Big Ten gets more competitive, it’s crucial for Wisconsin and Iowa to keep pace on the recruiting trail.