Tuesdays with Gorney: Breaking down the 2024 class by position
In today’s Tuesdays with Gorney, Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney goes position-by-position with some thoughts on where things could be headed from a recruiting perspective with the 2024 class.
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Georgia, USC and Nebraska have emerged as the leading contenders for five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola, who backed off his Ohio State pledge. After talking to some other top recruits, the feeling is that the Bulldogs look best but Raiola’s recent visit to USC blew him away and Nebraska is doing everything possible to stay high as well.
The hiring of Tommy Rees at Alabama should only solidify Julian Sayin’s commitment even further since Rees recruited Sayin early on at Notre Dame and there was a great connection there. What Rees’ move from South Bend to Tuscaloosa means for four-star Notre Dame QB pledge CJ Carr is still undetermined but it’s something to watch.
The news that coach Jim Harbaugh is staying at Michigan could help five-star Jadyn Davis make his decision sooner since I got the sense over the holidays talking to him that he was ready to wrap up his recruitment pretty soon. The uncertainty with Harbaugh and NFL rumors prolonged that along with North Carolina, Clemson, maybe Ohio State and others getting more involved but the Wolverines still have to like their standing.
Auburn landing Walker White was really impressive in recent days. It felt like Clemson had jumped ahead a little bit but that’s the power of coach Hugh Freeze and his staff, especially when it comes to production and playmaking from the QB spot.
There is a lot of indecisiveness and uncertainty as to what’s going on at the top of the running back rankings. Some years, there is a clear front-runner who will be difficult to topple. This is not one of those recruiting classes as an argument could be made for numerous players.
I don’t think it’s a particularly top-heavy group but there is depth at the running back spot and I wouldn’t be against an argument to make Florida State commit Kameron Davis No. 1 in the group. Jerrick Gibson is a very talented player as well and the guy I see who could make a huge jump especially as the recruiting cycle goes on is Taylor Tatum.
The same situation is playing out at all-purpose back where I really like Notre Dame pledge Aneyas Williams but there isn’t a stone-cold lock at the top there, either.
After five-star Ohio State commit Jeremiah Smith, I could really see a lot of significant changes coming to this position, which is going to bring a ton of debate.
Right now, Ryan Wingo, Micah Hudson and Joshisa Trader are the other five-stars in the class but Georgia commit Ny Carr is going to be in that conversation, Mylan Graham and Nicholas Marsh are really talented in the Midwest and there are others down the list.
This is a position – again – that could see changes near the top and then has a ton of quantity down the line that is really impressive. I still think we’re getting a better feel on where a lot of these guys should be placed which lends to changes coming over the next few months.
There is significant depth – and a lot of different body frames – among the 2024 tight end group and that makes this really interesting because Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County’s Landen Thomas leads the way right now. But I also really like Brady Prieskorn and Christian Bentancur out of the Midwest and there’s no better-looking tight end in the class than Trey’Dez Green from Jackson (La.) East Feliciana.
Hiram, Ga., standout Walter Matthews is someone I want to learn more about because he has an elite frame and then Michael Smith looks like a big-time steal for South Carolina. Some years the tight end group is rather lackluster but this is a solid one.
As it stands now, the offensive guard position looks a lot more loaded – and primed for five-star rankings – than the tackle spots which could still see a lot of movement, especially through this offseason as we see these prospects more.
Is any offensive tackle a screaming five-star buy like Kadyn Proctor in the 2023 class? Not in my eyes although there is talent there led right now by Ohio State commit Ian Moore. Still, there could be a lot of changes coming as Daniel Calhoun still intrigues me, Michael Uini has the frame of a potential first-rounder and more will emerge.
But I like the guards right now more. Jordan Seaton has been outstanding. No one is more powerful that Eddy Pierre-Louis who bench pressed as many reps at the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge last summer to put him among the top few at the NFL Combine and then Isendre Ahfua and Peter Jones are also top-notch players as well. I’m really interested to see how Cody Fox and Donovan Harbour have progressed over the last many months.
There is a lot of talent and depth among the strong-side defensive ends and while it will be tough to top the defensive line talent in the 2023 class, there are a lot of players to like in this group led by Buford, Ga., standout Eddrick Houston, who is under five-star consideration. T.A. Cunningham is maybe the best-looking among the group but he dealt with some issues beyond his control this year and needs a big offseason to stay this high. Kamarion Franklin and Williams Nwaneri are the two I’m watching for big moves up in the coming months.
At weakside, Colin Simmons looked great just hanging out at the National Combine in San Antonio and he should still be under consideration for No. 1 overall. Elijah Rushing and Tennessee commit Jonathan Echols are two others that have really caught my eye and have big potential to move up because of their length and ability off the edge. Loghan Thomas was unstoppable at the National Combine.
Defensive tackle is also an interesting spot because Justin Scott is the lone five-star so far as seemingly Notre Dame and Georgia battle it out for him but there’s no ignoring just how dominant David Stone has been over the last six months and he’s pushing for that top spot. After that, it’s a little bit of a mix with a handful of guys that could fight for that third position. It’s still very much up in the air after the top two.
Outside linebacker is one of the most-loaded positions in the 2024 class led by five-star T.J. Capers, who has some of the best film of anyone in the class. He’s fast and physical and covers ground so incredibly well and then comes with bad intentions. Long Beach (Calif.) Poly’s Dylan Williams is no slouch, either, and can absolutely push higher on the list and is within striking distance of No. 1. There’s also talk that Georgia commit Demarcus Riddick tops Alabama’s board at linebacker.
The inside linebackers are also phenomenal as Sammy Brown from Jefferson, Ga., currently leads the list but Florida pledge Myles Graham out of College Park (Ga.) Woodward Academy could push to the top as well. Both are athletic specimens who are big-time contributors and have the athleticism to play in space as well. Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco’s Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa is also a big-time striker who is a tackling machine and new Penn State commit Anthony Speca looks like a perfect fit in Happy Valley.
Cornerback is one of the positions that has the most chance at moving players around with nothing at all being locked in. Charles Lester is a really talented player followed by Bryce West and Georgia commit Ellis Robinson but Alabama pledge Jaylen Mbakwe has special abilities (he’s currently No. 15 at corner) and not many were better at the National Combine than Travaris Banks, who sits at No. 20 in the position rankings. Ricky Knight from Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Benjamin School is an emerging talent who shined at the National Combine.
Peyton Woodyard will be in the running for a fifth-star and this group is very talented. There’s a logjam after No. 1 of Florida players with Jordon Johnson-Rubell, Zaquan Patterson and Jaylen Heyward at the top and I prefer Patterson most. This is a very talented group and while we had two five-stars in the 2023 group, it could be a repeat if those top players keep excelling heading into their senior seasons.
This early in the recruiting cycle there are going to be an inordinate amount of athletes that will get whittled down as their future position becomes clearer but the top of this list is really impressive.
Five-star Mike Matthews leads the way followed by four-star KJ Bolden, two state of Georgia prospects who are being pursued by Georgia, but Clemson could sneak in there for both as well. It should be very interesting from a recruiting perspective. Former Texas pledge Aeryn Hampton is really talented and Many, La., athlete Tylen Singleton might be a little too low as well. This entire list well into the 20s if not further is loaded with elite players.