Fact or Fiction: Florida will end up with state's best 2023 class
Rivals national recruiting analyst Ryan Wright, CanesCounty.com site publisher Marcus Benjamin, CardinalSports.com site publisher Ty Spalding and TideIllustrated.com site publisher Kelly Quinlan take on topics ranging from whether Miami has jumped past Florida for in-state recruiting supremacy to Alabama's chances of landing at least two five-star 2023 players and, finally, if Louisville still has some recruiting magic left in the Southeast among 2023 prospects.
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1. Florida will end up with the best 2023 class in the state.
Wright’s take: FACT. “This is a tough call and a numbers game. I think Miami is going to go through some attrition but also add elite talent to its class in the coming weeks, but just how many is tough to gauge right now. For perspective, there are only four uncommitted Rivals100 players left in the states of Florida and Georgia.
It looks like Florida and Georgia are heavy competitors for some of Miami’s top targets. The number of recruits to hit is 20 to maximize the Rivals team rankings. The Hurricanes have an advantage with two five-stars. Adding the likes of corner Cormani McClain, athlete Nyckolas Harbor or offensive tackle Samson Okunlola would rocket the Canes' class up the leaderboard. The Gators are already at 20, with room to add five to seven more commits. This will be a fun recruiting battle to watch.
Benjamin’s take: FICTION. “The Gators recently jumped over Miami in the 2023 Rivals Team Rankings due to a recent string of commitments in the last month. Currently, Florida ranks ninth and Miami is just outside of the top ten at 11th.
Miami sits with 17 commits on the board and is in play for several five-star prospects, including McClain, Okunlola and Harbor. Four-star talents Rueben Bain and Damari Brown are also high on the Hurricanes. Miami may also convince four-star corner Dijon Johnson to travel south. If the Hurricanes land half of those six prospects Miami wins over Florida.
2. Seven of Louisville's 14 commits are from the Southeast, and more are on the way.
Wright’s take: FACT. “One of the bigger recruiting rumors circling out of South Florida are the potential moves brothers Robby and Bobby Washington may make going from Miami to Louisville. While some of the interactions may have quieted down Rockledge (Fla.) receiver Eddie Combs visited Louisville in May. The Cardinals started going after Miami Palmetto receiver Derrick Bohler in May. Another Florida prospect to watch is tight end Adam Moore.
The list goes on, and I see Louisville stacking up on more Southeast recruits in the coming weeks.
Spalding’s take: FACT. “Louisville’s best teams over the years have been built from recruiting the Southeast. When you look at Teddy Bridgewater’s time at Louisville, the South Florida pipeline was alive and well. Bridgewater’s top targets included Eli Rogers and Michaelee Harris, both from the Miami area.
Then you have the likes of Brandon Radcliff, Lamar Jackson, Tutu Atwell and Javian Hawkins, four more extremely productive skill position players in recent years who all were out of the state of Florida.
I believe that momentum in Florida will continue, and two names to watch from Miami are Robby and Bobby Washington.”
3. Alabama will sign at least two five-stars in the 2023 class.
Wright’s take. FACT. “With Keon Keeley decommitting from Notre Dame on Wednesday night it now looks like a lock for Alabama to land the five-star end. Not accounting for flips, there are eight other five-stars left on the nationwide board, and I’m guessing at least one more could be heading to Tuscaloosa.
Alabama is always in the running for elite players, and the Tide are on the list for offensive tackle Samson Okunlola, end David Hicks Jr. and Cormani McClain. Of the three, McClain and Okunlola are high possibilities. One of the roadblocks to landing McClain and/or Okunlola may be Miami.
The Tide’s five-star list could grow based on talent already tied to the class. Alabama has an impressive five players with a Rivals 6.0 rating, just off the 6.1 mark of a five-star. Caleb Downs and Justice Haynes are strong contenders for a potential fifth star.
Quinlan’s take: FACT. “I think Alabama will land Keeley before the end of this month, and I also expect a couple of the current commits like Caleb Downs and Justice Haynes to end up with a fifth star as both are as close as you can get on Rivals without being a five-star. Nick Saban and his staff are still on McClain as well, and the Tide are in his final three.
The one other thing to keep an eye on is additional flip possibilities that could be in the Tide's favor. Alabama already flipped Ty Lockwood from Ohio State this month and will have essentially flipped Keeley from Notre Dame if that goes as expected. This could be a historic class for Alabama if the pieces line up over the next few months.”