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Recruiting Rumor Mill: Focus shifts to the 2023 class

Arch Manning
Arch Manning (Rivals.com)

With National Signing Day in the rearview mirror, the focus turns to the 2023 class. Here is a look at some of the news and rumors we’re hearing as we glance at the upper end of the Rivals250:

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Alabama, Georgia and Texas seem to have a slight edge in Manning’s recruitment right now but things got more interesting recently as the No. 1 prospect in the class wants to take visits through the spring and possibly more gameday visits in the fall before making a decision.

That could help the new Oklahoma staff with offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby there and LSU being right up the road. It’s also interesting timing because four-star QB Nico Iamaleava also has Alabama and Georgia very high on his list and he’s planning a commitment sometime by May.

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Over the last few weeks, the five-star defensive end from Allen, Texas has taken unofficial visits to both Oklahoma and Texas A&M and while Hicks has nearly 30 offers, it could come down to the Aggies and the Sooners.

It will be interesting to see if Hicks is intrigued to play with the loaded defensive line class Texas A&M signed or see a better opportunity in Norman with coach Brent Venables now in charge. It looks like the Sooners have a slight edge right now.

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Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan, Florida and BYU is the new top schools list for the five-star cornerback and the Gators have been pegged to have the edge for a long time. But a new team has absolutely catapulted itself toward the top - if not the new frontrunner.

After a recent visit to Georgia, McClain cannot stop talking about the Bulldogs as he was absolutely blown away by that trip. Watch for the national champs to make a major run at him.

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Sampson is going to be another test case if Brian Kelly can keep elite Louisiana talent home because his recruitment is shaping up to be a classic Alabama-LSU battle as the five-star receiver visited both schools recently.

The Crimson Tide had tremendous success in the state landing receivers in 2022 with five-star Aaron Anderson and four-star Shazz Preston but the word is LSU could have the slight edge right now.

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Georgia is still considered the front-runner for the nation’s No. 1 running back, he loves the coaching staff there especially position coach Dell McGee and he’s a legacy in Athens but if there’s a dark hose in Haynes’ recruitment it would be Clemson. Haynes’ junior day visit went really well to Clemson recently and the speech from coach Dabo Swinney was the best he’d ever heard from a coach so the Tigers should not be forgotten here.

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It may very well be true that Mauigoa is leaning toward returning to the West Coast to play his college ball with USC and Oregon as the front-runners but the Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star offensive tackle will also consider Alabama, Miami and other programs in the Southeast.

Originally from American Samoa, Mauigoa played at San Bernardino (Calif.) Aquinas before transferring to IMG. The whispers were that he was looking to return West for college so his family could see him play more but that take might be overdone.

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USC is going to play a major role in Uiagalelei’s recruitment and after a recent visit the Trojans could be looking up even more although Oregon, Ohio State and others will be very much in the mix as well. I’m not hearing a lot of talk that Uiagalelei will follow his older brother, D.J., to Clemson.

While football is Uiagalelei’s absolute main focus in picking a school, he’s also very much involved in music and USC might fit the bill best.

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Alabama and Auburn are battling for the four-star defensive end from Gardendale, Ala., but don’t count out Georgia by any stretch. A recent visit to Athens stood out immensely and Collins loves that the Bulldogs coaching staff treats him like a major priority in the 2023 class. Staying in-state is very much an option but Georgia is battling hard here.

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Ranked as the fifth-best cornerback in the 2023 class, Hurley is planning a commitment later this month and the feeling is that Alabama is way ahead right now. Auburn, Georgia, Texas A&M and others are in the mix but if the Florence, Ala., standout doesn’t pick the Crimson Tide it would be a major surprise right now.


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The feeling now is that the four-star quarterback from Downey (Calif.) Warren is heavily considering SEC programs most with Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee leading the way. Some discount the Volunteers but the word is Iamaleava wants to go where he’s loved most – and the best fit – and that could be in Knoxville. UCLA and Oregon would be the two Pac-12 programs to watch but expect to see him somewhere in SEC country.

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In early December, the four-star receiver from Longview, Texas released his top 12 which surprisingly did not include Oklahoma, considered one of his front-runners earlier in his recruitment.

But the word is the Sooners are still being very seriously considered and Hale also likes Clemson, Missouri, Notre Dame and Penn State – all programs that did not make the December cut. Don’t count out Oklahoma and others yet.

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The four-star cornerback from Lake Charles (La.) Lake Charles College Prep could easily end up at LSU, he could follow his teammate four-star running back TreVonte’ Citizen to Miami but what I’m hearing is that Reed is seriously thinking about heading West.

A source told me Reed has shown a lot of serious interest in USC and that his personality fits being in California, something that should be watched as his recruitment continues.

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After backing off his Oklahoma commitment in late January, the logical thing to think was that Moore would join his Los Alamitos, Calif., teammates Malachi Nelson and Makai Lemon in USC’s class.

But the word is that Louisville is absolutely making a serious run at Moore and the Cardinals definitely have his attention. After an excellent visit there recently and the commitment of four-star QB Pierce Clarkson, Louisville is a major contender.

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USC is going to play a major role in Williams’ recruitment as the Corona (Calif.) Centennial four-star cornerback has a great relationship with position coach Donte Williams.

But Williams also has an affinity for big-time SEC football and upcoming visits to Alabama and LSU could be absolutely huge in determining his favorites.

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LSU is making a major run at the four-star running back and some close to him would like to see Holly in Baton Rouge while others are enamored with Alabama coach Nick Saban and his success with running backs over the years.

Georgia and Oregon are two others that have absolutely caught the attention of the Farmerville (La.) Union Parish standout.