Fact or Fiction: Ohio State is emerging leader for Zion Branch, his brother
Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and recruiting analyst Adam Friedman along with Bryan Moss from TigerSportsReport.com and Joseph Hastings from BuckeyeGrove.com tackle three topics in recruiting and determine whether or not they believe each statement.
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1. Memphis is now the main contender for uncommitted three-star QB Tevin Carter.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Tevin Carter lives in Memphis and has been to that campus numerous times, thrown for the coaches and he’s one of the holdout quarterbacks who has not committed yet but I get the sense that Georgia Tech has definitely taken the lead in his recruitment after offering right after July 4. It always felt like Memphis was going to be a fallback option for Carter if need be but that doesn’t seem like the case any longer as Georgia Tech has emerged in his recruitment.
Moss’ take: FICTION. While it's a fact he likes Memphis and would love to be able to play in front of his family and friends, I don't feel Memphis is in the driver’s seat. His visit to Georgia Tech was impressive to him. I'm not entirely sure that Memphis has made Carter feel like he's a priority. When you see the comments Carter has made about Georgia Tech, you get the sense that the Yellow Jackets are making him feel like he's the priority. To me, Georgia Tech is the main contender to land Carter.
2. Ohio State is emerging as the leader for four-star DB Zion Branch and his brother.
Gorney’s take: FACT. The four-star safety is not going to announce his commitment for a few months so lots of things could still happen – and five-star corner Domani Jackson is recruiting Branch hard to USC – but I get the sense that the Buckeyes do hold the edge right now. Relationships are going to play a huge factor in Zion Branch’s decision and he loves the Ohio State staff and they’re coming hard after him as well. USC was the childhood favorite and so I’m not counting out the Trojans by any stretch and his other top schools have a shot as well but if Branch was committing today I’d pick Ohio State. I’m not sure that will change in the coming months. His brother, Zachariah, has many of the same options in the 2023 class and I get the sense that playing together is important.
Hastings’ take: FACT. It would be hard to argue against saying ‘Fact’ at this point in time. Ohio State was already viewed by some, including myself, as a top-two school before he officially visited the first weekend of last month, but they gained a lot of momentum during and after that visit. Branch said after the trip that he "fell in love" with the school, his interactions with the coaches and players went very well, and the future Buckeyes in attendance showed him love throughout the weekend.
While I don't have a FutureCast in just yet since Branch isn't expected to decide for another few months and USC is a close second, I think it's safe to say Ohio State should be viewed as the favorite right now. It also helps the program greatly that his brother, Zachariah, holds an offer from Ryan Day's staff. The Buckeyes, led by Brian Hartline, are recruiting wide receivers arguably better than any other school in the nation, and are high in the mix for Zachariah. Both Branch brothers want to attend the same college at the next level, so whoever gets Zion may very well end up getting Zachariah. He's still young in his process, but I would give the Buckeyes the edge when projecting where his and the elder Branch's recruitment may end up going.
3. After a summer of events, wide receiver is the position where the most changes need to be made in the next rankings.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Wide receiver is going to be a position with a lot of changes and there could be some significant moves for players at the top but I’m going with the quarterback spot. This summer has been so illuminating and so helpful because events have come back in full force and nearly all the top quarterbacks in the country have been seen multiple times. That helps in a big way. There are some four-stars who are absolutely going to be in the five-star discussion, maybe some fives who get moved around a little, definitely some three-stars moving way up and the jostling won’t stop there. Receiver is a big spot for moves but quarterback might be even bigger.
Friedman’s take: FACT. There will be more changes at the receiver position than any other position in the next rankings update for the 2022 class. I'm not really out on a limb here because there are more receivers ranked than any other position. There are 95 receivers ranked right now and 32 of them are in the Rivals250. There are just 55 outside linebackers ranked, only 21 in the Rivals250, and there are some pretty significant changes that I expect to happen inside the top 10. We've learned a lot about the top receivers and top linebackers in the last month and there are still a few more weeks to gather data before the next rankings update.