Fact or Fiction: Texas A&M is the program to beat for Harold Perkins
Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst Sam Spiegelman along with Ryan Young of TrojanSports.com and Joseph Hastings of BuckeyeGrove.com tackle three recruiting topics and determine whether they believe each statement.
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1. USC should be worried that Mykel Williams visited Florida State this week and could take other trips.
Gorney’s take: FACT. USC is in a strong position with Mykel Williams and there’s no doubt about it but visiting Florida State earlier this week shows the five-star is at least somewhat interested in still investigating other schools and more trips could happen as well. There has been some talk that Georgia is not giving up on Williams and the Bulldogs will continue to recruit him and others in the Southeast will stay involved as well. I’m not predicting that Williams flips but as his senior season approaches and the reality hits that he’ll be traveling across the country to play his college football, there should be some concern especially as FSU, Georgia and others stay after him.
Young’s take: FICTION. Not particularly -- yet. Williams is also flying to Los Angeles this weekend to take part in USC's recruiting BBQ event, which is a strong sign for the Trojans. And if his close friend and fellow top defensive line prospect Christen Miller ends up committing to USC -- the Trojans continue to look like the favorites for Miller, who will also be in Los Angeles this weekend -- then that should only further strengthen Williams' plans. There always has to be some modicum of worry regarding highly-rated prospects from the other side of the country who commit six months before the early signing period. Six months is a lifetime in recruiting. But Williams -- and Miller -- have a very real, very strong bond with Trojans defensive line coach Vic So'oto, which will get refreshed this weekend; Miller wants to get into movies so, again, USC looks like the strong favorite in his recruitment; and Williams and Miller very much want to play together at the next level. There are no alarms sounding yet for USC here.
2. Harold Perkins said this week, "Everyone thinks (Texas A&M) is the team to beat." That's because the Aggies are the leader.
Gorney’s take: FACT. He wore LSU shorts to a recent workout that Rivals attended. He has talked highly of the Tigers, of Texas, of Florida and others. But most signs point to Harold Perkins playing at Texas A&M from his relationships with that coaching staff, to how much interest he has shown the Aggies throughout his recruitment to the fact he’s headed back to College Station for their event to close out the summer. LSU is intriguing but my best guess is that A&M leads here and I don’t see that changing.
Spiegelman’s take: FACT. Perkins doesn't say much or show his hand too often, but it's certainly clear that he's keen on playing in the SEC next year. Whether that's at Texas A&M, LSU, Florida or wherever -- that remains to be seen -- but Perkins openly spoke of the SEC being the best conference recently and even added that he's intrigued by Texas joining the conference. Right now, the Aggies are in Texas and in the SEC and Perkins will be back there this weekend. It is my understanding that LSU, Texas, USC, Florida, Oregon and even Miami remain in play heading into a big stretch of visits for games this fall and I like where Texas A&M sits.
3. If Richard Young doesn't end up at Ohio State, it would be a major surprise.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. This is shaping up to be an Alabama/Ohio State battle right now and the 2023 high four-star running back continues to visit Columbus so there is serious interest in the Buckeyes. But betting against the Crimson Tide this early seems foolish and so while Ohio State is in great shape in Richard Young’s recruitment, there could be a more pronounced Southeast focus as his recruitment goes on. The Buckeyes should feel great about where they stand with Young - especially after Treyaun Webb committed to Oklahoma - but this looks like a two-team heavyweight battle to land Young’s pledge.
Hastings’ take: FICTION: I don’t know if I would go as far as to say that it would be a major surprise if Young does not wind up with the Buckeyes. Even though they are the team trending right now, we are still talking about a member of the 2023 class who has yet to begin his junior season of high school. Unless he decides to reclassify, Young won’t be able to sign his National Letter of Intent for 17 months, at the very earliest.
Not only does Young have a significant amount of time left in his recruitment, but the competition Ohio State is going up against to land him means this won’t be a walk in the park. Alabama and Clemson — a couple of perennial playoff contenders — are in the mix, as well as the in-state Florida Gators and roughly 30 other programs. With two visits to Columbus in the span of a couple of months under his belt, as well as the belief they are still leading in his recruitment, most figure the Buckeyes are on track to land Young. Since there’s a lot of time left to go and other top schools are in hot pursuit of him, however, it would not be a major surprise if he does end up signing somewhere other than Ohio State.