Fact or Fiction: Notre Dame is the clear leader for CJ Williams
Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and recruiting analyst Sam Spiegelman along with Andrew Bone from BamaInsider.com and Mike Singer from BlueandGold.com tackle three topics in recruiting and determine whether or not they believe each statement.
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1. Notre Dame is the clear leader for four-star WR CJ Williams.
Gorney’s take: FACT. CJ Williams had a lot of positive things to say about each of his top five but I do think Notre Dame holds the edge although I wouldn’t be shocked if USC or Texas make a final run at him. The Irish will be tough to beat. The four-star receiver loves the culture, the academics and the football at Notre Dame and it just feels like he would be a fit inside that program. Williams also sees an opportunity in Notre Dame’s offense as an outside receiver who could help the Irish immediately. I wouldn’t be shocked if he goes to USC but Notre Dame feels like it has a big edge right now.
Singer’s take: FACT. Notre Dame has done an outstanding job in Williams' recruitment. I never felt like Notre Dame was a top contender for Williams early on, but receivers coach Del Alexander and Co. continued to work on Williams because of how strong of a fit on and off the field he was for the Fighting Irish. Their efforts haven't paid off yet as he hasn't given his commitment, but I'm not sure which school in his top five is running No. 2 assuming that Notre Dame has the top spot. Is it local USC, which typically recruits Mater Dei well? Is it Texas or Stanford, where he also officially visited in June along with the Irish? Personally, I don't see Alabama as a threat to Notre Dame in the recruitment. I believe it's pretty clear Notre Dame is the leader for Williams, but he hasn't made his decision yet.
2. Jaheim Oatis recently visited Ole Miss. It's possible he flips to the Rebels from Alabama.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Ole Miss has actually not recruited all that well at the top of the state rankings over the last few years and betting against Alabama is foolish and not something I’m going to do but my bet is that Ole Miss is not going to give up on Jaheim Oatis and his relationship with position coach Randall Joyner is going to play a role here. Will Oatis back off his Alabama pledge and end up at Ole Miss? Nobody knows that right now. But the Rebels are not stopping in his recruitment and Joyner will continue to play a big role moving forward.
Bone’s take: FICTION. Oatis surprised many when he announced his commitment to Alabama in the spring. The timing was surprising, not the choice. Oatis has visited Alabama several times since his 8th grade year. Alabama has always been at or near the top of his list. He also visited Alabama a few times in June. Oatis also visited Ole Miss and Mississippi State last month. The in-state schools will continue to press hard for Oatis, but he is happy with his commitment to the Crimson Tide and is not expected to flip his commitment. He has a great bond with Alabama defensive line coach Freddie Roach and defensive coordinator Pete Golding. The Tide’s ability to constantly churn out elite defensive linemen remains a strong selling point to any top player at the position.
3. After the Elite 11, there should only be one five-star pro-style quarterback in the 2022 class.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. The last time there were only two quarterbacks taken in the first round of the NFL Draft was 2015 and twice since then there have been five drafted that early. That leads me to believe since Rivals rankings are based on college potential and NFL Draft placement that there should be more, not fewer, five-star quarterbacks in this class. At the Elite 11, numerous players made an argument for that distinction and at the top of the list would be Clemson commit Cade Klubnik. There is going to be a debate about LSU pledge Walker Howard and Georgia commit Gunner Stockton (once we can see him at a live event again) but Quinn Ewers is definitely locked in as a five-star and then there are many others that should be under consideration. This summer was an excellent opportunity to see all the quarterbacks in different settings and I’m pretty sure there are more five-star QBs out there.
Spiegelman’s take: FICTION. This is a difficult question because at the Elite 11, we were assured that Quinn Ewers might be the most talented passer in all the country and is an obvious five-star in this cycle. However, there are quite a few names certainly in the conversation for a fifth star or could certainly continue to make a compelling case for it by the end of their senior seasons. Clemson-bound passer Cade Klubnik, USC-bound Devin Brown, LSU-bound Walker Howard and Texas A&M-bound Conner Weigman are all outstanding quarterbacks. Klubnik, coming back-to-back state titles, was the Elite 11 MVP. Howard led his high school team to a perfect season capped by a state championship last fall, too. Weigman and Brown showed a ton at the Elite 11 Finals as well. In other words, there will be plenty of names in the mix as five-star quarterbacks, and at a premium position I could envision multiple five-stars by the end of the cycle.