Fact or Fiction: It will be Alabama or LSU for Julian Armella
National recruiting director Adam Gorney along with analysts Chad Simmons and Sam Spiegelman with Volquest.com’s Austin Price tackle three topics in recruiting and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
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1. Clemson is emerging as the front-runner for Brenen Thompson.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Clemson has proven it can go anywhere to get any prospect whether that’s regionally or nationally and the Tigers can even go to little Spearman, Texas, for one of the nation’s top athletes. Oklahoma is not going to give up easily and the in-state schools are definitely going to go after Brenen Thompson because he’s such a dynamic athlete but if the four-star had to commit today I bet it would be to Clemson.
Spiegelman’s take: FACT. Clemson has momentum in the Lone Star State and Cade Klubnik is the obvious answer as to why. One of the nation's best quarterbacks who resides in Austin is now off to try and continue Clemson's track record of championship quarterbacks. Players in and around Texas want to team up with Klubnik, especially after seeing how he helped Westlake High to another championship season this year. Don't discount Lincoln Riley's ability to stay in the mix with this West Texas speedster who hails from the same neck of the woods that he grew up in. The same goes for Jimbo Fisher; the Aggies have long been the favorite among the in-state teams with Thompson and their momentum on the recruiting trail hasn't stopped for weeks.
2. There should be major concern that Tennessee has no 2022 commitments.
Gorney’s take: FACT. There is no reason to go ballistic and first-year coach Josh Heupel does need time to get going, which has been further hindered by the inability of coaches to visit prospects and recruits to visit campus, but there is significant reason for concern. Only Tennessee and Vanderbilt have no commitments in the SEC and that’s not great company. Many other schools are just getting started with their classes so the Vols have plenty of time to get going as well but so much is needed to retool things in Knoxville that Heupel has to figure out ways to jump start this thing. Ty Simpson would have been a massive piece but that didn’t happen. My guess is the state’s top player, Walter Nolen, has other front-runners. In the SEC, when other teams see blood in the water, they pounce and right now Tennessee is hemorrhaging a little bit.
Price’s take: FICTION. Josh Heupel has been on the scene just over a month and most of that time he didn’t have a full staff. He only recently got his defensive side figured out. If the Vols get to mid April then I think it’s something to worry about. Frankly I think it’s hard to get any juice when the prospects can’t come see you and you can’t go see the prospects. It’s a long time until you play a game and can show what you look like so Heupel and company will have to find a way to be innovative in their recruiting. Tennessee has focused hard on the in-state products and that’s likely where their first commitment or two will come from.
3. Julian Armella's recruitment will end up being a battle between Alabama and LSU.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Alabama could be very difficult to beat for Julian Armella especially if the Crimson Tide make him a top priority in this recruiting class because he is definitely intrigued by the development of offensive linemen in Tuscaloosa. LSU is also a major player because position coach James Cregg has recruited Armella really well. But I would not count out Florida State at all as I’ve been told the Seminoles are going very hard after Armella and feel like there is a chance. The 2022 class at FSU is coming together very strongly and Armella could be intrigued by that plus all the family connections there.
Simmons’ take: FICTION. Those program are in this and are expected to be in this until the end. Armella may end up leaving the state, but I expect in-state programs to be in this as well. Miami is the local program, he has multiple connections to Florida State, and he has visited Florida, so I do not see the big three going away.