Rivals.com - Recruiting Rumor Mill: The latest after a busy weekend of visits
football Edit

Recruiting Rumor Mill: The latest after a busy weekend of visits

Another busy visit weekend is in the books. Here are some rumors and recruiting chatter from around the country as top prospects visited schools and saw games this past weekend.

*****

TUESDAYS WITH GORNEY: Thoughts on the 2024 watchlist

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

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

RIVALS TRANSFER TRACKER: Stories/coverage | Message board

RIVALS CAMP SERIES: Info/coverage on 2021 camp series

*****

CLEMSON  

Drayk Bowen
Drayk Bowen (Blue & Gold Illusrated)

After his game Friday night, 2023 four-star linebacker Drayk Bowen and his family drove overnight from Indiana to Clemson, S.C., to see the Tigers take on Georgia Tech. The word is that the Merrillville (Ind.) Andrean linebacker loved the atmosphere, the fans and the energy in the stadium. Seeing defensive coordinator Brent Venables up close and personal coaching a game was a big plus for Clemson. The trip solidified why Clemson is one of his favorite schools.

But Bowen is scheduled to visit Notre Dame three times in the month of October, and the Irish have always been a major contender in his recruitment. The feeling is that Bowen definitely likes Clemson and others, but unless a huge surprise is in store Notre Dame still looks best.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH CLEMSON FANS AT TIGERILLUSTRATED.COM

FLORIDA  

Mykel Williams
Mykel Williams (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

It was a massive weekend at The Swamp, and some of the highest-profile prospects in the country were there. Five-star defensive tackle Walter Nolen had a great time at Florida and was especially impressed with how the Gators rallied back to compete with Alabama until the end. With Nolen, it’s important to know that Tennessee, Texas A&M and Georgia are his top three, but not his final three. According to a source, the Gators were “never out of it.”

*****

USC commit Mykel Williams was there and loved the atmosphere and the defensive performance. The word is Florida is right there with every other team trying to flip him, but the Columbus (Ga.) Hardaway five-star defensive lineman is steadfast in his pledge to the Trojans despite Clay Helton getting fired. More visits are coming, though, as Williams plans to visit Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State and maybe take another trip to Florida before his final decision.

*****

Florida commit Julian Humphrey was there and loved how many people he saw there that were diehard Gators fans. The way the defense plays and the environment is keeping him pledged to Florida, but others are trying to flip him. The four-star cornerback from Houston (Texas) Clear Lake will visit Georgia in early October for the Arkansas game, and he’s added a Texas A&M visit on Oct. 9 when Alabama comes to town.

*****

Four-star Utah running back commit Jaylon Glover said Florida is trying hard to flip him and that the Gators are consistently expressing how much they want him and how they utilize the running backs. It will be something to watch in the coming months.

*****

As for other visits, three-star defensive tackle Isaiah Hastings said Florida is “very high” in his recruitment, along with Oregon, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri and Miami. An Alabama offer on Sunday is seen as a potential game-changer, especially if the Crimson Tide continue to pursue him.

*****

Florida has been one of the top spots for four-star safety Austin Ausberry from Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab, although LSU and others will be involved and he has a visit to Auburn planned on Oct. 9.

*****

Four-star 2023 cornerback Tony Mitchell loved his visit and said Florida is definitely one of his top schools.

*****

Ohio State is believed to have the edge for 2023 four-star defensive end Derrick LeBlanc from Kissimmee (Fla) Osceola, but the atmosphere and the people will keep the Gators in the battle. Clemson, Alabama, Miami, Oklahoma and Texas A&M are very high.

*****

Phenix City (Ala.) Central 2023 four-star defensive end Tomarion Parker has the Gators as a top school, but he wants to return to spend more time with the coaching staff. Florida State and Mississippi State have been stepping it up with Parker recently.

*****

Michigan, Ohio State and others have interested 2023 four-star offensive tackle Clay Wedin from Tampa (Fla.) Carrollwood Day, but Florida’s development along the offensive line has moved the Gators much higher early on. Florida is now considered one of his favorites.

*****

Car issues kept 2023 four-star DT Jordan Hall from Jacksonville (Fla.) Westside from The Swamp this weekend, but he watched the game and loved how well the defensive line played, especially as the game went on. The word is Florida moved way up his list after that performance as Hall works soon toward a top list.

*****

Two quarterbacks to watch: The first call on Sept. 1 for 2023 QB Christopher Vizzina was from Florida and he never saw anything like the atmosphere on Florida on Saturday. He also really likes position coach Garrick McGee and his chemistry with the quarterbacks. Vizzina is not sure about an offer, but “I could definitely see myself playing there. Florida remains one of the early favorites for 2025 QB Colin Hurley from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian. He loves the location, the game atmosphere, how coach Dan Mullen calls a game and the Gators are one of the top early schools. Florida’s new facility will also be a draw when it comes time to decide.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH FLORIDA FANS AT GATORSTERRITORY.COM

*****

GEORGIA

Oscar Delp
Oscar Delp (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Georgia, South Carolina and others are battling it out for four-star tight end Oscar Delp and he again saw everything the Bulldogs have to offer Saturday in a 40-13 win over the Gamecocks. “The electric atmosphere and the offense” stood out to Delp, who still plans to take his visit to South Carolina for the Troy game in early October. Georgia helped itself even more this past weekend.

*****

The word is if Georgia offers three-star safety Damani Dent from Jacksonville (Fla.) Terry Parker the Bulldogs would move into his top two especially after his visit to Athens this past weekend where he loved the campus and the program’s history. Michigan, Oregon and Pitt are also high on his list.

*****

For Brycen Sanders, the 2023 four-star OL from Chattanooga (Tenn.) Baylor School said Georgia’s dominance stood out all night, along with the atmosphere as the Bulldogs are a serious contender there.

*****

Georgia is considered a frontrunner for 2023 OL Bradyn Joiner, who said the Bulldogs are definitely top three, with Auburn, Mississippi State, Clemson, Ole Miss, UCF, Arkansas and Houston pushing as well.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH GEORGIA FANS AT UGASPORTS.COM

*****

OREGON  

Harrison Taggart
Harrison Taggart (Rivals.com)

It was not a major visit weekend at Oregon, but one top target who was there was Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon linebacker Harrison Taggart, who loved the entire visit to Eugene. It was his first Oregon game and he loved the environment even though it was just for the Stony Brook game. The Ducks “have my eyes right now” and they’re definitely very high on his list, although trips to UCLA and Utah should happen before a commitment.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH OREGON FANS AT DUCKSPORTSAUTHORITY.COM

*****

PENN STATE

Aamil Wagner
Aamil Wagner

Kentucky, Ohio State and others are in the running for Aamil Wagner, but after he saw the atmosphere at the Auburn-Penn State Whiteout game Saturday night, the Nittany Lions “will be one of the schools I make my final pick from.” It was so loud that the Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne four-star offensive tackle noticed it was “almost impossible” for Auburn to even communicate at the line of scrimmage. It’s an environment that definitely intrigues him.

*****

Arizona State commit Larry Turner-Gooden, a four-star safety from Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany, loved the coaches and the atmosphere and was “fortunate” to be there. The Nittany Lions are way up there in his recruitment, but he’s also closely watching how the situation plays out at ASU with the ongoing NCAA investigation. Texas, Colorado, LSU, USC and others are involved.

*****

Penn State is in the top three for 2023 four-star LB Ta’Mere Robinson from Pittsburgh (Pa.) Brashear as he saw the love shown by everybody - coaches, fans and recruits. The Lions are also in the top three for 2023 three-star WR Harvey Broussard from St. Martinsville, La. Ole Miss, Arkansas, Virginia, Louisville and Colorado are also high for him.

*****

“This is something I can be a part of,” 2023 four-star defensive end Cameron Lenhardt from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy said of his time at Penn State over the weekend.

*****

Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh 2023 three-star offensive guard Tamarus Walker said “Happy Valley feels like home,” and that the Lions are at the top of his recruitment.

*****

Penn State “stands high” for 2023 four-star defensive end James Heard from Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph’s.

*****

The Lions are “toward the top” for 2023 high four-star DT Jason Moore out of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha.

*****

Mason Robinson “absolutely loves the school,” but the 2023 four-star DE from Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh remains 100 percent open.

*****

Fletcher Westphal called the Whiteout “over the top” and a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” The Lions stand high in his recruitment, but he will keep all of his options open.

*****

Penn State is “high” for 2023 tight end Markus Dixon from Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood.

*****

OL Koby Keenum, a 2023 prospect from Florence (Ala.) Mars Hill Bible School, has been to Happy Valley twice and said, “I will be back,” after an outstanding time on Saturday night.

*****

Penn State four-star receiver commit Kaden Saunders said, “I’m locked in with Penn State” as others try to flip him.

*****

Former PSU commit Mathias Barnwell, a 2023 four-star tight end from Fredericksburg (Va.) Riverbend, had an “amazing” experience over the weekend and loved the environment there. “Penn State stands in a good place right now,” according to Barnwell, who also has Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Kentucky high on his list.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH PENN STATE FANS AT BLUEWHITEILLUSTRATED.COM

OTHER TIDBITS 

Alabama commit Jeremiah Alexander was wearing Georgia gloves Friday night during another dominating performance for the four-star defensive lineman from Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson. It could be nothing, but it might be something to watch if he decides to visit Athens. Two sources have said Alexander is not looking at Georgia and there's no expectation he would flip there.

*****

At the same game, Peter Woods was wearing Clemson gloves. The word is Alabama is the team to beat for the 2023 four-star defensive lineman from Alabaster Thompson, but the Tigers have definitely left an impression as well.

*****

Four-star running back Jaydn Ott backed off his Cal pledge in recent days, and now Notre Dame, UCLA, Colorado and BYU have been trying to get him. The Golden Bears are also not giving up in getting him back in the fold. USC has offered him and a source said it could be a realistic landing spot for him, especially after De'Anthony Gatson decommitted earlier in the week.

*****

The feeling over many months is that Mississippi State is the clear frontrunner for Stone Blanton, who has family connections to the school. But the rumor now is that Ole Miss is surging in his recruitment. The Madison (Miss.) Madison Ridgeland Academy might just be giving the Rebels a closer look, but this battle could be heating up even more.