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Southeast Spotlight: Storylines to watch in October national recruiting analyst John Garcia Jr. takes a look at some of the most intriguing storylines in the Southeast region as the calendar flips to October. Will Georgia get back to No. 1 in the recruiting ranks? Also, a bevy of blue-chip recruits are set to come off the board or make critical visits.

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Aydin Breland
Aydin Breland (


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Can Georgia get back to No. 1? 

Kirby Smart
Kirby Smart (AP Images)

Though few in and around Athens will panic, Georgia lost the top spot in the class of 2024 team rankings recently when Ny Carr became the sixth prospect to defect from Kirby Smart's current haul of recruits. Ohio State now holds a narrow lead over the Bulldogs at the top, though the race is of course far from over. Carr, unlike other big decommitments in five-stars Demarcus Riddick and Peyton Woodyard, says UGA remains in the running while he explores other options. Beyond the in-state pass catcher, the program is still in the mix for a bevy of elite talent that could shoot the program right back to No. 1.

The most timely decision relative to Georgia is that of elite defensive lineman Aydin Breland, who is set to come off the board on Oct. 14 as he chooses between UGA, Oregon and Miami. Fellow defensive lineman LJ McCray, who we'll delve deeper into later in this feature, would also like to come off the board in October, though a commitment date has not yet been set in stone. In-state interior talent Michai Boireau is one Georgia has worked to flip since before his decommitment from Florida in early September. On offense, the program would love to reel Carr back in or land top 20 overall recruit Ryan Wingo.

Of course, Georgia will also continue to chip away at No. 1 safety recruit and current Florida State commitment KJ Bolden, too. It hosted him two weekends ago and could be in line for more visits before all is said and done.



All eyes are on Ny Carr.

Ny Carr
Ny Carr (Jerry Kutz/

Speaking of Ny Carr, the somewhat surprising decommitment was one of the big items in the industry in late September, and now he has been hitting the visit trail. Auburn hosted him for its upset bid against - you guessed it - Georgia on Saturday, and he apparently came away impressed. This weekend, Carr will trek to South Florida for a closer look at Mario Cristobal and Miami, a program that could be near the top of his list should another college commitment come in short order.

Beyond the Tigers and Hurricanes, Florida, Florida State and others are trying to get Carr on campus for visits before a decision comes. He has a teammate and close friend committed to FSU in tight end Landen Thomas, another former Georgia commitment, and he told Rivals Thomas is pushing for the duo to reunite in Tallahassee for their college football. Carr also said his recruitment may not last much longer, so every move he makes will be magnified going forward.

On the field, he has been a stock-up candidate all season long, pushing for a fifth star and even setting Colquitt County High School's touchdown receptions record along the way.


Jeremiah Smith is still busy on the visit trail.  

Jeremiah Smith
Jeremiah Smith (Nick Lucero/

In between Friday nights in helping Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade Madonna work toward a potential high school national championship (with great success by the way), Smith continues to hit the visit trail hard despite his longtime pledge to Ryan Day and Ohio State. OSU and Florida have already hosted Smith for unofficial visits around game days, and Miami is set to do the same this weekend. Smith, who has admitted if he defects from Ohio State he would likely stay in his native state of Florida for college, has talked about taking multiple Florida State visits during this season as well.

Of course, anything the top wide receiver prospect in high school football does becomes news, even though Smith has long planned on vetting options throughout his recruitment. Rarely budging from complete solidity to Ohio State when asked, most of the expectation on Smith sticking with OSU or not still revolves around wide receivers coach and now co-offensive coordinator Brian Hartline.



LJ McCray is closing in on a decision. 

LJ McCray
LJ McCray (

He saw Florida, then Auburn over the weekend, and now this weekend it will be Florida State that hosts McCray down the stretch of his recruitment. Georgia and Miami, who the senior contends remain in the thick of the race, could also push for October visits before one of the most coveted recruits in Florida comes off the board for good. McCray has long centered on his 18th birthday, taking place on Oct. 18, as the day things could accelerate, but he has recently stretched the decision window through the rest of the month in case he needs more time.

Florida has hosted McCray the most and there is true confidence in Gainesville at this time, but that destination is not a foregone conclusion. Georgia was perhaps the favorite at another point, and the other three programs won't soon slow for the towering and versatile pass rusher. The decision coming down closer to Halloween than McCray's birthday is probably better news for all programs involved, outside of Florida at this time. As it currently stands, FSU gets the final visit and the weekend in Tallahassee is an official visit, too.


Can Trever Jackson bounce back?

Trever Jackson
Trever Jackson (

One of the most curious developments in recent recruiting memory is unraveling in Orlando this fall. Trever Jackson, the strong-armed quarterback who had as good an offseason as any class of 2024 passer, including a run at the Elite 11 Finals preceded by Rivals Camp Miami MVP and other honors, is averaging just a few completions per game as a senior at Orlando (Fla.) Jones. The Ole Miss commitment did transfer to the program just before the 2023 season, with emerging dual-threat Dareon Coleman expected to be the starter. Still, a blue-chip SEC commitment coming into a prep program at any position draws eyeballs.

Even in a shared system, Jackson's 13 completions this season is pacing well behind his Elite 11 peers through five games. Even in the limited action, the senior has more interceptions thrown than touchdowns to his name, so something has to give here. From Lane Kiffin on down, many have eyes in Orlando to see how Jackson bounces back from the sluggish start. The physical tools are all there, so we'll continue to elect for the benefit of doubt when it comes to a long-term projection.