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Recruiting Rumor Mill: Defensive players in Rivals100 of 2023 rankings

Lebbeus Overton
Lebbeus Overton

Even though the 2023 class has years to go before signing day, there is still plenty of recruiting news for the players in the first release of the Rivals100. Here is a breakdown of some standout teams for each prospect on defense:



Monday: Five-star countdown

Tuesday: Rivals100 revealed | Gorney's thoughts | Top player at each position

Wednesday: Recruiting updates on offensive players in the ranking | Positions producing the most 2023 talent | Rivals Recruiting Podcast

Thursday: Recruiting updates on defensive players in the ranking | Who is on the cusp of the Rivals100?

Friday: Rankings roundtable



CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals100

RIVALS TRANSFER TRACKER: Stories/coverage | Message board

RIVALS CAMP SERIES: Info/coverage on 2021 camp series


The top-ranked prospect in the 2023 class will have his choice of programs but it looks like now that Clemson, Georgia, Alabama and LSU are some of the programs most involved with Ohio State and Texas A&M stepping it up a lot as well. His father played football at Oklahoma but that doesn’t seem to be playing a major factor right now.

A top 11 of Alabama, South Carolina, Michigan, LSU, USC, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia, Texas A&M, Florida and Auburn was released by Woods on March 20 and he’s sticking with that top group for now. But keep an eye on the Crimson Tide since Woods is a top in-state target and his father along with other family members went to Alabama. Visits will be crucial for Woods moving forward though.

Mauigoa is approaching 20 offers but the feeling from sources is that once college coaches see him in person at IMG over the next many months that his offer list could double and every top team in the country will be recruiting him. Right now, Oregon, Michigan and others are showing the most interest and USC was a big offer when he got it but this feels like early stages.

There is a distinct Midwest focus to Vernon’s recruitment with Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan being the main programs that continue to reach out to him. It’s been quiet from all the other schools that have offered at this point.

One of the top linebackers in the 2023 class, Hill said Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Alabama have been talking with him the most as it’s clear Hill will be a top national target in the coming years.

Smith grew up a big Alabama fan and he’s an in-state prospect who is hearing a lot from the Crimson Tide. That is going to be compelling to Smith but Auburn is another program to watch and when Georgia offered it was definitely a big deal to him.

Wayne, who looks like a bulked-up Kayvon Thibodeaux at the same stage, said Notre Dame, Washington, USC, Colorado, Oregon and Clemson are the most involved early on. His sophomore season just got underway after the COVID-19 shutdown.

Originally from South Florida but now playing in Lewisville, Texas, Renaud could have an interesting mix of programs in his recruitment as Miami, Florida State, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma stand out at this point.

There are a lot of moving parts in Bowen’s recruitment because so many programs have been involved but he’s been talking most with Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oregon and Virginia Tech. Florida State has stepped it up recently and then Ohio State, Alabama, Northwestern, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan State, Indiana and Virginia have been involved along with Wisconsin. In recent days, Bowen was offered by LSU, South Carolina and Michigan.

A former Tennessee commitment, Mitchell backed off that pledge in June 2020 and has seen his recruitment take off. He said Florida State, Clemson, Florida, USC, Texas, Ohio State, Auburn, Michigan, Georgia, LSU and Miami have been the most involved.

Originally from Orlando, Bryant is now at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy and said Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia are the four programs showing the most interest at this point in his recruitment.

The cornerback from Arlington (Texas) Martin said four schools have been the most active in recruiting him so far: Oregon, Texas, Notre Dame and Texas A&M. Ohio State and Auburn have stepped it up recently as well.

Moore’s brother, Justin, plays basketball at Villanova so athleticism runs in the family and that’s one reason why so many programs are interested in the 2023 recruit as well, particularly Notre Dame, Penn State, Maryland and USC so far.

A recent offer from Ohio State is definitely big and the Buckeyes could surge to the top of Harris’ early list because of the defensive back tradition there. Georgia, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Maryland, Utah and Mississippi State have caught his attention as well.

Florida State, Arizona State, USC, Texas A&M, Clemson, Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Michigan, Virginia Tech and Auburn are a big batch of programs that have caught Collins’ attention early but visits and camp stops are going to be crucial to the big defensive end in the coming months.

There are four programs that are mainly staying in contact with the Warner Robins, Ga., defensive end and that’s USC, Georgia, Florida State and North Carolina. Ohio State and Notre Dame are staying in contact, too, but not as much as those other four.

Hicks is close to 20 offers but the Katy (Texas) Morton Ranch standout has Texas A&M, Alabama, Arizona State and Oklahoma are the four programs that have been most consistently reaching out to him.

More than 40 programs have already offered LeBlanc but there are a little more than a handful of them that are recruiting the hardest and that list is Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, USC, Georgia and Texas A&M.

All 11 programs that have offered the Amarillo (Texas) Tascosa defensive end have stayed in contact with him so far but there is a select group that is coming hardest and that’s Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, USC and Texas.

A top prospect from the state of Louisiana, LSU has already offered and the Tigers are going to play a factor in his recruitment. But Texas, Notre Dame and Florida State could be three others to watch early on.

USC has made the biggest early impression on Yaites as those coaches have talked with his parents and are recruiting him hard. But Notre Dame and Ole Miss have also been aggressive early on in his recruitment.

Offers continue to pile up for Hurley as LSU, Miami, Georgia Tech and UCF are some of his newest offers but the Florence, Ala., cornerback said no schools stand out at this point. Both Alabama and Auburn have offered so far as well.

Maybe no prospect nationally has loaded up as quickly on offers as Curtis, who said Virginia Tech, USC, Michigan, Penn State, Texas A&M, Stanford, Georgia, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Oregon, Boston College, Tennessee and SMU have all recruited him hard. It’s also clear to see that Curtis has not narrowed his list as he’s close to 30 offers.

USC and Notre Dame have recruited Edwards the hardest as the Chula Vista (Calif.) Mater Dei Catholic standout has more than a dozen offers from across the country.

His brother, A.J., played at Clemson so the Tigers will be in focus for the cornerback from Atlanta (Ga.) Westlake. But Florida State, Florida, Auburn and Miami are four others to watch early on.

More than 20 schools have already offered the Findlay, Ohio, standout but Florida, Ohio State, LSU, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, Notre Dame, Northwestern and South Carolina have piqued his interest early on.

Spencer’s recruitment is just taking off and the defensive end from Katy (Texas) Taylor said Arizona State, Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and USC have all been in regular contact and he’s still considering all programs.

Florida State and Miami have been keeping in the most regular contact with McClain and the Seminoles should be watched closely since teammate Sam McCall is committed in the 2022 class. But it’s still early for McClain and many other programs could get seriously involved in the coming years.

Madison has more than a dozen offers now with Michigan State and Colorado as the newest ones but the Duncanville, Texas, defensive back said Texas has been recruiting him the hardest early on

Arizona State, USC, Florida State, Notre Dame, Oregon and Colorado are some of the schools recruiting Martin the hardest and the four-star cornerback is planning to visit with the Seminoles for their spring game in early April.

The Pittsburgh (Pa.) Brashear linebacker said five schools have mainly stayed in regular contact over the last few months: Notre Dame, Northwestern, Florida, Arizona State and Ohio State.

Nearly 20 programs have offered the Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood Catholic linebacker but there are definitely some early standouts as Penn State, LSU, USC, Arizona State and Oregon have shown him the most attention so far.

Penn State is a school to watch but Clemson will also play a major factor for the Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph’s linebacker since his brother, Jeremiah, signed with the Tigers in their 2021 recruiting class.

More than a dozen programs have offered the Hoschton (Ga.) Mill Creek safety but there are definitely some early standouts as Notre Dame, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida State and North Carolina have been recruiting him the hardest. Georgia has been moving up that list, too.

Washington has been the most involved for the Pleasant Valley, Iowa, but DePaepe said every program that has offered so far has reached out as much as possible for him being a 2023 prospect. Both Iowa and Iowa State have already offered.

Baylor and Texas A&M are two early standouts for Davis but offers have been steadily coming in and many others could get involved. It will be interesting to see if teammate Denver Harris’ decision impacts Davis over the next recruiting cycle.

Stewart remains wide open in his recruitment but some schools to watch include Penn State, LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, Florida and West Virginia early on.

A recent offer from Ohio State is going to be a big deal and Georgia has also caught the attention of Uiagalelei, whose brother, D.J., is a quarterback at Clemson. USC will also remain in the picture since it’s the hometown program and is already recruiting him hard.

Notre Dame, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and LSU are the standouts for the safety from Fairburn (Ga.) Langston Hughes who said he’s considering a commitment at any time but could also wait until his birthday in September.

A top 12 of Ohio State, Florida, Miami, Texas, Georgia, Oregon, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee, Notre Dame and USC has been worked out and Walker plans to see Ohio State and Florida on his first two visits when that’s possible in June.

Alabama, Georgia, Florida State, Notre Dame and Michigan are the five programs that have offered that are recruiting Faulk the hardest but Clemson is also making a major run at the Highland Home, Ala., standout although the Tigers haven’t offered yet.

Harris committed to Florida State in mid-February and it was a major recruiting win for coach Mike Norvell and the Seminoles but others are not giving up. Auburn recently offered the Thomasville (Ga.) Thomas County Central defensive end


Washington stands out most early on for Su’a, who has a strong relationship with defensive coordinator Bob Gregory and the Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei linebacker has already visited campus which also helps the Huskies. USC was the dream school growing up so an offer from the Trojans could be big.

Twenty offers have come in for the Arlington (Texas) Seguin cornerback so far and lots of schools remain in the running but Baylor and Kansas State have been the most aggressively recruiting him at this point.