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Rumor Mill: Latest on high-profile underclassmen

Antonio Cotman
Antonio Cotman

There was a lot of recruiting news and rumors from the National Combine in San Antonio. Here is a look at the latest in this week’s Recruiting Rumor Mill.

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This summer the 2024 four-star defensive back from Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph’s Prep is going to stay with his uncle in Atlanta and that will give him an opportunity to see all the schools he wants to see in the South including Alabama, Florida and Georgia. He’s hoping a trip to Texas is also possible.

Closer to home, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan are all standing out now as well.

Nebraska would “definitely be an option” for the 2023 defensive back from Miami (Fla.) Killian especially since his brother, Dicaprio, played for the Huskers. But they haven’t offered yet.

Northwestern is showing the most attention and Bootle has already hit it off with new position coach Ryan Smith. Kansas, Pitt, Indiana and Michigan are also involved.

North Carolina is the early leader for the 2024 cornerback from Phenix City (Ala.) Central after visiting Chapel Hill and loving it. Plus,. Coleman already has a great relationship with position coach Dre Bly. But Mississippi State is also a school to watch in the opening stages and Georgia Tech has his attention as well.

Texas A&M is definitely the team to beat for the 2023 defensive tackle from Sweden for two reasons: Collins loved his visit to College Station this summer with the PPI group, which takes international kids and tours them around college campuses. And the Aggies are also highest on the list because his friend Theodor Ohrstrom signed with them in the 2022 class.

Penn State and West Virginia could be two other schools to watch early on.

West Virginia has definitely captured Cotman’s attention because the coaching staff from Neal Brown on down has made him a top priority. The Chester (Va.) Life Christian Academy loves how he’s treated in Morgantown and the attention he’s paid is second-to-none.

Boston College, Mississippi State, Maryland, Purdue, Penn State and Liberty are also on his list now.

The 2023 three-star linebacker from Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill showed up to the National Combine registration wearing a Michigan sweatshirt and then expanded on his high interest in the Wolverines as they look like the early team to beat.

Crawford said it even “broke his heart” that Michigan lost in the College Football Playoff. Georgia Tech and Florida State would be two other early contenders.

Penn State has the early edge in Fletcher’s recruitment after he visited Happy Valley and loved it. The Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage four-star running back also has hit it off big-time with position coach Ja’Juan Seider.

The Nittany Lions should definitely be watched in Fletcher’s recruitment but he wants to visit Alabama again since he hasn’t been there since eighth grade. He wants to see Michigan and will take another look at Miami with coach Mario Cristobal there now.

The 2024 wide receiver from Live Oak (Fla.) Suwannee is an unabashed Florida State fan and loves the program especially since he’s a legacy there (Matt Frier is his father) But Texas A&M has also offered, Georgia is getting interested and he’s by no means a lock to the Seminoles this early.

Still, the FSU love is evidenced by him wearing Florida State gloves to a Georgia camp this summer and coach Kirby Smart asking that he take them off.

Notre Dame could have the early edge for the 2023 four-star defensive back from St. Louis (Mo.) De Smet but it will be interesting to see how things progress with the new Irish coaching staff in place. USC, Ohio State and LSU are also pushing hard early on and while his sister goes to school in Columbus it probably doesn’t play the biggest role in his decision.

The 2025 defensive tackle from Savannah (Ga.) Savannah Christian School showed up to the National Combine registration day wearing a Georgia sweatshirt and then said the Bulldogs are definitely the early frontrunner.

He loves his budding relationship with Tray Scott and if that continues then Georgia could be tough to beat down the road. Griffin does want to visit South Carolina, Clemson and other schools, too.

Kentucky was definitely a major offer for the 2024 quarterback, who plans to transfer to Pinson (Ala.) Pinson Valley soon, especially because Handley likes offensive coordinator Liam Coen.

Handley had a great bond with assistant Jon Sumrall but he’s the new coach at Troy so that will be moot. An offer from North Carolina would be huge because he loves coach Mack Brown and position coach Phil Longo. He will be at Alabama on Jan. 22.

The former Oklahoma commit is planning five visits in the coming months, which could have a huge factor in his recruitment moving forward. The five-star receiver from Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage will be at Miami for its big junior day later this month and he also wants to see Alabama, USC, Ohio State and Georgia.

At this point, there’s no frontrunner but Inniss has never visited Tuscaloosa so a good trip there could move the Crimson Tide up quickly.

Kansas was the first offer for the 2023 three-star quarterback from Shawnee Mission (Kan.) Shawnee Mission East and he definitely likes the improvements coach Lance Leipold has made in Lawrence. Kansas State is also showing a lot of interest and then Penn State, Minnesota and NC State are also reaching out consistently.

The 2023 high four-star quarterback from Detroit (Mich.) Martin Luther King is cognizant that everyone is watching his every move and when he will commit but the idea is to make a pledge sometime before his senior season and not rush something. Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Penn State pretty much remain the main contenders and many feel the Wolverines have an edge but one thing is interesting to watch.

Moore said that his relationship with each head coach is important so possibly Brian Kelly leaving the Irish doesn’t help and rumors about Jim Harbaugh to the NFL could make this more complex as well.

Missouri is definitely a school high on Reichert’s list because he plays at Raytown, Mo., and he has some family connections there but the massive 2023 four-star offensive lineman wants to see what improvements the Tigers make next season.

Michigan has been very active with the 6-foot-7, 378-pounder and the Wolverines could be high on the list and then Tennessee and Florida are right there. Georgia has slowed down while USC, Oregon and Kentucky have stepped it up.

The four-star athlete from Fulton (Miss.) Itawamba Agricultural said he’s keeping his recruitment “100 percent open” but Ole Miss and Mississippi State are going to battle for him along with one other SEC team: LSU. Smith really loves the DBU status of the Tigers and wants to visit Baton Rouge this offseason.

A lot of SEC teams are going to be involved here and there’s no guarantee Smith will stay home although he likes the Rebels and the Bulldogs.

Michigan and Iowa are standing out the most early on for the 2024 defensive end from La Grange (Ill.) Lyons Township especially after visiting both schools this season. Tuerk was at Iowa for its win over Penn State and Michigan for the win over Ohio State where he loved seeing the Wolverines physically dominate up front.

Many others could get involved but watch Iowa and Michigan over the long haul here.

One of the top defensive ends at the National Combine, Turner only has offers from Buffalo and Liberty so far but many others are showing interest. The Pfafftown (N.C.) Ronald Reagan prospect is easily good enough to play in a Power Five conference. Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina, Arizona State and Appalachian State are showing interest.

Purdue is recruiting Walker the hardest and the 2023 receiver from Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central loves the Boilermakers’ offense and how often they throw the ball. A big visit is coming up later this month to Indiana as Walker is going to see the Hoosiers’ basketball team play Michigan.

Indiana is coming hard, too. Iowa, Ohio State and Illinois are all showing interest.

Ole Miss and Virginia stand out the most early on for the 2024 quarterback from Little Rock (Ark.) Little Rock Christian and a visit to Charlottesville blew him away although he does need to get to know the new coaching staff.

White has a tremendous amount of family connections at Arkansas including his brother on the team right now but the Razorbacks haven’t offered yet.

Baylor and Texas are the two frontrunners for the 2023 four-star cornerback from Houston (Texas) Mayde Creek and a decision could come close. Wilson wore Baylor gloves at the combine but said it wasn’t a sign of where he’s leaning.

Both programs are battling it out and a decision could come once Wilson is ready - and it could be soon.