Fact or Fiction: Alabama will finish with the top-ranked 2023 class
Rivals national recruiting analyst Ryan Wright and national recruiting analyst Jed May along with Brandon Howard of TideIllustrated.com and Charles Fishbein and Jerry Kutz from TheOsceola.com tackle three topics and determine where they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
1. Georgia's group of 2023 linebacker commits is stronger than its defensive line haul.
Wright’s take: FICTION. The Bulldogs have recruited well at linebacker, but the program's early collection of talent on the defensive line is just nasty. Fans have to be excited about the future of Georgia’s defense with Jamaal Jarrett coming to Athens. Jarrett is a force and can eat up linemen freeing up the backers and put pressure on QBs from the interior. Gabriel Harris is a beast off of the edge collapsing pockets. Seven Cloud's development will be fun to watch as he has a ton of upside. There are other defensive line targets the Bulldogs are going after, like IMG Academy defensive end Samuel M’Pemba, that can make this position group one to remember.
May’s take: FACT. It’s hard to do better than Glenn Schumann’s inside linebacker haul in 2023. The Bulldogs added a pair of Rivals250 prospect in Troy Bowles and Raylen Wilson. Georgia also earned a commitment from CJ Allen, a talented three-star prospect who very well could rise into the Rivals250 by the end of his senior season. The Bulldogs lost three inside linebackers to the NFL in this year’s draft, but they have definitely made up for it with the inside linebacker commits in the 2023 cycle.
2. Alabama will finish with the top-ranked overall class in the 2023 team rankings.
Wright’s take: FACT. Although still behind Notre Dame in the Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings, Alabama is taking command of the 2023 class. Not accounting for flips, decisions from five-stars CB Cormani McClain, DE Samuel M’Pemba, ATH Nyckoles Harbor, OG TJ Shanahan Jr., DE David Hicks Jr., OT Samson Okunlola, WR Hykeem Williams and CB Javien Toviano will quickly affect the rankings depending on where they commit. If the Tide lands a couple of the five-stars, they look like a lock for the top spot. But Ohio State, Texas, Georgia and Notre Dame could make some noise challenging for supremacy.
Howard’s take: FACT. The Tide have surged sooner than expected in this cycle, especially with two big hauls in Caleb Downs and Justice Haynes, who could have both landed at Georgia. Additionally, the momentum on the trail has not stopped from July to August as Alabama picked up two more big commits, including Hunter Osborne and flipping Ty Lockwood. With names such as Cormani McClain, James Smith, Jaquavious Russaw, Kelby Collins and Damon Wilson (not to mention a few flip opportunities), the Tide have positioned themselves in a comfortable place to be the Top class once again.
3. Florida State's 2023 class would be hurt if the Seminoles go 7-5 this season.
Wright’s take: FACT. The coaching lineup in the Sunshine State has changed with the addition of Billy Napier at Florida and Mario Cristobal at Miami. The Gators won six while the Hurricanes notched seven victories. Miami currently holds the ninth spot in the team recruiting rankings with Florida not far behind at No. 15. The Seminoles are ranked No. 43 in the rankings. Seven wins shows signs of improvement, but those wins have to stack up against their in-state competitors.
The fun part at play with the question, Florida State gets both Miami and Florida this season. Winning head-to-head matchups against their rivals can change hearts and minds of recruits. Mike Norvell needs the seven wins, but also needs to keep pace with both squads acquiring talent. If Miami and/or Florida have big seasons, that may make it harder for the Seminoles to land top prospects all three programs are targeting.
Fishbein’s take: FICTION. The last time FSU had a winning record was 2017. It was also the last time FSU went to a bowl game. Winning seven games during the regular season would mean a trip to the postseason and do wonders for the Seminoles' recruiting efforts. Prospects want to see progress and seven wins could mean FSU has finally turned the corner under coach Mike Norvell's watch. With seven wins that would help secure commitments from players like four-star defensive tackle Jordan Hall and also put them in the mix for prospects like Jalen Brown. These top-rated players just want to FSU win.
Kutz take. FICTION. If the Seminoles are 7-5, I would say it would help with the kids who naturally want to sign here but may not sway a prospect who doesn't have a natural tie. Going 7-5 shows improvement over 5-7 and says FSU is trending in the right direction. To get to seven wins against this schedule, FSU is going to have some signature wins to hang their hat on.