Fact or Fiction: Gators will load up with three Florida O-linemen
Rivals national recruiting analyst Ryan Wright, 1standTenFlorida publisher Jason Higdon, UGASports.com recruiting analyst Jed May and BamaInsider recruiting analyst Andrew Bone tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
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1. The Gators will land Bryce Lovett, Knijeah Harris and Payton Kirkland.
Wright's take: FICTION. I believe Bryce Lovett is a lock, but I am unsure about Knijeah Harris and Payton Kirkland. On April 11, Harris put out a top schools list of Alabama, Florida, Miami, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The Gators and Aggies have hosted Harris since his announcement. Florida is in the running but may not be able to close the deal. Kirkland has visited Florida so many times he may have keys to the joint. But he still continues to explore his options, visiting Michigan State, Miami and Oklahoma. I can see Kirkland signing with the Gators if Miami doesn’t snatch him away first.
Higdon's take: FACT. The Florida Gators need a few good men at the offensive line position. Coach Billy Napier has put such a high premium on the position he hired not one, but two offensive line coaches: Darnell Stapleton and Rob Sale. Florida is actively recruiting over 20 big-time offensive linemen, three of which are from Florida: Lovett, Harris and Kirkland. Harris announces on May 7, Kirkland on July 23. Lovett has not set his announcement date yet, but could be close. All three players are currently in our RedZone based on positive information from various sources I speak with. I love the way things are trending with all three players and believe the Gators will sign all three when it's said and done.
2. Miami area DB Daniel Harris is an elite three-star that would be a difference maker for Georgia in the 2023 class.
Wright's take: FACT. Harris is a terrific talent and has been on the hot track with the Bulldogs since his offer on Feb. 22. Georgia got Harris on campus on April 10, and by all accounts the visit was very successful. A wild card in landing him might be older brother Donell Harris Jr., a sophomore defensive lineman for Texas A&M. Wherever Harris goes, he will be an impact recruit.
May's take: FACT. Harris is a player that seems primed for a bump in the next Rivals250. He’s got great size for a corner, standing at 6-foot-2. That’s just one of the attributes that has Georgia in hot pursuit. Harris’ relationship with position coach Fran Brown dates back over a year to Brown’s days at Rutgers. The Bulldogs currently sit in a great spot for Harris, who would be a welcome addition to a secondary class that already features Marcus Washington and Justyn Rhett.
3. Alabama will land two 2023 prospects ranked in the top 10 of Florida's state rankings.
Wright's take: FICTION. Georgia owned the state of Florida in the 2022 class signing four including the top three with A&M snagging two limiting Alabama to one signee in the top-10, Jihaad Campbell. The Bulldogs may be pushed out in 2023 thanks to Ohio State leaving a handful of teams scrambling to sign the elite players left in the Sunshine State.
Malik Bryant and Richard Young seem like the most likely top 10 Florida prospects to sign with Alabama, but the odds are long. With Bryant, Alabama coach Nick Saban has let him know he is a priority while personally helping recruit the four-star. Florida has put elite recruiter Corey Raymond (cornerbacks coach) on Young, but what Justice Haynes does could influence where Young signs, and that might not be Alabama in the long run.
Andrew Bone: FACT. Alabama is heavily involved with several top recruits in Florida, especially in the top 10, including Bryant, Young, Cormani McClain, Brandon Inniss and Hykeem Williams. The staff is also trying to flip Notre Dame commitment Keon Keeley. Alabama is also working to get Francis Mauigoa and Carnell Tate in for visits. Alabama’s best bets are likely Young and Bryant at this point, but it is also in a very close battle with Florida for McClain. It will be a surprise if Alabama does not land two of the top 10 in the Sunshine State.