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Recruiting Rumor Mill: Buzz from a loaded weekend at Future 50

Zachariah Branch
Zachariah Branch (Kidd Ryno)

The annual Future 50 event in Florida took place in Florida over the weekend, with several of the nation’s top prospects turning out for the event. With so much big news on hand, there were plenty of recruiting storylines and talking points. In today’s Rumor Mill, we share the biggest news and notes.

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MORE FUTURE 50: Position-by-position breakdown

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

TRANSFER PORTAL: Stories/coverage | Message board

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HAS TEXAS SEALED THE DEAL WITH JALEN HALE?

Four-star Texas commit Johntay Cook was walking around Future 50 this weekend telling just about anyone that would listen that Jalen Hale would be a Longhorn. In catching up with the East Texas four-star, Hale said that his decision is made but that he is waiting until Sept. 22 to make it public.

If it is Texas, the Longhorns will have to fend off an official visit to Alabama on Sept. 3 which could shake things up. But as of now it's hard to see Hale wearing anything other than burnt orange. - Harris

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WILL DAVID STONE RETURN HOME?

While elite 2024 defensive lineman David Stone hasn’t been shy about his love for Oklahoma in recent months, the question has still lingered for many as to if he will return to his home state after opting to play his high school football at IMG Academy in Florida.

Over the weekend not only was he bonding with the quartet of Sooner commits in attendance, but during the photoshoot he even went out of his way to find a unique way to flash the “Horns Down,” turning a Texas hat upside down while wearing an Oklahoma hat. Stone also said schools such as Wisconsin continue to make him a priority and he will continue to take visits, but it seems like a matter of when, not if, Stone ends up a Sooner. – Wommack

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WHICH SCHOOL HAS THE EDGE FOR JORDAN RENAUD?

Oklahoma and Alabama are the final schools in the running for Tyler (Texas) Legacy four-star defensive end Jordan Renaud, and that has been the case for most of the offseason. After spring and summer visits to each school, Renaud is closer to a decision but could wait until after taking officials to each during the season.

If I had to pick a leader at the moment, I see Alabama being the school to beat. But if the Crimson Tide fill up on the defensive line, Oklahoma would easily swoop in to snag his commitment. - Harris

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IS MALIK MUHAMMAD TEXAS' NEXT COMMIT?

The buzz around Texas and Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff four-star cornerback Malik Muhammad has been abundant since his late June official visit to Austin, as he closes in on his decision next week. Alabama and Texas A&M are also in the running, but the timing suggests that Texas is inching closer to sealing up yet another elite commitment off the heels of Arch Manning's pledge in late June. - Harris

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A MIAMI REUNION

A decision is coming soon for Rivals250 offensive lineman Olaus Alinen and he’s narrowed his list to five schools – Oregon, Ohio State, Georgia, Miami and Alabama. But after watching him talk about Miami and interact with fellow offensive lineman and Canes commit Francis Mauigoa, it seems pretty clear that The U has surged to the front of his list of contenders.

Not only did Alinen and Mauigoa hang out off the field, but they worked together in the same group on the field and traded tips during the drills portion of the camp. Mario Cristobal and his staff have spent the summer flexing their recruiting muscle and it appears Alinen will be the next big win on the trail. – Wommack

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WHO, IF ANYONE, CAN FLIP PEYTON BOWEN?

Denton (Texas) Guyer four-star safety Peyton Bowen has been open about his recruitment to the media since committing to Notre Dame on New Year's Day, as he has entertained interest from Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Alabama. Oklahoma posed an early threat in the spring, but it's the Aggies that have come on as of late as the biggest threat to his pledge to the Irish.

Any game visits in the fall would be telling toward where he is leaning, but I also wouldn't count out the strength of his commitment to Marcus Freeman. The relationship remains strong and he hasn't seen anything to this point to back off his verbal. - Harris

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COULD BRANCH BAIL ON THE TROJANS?

After a recent official visit to Texas A&M, some recruiting fans are wondering just how solid five-star wide receiver commit Zachariah Branch’s commitment to USC really is. During Friday’s media session, Branch raved about his time in College Station and also said that Oregon and Alabama continue to push to get him on campus.

In addition to Branch’s relationship with fellow commits and the Trojans staff, the big reason Branch said he won’t be flipping is the chance to reunite with his brother Zion, who is a freshman at the school. Branch said he couldn’t imagine flipping and said that while he will enjoy the process, and he is and will continue to be a Trojan. - Wright

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DECISIVE VISITS AHEAD FOR MILES McVAY

Landing an offensive tackle that looks the part and is already dominating with so much potential left to his game is hard to come by along the recruiting trail. That promise of being a future all-conference P5 player has top teams all over East St. Louis 2023 four-star Miles McVay. McVay has taken successful official visits to Texas A&M, Michigan State and Oregon, with Texas and Alabama set at the end of this month before his commitment on Aug. 11.

For the Missouri fans, there is still an outside chance McVay could swing to the Tigers. Head coach Eli Drinkwitz is the lead contact person for McVay. For the Aggies, Spartans, Ducks, and Tigers fans, the official trip to Tuscaloosa looks to be a pivotal moment in McVay’s upcoming commitment. - Wright

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GATORS LEADING FOR RICO WALKER?

Coming down to the last hours before making a commitment, Tar Heel fans may not be enthusiastic about the decision made on Monday by Rico Walker. The four-star out of Hickory High School has a top five of Auburn, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Perhaps he’s throwing the fans a curveball, but Walker shared he’s looking to go outside the state for college. From his visit to Gainesville, Walker shared that he “fell in love” with the Gators. - Wright

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JOENEL AGUERO KEEPING THE SURPRISE FACTOR

Come Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, one lucky school will have a Rivals100 safety committed to its 2023 class. Joenel Aguero has taken four official visits working his list down to three: Florida, Georgia and Miami.

Per Aguero, he made his decision before the Future 50 camp but has yet to inform that school. During his announcement, Aguero will notify everyone by picking up the hat. - Wright

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