Fact or Fiction: Jacoby Mathews will likely end up with LSU
Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney along with national recruiting analysts Sam Spiegelman and Josh Helmholdt and Corey Bender from GatorsTerritory.com tackle three recruiting topics and determine whether they believe each statement.
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1. Jacoby Mathews will likely end up back in LSU's recruiting class.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Every No. 1 prospect in the state of Louisiana dating back to Landon Collins in 2012 has gone to LSU so Jacoby Mathews would be bucking a major trend if he decided to go somewhere else and it looks like Texas A&M would be the main landing spot at this point. I just don’t see it happening. Mathews couldn’t visit other SEC schools if he was committed to LSU so why not decommit, see those places and then figure out what is best? Top in-state kids almost always end up with the Tigers.
Spiegelman’s take: FACT. Mathews was back in College Station over the weekend and that's the second time this summer that Mathews has given Texas A&M a close, hard look. Mathews was an early LSU commitment this cycle and remains very close to the staff at LSU and I'd expect him back on campus for multiple games this season. There's also some interest elsewhere in the SEC and even Ohio State has been in touch with the Ponchatoula standout since backing off his pledge. However, I like the Tigers' chances of eventually winning out if they continue to make Mathews a top priority.
2. Evan Stewart is the No. 1 receiver in the 2022 class.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Evan Stewart is athletic, he’s an electric route runner, he’s fun to watch because he has outstanding speed and the ability to separate against any cornerback. We saw him beat speedy Julian Humphrey at Florida’s Friday Night Lights on one route. But I’m not absolutely convinced he’s the No. 1 receiver in this class. This is a year where any number of receivers could make that argument including current No. 1 Luther Burden, who’s committed to Oklahoma. If I had my way, I’d put Stewart second behind Burden and ahead of Kevin Coleman, which puts Stewart in the five-star discussion but I don’t think there’s a clear No. 1 receiver that has emerged yet.
Bender’s take: FACT. Stewart has superstar written all over him. He is fluid at the line of scrimmage and shows that bounce to create separation and really gain the upper hand on defenders. He also showcases a disciplined brand of football, meaning he runs crisp routes and does a good job of setting up his opponent downfield. However, when dissecting his performance at Friday Night Lights, what impressed me most was his ability to high-point the ball and win those battles in one-on-one coverage. He consistently beat his opponents to the open spot and is the best wide receiver in the 2022 class.
3. The new Alabama offer is a game-changer for four-star DL Deone Walker.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Deone Walker might stay close especially with Michigan as the frontrunner but the Alabama offer could completely change things especially if the four-star visits Tuscaloosa during the season. That is still being figured out but could be telling, especially if Alabama keeps pushing for him. Walker loves the development of defensive linemen in Tuscaloosa and how Freddie Roach coaches the position. Does Walker automatically go to the Crimson Tide after they offered in recent days? No. But Alabama is now a very serious contender for him.
Helmholdt’s take: FICTION. I would not call it a game-changer, but it comes at an interesting time. There have been previous Cass Tech prospects - like Joseph Barksdale and Dior Mathis - for whom it was always evident they were going out-of-state. Walker is not like that, though. I always felt he would stay close to home and Michigan seemed to be the leader in the clubhouse, but recently his head coach took a job at Michigan State. Alabama may present an option that does not involve Walker picking between those two home-state schools, which may hold appeal for him right now.