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Recruiting Rumor Mill: Leaders emerging for top prospects

Caleb Cunningham
Caleb Cunningham (Rion Young)

So much is going on with top prospects around the country that a second Recruiting Rumor Mill was needed this week. Here’s the latest from Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney.


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Oklahoma State is definitely a major front-runner for the 2026 athlete from Lawton (Okla.) MacArthur especially after his weekend visit to Stillwater. Things went really well for him there as he hit it off with the coaches and loved the environment.

Baylor, Texas Tech and Kansas State are some others to watch.


The message from the Georgia coaches to the 2026 five-star offensive tackle was that he’s their top target in his recruiting class and that definitely left an impression on the Nixa, Mo., standout. During the visit, Cantwell also got to try on position coach Stacy Searels’ championship rings and to him that was “pretty dang cool.”

“I’m glad coach Searels is a pretty big guy too or else I might have gotten one stuck,” Cantwell said.

Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska and others are involved heavily.


The Mississippi State coaching staff has been working to get Cunningham back on campus and that happened for the Ackerman (Miss.) Choctaw County on Tuesday as the Bulldogs continue to intrigue the high four-star receiver. Campus is only 30 minutes away which is a big draw, plus the offense under coach Jeff Lebby.

Ole Miss, LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and Oklahoma are also standing out.


The way Auburn’s coaches treated Dixson and his family definitely made a huge impression on the four-star defensive back from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei and the message from them was that there are a lot of nice places but for Dixson to make sure the environment is a place that “best fits you.”

The Tigers are definitely a strong contender along with Tennessee, Georgia and Penn State, as his recruitment has a decidedly Southeast feel.


The four-star quarterback from Jackson, Ala., has been committed to South Carolina since August but Duckworth visited Georgia in recent days and he was told coaches will come by in May to see him throw again.

The Bulldogs are definitely interested in the 2026 prospect and Duckworth loved how coach Kirby Smart runs practice. His only other visit coming up is back to Columbia on April 20.



A recent visit to Clemson definitely made an impression on the 2026 four-star defensive end from Huntsville (Ala.) Jemison but a trip back to Auburn continued to confirm Harris’ interest in the Tigers.

The coaching staff there told Harris he’s their No. 1 prospect in the 2026 class and that definitely left an impression as he loves the defensive scheme there as well.

Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Alabama and Tennessee are others to watch.


Auburn looks like the program to beat for the 2026 four-star linebacker from Gulf Shores, Ala., especially after a weekend visit there where he got a sense that the coaching staff wants to make “their program stronger as a brotherhood.”

Garrett loves the coaching staff at Auburn and it’s one reason why it stands out so much in his recruitment.

LSU and Tulane are getting visits, and then Garrett will be at Louisville and Tennessee as well.


The 2026 defensive tackle from Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill is an Ole Miss legacy and grew up in Baton Rouge but the Rebels aren’t among his top favorites yet while the Tigers are definitely being considered.

Oklahoma, Miami, North Carolina, Ohio State, Alabama and LSU are some to watch along with Auburn after his visit there. Geralds loved the “surreal energy” from the coaching staff and the message that he was joining a family: “I really felt that.”


After landing an offer from Notre Dame during its Sunday Pot of Gold event that coincided with St. Patrick’s Day, the word is that the Irish are now among his top two teams.

Notre Dame might even be higher – the team to beat – for the 2026 defensive tackle from Naperville (Ill.) Naperville North as he’s been waiting for the Irish to offer.


A weekend trip to Penn State was a “great, great visit,” as the four-star running back from Cleveland (Ohio) Villa Angela St. Joseph as Jackson loves coach James Franklin and he got a lot of in-depth information about new offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki’s offense.

Ohio State still could have an edge here but with the departure of position coach Tony Alford to Michigan, the Nittany Lions could shoot higher. USC is trying to get involved but Jackson is most focused on his official visit schedule.


Georgia could be surging right to the top for the high four-star cornerback from Mission Viejo, Calif., especially after a visit to Athens where he spent basically the entire trip with the coaching staff. That included time with position coach Donte Williams as the two are so close and now having coach Travaris Robinson there as well is only icing on the cake.

USC is going to play a big role here with Alabama, Washington and others but the Bulldogs are the one to watch.


Cal, Utah and Washington State have been the teams to watch for the three-star receiver from Corona (Calif.) Centennial but after his exceptional performance at the Rivals Camp Series in Los Angeles his recruitment could be taking off.

Since two Sundays ago, McNair has heard from Auburn, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Arizona State and Iowa State so many more offers could be on the way.


Michigan, USC and others have been trying to get involved with Mickens but it’s looking tougher to flip him from Penn State. The 2026 four-star running back from Camp Hill (Pa.) Trinity met Saquon Barkely on a trip to Happy Valley recently and it went really well, only reinforcing why Mickens chose the Nittany Lions in the first place.

“Spending the day with him and Penn State football opened my eyes just to keep working hard because I can be one of the greatest to play at Penn State,” Mickens said.



A new offer from Alabama is definitely big to the 2026 four-star running back from Forney, Texas, but before the Crimson Tide shoot way up his list, Osborne needs to learn more about the new coaching staff and the program by taking visits.

Oklahoma is definitely the one to watch here with Louisville, Oregon, Tennessee and Michigan among others.


The message from Ohio State’s coaches to Rink during his Tuesday visit was that he’s their No. 1 target and that they love him at defensive end. That could be really compelling to the Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair four-star as development is the No. 1 factor in his recruitment.

The Buckeyes could be surging but Texas A&M is still very much involved and some believe could have the edge in his recruitment. Oklahoma and Penn State are two others to watch.


The four-star offensive tackle from Bixby, Okla., was thoroughly impressed by his Auburn visit and not only because of the facilities, the weight room and the training room, some of the best he’s seen, although that impressed him as well.

Shull loved the development aspect from the coaching staff on and off the field and how the coaches were genuinely interested about developing players to be their best.

The Tigers along with Texas Tech, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas State, Texas A&M and TCU are standing out most.


Auburn is definitely a front-runner in Winters’ recruitment. That was the case before this most recent trip there but things ramped up more for the four-star linebacker from Enterprise, Ala., after he saw the team working out and met with the coaches in recent days.

Georgia and Tennessee are the two other standouts but the Tigers definitely have an edge for him after this trip.