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Tuesdays with Gorney: Latest on Under Armour All-America standouts

Devon Campbell
Devon Campbell (Sam Spiegelman)

ORLANDO – Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney is on the ground in Florida as the Under Armour All-America Game gets started. Tuesday’s media day has been canceled so Gorney is taking a look at the uncommitted and unsigned players expected in town to break down what he’s hearing in their recruitment and more.

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CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State | JUCO

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

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OMARI ABOR

Ohio State was considered the clear front-runner through the summer and fall but when the Early Signing Period came up, the four-star defensive end from Duncanville, Texas did not sign with the Buckeyes. Many believe Ohio State is still the program to beat but there are some rumors that Texas is trying to make up ground.

Others are hearing the Longhorns aren’t all that involved at this point. At Abor’s state championship, he was wearing Texas gloves. One source recently asked me, “If Abor is such a lock to Ohio State, why didn’t he sign in December?” It’s a good question.

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JOVANTAE BARNES

With DeMarco Murray on the Oklahoma coaching staff, the Sooners absolutely have the best shot to land Barnes, who’s announcing his decision at the Under Armour Game. USC has reportedly made a run at Murray and there is a big-time loyalty there from Barnes as he watches the coaching changes at Oklahoma and USC.

If Oklahoma is not the spot then it looks like USC would definitely be second-best. A decision should be coming within days and right now Oklahoma looks like it has the edge.

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DEVON CAMPBELL

Texas, Texas, Texas. All we’ve heard when it comes to the five-star offensive lineman from Arlington (Texas) Bowie is about the Longhorns and how Campbell is a lock there. So what held him back from pulling the trigger and just getting it done during the Early Signing Period?

If there’s one danger here it’s that Campbell is highly intrigued by the new Oklahoma coaching staff and that position coach Bill Bedenbaugh stayed in Norman. Still, Texas is the team to beat.

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JACOBY MATHEWS

This is an unsubstantiated rumor but something out there: Texas A&M might not have room for the five-star safety - and that’s just how loaded the Aggies’ recruiting class is this cycle. If that’s validated, it means LSU has to love the spot they’re in for the Ponchatoula, La., standout and the Tigers might be the team to beat anyway.

By not signing in the early period, it will give new LSU coach Brian Kelly time to engage and get Mathews aboard. He already has and has left a major impression. But Texas A&M is still very much in the picture if not under a numbers crunch. Alabama, Texas and Florida are also being mentioned for Mathews, who could commit at the Under Armour game and the Gators might have the best shot with Corey Raymond now on staff.

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HAROLD PERKINS

Texas A&M is considered to be the clear front-runner in Perkins’ recruitment and if the Aggies land Perkins and Shemar Stewart then that could be the bow on the Aggies’ outstanding recruiting class.

LSU will continue to get a look and Texas is in the picture but it now would be a major surprise if he ended up elsewhere. Perkins has connections to the state of Louisiana and has talked about dreaming of playing for the Tigers but A&M still looks best.

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SHEMAR STEWART

Texas A&M is considered the front-runner and maybe by a wide margin as the Aggies are putting together an historic recruiting class as had been predicted by coach Jimbo Fisher to recruits on the trail. Miami is going to make a run at Stewart especially since he’s such a highly-coveted prospect and new coach Mario Cristobal’s first task is to keep as much local talent home as possible.

These final few weeks leading into the second signing period could give the Hurricanes an in-road but it would be surprising. Georgia is also right there in Stewart’s top three but is there a catalyst to get him?

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DESHAWN WOODS

In early July, the four-star offensive guard from Omaha (Neb.) Central picked Missouri over Arizona State and others. But Woods said he pretty much knew where he was going to commit minutes after leaving Columbia and that he was sold on the Tigers. He has not signed yet as the four-star works on his grades. It could happen in February but if not then Woods would look at other options.

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QUICK THOUGHTS ON UA PLAYERS

Kelvin Banks: The offensive tackle rankings are far from locked and the all-star events is when we pinpointed when we would have the best idea of how things should play out. The five-star Texas signee is No. 1 at offensive tackle now and could end up there but it’s really a position where a lot of movement could still happen.

Anthony Lucas: The Texas A&M signee is currently ranked fifth at strong-side defensive end but when Lucas turns it on, he’s arguably just as good as any DE in the entire class. We’re going to see this week if the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral brings his A game to Orlando and if he does then an even higher ranking could be in store.

Jaylen Sneed: The Notre Dame linebacker signee was in the five-star discussion in the last round of rankings. He was so dominant at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge last summer especially in coverage and picking off passes. We really wanted to see how Sneed can come down and hit and be physical. There will be no bigger test - or chance to really impress.

Ty Chan: Could the Notre Dame offensive line signee boost his stock this week? Chan has all the tools to be a really special offensive tackle - he’s big, he’s physical, he can move and he’s smart so if the Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy can hang with the national competition in Florida then he could move up even more. Still, Chan is No. 11 at the offensive tackle spot and No. 111 overall which are impressive numbers but still maybe too low.

Denver Harris: The No. 1 cornerback in the 2022 class, Jaheim Singletary opted out of the Under Armour Game which gives Harris the opening to move up if he has a tremendous week. There was a rotating group of three toward that No. 1 spot with Singletary, Harris and five-star Domani Jackson leading the way. With Singletary out and Jackson not expected to participate because of injury, the Texas A&M signee will have his time to shine.

Jeremiah Alexander: In the latest round of rankings, the Alabama signee moved up to the No. 4 overall prospect - and it might not be high enough. Alexander is such a high-impact player who has completely dominated at the high school level, moving him to No. 2 overall is not out of the question. Late in the 2020 cycle, we moved Will Anderson to five-star status but only to No. 22 overall. Looking back, that was absolutely not high enough. We don’t want to make the same mistake with Alexander since the two players have so many similarities.

Travis Hunter: Unless there is a complete collapse by Hunter during the week then it’s likely the five-star Jackson State signee will remain No. 1 in the class. But what will be interesting is to see if any receivers can get open when Hunter is at DB and if Hunter flips to WR if any defensive back can keep up with him. Not many have had any luck against Hunter, a freak athlete who also is a tremendous playmaker. If those players can lock up Hunter then they could see their rankings improve for sure.