Fact or Fiction: Oklahoma will land RB Daylan Smothers
Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman, national recruiting director Adam Gorney, Josh McCuistion from SoonerScoop.com and Justin Ferber of CavsCorner.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
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1. Oklahoma will land Rivals250 RB Daylan Smothers
Friedman's take: FACT. Oklahoma has been battling Florida State, NC State and Alabama for Smothers, but it seems like the Sooners have done a good enough job to hold off the competition. Florida State was his most recent visit, and the 'Noles seemed to have momentum, but Oklahoma's consistent contact and everything he saw when he was in Norman for his official visit could be too much for any team to overcome. NC State might be the biggest threat to Oklahoma here. The Wolfpack have done a good job recruiting in-state this cycle and Smothers has been a target of theirs for a long time. A commitment from him could end up influencing a few other talented prospects to join him in Raleigh. Look for Smothers to announce his commitment on July 14th.
McCuistion's take: FACT. Oklahoma has done an outstanding job building a relationship with Smothers. It has felt like a team effort with the work of Oklahoma's new staff's familiarity with the region but similarly the recruiting ability of position coach Demarco Murray to help build Smothers' comfort level at Oklahoma.
I don't think two months ago I'd have really believed this to be a possibility, but Smothers really loved his official visit to Norman and connected with Brent Venables and his staff. That positive energy carried over in the time since, and I think the Sooners have a very good chance to overcome NC State and Florida State in this one.
2. Miami won the commitment blitz over the holiday weekend.
Friedman's take: FICTION. LSU got more commits from July 1 through July 4, and Miami got the highest-profile commitments, but no team got more highly ranked commitments in this four-day period than Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish strengthened their hold on the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation this weekend by landing Rivals250 prospects Micah Bell, Rico Flores Jr. and Christian Gray. Flores, a receiver from California, is No. 106 in the Rivals250, while defensive backs Bell and Gray sit at Nos. 114 and 51, respectively.
I'm also a fan of what North Carolina and South Carolina were able to do over the weekend. The Tar Heels picked up five commitments, with one of them being Rivals250 receiver Christian Hamilton and another four-star in defensive end Jaybron Harvey. South Carolina got three four-stars in 2024 Rivals250 quarterback Dante Reno and 2023 prospects Jaden Robinson and Dontavius Braswell.
Gorney's take: FICTION. Miami getting high four-star OL Francis Mauigoa was absolutely huge, especially since the Hurricanes fended off Tennessee, USC and others, but LSU's weekend was one for the books. The Tigers landed three high-level defensive ends in Dashawn Womack, Darron Reed and Joshua Mickens, and they could add tremendous depth at those positions. The Tigers also got local DB Ashton Stamps to commit. LSU is gaining some major traction in recruiting and the summer is paying off; plus it might not be done yet. I also really like what Alabama did in landing the nation's top JUCO WR in Malik Benson. Plus, the Tide essentially flipped Ryqueze McElderry, which was big, too.
3. UVA is a legitimate target for the SEC
Friedman's take: FACT. It's all about the money and the money comes from TV contracts. Where does the SEC not have a TV foothold? In major markets north of the Carolinas, which is where four of the top 10 media markets are.
The legitimate options for SEC expansion in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are limited, but Virginia could make the most sense. Sure, the football program is average, but what's even more important to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey? Access to the Washington D.C. television market. Currently, the only top 10 media markets in the SEC footprint are Dallas, Atlanta, and Houston. The further the SEC can get into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the more it can attack bigger media markets like Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia and New York.
Ferber's take: FICTION. It wouldn’t be fair to completely rule out a move to the SEC for Virginia, but it doesn’t seem like the most likely outcome - or one that is coming soon. The round of realignment that took place about a decade ago was based in large part around conferences attempting to acquire major TV markets and in turn, potential cable subscribers. The way that media is consumed has changed quite a bit since then, and this round of realignment seems to be more heavily focused on adding valuable and recognizable brands, particularly football brands.
And if that’s the first criteria, UVa is probably further down the list, behind ACC comrades Clemson, Florida State, Miami and so on. Make no mistake, UVa would offer a lot to either the SEC or the Big Ten. The university has a great academic history and reputation as well as a great all-around athletics department. Recent success in basketball can’t hurt, either.
But football is still driving the bus. Each team that joins a league has to increase the size of the pie, and in a sense, pay its own way. Virginia probably doesn’t, but I suppose there is a case to be made for adding a prestigious flagship institution in a populous state, especially if, say, North Carolina was coming along as well.
If Virginia does leave the ACC at some point, the Big Ten might be the more logical landing spot. UVa is an AAU institution and with Maryland, Penn State and others in the league, there are some natural (and somewhat local) rivalries that could be rekindled or developed.
Regardless, if either league comes calling, UVa should at least be listening.