Fact or Fiction: Clemson's struggles will impact Arch Manning's recruitment
Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analysts Sam Spiegelman, Clint Cosgrove and Ryan Wright tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
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1. Clemson's offensive struggles this season will hurt the Tigers' chances with 2023 five-star QB Arch Manning.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. There was a video circulating this weekend of Arch Manning standing with his family as Dabo Swinney walked out of the locker room, Swinney walked past Manning and then was told by an assistant that Manning was there so Swinney quickly turned around and greeted the family. There were laughs and smiles, and it was a sign that Clemson is fully engaged in recruiting the No. 1 prospect in the 2023 class. The offensive struggles this season have many reasons but it should not negatively impact Manning’s final decision. There are definitely some questions that will need to be answered and the competition is fierce but the program’s culture and history of success are far more important.
Spiegelman’s take: FICTION. Clemson has and still is one of the top teams on Arch Manning's short list of contenders along with Georgia, Texas, Alabama and Ole Miss, and we will see if new schools enter the mix after the season and the subsequent coaching carousel. Swinney and Brandon Streeter are two of the pivotal coaches involved in Manning's recruitment, and while the offense may not be clicking as it has in the past, it's more about relationships, belief in the system and Clemson's culture that has the Tigers still heavily in the mix.
2. Four-star RB Justin Williams will stick with his West Virginia commitment.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. West Virginia showed Justin Williams a ton of love and how he would be utilized in that offense stands out so if the four-star sticks with the Mountaineers, it wouldn’t shock me. But I’ve seen this story play out a lot of times and with the SEC teams closer to home calling, this could get really interesting down the stretch. Particularly, if Auburn offers – which I believe will happen – then Williams would have a whole lot to think about. I’m not sold Williams is just looking to play anywhere in the SEC but an Auburn offer would be something to watch.
Wright’s take: FACT. Justin Williams is truly one of the best in the nation, deserving of his four-star status. Securing Williams’ verbal pledge means the Mountaineers should roll into the 2022 season with a replacement for Leddie Brown if all holds true. On the flip side, though, Williams loves West Virginia’s spread attack, but other schools also run the same schemes or something similar, and those schools are closer to home. Visits have been taken to Auburn and Alabama with one coming up to Tennessee. The Volunteers have offered Williams, Auburn and Alabama have not. Auburn already has a pledge from a four-star back in Damari Alston and Alabama has one in Emmanuel Henderson; will either team take two? Tennessee has a verbal from three-star Louisiana back Dylan Sampson. Pins and needles time in Morgantown until Williams’ signature goes on his letter of intent.
3. Carson Hinzman is leaning toward Ohio State over Wisconsin in his recruitment.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Both schools are still being considered so by no means is Wisconsin out of this race but I do get the sense Ohio State is where Carson Hinzman wants to go and is just weighing both options before making his choice. We all know how well the Badgers develop offensive linemen but Ohio State is no slouch in that department either. And even though Wisconsin is coming off an impressive win over Iowa, it’s not a program in the national title hunt right now. Hinzman can still go either way but I’ve heard Ohio State has the edge for him now.
Cosgrove’s take: FACT. Although I do believe he is leaning toward Ohio State, this still appears to be a two-team race. It will be interesting to see Hinzman’s reaction following his game-day visit to Ohio State over the weekend. The opportunity to compete for a national championship every year is very appealing to Hinzman, and he knows Ohio State is one of only a handful of schools where you can do that. On the other hand, there is a lot of pressure for in-state kids to stay at home and play for the Badgers. Hinzman also has a great relationship with Wisconsin OC/OL coach Joe Rudolph, which will play a factor as well. This should clear itself up sooner than later following the weekend trip. The visit should give Hinzman the clarity needed to make a final decision, and I imagine he will be making a commitment in the near future.