Fact or Fiction: TCU, Louisville are in the mix for Rueben Owens
Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst Nick Harris along with Andrew Bone of BamaInsider.com and Richard Schnyderite from TheKnightReport.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
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1. Rueben Owens is taking visits to TCU and Louisville instead of Georgia. Those two programs will join the top group with Texas and Texas A&M after those trips.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Trips to Los Angeles or South Beach have been taken in years past by recruits and we sort of felt they were just taking them for a free trip to the beach. I don’t see the same situation here. There is no doubt in my mind that Texas holds the advantage in Rueben Owens’ recruitment and that Texas A&M and others are battling but why go see TCU and Louisville if there isn’t some level of intrigue there? I doubt he ends up with the Horned Frogs or Cardinals but the visits have to be considered important.
Harris’ take: FICTION. Owens II is very much enjoying the recruiting process and these two visits are part of that enjoyment. Texas and Texas A&M have both been mainstays here and I don’t see that changing before he makes his decision, but that doesn’t mean that I’m discounting the recruiting ability of TCU running backs coach Anthony Jones. A solid trip in Fort Worth could keep the Horned Frogs in it, but I just don’t see them having enough firepower to take the pole position coming out of that trip.
2. Nick Saban's comments about NIL and Jimbo Fisher's harsh criticism of Saban will hurt Alabama's recruiting efforts this cycle.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. I’ve heard some ancillary rumors that some prospects are not thrilled with Nick Saban’s message since it might hinder some NIL deals but the elite of the elite from who I’ve talked to don’t really care and honestly most wanted to move right past the ugly back-and-forth between Saban and Jimbo Fisher. To his credit, late in the week Saban went on numerous media outlets to clarify remarks or re-state what he meant. Although behind the scenes I’m sure tempers are still high, I don’t think it’s going to have a big influence on recruiting. Alabama will still recruit at an elite level and get some of the best players in the class en route to competing for the No. 1 recruiting class. The only difference now is that Texas A&M could be on the same path as the Crimson Tide.
Bone’s take: FICTION. It has been a slow start for Alabama in its 2023 class with only three commitments, but it was very similar the last two years. The Tide finished No. 1 in 2021 and No. 2 in 2022. The spat between Saban and Fisher was ugly, but it’s unlikely to cause much damage on the recruiting front. Alabama is still Alabama and will sign an elite class. Saban, along with plenty of other coaches throughout the country, voiced displeasure in what is going on with NIL especially when it comes to recruiting high school players. We’ve seen Saban share his negative thoughts in the past whether it was run-pass option or the transfer portal, but most saw it as a warning from the seven-time national champion head coach. Saban is talking about the NIL issues in May, not December. The current model is not sustainable. It will change, but Saban has also proven to adjust with the times better than anyone. It may take a little longer to adjust than others, but once embraced it’s hard to bet against Saban and the Crimson Tide.
3. Chase Bisontis is down to five schools. He will end up somewhere in the SEC.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. There is something that fits about Chase Bisontis’ personality and playing in the Big Ten – tough, no-nonsense, doesn’t say a lot, likes to impose his will physically – that just makes me believe he will end up staying in that conference. So far, Michigan State has done a great job recruiting him. His relationship with coach Mel Tucker and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic has been building and after he visited SEC programs, Bisontis did not turn his recruitment on its head. I still like the Spartans here although turning down SEC powers is a tough thing to do.
Schnyderite’s take: FICTION. I’ll go with fiction here as there have been strong rumors for a few months now that Bisontis has been leaning toward Michigan State. Now some thought those rumors would die down once he took his Southern tour to a few different schools such Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M, all of which have made his top list. However it still sounds like Mel Tucker and crew are near, if not at the top. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as the Spartans have done pretty well with New Jersey prospects under Tucker, landing Kevin Wigenton and Geno VanDeMark as recruits and recently adding New Jersey native running back Jalen Berger via the portal.