Three-Point Stance: Miami, flip season, NIL and the SEC
Rivals national recruiting analyst Ryan Wright shares his thoughts on Miami's rise up the recruiting rankings, explores the possibility of a flip-filled fall and looks at how NIL deals may be impacting half of the programs in the SEC.
1. LONG-AWAITED RISE OF MIAMI
With an experienced coaching staff and big NIL money supporting the program, there were concerns about Miami’s recruiting efforts just a month ago. In mid-June, the Hurricanes had only six commits, two four-stars and four three-stars, with a No. 46 ranking in the Rivals Team Recruiting Rankings. In a blink of an eye, Miami is now in the top-10 and are the talk of college football recruiting.
The worry started kicking up after a lull in verbal pledges securing four in March and April without a commitment until four-star tight end Jackson Carver broke the drought on June 14. Texas tight end Reid Mikeska and quarterback Emory Williams went back-to-back on June 19-20, and the hits kept coming. Since four-star California QB Jaden Rashada committed on June 26, Miami has landed five four-stars highlighted by five-star Washington to IMG Academy defensive end Jayden Wayne.
The Canes are in the mix for several in-state four-stars which could help Miami rise from their current No. 9 team ranking, if successful, perhaps challenging current No. 4 Clemson for top honors in the ACC among 2023 recruits.
2. SEASON OF THE FLIP
For top programs looking to make a splash along the recruiting trail, the pickings at the top of the 2023 class are getting slim. Of the top 100 prospects in the Rivals250, only 20 of the top-50 are uncommitted. A deeper look, only 21 of the prospects rounding out the bottom half of the top-100 are left on the market. What does this mean? This fall could be the season of the flip.
It is tough to pinpoint which prospect may flip, especially among the top 100, but chances are it will take place as it has already happened. The vast majority of these standouts are committed to bluebloods, which at one time seemed like a sure lock but in the era of NIL deals things can change quickly.
One thing to keep an eye on are the programs that are perhaps underperforming right now at acquiring top prospects. There are many that may love seeing Texas A&M ranked No. 60 in the Rivals’ team rankings, but few believe that will hold through to the Early Signing Period much less another couple of months. The same can be said for Auburn at No. 66 and Florida State at 42. If some of these teams get shut out over the summer months, a bidding war can take place seeing flips happen seemingly out of nowhere. When it happens, we will know why.
3. NIL IMPACTING SEC TEAMS ALONG RECRUITING TRAIL?
When, if ever, have Tennessee and Arkansas ranked Nos. 1-2 in the SEC team rankings this late in a recruiting cycle? The Volunteers last finished in the top-five recruiting rankings in 2015, Arkansas has never finished among the conference leaders or in the top-10. As is, Tennessee is slotted at No. 5 with Arkansas right behind them. Making a recent push, LSU holds the last spot in the top-10. A few notable teams are currently missing.
All expect Georgia (No. 13), Texas A&M and Alabama (No. 19) to make a push forcing some within the top-10 or five down the leaderboard, but a few programs like Ohio State, Notre Dame, Texas, Clemson and Tennessee have the solid foundation to stay among the premiere teams. Florida is that program with great potential but Miami’s ascension could cut into some of the Gators' upward momentum. This leaves seven SEC programs hanging on the backside: South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn and Missouri.
Time will tell if the strategy for some is to win in the transfer portal and get what you can out of the high school ranks or make that effort for a strong top-15 recruiting class. One has to wonder if the NIL deals are already keeping some SEC teams out of contention for high-profile five- and four-star recruits. This doesn’t mean the aforementioned back-half of the SEC will not land a solid 2023 recruiting class, but it might be a sign of the times for the changes that lay ahead.