Tuesdays with Gorney: Teams that could load up on top 100 recruits
So much can still happen with the top prospects in the 2023 class but today in Tuesdays with Gorney, National Recruiting Director Adam Gorney takes a look at which teams could really load up with the top 100 recruits this cycle:
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No surprise here. After finishing second to Texas A&M in the team recruiting rankings last cycle and being beaten by the Aggies on the field, Alabama is focused on the No. 1 spot again and the Crimson Tide are raring to load up.
Linebacker Malik Bryant, running back Richard Young, defensive linemen James Smith, Kelby Collins, Peter Woods, Jordan Renaud, quarterback Eli Holstein and wide receiver Hykeem Williams – along with five-star receiver Brandon Inniss and others – are just some of the names to watch to land in Tuscaloosa.
There is a better-than-decent chance the top two cornerbacks in the 2023 class could end up in Gainesville. After being somewhere in the middle for five-star Cormani McClain early, it looks like the Gators have the edge with Alabama right there as well and then Florida should be considered the front-runner for four-star AJ Harris.
Florida is also one of the finalists for four-star defensive tackle Will Norman from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy. On offense, four-star all-purpose back Treyaun Webb and four-star receiver Aidan Mizell should be considered Florida leans.
The top running back in the country, Roswell (Ga.) Blessed Trinity’s Justice Haynes, has four schools standing out most and Georgia has to be considered the team to beat. He would be a huge addition to what is always a loaded backfield.
The Bulldogs also have to like their chances with No. 1 safety Caleb Downs and then four-star defensive lineman Victory Burley and Jaquavious Russaw. There is almost no doubt Georgia will land some others in the top 100 as well but these guys look like strong picks.
It’s going to be very interesting to see if coach Brian Kelly and his staff in Baton Rouge can continue to land elite in-state prospects and then also go elsewhere for top talent to compete for College Football Playoff berths. It’s shaping up in-state at least to be a strong year for players to go to LSU as five-star receiver Shelton Sampson, four-star linebacker Jaiden Ausberry, four-star safety Derek Williams, four-star running backs Kaleb Jackson and Trey Holly and four-star corner Curley Reed could all easily end up with the Tigers.
Alabama, Texas A&M and others are battling for Sampson, though, so that one won’t be easy.
Coach Marcus Freeman already has 11 commitments in the 2023 class including five-star defensive end Keon Keeley out of Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep but things could be getting much better in South Bend.
Five-star quarterback Dante Moore is traveling around the country taking visits but the Irish still have to be confident in landing him. Five-star athlete Samuel M’Pemba is getting hit hard by the SEC programs but the St. Louis native has always been highly interested in Notre Dame as well. The nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle Jason Moore and four-star receiver Jaden Greathouse are definitely other names to watch.
The Buckeyes had the best receiving corps in the country this past season and they could be looking to build the next one as well. Five-star Brandon Inniss remains enamored by all the success Ohio State’s receivers have had through the NFL Draft and it could play an influence.
Five-star Carnell Tate is also very serious about playing at Ohio State and it could help Inniss might end up there as well although Tennessee is making a serious push. And it looks like Ohio State now has the edge for four-star receiver Noah Rogers, beating NC State and others. Linebacker could also be a position of strength in this recruiting class with four-stars Tackett Curtis and Troy Bowles leaning that way.
What’s interesting about what Oregon could do with the top 100 prospects is that all three of those players could end up elsewhere - possibly all of them in the SEC - but it would be a big statement for coach Dan Lanning if he could get the three West prospects to stay closer to home.
Five-star defensive end Jayden Wayne is serious about Georgia, Alabama and others but a recent visit to Eugene went very well. Four-star quarterback Jaden Rashada likes Miami, Ole Miss, LSU and others a lot but also the Ducks. Four-star cornerback Caleb Presley has always liked Oregon a ton and the Ducks are probably the team to beat. Plus, he is 7-on-7 teammates with Wayne so that could play a role.
If Texas lands five-star quarterback Arch Manning, and that’s my pick as of this writing, then the Longhorns could see an influx of skill players like we haven’t seen in some time.
Four-star all-purpose back Rueben Owens II should be considered a Longhorns lean and so should four-star receiver Johntay Cook. If Manning commits then they could be moved to the lock category. There will be some significant regrouping if Manning goes elsewhere but if he ends up in Austin, Texas will load up.
The Aggies absolutely loaded up along the defensive line last recruiting cycle. It was an amazing haul. Coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff are looking to do something similar at defensive back this year and could end up doing it with Javien Toviano, Tony Mitchell, Malik Muhammad, Dalton Brooks and others.
Those wouldn’t be the only defensive stars, though, because five-star linebacker Anthony Hill and four-star defensive end Chandavian Bradley also like Texas A&M a lot and the Aggies probably have a decent-sized edge for Hill right now. Four-star receiver Jalen Hale is a wild card but he could definitely end up in this class and five-star offensive lineman TJ Shanahan will probably end up in the SEC and the Aggies are my pick right now.
First-year coach Lincoln Riley has stoked excitement back into the USC program after years of malaise and that could spark new recruiting wins as well. Five-star athlete Nyckoles Harbor is a complete wild card right now but between football, academics, his stellar track prospects and NIL, USC could be really appealing to him.
Four-star offensive lineman Francis Mauigoa, who is playing at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy but is originally from American Samoa, could want to return West for college plus the Trojans have made him a priority.
Two of the nation’s top tight ends are serious about USC in Duce Robinson and Walker Lyons, and then four-star defensive end Matayo Uiagalelei is leaning toward the Trojans as well. Five-star receiver Brandon Inniss would be a huge get – and he was pledged to Riley at Oklahoma – but the distance will be a sticking point.