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Three-Point Stance: Five-star surprises, No. 1 QB, realignment awkwardness

KJ Bolden
KJ Bolden

Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney has thoughts on the five biggest five-star commitment surprise so far, the case for the No. 1 quarterback in the 2024 class and the long, awkward campaign ahead for teams headed to new conferences after this season.


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Williams Nwaneri
Williams Nwaneri (Parker Thune)

Only two of 21 five-stars in the 2024 class remain uncommitted. Here were the five biggest surprises to me as prospects came off the board:

Williams Nwaneri: It’s not a total stunner the five-star defensive end committed to Missouri since he’s an in-state prospect, the Tigers recruited him well, there are some NIL considerations that could definitely help and much more. But his high school coach played at Oklahoma, he has a former teammate playing for the Sooners, he has a current teammate who could commit there soon and there are many other connections. Oregon, Georgia and others were right there as well.

KJ Bolden: So many times, the five-star safety from Buford, Ga., talked about how comfortable he was at Georgia, that the Bulldogs had recruited him for years and it just seemed after flirtations with Florida State and then Auburn late that Georgia was the inevitable choice. It was a tough call on his commitment day but Mike Norvell and the Seminoles won out.

Justin Scott: Early on, it looked like a lock that the Chicago (Ill.) St. Ignatius five-star defensive tackle would end up at Notre Dame. It was right down the road, the Irish recruited him as hard as anybody and it made sense. Then Georgia made a serious push and the Dawgs almost never lose out on top talent. Miami made a push, too, as Ohio State lurked in his recruitment and his relationship with position Larry Johnson and others won out.

Kamarion Franklin: The feeling all along was that Franklin would end up in the SEC with Tennessee holding an early advantage and then it seemed like the Lake Cormorant, Miss., five-star defensive end was a lock to Auburn. But Ole Miss kept hanging around and in the end, the in-state standout went with the Rebels.

Peyton Woodyard: After USC reserved an entire official visit weekend for Woodyard and teammate Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa, it seemed like this would end up as a battle between the Trojans and Georgia. But all along, Woodyard had kept developing a relationship with the Alabama staff and that draw to the SEC was significant. In early August, Woodyard flipped from the Dawgs to the Crimson Tide.



Julian Sayin
Julian Sayin (Nick Lucero/

Heading into the football season, coming out of the Elite 11, I was pretty convinced having Dylan Raiola as the No. 1 prospect in the 2024 class – let alone the top quarterback – was the smartest move and that it would be pretty difficult to pull him off that spot.

Only a couple weeks in, that opinion has not changed but it’s becoming more possible that a change could be coming in the quarterback rankings.

The Georgia commit who transferred to Buford, Ga., for his senior season is off to a slow start through two games. Even though Buford has beaten Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances and Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek, the team has not scored 20 points yet.

Meanwhile, fellow five-star Julian Sayin at Carlsbad, Calif., was outstanding in his season opener and he’s coming off winning the Elite 11. Any concerns about his size are gone, Sayin showed he can escape pressure in the season opener and his passing skills are unquestioned. The five-star Alabama commit has outstanding leadership skills, works well with his coaches and has a quiet competitiveness about him.

Ohio State commit Air Noland also had a strong showing in a tough contest against 2026 star QB Julian Lewis and his Carrollton, Ga., team. Noland has a quiet calm about him, he has a phenomenal arm and had ice in his veins late in that contest.

Those are the five-stars. Florida commit DJ Lagway threw for 436 yards and eight touchdowns – in only one game. Others are performing well.

Raiola has all the physical tools and ability on the field to be special. He can certainly stay at No. 1, have a phenomenal career at Georgia and then be an early first-round NFL Draft pick. But others are pushing for that top spot harder than ever before.

2024 QB RANKINGS: Pro-Style | Dual-Threat



George Kliavkoff
George Kliavkoff (© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

The state of college football in the age of conference realignment feels kind of like seeing your ex-girlfriend out with a new guy or spotting your ex-wife at your kid’s school function: Uncomfortable.

The Pac-12 has basically been crushed to smithereens. Yet in the last year before every school leaves they still have to host or go play Oregon State and Washington State, the last two programs who have not secured a future home, as it seems Cal and Stanford could head to the ACC. Coaches will have to sit with the Pac-12 Network and probably see commissioner George Kliavkoff around.

Nice to know you, see you later.

This came to a head recently when Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark spoke at Texas Tech's kickoff luncheon and urged coach Joey McGuire to “take care of business” against Texas like it did last season in beating the Longhorns.

The conference commissioner is cheering on one side against another conference foe before Texas leaves for the SEC. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Bedlam is “history” so while always contentious, this year’s version might be even worse with the Sooners saying peace and heading to the SEC as well.

The Pac-12 is a shell of its former self with the Big Ten and Big 12 pillaging it. The two marquee programs in the Big 12 are leaving for the SEC. North Carolina women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance said he wants Cal and Stanford to “die on the vine” and he opposes entrance into the ACC for those programs.

All the while, this whole season, these teams have to face each other before all kinds of unknowns enter the sport. Love ya but leavin’ ya.