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Tuesdays with Gorney: Five programs poised for a big autumn

Keon Keeley
Keon Keeley (Rivals.com)

High school football seasons are starting across the country and soon visits will happen across the country. In today’s Tuesdays with Gorney, Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney looks at five teams that could have a big fall filled with recruiting news ahead:

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ALABAMA

Sharif Denson
Sharif Denson (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The Crimson Tide currently have the No. 1 recruiting class in the country and things could get a whole lot better leading into December’s signing day. Alabama is working hard on getting recent Notre Dame decommit Keon Keeley onboard and it has to be considered the front-runner at this point.

A lot was made recently when in-state four-star defensive linemen Kelby Collins (Florida) and Peter Woods (Clemson) went elsewhere but Alabama will look to flip both over the next few months. The Crimson Tide are definitely not done recruiting either player.

In other flip news, Alabama should get a visit from Texas four-star safety commit Derek Williams from New Iberia (La.) Westgate as it’s considered the biggest threat to the Longhorns now. Four-star Florida corner commit Sharif Denson could take a trip to Tuscaloosa after a recent offer and Alabama keeps working on Ole Miss commit Suntarine Perkins although he remains in the Rebels’ class.

Four other defensive players to watch are James Smith, Damon Wilson, Qua Russaw and Jordan Renaud. A significant case could be made that Alabama looks the best for all of them right now.

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GEORGIA

Smith and Russaw are not only teammates at Montgomery (Ala.) Carver but they both have Georgia and Alabama highest on their radar and the feeling is they’re seriously considering picking the same school. The Bulldogs have done exceptionally well recruiting both but the Crimson Tide are right there as well.

Samuel M’Pemba’s list might be expanding with some new names on it but Georgia still has to like its positioning with him along with four-star receiver Tyler Williams, who doesn’t put up big stats because his Lakeland, Fla., team doesn’t throw much but he’s still an elite receiver. Former Arkansas WR commit Anthony Evans is another one.

As for others to watch, Wilson is definitely taking a close look at Georgia and then the Bulldogs have made a run at UCLA running back pledge Roderick Robinson with marginal success so far after losing out on top RBs Justice Haynes, a Georgia legacy, and Richard Young.

Georgia is far from done in this class as coach Kirby Smart is one of the most aggressive recruiters out there.

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MIAMI

Samson Okunlola
Samson Okunlola (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The Hurricanes currently have the No. 11 class nationally with two five-stars committed in OL Francis Mauigoa and DL Jayden Wayne and coach Mario Cristobal is far from done. Five-star OL Samson Okunlola is very serious about playing at Miami and teaming with Mauigoa. The Hurricanes are making up ground with M’Pemba as well. Five-star cornerback Cormani McClain has Miami seriously in the running with Alabama and Florida so that’s another possibility.

That’s not all. Miami got elite four-star receiver Jurrion Dickey to visit this summer and he loved the trip. He also teamed with QB commit Jaden Rashada on the Miami Immortals team this summer at the OT7 event in Las Vegas so there’s a connection that could be continued.

Four-star sack machine Rueben Bain has Miami high on the list and he has family connections to the program. Gardena (Calif.) Serra speedster Rodrick Pleasant was just offered by the Hurricanes. At running back, three-star local recruit Christopher Johnson has Miami in his top two and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Canes try to flip four-star Ohio State RB commit Mark Fletcher among others.

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TEXAS

Duce Robinson
Duce Robinson (Ralph Amsden)

Texas is sitting pretty with the fourth-best class in the country including the top-ranked QB Arch Manning and many others. It could still get better for the Longhorns but some work will need to be done.

No. 1 tight end Duce Robinson seems more open than ever when looking at programs and he will be at Texas this season. He’s also been communicating with Manning and that connection could be instrumental in landing the elite two-sport prospect.

Four-star receiver Jalen Hale is another one to watch especially because of the Manning connection. Texas is working hard to flip standout DB Peyton Bowen from Notre Dame and four-star Markis Deal is another possibility. It was a major surprise when four-star DB Jordan Matthews picked Tennessee over Texas and others so the Longhorns might not be done with him, either. A big season in Austin could be huge for recruiting as well.

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TEXAS A&M

Hykeem Williams
Hykeem Williams (Matt Moreno/TrojanSports.com)

It’s surprising to see Texas A&M sitting at No. 39 nationally with only nine commitments heading into the season. It feels less like the Aggies are struggling on the recruiting trail and more like they’re just waiting to unleash the big guns.

If coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff could flip five-star QB Malachi Nelson, that would be a game-changer. The Aggies are also trying to get five-star USC WR commit Zachariah Branch but with his brother on the Trojans’ roster, we’ll see about that one. Five-star OL TJ Shanahan Jr., has the Aggies out front – and there is plenty more.

Five-star WR Hykeem Williams has Texas A&M, Florida State, Pitt and others high on the list with the Aggies being tough to beat there. Five-star DE David Hicks, Jr., has A&M and Oklahoma battling it out and the Aggies look strong for five-star CB Javien Toviano. Texas A&M is also trying to flip Alabama four-star DB commit Tony Mitchell and he could visit College Station again this season.

If any team in the country has the opportunity to shoot up the team recruiting rankings quickly, it’s the Aggies.

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