Rivals.com - Tuesdays with Gorney: Checking in on the uncommitted five-stars
{{ timeAgo('2022-08-02 08:47:42 -0500') }} football Edit

Tuesdays with Gorney: Checking in on the uncommitted five-stars

The July visit period is over, which means it’s time to reset the top of the 2023 class and look forward to the season. In today’s Tuesdays with Gorney, Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney talks about each uncommitted five-star prospect and also takes a look at what’s happening in five-star QB Malachi Nelson’s recruitment:


*****

RELATED: Stacking up the starting lineups in the SEC by star ranking

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

TRANSFER PORTAL: Stories/coverage | Message board

*****

CORMANI MCCLAIN

Florida could now hold the edge in McClain’s recruitment as the Gators feel good about the five-star cornerback especially after he visited for their closeout summer event. Alabama is definitely right there and it’s tough to say no to the Crimson Tide but Florida has surged in the last few months for McClain, he could stay close to home and playing for position coach Corey Raymond would be a big deal as well.

*****  

SAMUEL M’PEMBA

This still feels like a Georgia vs. Notre Dame battle with the Bulldogs holding a decently-sized advantage but I would definitely watch Miami here as well. Three Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy teammates are now committed to the Hurricanes and that influence could be significant especially if a prospect is not locked in with one school. Miami should be a program to watch especially after M’Pemba was there last weekend and Oregon is in this as well.

*****  

NYCKOLES HARBOR

South Carolina impressed the five-star edge rusher this past weekend so the Gamecocks will be in this but Michigan, USC, LSU and maybe Maryland among others have played a big role in his recruitment so far. The tricky thing with Harbor is that his recruitment has been all over the place, not necessarily focused on just a couple schools, and he could still turn pro in track.

*****  

TJ SHANAHAN JR.

Texas A&M, USC, Texas, Georgia and LSU are the top five for the five-star offensive guard and I’ve been told that he’s leaning heavily toward the SEC. The Aggies definitely look best right now but Georgia is also battling here with a commitment that could be coming sooner rather than later. Texas A&M would be the pick today especially as the Aggies loaded up in 2022 on defense and continue to pull elite talent in 2023.

*****  

DAVID HICKS JR.

Oklahoma has seemed to take the lead in Hicks’ recruitment with Texas A&M right there as well. The Katy (Texas) Paetow five-star defensive end made it to Norman during the last few days of July but didn’t make it to the Aggies’ big summer finale. That’s not the end-all, be-all of his recruitment but it looks like the Sooners have jumped ahead and fended off Texas A&M for now.

*****  

SAMSON OKUNLOLA

Miami has really made a move in Okunlola’s recruitment with the persistence of coach Mario Cristobal and his staff but also because it helps the Hurricanes that high four-star Francis Mauigoa and others have committed there recently. But Alabama still wants the five-star offensive lineman very much, Oregon is making this interesting and then Michigan State could be a dark horse because he likes that staff so much.

*****  

HYKEEM WILLIAMS

Texas A&M is still the team to beat. Yes, the five-star receiver from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Stranahan is coming off a multi-day visit to Florida State. Yes, Miami is making a major run and the Canes’ recent success on the trail could be impactful. Yes, he has a strong connection with the Pitt coaches. Yes, Georgia, Alabama and others aren’t giving up. But until the Aggies fall off or Williams says something to the contrary, it looks like Texas A&M is sitting in the best spot.

*****  

JAVIEN TOVIANO

The five-star cornerback is tough to read sometimes but the feeling is that Texas A&M is still in a good position although Michigan continues to intrigue him a lot and LSU could be making up some ground especially recently. Texas is also in the picture but is trailing some others at this point and something would have to change for Toviano to move the Longhorns dramatically up. If I had to pick today it would be the Aggies.

*****

MALACHI NELSON’S SITUATION

He was committed to Oklahoma under Lincoln Riley and then he committed to USC when Riley left the Sooners for the Trojans. That looked like it was the end of the story.

But over the last few days, five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson took a weekend trip to Texas A&M and now things could get even more interesting because the word is that Nelson is not entirely dismissing the Aggies in his recruitment.

Nelson has not talked to the media since his visit to College Station but he did tell Riley he was going to take the trip and Nelson’s side has been quiet about details. There have been big NIL deals thrown around for quarterbacks and while there’s no way to know how much Nelson’s visit played a factor in that, there could be many things going on here.

If the five-star flips, it’s going to be a really tough call because Nelson has been so focused and dedicated on playing for Riley for a long time. But coach Jimbo Fisher is looking hard for a quarterback this cycle and with four-star Austin Novosad sticking with his Baylor commitment, the pressure remains to land a QB in this class with Nelson being the top target.

There are so many moving parts in recruiting and in the college football landscape altogether, and Nelson is just trying to find where he fits best for his long-term future.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH USC FANS AT TROJANSPORTS.COM