Gorney's Takeaways: OT7 in Phoenix
MESA, Ariz. - The opening day of the first stop in the OT7 regional events was held here Saturday as many of the top 7-on-7 teams and prospects were in attendance. There was a lot to take in from an evaluation and recruiting standpoint as Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney gives his thoughts below:
MORE: Local teams make impression for four-star Devoux Tuataga
TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Transfer portal player ranking | Transfer portal team ranking | Transfer Tracker | Message board | Team ranking FAQs
CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
WIDE RECEIVERS IMPRESS
A lot of the elite receivers across the country proved it on Day 1 as five-star Jeremiah Smith was more quality than quantity as he wasn’t racking up catches but it seems like whenever he wants to go over the top he can at will and catch a touchdown.
Colorado commit Winston Watkins was basically unstoppable and he’s developing physically as well so cornerbacks cannot muscle him anymore. He’s definitely in the running for the top-ranked receiver in the 2025 class.
One of the most-consistent and best receivers on the day, maybe the receiver MVP on Day 1, was 2025 Donovan Olugbode from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy. Playing for Trillion Boys, the Chicago native who is only 15 years old got open against everybody and caught everything.
Other receivers who really impressed on Day 1 were Phenix City (Ala.) Central three-star Cameron Coleman, four-star Xavier Jordan from Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon, five-star Mike Matthews came on strong and was unstoppable later in the day and four-star athlete Boo Carter and three-star Kyan Berry-Johnson had two of the nicest catches of the day.
THOUGHTS ON QUARTERBACKS
Ole Miss is getting a good one in Demond Williams. The four-star dual-threat quarterback from nearby Chandler (Ariz.) Basha is undersized and there’s no way around it but his arm strength is elite and he has excellent touch on his passes as well. Williams can throw off different arm angles, he can throw on the run and back across his body so in coach Lane Kiffin’s offense he could be fantastic.
LSU commit Colin Hurley has all the arm talent in the world and he can deliver it all over the field effortlessly. Sometimes, the Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Academy four-star quarterback would be better served taking just a touch off some passes that sailed. Still, Hurley had an impressive showing as a fringe Rivals100 prospect who has reclassified.
Other quarterbacks who had good moments include Orange (Calif.) Lutheran’s TJ Lateef, NC State commit Cedrick Bailey Jr., Warner Robins (Ga.) Houston County’s Antwann Hill, Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon’s Isaac Wilson and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman’s Micah Alejado, who is really undersized but skilled enough some school should take a shot on him.
Tennessee is the hot name in recruiting. Now, can the Volunteers capitalize and steal some elite five- and four-star prospects from Georgia and Alabama in their quest to be a big-time player in the SEC?
Mike Matthews talked highly of Tennessee, he was in Neyland Stadium when the Vols beat Alabama, he stormed the field and now he’s going back. Four-star Zion Ragins is going soon. Olugbode, Anquon Fegans and Ricardo Jones all mentioned how interested they are in Tennessee and getting to Knoxville.
Things are looking up for coach Josh Heupel and now winning some major recruiting battles is the next step.
*** There has been a lot of chatter recently that Miami is the front-runner for five-star Joshisa Trader but the Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna standout said his comments were taken out of context. Sure, the Hurricanes are still very much in the picture for him but he’s not counting out Ohio State, Florida, Florida State and Tennessee, either.
**** Ohio State feels really tough to beat for Chandler (Ariz.) Basha three-star cornerback Miles Lockhart and he has a couple more visits to Columbus coming up. Oregon and Utah are also high because Lockhart loves how those coaching staffs develop cornerbacks but the Buckeyes seem way ahead.
*** Jontae Gilbert committed to Ohio State last summer and the 2025 four-star defensive back remains blocked in with the Buckeyes but he’s getting significant pressure from Tennessee (and he wore Vols gloves on Saturday) along with Georgia and others. Some big visits are coming up as the Atlanta (Ga.) Douglass standout gets pressed by SEC schools.
*** Rated as a high three-star now, Cameron Coleman could be in line for a major bump in the rankings. The Phenix City (Ala.) Central standout has length, playmaking ability and awesome hands as he had one of the nicest catches of the day in the back of the end zone. Visits to LSU and Florida State happened recently and a big trip is coming up
*** Georgia seems to have cooled a little bit on 2025 four-star QB Antwann Hill from Warner Robins (Ga.) Houston County (he is Trey Hill’s cousin) but Hill isn’t letting it influence his recruitment as plenty of other elite programs are in the mix. A visit to Alabama went really well as he gets to know new OC Tommy Rees better and then Ole Miss, Florida, Clemson and Ohio State are in there, too.