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Recruiting Rumor Mill: Big visits as the season kicks off in earnest

Cormani McClain
Cormani McClain

The Recruiting Rumor Mill was kicked into high gear this week as so many top prospects were out on the road taking game-day visits. Here is the latest:

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The 2025 running back from Beebe, Ark., landed an offer from Mississippi State and felt he was receiving tons of attention during his visit this weekend so the Bulldogs jumped way up his early list. From the attention, to the cow bells, to the facility and the culture around the program, Mississippi State left a major impression. Barker is figuring out a Florida State visit later this season and he could also get to Texas A&M.


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Beasley had an excellent visit to Michigan State on Friday night and loved the seating, the food and the atmosphere as the 2024 three-star linebacker from Belleville, Mich., felt everything was “top-tier.” The Spartans along with Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Michigan are recruiting Beasley the hardest now.

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The visit to Ohio State for its win over Notre Dame was “amazing” to the 2024 four-star tight end from Woodstock (Ill.) Marian Central Catholic. Ohio State’s coaches made it clear they want Bentancur to visit again as the Buckeyes target him as a top prospect in the 2024 class.


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The 2024 high four-star from Buford, Ga., saw an “electric” atmosphere at Ohio State on Saturday night, loved that there were more than 108,000 fans at the Buckeyes’ game over Notre Dame and the push from Ohio State being “BIA” - Best In America - instead of DBU left an impression on Bolden. Georgia might have an edge here but Ohio State did everything possible to intrigue him. As for which programs reached out on Sept. 1, Bolden lost track.

“So many reached out I can’t keep count,” he said.

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The powerhouse Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei four-star quarterback who’s off to a great start to his junior season heard from USC, Washington, Oregon, Cal, Stanford, Alabama, Clemson and Michigan all at midnight on Sept. 1. His recruitment remains in the early stages even with 2024 quarterbacks already coming off the board but late-season and offseason trips will be important to watch.

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The Smyrna, Tenn., running back remains committed to Memphis - he pledged to the Tigers in July - but new offers from Vanderbilt and Wake Forest have definitely piqued his interest. While Carter remains committed to Memphis there is a good possibility that the Smyrna standout will take official visits to the Power Five programs that have offered.

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The 2024 three-star receiver from Merrillville (Ind.) Andrean loved how much Purdue threw the ball in Thursday’s loss to Penn State and he also appreciated all the support from the Boilermakers faithful coming out on a Thursday night. The message from position coach Garrick McGee was for Clacks to “think bigger” and if he does then they could “have some fun days in the future.”

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The 2024 three-star linebacker from Winona, Miss., has gotten the message from the Auburn coaches before that he’s one of the top targets and after visiting this past weekend he’s hoping the Tigers offer soon. Clark loved the environment at Auburn, thought it was “top-tier” and he loved the interaction between the players and the fans. Coastal Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Florida, Vanderbilt, Tulane, Memphis and others are involved.

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For the 2024 three-star DB from Phenix City (Ala.) Central, the atmosphere at Auburn was “crazy” and his talk with assistant coach Zac Etheridge especially stood out. Etheridge told Coleman that the coaching staff loved watching his film and seeing his improvement and the plan is for Coleman to visit The Plains again soon especially since it’s less than an hour from home.

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The 2024 defensive end from Little Rock (Ark.) Mills loved seeing how many top in-state prospects made it to Arkansas’ win over Cincinnati and it also stood out that the Razorbacks battled for four quarters and beat a team that went to the College Football Playoff last season. Arkansas, Ole Miss and many others are battling for Collins but his experience in Fayetteville over the weekend made a major impression.

“Shows me that Arkansas is trying to invest into in-state talent,” Collins said.

Other trips to LSU, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, Kentucky, North Carolina and Michigan State should happen in the season or during the spring.

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The 2025 running back from Lynchburg (Va.) Liberty Christian Academy had a “crazy good” time at Ohio State this past weekend,, spent time with position coach Tony Alford during his position meeting, went to the walkthrough and then had a private meeting with Alford so that left a major impression. Alford’s success developing running backs is a major bonus for Davidson, who thought the game atmosphere was “really incredible.”

“I will be back,” Davidson said.

A trip to Clemson is coming up in early October, he’s trying to get to Oklahoma and will visit Florida if the Gators offer.

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The 2024 four-star receiver from Cocoa, Fla., got the message that he’s one of Pitt’s top recruits during his trip north late last week and he loved to see how many athletes the Panthers have produced over the years. Right now, USF, West Virginia, Penn State and Pitt are recruiting Farmer the hardest.


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The 2024 three-star receiver from Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic thought the fan support and game-day atmosphere was “insane” at Pitt for the season opener and it left a major impression on the local prospect. Other than the Panthers, Gonzalez is hearing most from Miami and Wisconsin and then Cincinnati and Penn State are also recruiting him pretty aggressively.

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A Christmas Eve commitment to Louisville still stands for Green, who took a visit to Alabama over the weekend and loved it but has not yet received an offer from the Crimson Tide. The message from that staff was to keep letting the film pile up and they will keep reviewing it. Louisville still looks in the clear here but Green did visit Alabama and he’s also looking at a probable trip to Ole Miss soon.

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The 2024 four-star linebacker from Bunnell (Fla.) Flagler “loved the experience” at Florida on Saturday night and received the message from the Gators’ coaching staff that he’s welcome to come back for any game but they have not offered him at this point. Hill is getting recruited hardest by Tennessee and Wake Forest so far.

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The 2024 three-star tight end from Cupertino (Calif.) Homestead loves the consistent energy at Cal whether it’s during summer conditioning or on game-day as Hook was in Berkeley for the Golden Bears’ game against UC Davis. Hook is also taken by how the Cal coaching staff treats him and seems to know so much about him already. A visit to Oregon State is coming up in October.

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Howard and his family had such a great time at Florida on Saturday night that the rumor is his mom wanted him to commit to the Gators on the spot. That didn’t happen for the 2025 receiver from Pensacola (Fla.) Pensacola Catholic but he loved the “electric” atmosphere and everybody with him had a great time as well. Howard is rehabbing from a knee injury and is expected back in the second half of his sophomore season.

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The pitch from the Florida coaching staff to the 2024 three-star defensive end from Gainesville (Fla.) Buchholz was to stay home and that “there is no better place than The Swamp.” It will certainly be a compelling case for the local standout especially since the fans made the biggest impression on Jackson last night and how involved they were in a close game against Utah.

“Just the way they were shouting and cheering showed me how much they care for their team,” Jackson said.

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Decked out in Miami gear for his visit, the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard three-star running back had an excellent visit for the Hurricanes’ win over Bethune-Cookman and said “I love what I’m seeing” from the offense. New offensive coordinator Josh Gattis has left a big impression on Johnson, who is basically down to Miami and Ole Miss but the rumor is the Canes are looking really good.

“I love what coach Gattis is doing with the offense,” Johnson said. “It’s very explosive.”

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The 2024 four-star cornerback from Lafayette (La.) Lafayette Christian Academy had a great time at the Alabama season opener, loved the attitude, energy and effort of the coaching staff and the players throughout the win over Utah State. The Crimson Tide have already offered and it’s something to watch but Johnson will also see Texas A&M, Texas, LSU, Georgia and Oregon trips coming. Johnson will try to get to Tennessee and Mississippi State as well since both have been showing so much interest.

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The love shown from the Mississippi State staff to the 2025 quarterback from Lucedale (Miss.) George County continues to make an impression as Knight talked mostly with director of high school relations Jay Hopson and football player personnel/associate AD Matt Dudek during this stop in Starkville although he also got a wave from quality control coach Trey Tinsley as well. The attention and interest Knight gets from Mississippi State definitely stands out. As for other visits, Knight is expected at Tennessee for the Florida game and Ole Miss for the Alabama matchup. Trips back to Mississippi State and to Florida State are also being planned.

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Arkansas is “very high on the list right now” for the 2024 defensive end from Bryant, Ark., after Lindsey spent the day in Fayetteville and had an excellent time there. The visit was great, talking with coach Sam Pittman and defensive line coach Deke Adams stood out and the fan interaction was excellent as well. Notre Dame, Georgia and Texas Tech are all very active in Lindsey’s recruitment as well but the Razorbacks made a strong push on Saturday.

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According to a source, the five-star cornerback from Lakeland, Fla., saw a “crazy environment” at Florida on Saturday night and after one Gators touchdown the starting center pointed right at McClain and told him, "Come to The Swamp." That interaction definitely took McClain and his mother by surprise and left an impact. It was another solid visit for the five-star to Gainesville but McClain is still planning to visit Alabama at some point although a date is being worked out. Miami is also right in this as well.

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The 2024 four-star quarterback from Savannah (Ga.) Calvary Day had an “amazing” experience at Florida over the weekend and the atmosphere inside The Swamp was “pretty incredible” as the Gators definitely left a major impression. The staff was excellent all day and also made an impact on Merklinger, who’s hoping to visit Tennessee for the Alabama game and Clemson for the NC State matchup as well.

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The message to the 2024 four-star safety out of Harper Woods, Mich., from the Michigan coaching staff over the weekend was a simple one: He’s the top priority. That resonated with Oden, who got to talk with the whole coaching staff before the Wolverines’ matchup against Colorado State. Michigan has definitely left a major impression but he also wants to visit Penn State and Michigan State soon and see Tennessee, Ole Miss and maybe some other SEC programs.

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The 2025 defensive end from Birmingham (Ala.) Spain Park saw Georgia dominate Oregon on Saturday and was blown away by the experience. The Bulldogs made a huge impression on Smith but visits to Tennessee, Alabama and LSU also stood out and it’s still very early in his recruitment.

“Georgia is the real deal,” Smith said. “Those guys are Dawgs for real.”

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The 2024 four-star safety had an “amazing” time at Ohio State and it was “definitely the best game I’ve experienced so far in The Shoe,” as the Buckeyes continue to be a major contender for the Sunbury (Ohio) Big Walnut standout. Ryan Day made it a priority to talk with Stover before the game and his cousin, Cade Stover, played well, too. It would be surprising to see Stover anywhere else for his college ball.

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Ohio State made a big impression on the 2024 four-star cornerback from Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville who loved the atmosphere, the fans, the players, “everybody” during his time in Columbus as the Buckeyes continue to be a main contender early on. Michigan, Penn State, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas A&M and others reached out on Sept. 1 as well but Ohio State is in good shape.

“The coaches told me there’s no place out here like it and I believe them,” West said.