ago football Edit

Fact or Fiction: Auburn is top threat to flip No. 1 prospect Julian Lewis

Rivals national recruiting analyst John Garcia Jr., along with national analysts Adam Gorney and Marshall Levenson and's Marcus Benjamin tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.

MORE: Ranking the contenders for Vernell Brown | Eight committed prospects on flip watch this summer


CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2026 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | State

TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Transfer search | Transfer tracker/player ranking (football) | Transfer team ranking (football) | Transfer tracker/player ranking (basketball) | Transfer team ranking (basketball) | Rivals Portal Twitter



1. Auburn is now moving to the top threat to flip No. 1 recruit Julian Lewis from USC.

Julian Lewis
Julian Lewis (Nick Lucero/

Gorney: FICTION. I don't know if there is a main contender right now that's the biggest threat to USC for Julian Lewis. It was absolutely Georgia before the Bulldogs took four-star Ryan Montgomery and now with Colorado, Indiana and Auburn as the other official visits it's not exactly a Who's Who of offense there.

Alabama could be a sneaky serious contender with the offense Kalen DeBoer is going to run and the history of winning in Tuscaloosa. Auburn is definitely intriguing with coach Hugh Freeze's offense and the receivers the Tigers brought in for the 2023 class but I don't think there is a clear threat to USC right now.

Garcia: FACT. As Georgia has seemingly bowed out of the race for the in-state prospect, though we never say never in this business, the next contender closest to home also resides within the SEC in the Auburn Tigers. Hugh Freeze and company have been able to compete with national powers for big-name recruiting battles since he took over on the Plains, and Lewis would be his biggest get yet.

Rivals sources continue to lean toward a quiet confidence relative to Lewis' chances to end up at AU, so there should be plenty of eyes on his official visit to get his closest look at the program come June 14. It's also the weekend after the USC official visit, and we know Lewis wants to be done with the process before the football season begins.




2. SMU commit Keelon Russell is more likely to flip to another program than Notre Dame commit Deuce Knight, despite each being pursued by many programs.

Keelon Russell
Keelon Russell (Nick Lucero/

Levenson: FACT. There are never any guarantees in recruiting, but I would say there is about a 99-percent chance Keelon Russell signs with a program other than SMU, where he is currently committed. Looking at Deuce Knight, while a flip is certainly on the table, I would say there is a lesser chance we see him flip down the line as compared with Russell.

The Duncanville, Texas, standout has Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss and now Oregon heavily in the mix pressing for a flip. Texas is a major contender as well should they offer in the near future. Comparing the two programs each are committed to, Notre Dame has a much bigger presence in college football than SMU. Knight could very easily stick with the Irish and feel comfortable about his future in development and marketing his name. Russell, however, may have some reservations in SMU's abilities to do so in comparison with some of these major, championship-level programs on the hunt.

Garcia: FACT. There is no shortage of interest in either blue-chip passer, despite their current verbal commitment status, and a move could impact a lot of programs in the hunt. Knight is saying all the right things about the Irish at every turn, even recruiting consistently for Marcus Freeman's program, so almost by default Russell seems like the one more likely to make a switch. Similar programs, such as Alabama and Auburn, continue to court each – and then there are local powers such as Texas (Russell) and Ole Miss (Knight) that figure to make each recruitment interesting until the final whistle.

MORE ON RUSSELL: How high will he jump in the upcoming rankings?




3. It would be an upset if Miami doesn't land local Rivals250 DB Chris Ewald Jr. next month. 

Chris Ewald Jr.
Chris Ewald Jr. (Nick Lucero/

Benjamin: FACT. Chris Ewald to Miami seemed like a done deal since he decommitted from Michigan months ago. However, in recruiting, the only done deals are completed on signing day, so this recruitment is far from over. Ewald narrowed his search to six programs last month: Auburn, Georgia, Louisville, Miami, Penn State and Tennessee. Auburn received two visits from Ewald this spring, while Georgia and Louisville, which both received a visit apiece, continue to be strong contenders.

Miami is still the favorite here. Ewald visited the University of Miami several times since opening up his options, and other programs have failed to pounce on the opportunity to truly jump in front of the Hurricanes. Defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae certainly threw a monkey wrench in the plans for Miami by accepting a job with the Buffalo Bills, but the Canes seemed to recover with the swift hire of Chevis Jackson, who is building a solid relationship with Ewald.

The X-factor is his former teammate and current Miami Hurricane Zaquan Patterson constantly in the ear of Ewald to become a Cane, but the Bulldogs might be the top contender to pull off the upset. Ewald will officially visit Miami on June 14.

Garcia: FACT. The one-time Michigan commitment has been fairly quiet of late, but he has gone public with a top group including Miami, Louisville, Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee and Penn State. Of the group, of course the Canes are most familiar, but plenty of trips are to be taken between now and the decision date of June 27. Ewald has been high on each program, with our eyes especially curious about Georgia, Auburn and Penn State. The Miami angle has been among the most consistent he has received since even before he reopened his recruitment back in January.