Florida Man: Alabama prediction, temp check on Sunshine State's Big Three
In my latest tour around the Sunshine State, I've got a prediction that should encourage Alabama fans, the latest on a 6-foot-5 end that somehow has no offers and some impressive prospects headed to both Miami and LSU.
FUTURECAST OF THE WEEK: Xavian Sorey to Alabama
Xavian Sorey has yet to play this season because he’s recovering from a minor surgery. He was, however, present on the sidelines of his IMG team’s 48-7 victory over Edgewater (Fla.) High School on Thursday.
I spoke at length with the four-star linebacker, who is expecting to return to the field in the next month, following the game and came away from that conversation more certain than ever that Alabama will be his pick. Georgia poses a threat here, and that threat could intensify if Sorey is allowed to take visits before making an announcement. That said, the IMG standout didn't do a very good job of hiding his affection for Nick Saban’s program during our conversation, as he all but admitted the Tide stand above the pack. He hopes to wait until National Signing Day to make an announcement.
“I talk to [three different coaches] from Alabama and, right now, they just spend time telling me how they plan to use me all over the field. I like that,” Sorey said on Thursday.
NOW ON THE RADAR - Winston Griffin
A converted quarterback, Winston Griffin has FBS size and made an impact all over the field in a game against juggernaut IMG Academy’s all-star roster last Thursday. Griffin lined up at rush end, wide receiver and even defensive back. He certainly didn’t look like a prospect in search of his first offer. Alas, that’s the case … somehow. Griffin moved incredibly well for a guy who stands every bit of 6-foot-6. He could help any number of schools at defensive end as he adds muscle. He may not be a top-flight prospect, but he certainly wouldn’t look out of place on a lot of Group of Five rosters.
JUST A HICCUP? MICHIGAN COMMIT JJ MCCARTHY NOT SHARP
Michigan quarterback commit JJ McCarthy was by no means awful against Edgewater (Fla.) High School on Thursday. He managed the game well and led his team to an easy win in damp conditions. That said, it certainly wasn’t the future Wolverine’s best day. He struggled with accuracy for much of the evening and was downright careless with the ball at times. He improved during the second half to scratch out a 12-for-20, 129-yard performance.
McCarthy is a no-doubt Rivals250 prospect and certainly won’t tumble based on one mediocre performance, but we’ve come to expect more from the No. 30 prospect in the country, especially when you consider the fact that he has major college prospects at every single position. It’s probably nothing more than a little rust, but saying he wow’d like I’d expected would be lying.
STOCK UP - Anthony Hundley
Hundley has added significant size in the last year and, at least in pads, doesn’t look to carry much bad weight. Calling his performance last Thursday “disruptive” would be understating the point, and he was consistently in on tackles and causing chaos in the backfield. He certainly outperformed his three-star ranking and could make the case for a rankings bump if his senior season continues along this trajectory.
BIG THREE TEMPERATURE CHECK
MIAMI -- SIZZLING
Life is good for Miami fans. The Hurricanes appear to have finally found a quarterback and offensive rhythm. The program is also finally winning recruiting battles against schools such as Alabama, Georgia and Clemson, and last week’s 47-34 win over Louisville has only added to the buzz building in Coral Gables. It’s difficult to overstate the impact landing five-star James Williams had on the perception of the UM program, and that momentum could build to a fever pitch if the ‘Canes keep posting gaudy point totals while rattling off wins this season.
FLORIDA -- HOT
Florida will open the season to lofty expectations this weekend, as it hopes to add even more momentum to an impressive recruiting class built on the back of last year’s 11-2 season. Having landed players such as Corey Collier and Jason Marshall, for whom it beat out Georgia and other high-profile programs, it feels as though the Gators are just one step away from the ladder’s top rung. If UF pushes for a playoff spot this season, it could see yet another dose of recruiting momentum down the stretch.
FLORIDA STATE -- ICE COLD
FSU is lagging way behind when it comes to in-state recruiting, and it appears to have missed on two high-profile local safeties in Terrion Arnold and Ahmari Harvery. It’s also coming off a loss to a Georgia Tech team that went 3-9 last year and the head coach is recovering from COVID-19. Oh, and the players sometimes criticize the leadership on Twitter.
It’s early in the Mike Norvell Era and things may get straightened out, but the start has been … well, a Freddy Krueger-level nightmare. A win over Miami this weekend would help the Noles begin to reverse course. A blowout loss, however, would have a very different effect.
PARTING THOUGHT - Troutman on the rise
I was blindsided, in the best way, by the development of Miami commit Deshawn Troutman on Thursday. Troutman has not only gotten stronger in the last year, but he’s developed instinctually as well. The Hurricane-to-be was one of the only effective parts of Edgewater’s defense against IMG and gave McCarthy fits at times, particularly in the first half. Troutman looks much better than his current 5.5 ranking, as he breaks on the ball incredibly well and changes directions a lot quicker than he once did. The UM staff seems to have hit on this evaluation.