Fact or Fiction: No. 1 DB in 2025, Dominick McKinley, Louisiana
Rivals recruiting analyst Cole Patterson and national recruiting director Adam Gorney along with Jason Suchomel of OrangeBloods.com and Jefferson Powell of DeathValleyInsider.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement to be FACT or FICTION.
MORE FACT OR FICTION: Five-star Zaquan Patterson is a Florida State lock
1. Jonah Williams is the No. 1 safety in the 2025 class.
Patterson: FICTION. I lean fiction because there’s a very high possibility that Jonah Williams could eventually make the move to linebacker. Nonetheless, Williams is a terrific player on the back end of the defense, able to play a bit of a hybrid position and fill multiple responsibilities. His four interceptions — including three pick-sixes — as a sophomore showcase how much of a playmaker he is. Texas A&M is in hot pursuit, with Texas and Oklahoma among the programs also in the picture for the blue chipper.
Gorney: FICTION. Williams is more filled out physically but DJ Pickett is longer and a little rangier than Williams so I'm still going to side with the other five-star at the position. Over the long term, I'm not entirely convinced that Williams doesn't end up at linebacker so this discussion might be moot because WIlliams is an awesome-looking player but already getting a little too big for safety. Williams is great, he was really impressive this summer and there's a chance he can stay in the secondary but Pickett's upside is a touch higher.
2. Texas is the front-runner for Dominick McKinley.
Patterson: FACT. At one point, it looked like it was going to be difficult for anybody to beat LSU out for Dominick McKinley. Then, Oklahoma emerged as a strong contender. Now, it appears as if the Longhorns have swung the momentum in their favor and are the team to beat for the blue chip defender out Louisiana. Adding McKinley to a haul that also features five-star Colin Simmons would give Steve Sarkisian another key boost heading into the SEC.
Suchomel: FACT: Dominick McKinley is a tough one to read and best I can tell, he really doesn’t tip his hand to anybody, including other recruits who are in regular contact with him. There has been some thought for a while that he’s likely to leave the state, so LSU may not be the force in this one that many thought they would be early on. Texas and Oklahoma are the two programs that are receiving the most chatter, although one Louisiana source indicated to me recently to not completely rule out Ohio State. If he chooses to stay home and commit to either Oklahoma or Texas, I favor the Longhorns for a couple reasons … McKinley has developed a strong relationship with some of the UT staff and academics are important to him, and Texas carries more weight in that area. This is a tough one to call as we close in on his decision but I slightly favor the Longhorns.
3. LSU should be worried about recruits leaving Louisiana.
Patterson: FACT. The sky isn’t falling, but it’s still worth taking note of. Last cycle, Arch Manning and Derek Williams headed to Texas. This cycle, notable top prospects such as Wardell Mack, Gabriel Reliford and potentially Dominick McKinley are following suit.
Again, LSU has and will continue to land its fair share of elite prospects in the state. Trey’dez Green and Tylen Singleton are evidence of that in this cycle. But with Oklahoma and Texas set to move to the SEC, it’s not going to get any easier for the Tigers.
Powell: FICTION. I don't think concern is the word I would use and even if they miss out on Dominick McKinley I don't think it's time to hit the panic button just yet. They are definitely cognizant of it and are absolutely going to get their fair share of targets from Louisiana in each cycle.
I would say there's room for improvement for sure. But, Brian Kelly and his staff have done a good job not only in state but dipping into Texas as well. When you look at the 2025 class, where you have a loaded class in Louisiana. I think how they do in the next cycle with a lot of those guys will be a bit more telling on how strong of a foothold they maintain in state.