Fact or Fiction: Notre Dame will land top two OL in North Carolina
Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman, Kyle Kelly from InsideNDSports.com, Zach Libby from TheMaizeandBlueReview.com and Andrew Bone from BamaInsider.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
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1. Notre Dame will land the top two offensive linemen in North Carolina.
Friedman's take: FICTION. Rivals250 offensive lineman Sam Pendleton committed to Notre Dame on Monday evening, and the Fighting Irish are also pushing for fellow North Carolina native Sullivan Absher. Absher, an uncommitted four-star, was back in South Bend this past weekend for his third visit to the campus and he gave the experience rave reviews. Clemson and NC State are also going after Absher. The Tigers are the other main team to watch because of how close he is with the coaching staff and that community. The proximity to home could become more of a factor as Absher gets closer to announcing his commitment. A decision date for Absher isn't set just yet, and he doesn't appear to be in any rush. That time could be exactly what Clemson needs to regain some momentum.
Kelly's take: FACT. Absher told Inside ND Sports after his Notre Dame visit that the Irish have set the standard compared to other schools he’s seen. Although Clemson is a strong contender I put in a Rivals Futurecast for the Irish to land Absher, and I feel strongly about it at this moment. The Irish made a great impression this past weekend, which I believe put them in the driver's seat to land his pledge.
2. Michigan will land teammates Nyckoles Harbor and Joseph Mupoyi.
Friedman's take: FICTION. Five-star Nyckoles Harbor is very high on the Wolverines and his mother has roots in the Detroit area. Despite some confusion over whether or not Harbor has narrowed his focus down to USC and Michigan, the elite prospect is keeping his options open. Michigan will be one of Harbor's top schools when the time comes, but the Wolverines are probably closer to No. 5 on his list than No. 1. Will his decision be influenced by what his teammate Joseph Mupoyi does? Very unlikely. Mupoyi has plenty of options of his own and the two are very different players on different trajectories. Michigan certainly could land a commitment from Mupoyi, but there is still a lot to unfold in his recruitment.
Libby's take: FACT. The connections that the Wolverines have with Archbishop Carroll have helped Michigan remain a leader with Harbor and Mupoyi. Brian Ellerbe, the athletic director of Archbishop Carroll, was Michigan's head basketball coach from 1997 to 2001. Archbishop Carroll's track coach, Pamela Crockett, is herself a Michigan graduate. Harbor is expected to release a top 10 in May and it's guaranteed that Michigan will be added to the list. He's been to Ann Arbor for a game last season and has remained in contact with defensive line coach Mike Elston since the latter came back to his alma mater last winter. Elston visited Harbor and Mupoyi during the first week of the spring evaluation period, and Michigan has done very well in the DMV these last few recruiting cycles because of its longtime connections to that area. Landing both Harbor and Mupoyi would only strengthen Michigan's presence as a key player along the East Coast.
3. Alabama should be considered the team to beat for 2024 five-star Desmond Ricks.
Friedman's take: FACT. Originally from the Tidewater region of Virginia, Ricks is one of the biggest names in the recruiting world right now, and the five-star is being proactive regarding his recruitment. Florida State was the early leader for Ricks, but it appears the Seminoles are out of the running at this time. Ricks recently visited Tuscaloosa and now the Crimson Tide have positioned themselves as the team to beat. Ricks really enjoyed his time with the coaches and being in that environment. Look for Miami, Oregon, LSU, Georgia and Michigan to get Ricks on campus later this offseason. But, at this point, they're all chasing Alabama for the five-star.
Bone's take: FACT. Alabama appears to be in great position for Ricks, but there is still a long way to go in his recruitment. He had a great time in Tuscaloosa earlier this month. It was his first time visiting the Crimson Tide. He has a great connection with cornerbacks coach Travaris Robinson and also loves the fact that he has an opportunity to work in the secondary with Nick Saban. Ricks has seen the products developed by Alabama, especially at cornerback, including NFL superstars Marlon Humphrey, Patrick Surtain II and Trevon Diggs. He knows the Tide will continue to produce talent at the position, and it’s something he is really feeling right now.