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How things stand with uncommitted 2022 five-stars

Walter Nolen
Walter Nolen (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

It is still early in the 2022 recruiting cycle but there is a lot of movement when it comes to the recruitments of the uncommitted five-star prospects. Here is a breakdown of each:

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DT WALTER NOLEN

The five-star defensive tackle recently released a top 10 but there are definitely some bigger standouts even among that group with Alabama and LSU probably leading the way at this point. That could change, though, once Nolen could get on the road if the NCAA lifts the dead period after May 31 since he wants to see Clemson and Florida as soon as possible. Ohio State is going to be a serious player as well and Nolen’s coach at Cordova (Tenn.) St. Benedict is former Tennessee linebacker Marlon Walls so the Vols could play a big factor but Nolen’s relationship is just starting with new Tennessee coach Josh Heupel.

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CB DENVER HARRIS

Alabama, LSU, Texas and Texas A&M are the final four programs for Harris, who had others like Ohio State and Clemson involved earlier in his recruitment but now he's focused on these four powerhouses. The Longhorns and Aggies have been showing the most attention in recent weeks as coaches Steve Sarkisian and Jimbo Fisher have stepped up their involvement with Harris but the chatter around Harris is that the three SEC programs could be slightly more in focus than Texas at this point.

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OT JULIAN ARMELLA

Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, Miami and Florida are the top seven for Armella, who said it’s going to be crucial to take visits before making any decisions and so that could delay a choice until he can get to some out-of-state programs. He is a Florida State legacy and lives close to the Miami campus so those will be factors to consider but the chatter over the last many weeks is that Alabama and LSU could have a slight edge in his recruitment at this point. The Crimson Tide’s track record of developing offensive linemen is not lost on Armella, who sees similar success at LSU plus he’s noticed how hard position coach James Cregg has been recruiting him to Baton Rouge.

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DT TRAVIS SHAW

Clemson could have the slight edge for Shaw but this is going to be a battle between the Tigers and North Carolina with possibly others getting in the mix as well. Dabo Swinney and his staff came into the state of North Carolina last recruiting cycle to land all-purpose back Will Shipley and defensive tackle Payton Page (the top-two prospects there) and so Tar Heels coach Mack Brown will do everything possible to keep Shaw home. It will be a difficult challenge since Clemson has done such a great job recruiting everywhere.

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S JACOBY MATHEWS

Mathews recently said Florida - largely considered the biggest threat to LSU in his recruitment - is definitely in his top three but could the Gators actually go into Ponchatoula, La. to land the five-star safety? History is on the side of the Tigers as every No. 1 player from the state of Louisiana has signed with LSU since Landon Collins in the 2012 class but Florida is doing tremendous work here. Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi State and Michigan State have caught his attention.

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CB WILL JOHNSON

A pledge on Feb. 28 is now expected for Johnson, who said the NCAA’s decision to push the dead period back to May 31 has given him more reassurance on him moving up his commitment date. Michigan, Ohio State and USC are the three finalists and there is a feeling that the Wolverines could be making a major push heading toward signing day. Even recently, it was believed USC or Ohio State might have an edge but in recent weeks, Michigan has moved up and the hiring of some assistants with NFL experience definitely helped.

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OT KAM DEWBERRY

Texas A&M could have the slight edge for Dewberry at this point but others are definitely battling it out for the five-star offensive lineman and visits could be crucial to his decision-making process. Texas will be involved here along with LSU and Dewberry has said he wants to visit Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State as soon as possible. He also said the NCAA’s decision to move back the dead period to May 31 “sucks” but it won’t affect his decision timeline. Texas A&M has to like its chances but others aren’t giving up.

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OT ZACH RICE

Virginia and North Carolina have taken a major leap forward in the competition to land the five-star offensive tackle from Lynchburg (Va.) Liberty Christian as this looks to be a contest between the two ACC programs at this point. National programs like Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Notre Dame and others are not out of this yet but it looks like the Cavaliers and Tar Heels have especially captured Rice’s attention and his commitment to either program would be a major recruiting coup.

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WR KEVIN COLEMAN

Alabama, Oregon, USC, Texas, Georgia, Penn State, Florida State and Arizona State made the top eight for Coleman, who said Saturday night at the Pylon event in Bullhead City, Ariz., that it’s fair to say the Crimson Tide have an edge in his recruitment. The five-star also said everyone still has a shot to land his commitment and that he only narrowed it to eight schools because he and his family were most comfortable with those programs. Oregon and some others are also high.

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OLB SHAWN MURPHY

Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Georgia and Penn State made the top eight for Murphy but the Buckeyes could have a decently-sized edge to land the five-star linebacker. The Buckeyes have already landed a stellar group at LB in the 2022 class but Murphy is still highly interested, a former teammate, Tyleik Williams, signed with Ohio State in 2021 and he’s a high priority for the coaching staff. Alabama is making a big move and then Penn State and Georgia should be watched as well.

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OT DEVON CAMPBELL

Texas has an edge in the recruitment of Campbell, who said recently he could commit to a program any day, so the Longhorns have to like their chances and it would be another major recruiting win for first-year coach Steve Sarkisian. But an offer from USC has definitely intrigued Campbell and then Oklahoma and LSU are also within striking distance.

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SDE MYKEL WILLIAMS

Williams narrowed down his choices to 10 on Jan. 1 and he has considered different timelines for his commitment, settling on his dad’s birthday of March 15. He recently said USC was recruiting him the hardest with all his other favorites right there as well. That could make things interesting but the feeling is that Georgia and Clemson have the best chance to land his commitment. The Bulldogs might have a slight edge but the Tigers can never be counted out.