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Rivals Rankings Week: Where things stand with the 2023 five-stars

Dante Moore
Dante Moore (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

There are now 26 five-star prospects with some fully committed, some committed but considering others and still some uncommitted as the Early Signing Period is weeks away.

Here is the latest in the recruitment of all of them.

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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

Sunday: Who should be No. 1?

Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Meet the new five-stars | Latest recruiting news on five-stars

Tuesday: Rivals250 released | Biggest Movers | Gorney's thoughts

Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released

Thursday: Defensive position rankings released

Friday: State rankings released

Saturday: Roundtable

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The New Orleans (La.) Isidore Newman five-star quarterback committed to Texas over Georgia in late June and has not looked back. He’s only recruited hard for the Longhorns and does not like playing the recruiting game at all. It would be a complete stunner if he went anywhere else.

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A Tennessee commit since March, the Downey (Calif.) Warren five-star quarterback chose the Volunteers over Georgia, Alabama, Oregon and Miami and has not really entertained others. Some programs especially closer to home have tried to persuade Iamaleava to flip but haven’t had much success as the family loves coach Josh Heupel and position coach Joey Halzle.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH TENNESSEE FANS AT VOLREPORT.COM

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The five-star cornerback from Lakeland, Fla., already made his big move in recruiting when he chose Miami over Florida and Alabama. The Gators were expected to get him but leading up to his decision sources kept saying to watch the Hurricanes especially because of his relationship with position coach DeMarcus Van Dyke. Others are still trying to flip him but haven’t had success yet.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH MIAMI FANS AT CANESCOUNTY.COM

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One of the big reasons why Moore originally picked Oregon in July was because of his relationship with former offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, who recently took the head coaching job at Arizona State. Moore has said all the right things about staying committed to the Ducks but reportedly coach Dan Lanning flew to Detroit to visit Moore and solidify his pledge. This will be one to watch because Michigan State talk has been picking up steam and then Michigan, Miami, Texas A&M and others pursued during his recruitment.

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Hicks surprised some people in late September when he committed to Texas A&M over Oklahoma because the Sooners had been considered the slight leader - or more - for the five-star defensive end who played at Allen, Texas before transferring to Katy (Texas) Paetow for his senior season. The Sooners have not given up but the feeling now is that Hicks’ Texas A&M commitment is a little more firm than a few weeks ago after another visit to College Station. However, Oklahoma won’t back down until the end as Oregon tries to sneak in as well.

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When coach Lincoln Riley was at Oklahoma, Nelson was committed there. When Riley left for USC, the Los Alamitos, Calif., five-star quarterback flipped to the Trojans. There was some serious angst over the summer when Nelson took a visit to Texas A&M and it looked like a flip to the Aggies was possible, if not probable, but it did not come to fruition. Is everyone around Nelson thrilled about USC’s move to the Big Ten? I’ve heard different things but it looks like the five-star is all set to play for the Trojans.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH USC FANS AT TROJANSPORTS.COM

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The No. 1 safety in the class picked Alabama over Georgia but the Bulldogs are not giving up with the Hoschton (Ga.) Mill Creek standout and neither is Ohio State. Downs recently visited Columbus on a semi-secret trip and the word now is that if Downs does decide to flip it would be to Ohio State and not Georgia. But he’s also close with Alabama commit Justice Haynes so that could be a consideration.

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Georgia was considered the heavy front-runner for a long time and on Sunday the five-star defensive end from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy who’s originally from the St. Louis area picked the Bulldogs. Tennessee, Florida and Miami were the other finalists in M’Pemba’s recruitment and the Hurricanes probably put up the best fight but Georgia was out front for a while.

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Ohio State made one of its final runs at Wilson on Friday night as defensive assistants Jim Knowles and Larry Johnson were at his playoff game and then Georgia is supposed to have an in-home with the Venice, Fla., standout this week. It’s basically a two-team race for the new five-star defensive end with the Buckeyes having a slight edge at this point.

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The new five-star safety from Denton (Texas) Guyer has been committed to Notre Dame since New Year’s Day and Irish safeties coach Chris O’Leary did an in-home visit with Bowen on Friday night. Notre Dame can definitely hang on here but Bowen is being significantly pushed by Oklahoma and there’s a decent chance the Sooners could flip him. Don’t forget that Denton Guyer teammate Jackson Arnold is already pledged to OU.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH NOTRE DAME FANS AT INSIDENDSPORTS.COM

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An early Oklahoma pledge, Inniss backed off that commitment when coach Lincoln Riley left for USC and then Ohio State emerged as the winner in his recruitment. The Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage standout committed to the Buckeyes in the summer and while Miami tries to keep flipping him there hasn’t been a significant belief yet that it’s going to work.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH OHIO STATE FANS AT DOTTINGTHEEYES.COM

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Tennessee was a real contender in Tate’s recruitment almost all the way up until decision time but Ohio State won out as his relationship with coach Ryan Day, position coach Brian Hartline and having familiar faces in the recruiting class cannot hurt, either. At numerous times, Tennessee has made another run at Tate but without success and if Hartline stays in Columbus - which looks like the case now - then Tate should remain as well.

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If things went differently in Bedlam a couple seasons ago, maybe Arnold never even commits to Oklahoma. If Lincoln Riley stayed then Malachi Nelson would’ve stayed committed and Arnold probably would have gone elsewhere. But once Brent Venables took over and especially with Jeff Lebby in Norman, Arnold committed in January and hasn’t looked back.

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Proctor committed to Iowa in June over Alabama as the massive five-star offensive lineman decided to stay home but his recruitment is still not over for the Pleasant Hill (Iowa) Southeast Polk standout. His former teammate, Xavier Nwankpa, is already playing for the Hawkeyes but Oregon is pushing hard and Proctor recently visited and the Crimson Tide is trying to get him back down to Tuscaloosa on another visit before signing day.

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In late July, Hill committed to Texas A&M over Texas in a big recruiting win for the Aggies but it would only last until early November as the Longhorns never gave up recruiting him and A&M struggled mightily during the season. Since that time, the Denton (Texas) Ryan standout visited Austin and it looked like a commitment was imminent but he has yet to commit to Texas - or anyplace else. Still might only be a matter of time.

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There was some flirtation with Texas A&M over the summer which included a visit to College Station but it always felt like a long shot that he would flip from USC. His brother, Zion, plays for the Trojans and the two are super tight so getting him away from his pledge there was always going to be difficult. Now that Malachi Nelson has solidified his pledge and the Trojans had such a good season, Branch looks locked up.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH USC FANS AT TROJANSPORTS.COM

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Even though Okunlola doesn’t give too much about his recruitment, it still looks like Miami is looking the best and playing with fellow five-star OL Francis Mauigoa is an intriguing situation for him. The Hurricanes look strong but Florida is trying to make a move as well and the Gators do have the attention of the Braintree (Mass.) Thayer Academy prospect. Others especially in the Big Ten are trying but we wonder if there’s any traction.

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Ohio State has been the front-runner for the Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco defensive end and his relationship with Larry Johnson and others in Columbus is definitely playing a factor there. Uiagalelei is looking for NFL development and he feels the Buckeyes could be best at getting that for him. Oregon is right there, though, and Georgia is making a serious push for him with an upcoming visit to Athens planned. There’s one other scenario to watch here: If his brother, DJ, transfers out of Clemson and heads back West as has been rumored then the brothers could look to play together.

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Ricks is planning to make his commitment three days before Christmas and he’s coming off his official visit to Florida this past weekend. That could have swayed things because coach Billy Napier and especially position coach Corey Raymond have made Ricks a priority but it still very much feels like LSU is out in front here with Alabama pursuing hard. This summer Ricks said it would be hard turning down Nick Saban but LSU made a huge impression.

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Originally from American Samoa and playing at San Bernardino (Calif.) Aquinas before transferring to Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, Mauigoa has been committed to Miami since July 4. Florida has made a run at him but after Mauigoa didn’t visit recently, that seems to have died down. Tennessee made a run at him and there have always been rumors about USC but it looks like Mauigoa is fully locked in with the Canes.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH MIAMI FANS AT CANESCOUNTY.COM

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Alabama is considered the front-runner to land Keeley, who was committed to Notre Dame earlier in his recruitment but backed off that pledge in recent months. It felt like a flip to the Crimson Tide was possible but the Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep prospect slowed his recruitment down and then Ohio State jumped in. Assistant coach Larry Johnson and an Alabama coach recently visited with Keeley and so the Buckeyes are still battling in this one but the Crimson Tide are the team to beat.

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Shanahan committed to Texas A&M in early September and despite the Aggies’ struggles, the five-star offensive lineman has stuck with his pledge. Playing in the SEC has been a big dream of Shanahan’s with Georgia and others involved along with Texas but Shanahan recently sent a text message that said he’s focused on earning a starting job in College Station as a freshman.

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Texas A&M was the early leader for Williams but the five-star receiver from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Stranahan started building a major relationship with the Florida State staff, he paid his own way to New Orleans to see the Seminoles beat LSU in the season opener and then he committed to FSU in late September. Miami has been trying hard to flip Williams and others have been in the mix as well but he hasn’t shown any serious signs of a switch.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH FSU FANS AT THEOSCEOLA.COM

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This is a three-team race that might actually be a two-team race with USC, Georgia and Texas as the contenders although the Trojans and the Bulldogs look best. Robinson really likes the idea of playing in coach Lincoln Riley’s offense where he’s going to get the ball a lot, be used innovatively and to play for an up-and-coming program that’s close to home but not right down the road. His visit to Georgia was exceptional though and his relationship with position coach Todd Hartley is important plus the idea of playing in a small college town where football matters most is attractive. Plus, the success of Brock Bowers and others cannot be ignored. Robinson has the best QB relationship with Arch Manning and that’s one reason why the Longhorns remains in serious contention.

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LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Michigan and Georgia round out the top five for Toviano, who is making his commitment on Dec. 15 but it would be shocking if he doesn’t pick the Tigers. Yes, the Arlington (Texas) Martin defensive back doesn’t talk much about his recruitment but LSU has been the front-runner for some time and there’s absolutely no reason to think he doesn’t end up in Baton Rouge.

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Harbor has one of the most interesting recruitments among five-stars because his list has been scattershot and it could be unpredictable down the stretch. South Carolina has to love where it stands as he’s taken numerous visits there and loves the staff. But Michigan is pushing as well and the Wolverines’ success developing defensive linemen could be important. He was spotted at a Maryland basketball game Friday night as the local school tries to stay in it and then others like LSU could be in the picture as well.

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