football Edit

Fact or Fiction: Arkansas can land a top 10 2023 recruiting class

Rivals national recruiting analyst Ryan Wright along with Bill Seals of CycloneReport.com, Caleb Alexander of GamecockScoop.com, and Andrew Hutchinson of HawgBeat.com take on three college football recruiting topics to see if the question is FACT or FICTION.


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1. Iowa State can develop a consistent recruiting pipeline into Florida,  landing top-tier players.

Rocco Becht
Rocco Becht (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Wright’s take: FACT. Iowa State shows up on the radar in Florida about as much as summer afternoon showers. The momentum in the Sunshine State for the Cyclones is building. Two were landed out of the 2022 class, one in 2021, and five in 2020. What should help Iowa State’s efforts is the inclusion of UCF into the Big 12. The potential for two games every couple of years in Orlando in front of friends and family should help bolster recruiting efforts in the state. Iowa State puts the time and effort into the Florida players to make it happen.

Seals’ take: FACT. In certain parts of the state, namely Tampa/St. Petersburg, the Cyclones have maintained a presence with area recruiter Tyson Veidt getting them in the door with a number of solid prospects. Four-stars Rocco Becht and Greg Gaines signed for the 2022 class and are the recent headliners. Other areas of the state are works in progress. Iowa State has Fort Lauderdale DT Jason Hammond committed, but South Florida has been a tough nut to crack, as the staff missed out late on 2022 priorities R Mason Thomas and Ahmad Moten. For the time being, the Gulf of Mexico side of the Sunshine State will remain the priority and the staff will pursue a select few in other territories.

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2. The Gamecocks are the team to beat for Xzavier McLeod? 

Xzavier McLeod
Xzavier McLeod

Wright’s take: FICTION. After catching up with Xzavier McLeod at the Rivals Camp Series in Charlotte, he was fresh off visiting the Gamecocks taking in a practice. Then, McLeod seemed to have the Gamecocks in the running but wanted to explore his options. Florida, Florida State, Auburn and Alabama were on his mind then taking visits to each program. Also at that time, Michigan, Oklahoma and Ohio State were in line for official visits. Anything can happen, but it seems far more likely for an outside contender to land McLeod.

Alexander’s take: FICTION. If you had asked me this a few months ago, I would have definitely said fact. South Carolina was the first to offer McLeod all the way back in March of 2020, back when Will Muschamp was still in charge and Eric Wolford was McLeod's lead recruiter. When Shane Beamer and company came on, they immediately made the top-ranked Camden (S.C.) recruits a huge priority, and McLeod has visited the campus several times.

Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, McLeod is no longer their little secret. He now has offers from all the major programs, including Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Penn State, Clemson, Tennessee, Notre Dame and more.

He visited both FSU and Bama in March and left both visits with rave reviews. Don’t get me wrong, South Carolina still has a real shot with McLeod, but it is not a shoo-in by any means. McLeod is using the spring to narrow his list to five official visits, and South Carolina still likes its chances to land one of those despite McLeod visiting often unofficially due to his proximity to Columbia. It will be essential to get McLeod on campus for the full experience so the Gamecocks can stay in that top group competing for his recruitment.

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3. Arkansas can land a top 10 2023 recruiting class.

Shamar Easter
Shamar Easter (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Wright’s take: FICTION. As the rankings work, the Hogs’ 2023 class is ahead of every other FBS program in the nation except Texas Tech (14) in total commitments (10). That has helped push Arkansas up the rankings, slotted at third overall. For Arkansas to stay in the top 10, chances are it would have to sign 10 to 13 four-star players and/or land a five-star.

The current haul consists of seven three-stars and three four-stars. The Razorbacks could close this class by adding 10 more prospects all ranked as four-stars, but the Hogs typically do not recruit off recruiting rankings but scheme fits. Being in the top 20 with players that can contribute and fit the team’s mentality will go further for the program than chasing stars for a team recruiting ranking.

Hutchinson’s take: FICTION. Arkansas is off to an incredible start to the 2023 class. It used to be unimaginable that Arkansas could have a top 3 class at any point of any recruiting cycle, but that's just what Sam Pittman has done, thanks to securing some early commitments. However, it's way too early to start celebrating. Powerhouses like Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson will likely climb the rankings as more of the top prospects start committing. I think a top-20 finish is probably a more realistic finish.

Now, if the Razorbacks can build on last season with a strong 2022 campaign, and land some of the 2024 prospects they've had on campus multiple times, a top-10 finish for that class isn't out of the question, in my opinion.

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