Fact or Fiction: Sitting out senior season will become a trend
Rivals National Recruiting Director Adam Gorney along with recruiting analysts Sam Spiegelman and Adam Friedman and EJ Holland from TheWolverine.com tackle three topics in recruiting and determine whether they believe each statement or not.
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1. Texas RB commit Jaydon Blue has decided to sit out his senior season. This will become a trend in high school football.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. COVID-19 was the reason a lot of players sat out their senior seasons or because of skewed schedules and everything that was health-related with the pandemic. This is different although there could be other extenuating circumstances in Jaydon Blue’s case as well. The four-star has carried the ball a lot in his high school career but Jonathan Taylor had more than 900 carries at Wisconsin and was a second-round pick and Najee Harris had a big workload at Alabama and was a first-rounder. Missing your senior season of high school football is something you can never get back and while Blue has made the decision to sit out, I don’t think many others will.
Spiegelman’s take: FICTION. We’ve seen players opt out of bowl games and just last year, USC freshman Brandon Campbell opted out of his senior season because of COVID-19 along with many other players. Blue doesn’t want any more tread off the tires and it’s hard to blame him as the focal point of the Klein Cain offense with 400-plus carries a year ago at a position that is now frequently devalued in the NFL ranks. Blue should be a standout at Texas because of his natural abilities. I can’t see this trend catching on though, especially if it interferes with college evaluations.
2. Michigan remains a serious contender for Walter Nolen despite more coaching changes.
Gorney’s take: FACT. When I traded messages with Walter Nolen following Maurice Linguist’s move to become Buffalo’s head coach, the five-star defensive lineman said there was no change with his interest in the Wolverines. I believe him. But I also think some SEC programs could be tough to beat to land Nolen’s commitment. The visit in June is going to be very important, I still think Michigan is a major contender but I don’t have the Wolverines as the frontrunner right now.
Holland’s take: FACT. While Mo Linguist was involved in this recruitment, he wasn't running point. U-M assistant Ron Bellamy has established a strong connection with Nolen and his family thanks in large part to his southern roots. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has also been personally involved in this recruitment. On top of that, Nolen is a long-time friend of Michigan commit Kody Jones and is in contact with U-M's leader of the class, Will Johnson, a fellow five-star. Nolen is still slated to officially visit on June 18. Michigan remains a dark horse.
3. Jaishawn Barham could still end up playing in the SEC.
Gorney’s take: FACT. It is a long shot right now because Penn State and Maryland have the edge but June official visits have not even happened yet and so South Carolina, Florida and others could have a real opportunity to convince him to play in college football’s best conference. Jaishawn Barham has the most connections seemingly at South Carolina and recently talked highly of his relationship with MarShawn Lloyd so that could be a big factor. The four-star probably stays closer to home but the SEC programs still have a real shot.
Friedman’s take: FICTION. Barham will visit SEC programs but the Rivals100 linebacker out of Baltimore is a homebody so it would be surprising to see him pick a school other than Penn State or Maryland. South Carolina has been leaning on its connections to get Barham's attention and the Gamecocks are pressing the right buttons so far but they have a lot of ground to make up. Florida is in the same situation as the Gamecocks, saying and doing the right things but a ways to go before they surpass Maryland and Penn State.