Fact or Fiction: Clemson will sign the best DL class in 2023
Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman, Jed May of UGASports.com, Richie Schnyerdite of NittanyNation.com and Paul Strelow of TigerIllustrated.com tackle three topics and determine where they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
MORE FACT OR FICTION: Ohio State will finish ahead of UGA in 2023 recruiting
CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100
1. Georgia is a major contender for Nyckoles Harbor.
Friedman's take: FICTION. Georgia getting an official visit from Nyckoles Harbor is a bit surprising. If the Bulldogs do actually get him on campus, I'll start to call them a major contender for the five-star but for now they're just one of a handful of contenders chasing South Carolina. Harbor could play on either side of the ball but he is more likely to be a tight end if he were to choose Georgia. The success Georgia has had at that position is a big factor but the Bulldogs also have a track program that appeals to Harbor and he says he wants to take a closer look. We'll see how it all shakes out but Harbor's visit plans are pretty fluid.
May's take: FACT. If a school gets an official visit from a prospect, most of the time that means they’re a major contender. That’s the position Georgia finds itself in with Harbor, who announced in a change of plans that he’ll be taking an official visit to Athens in December. Aside from the success on the football field, the Bulldogs also have a very strong track program. That’s a major plus when recruiting an athlete like Harbor. I probably still wouldn’t put UGA as high as some of the other schools who have been around longer in this recruitment, but you never know what can happen with a great official visit.
2. Penn State will flip WVU commit Rodney Gallagher.
Friedman's take: FACT. This is all about Neal Brown. If West Virginia keeps him on as head coach, it seems like Rodney Gallagher will stick. Gallagher really likes Brown and wants to play for him but his unstable future is forcing Gallagher to check on his options, which is what this coming weekend's trip to Penn State is all about. The Nittany Lions have maintained contact with Gallagher throughout the recruiting process but this trip will help him figure out where he really stands with Penn State. All that being said, it doesn't look like Brown will be the head coach at West Virginia beyond the end of this season so signs point to Gallagher finding a new home at Penn State.
Schnyderite's take: FACT. This has been an interesting recruitment as Gallagher was once pegged to be headed to Penn State before committing to West Virginia back in late May. However this upcoming Saturday, Gallagher will take in a visit to Penn State for its regular season finale versus Michigan State. The visit will mark his first time to campus since the end of April. It will also be his first visit anywhere since his commitment to the Mountaineers.
Now this is significant, as a big reason he committed to WVU was because of the relationships with the staff. However they might not be around much longer as head coach Neal Brown has one of the hottest seats in college football. I think this one comes down to whether Brown is fired or not, with it leaning toward him being let go at the moment. With that being said, I think the Lions can flip Gallagher. It might not happen immediately following the visit, but when it comes down to signing day, he will make the move.
3. When the rankings are finalized, Clemson will have signed the best defensive line class in the nation.
Friedman's take: FICTION. Clemson has an outstanding class of defensive linemen right now but there are a lot of highly ranked uncommitted players. The Tigers currently have six four-star commitments right now and four of them are in the Rivals250 but Alabama, Florida and Georgia all have a chance to sign just as many four-stars and Rivals250 prospects. Samuel M'Pemba, Keon Keeley, Jaquavious Russaw, Damon Wilson, Daevin Hobbs, James Smith and Jordan Hall have yet to announce their intentions and where they choose will swing this race.
Strelow's take: FACT. Comparing classes can be apples to oranges because of the variable in volume needed and wanted. Ohio State enters the chat if it adds pass-rushers Damon Wilson and/or Keon Keeley to its pair of four-star defensive tackles, and you can reasonably project Alabama to eventually wind up in the discussion.
But as you weigh quality and quantity, Clemson is bringing in three bona fide top talents and big-boy recruiting victories at defensive tackle in Peter Woods, Vic Burley and Stephiylan Green. New commitment Tomarrion Parker was a huge addition at defensive end this week because he's a midyear enrollee at a position where there's desperate immediate need. A.J. Hoffler upgrades their size and upside options, while third end David Ojiegbe is coming off a senior season where he improved his stock as much as any Tigers commitment.
The cupboard is restocking, and a bunch are going to play next season -- ready or not.