Tuesdays with Gorney: There will be a debate about QB rankings
In his weekly series, Rivals National Recruiting Director Adam Gorney offers his thoughts and opinions on recruiting topics and storylines that impact the national landscape.
CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals100
RIVALS CAMP SERIES: Info/coverage on 2021 camp series
DEBATE AT PRO-STYLE QUARTERBACK
After Quinn Ewers as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback nationally, the debate is going to be on when it comes to who’s next on the list. From my view there are three names to debate: LSU commit Walker Howard, Alabama commit Ty Simpson and Clemson pledge Cade Klubnik.
As far as rankings, they are based on projected college performance and NFL Draft position. After the last few weeks we’ve seen Howard and Simpson in person at Rivals Camp Series events and Klubnik threw a little at another event so there are new evaluations on all three.
Howard showed off a big arm and an alpha personality at the Dallas Rivals Camp but a few of his throws sailed and control was a little bit of an issue. Simpson had a strong showing in awful Indianapolis weather over the weekend and in my estimation Klubnik could have the best argument since he beat Ewers head-to-head and has looked really good at numerous events.
NOTRE DAME LOADS UP AT TIGHT END
The tight end position is one I really like in the 2022 class since it’s a mix of in-line guys who can block and go out to catch passes and prospects who can split out and cause mismatch problems with their size. The debate for No. 1 at the position could come down to Oscar Delp and LSU commit Jake Johnson but Notre Dame has loaded up at the position and looks to be locked and loaded there for the coming years.
Former Penn State commit Holden Staes from Atlanta (Ga.) Westminster committed to the Irish in recent days and Eli Raridon committed a week earlier. Raridon has been described to me as a poor man’s Thomas Fidone and while the freak athleticism might not be there, Raridon is pretty close. Both he and Staes can make really tough catches look easy.
We know Notre Dame is going to use the tight end in its offense. The Irish got two very talented ones and both might be a tad underrated.
USC CAN’T LET BOTH QUARTERBACKS OUT
USC missed on a massive opportunity in the 2020 recruiting class when five-star quarterbacks Bryce Young and D.J. Uiagalelei left Los Angeles for Alabama and Clemson, respectively, and it especially hurt because Young was once committed to the Trojans. Both are expected to start at those powerhouses this season.
The same cannot happen in the 2023 class as five-star Malachi Nelson from Los Alamitos, Calif., and four-star Nico Iamaleava out of Downey (Calif.) Warren are shaping up to be the top two quarterbacks in the area. Here’s the thing: Nelson was a little perturbed recently that the Trojans offered Iamaleava after being told they wouldn’t offer another QB in the class.
Still, the situation is understandable. It looks like Nelson is leaning toward Oklahoma and he will also visit Clemson this summer and USC needs to do what’s best for its future as well. If Nelson leaves, Iamaleava needs to get locked up but he’s also visiting Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Clemson this season and then UCLA and Oregon are battling for him as well.
It won’t be easy but USC cannot miss on top quarterbacks who live down the road again.
WHERE IS MIAMI?
There are still seven months until the early signing period which is an eternity in college football recruiting but we have to ask what’s going on with Miami’s recruiting class? Sandwiched between TCU and Arkansas State in the team rankings sit the Hurricanes at No. 73 nationally with one single, solitary commitment from four-star quarterback Jacurri Brown.
One of Miami’s main problems with recruiting and especially in South Florida is that too many elite prospects have gone elsewhere. There are no concrete signs that trend is changing anytime soon and with Florida State and Florida both in the top-25 of the team rankings, the Hurricanes have to do a better job of landing top players, and a big summer of visits and camps could be the impetus to get going.
IS RYAN DAY A BETTER RECRUITER THAN URBAN?
Urban Meyer was one of the best recruiters and college football coaches ever, a true Hall of Famer without question, but when Ryan Day took over at Ohio State there was a sense of a refresh and a restart at one of the nation’s top programs. The question was: Could Day recruit at the insanely high level of Meyer and the answer has been a big yes.
I threw out Day’s first recruiting class because he took over in August at a program mired in uncertainty and some controversy following Meyer’s situation. Since that time, including the 2022 class so far, Day’s average class rank in the team rankings has been 2.66. The average star ranking in his recruiting classes has been 3.93.
Both of those numbers slightly beat Meyer, whose classes averaged a finish of 3.57 in the team rankings and 3.79 in average star rankings. Meyer went an incredible 83-9 at Ohio State and won a national title. Day is on the same path - if not trending even slightly better.
SARK VS. FISHER WILL BE GREAT
Jimbo Fisher said tongue-in-cheek (supposedly) this past weekend that Texas A&M was going to “beat his ass” when referring to Nick Saban and Alabama in the SEC but when it comes to recruiting, Fisher is in his own battle with upstart Texas coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns. It’s going to be such a fun and exciting battle to watch with Fisher and Sark not only going after in-state prospects but regionally as well.
How about this: Texas and Texas A&M are currently ranked ninth and 10th in the team rankings, respectively, with the same number of commits, same number of four-stars and same number of three-stars. Fisher wants to take on Saban but first maybe he should pick on someone his own size.
FSU GOING TO WIN IN-STATE RECRUITING?
One argument as to the decline of Florida State and Miami in recent years is that in-state recruiting has gone poorly and that is an understandable position as Alabama and so many other national programs have raided the state.
That trend might not be changing in the 2022 class but it looks like Florida State could be best positioned with top players in the state over Florida and Miami at this point. Five-star OL Julian Armella is a Florida State legacy although LSU and Alabama probably lead there. But then the Seminoles are in good shape or at least competing for many others in the top-25 statewide with commitments from Sam McCall and A.J. Duffy in the top 10.
INTERESTING NOTE ON ARMELLA
I found it interesting last week when I talked to someone close to five-star OL Julian Armella who told me LSU had reached out extensively and Alabama had not up to that point but I doubt it has a major impact on Armella’s final decision. A five-star offensive tackle, the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas standout has those two programs atop his wish list and visits next month are going to be important. There’s just something that feels like Armella is going to like Alabama a lot, the culture there and how it develops guys for the NFL.
LSU does that fantastically well, too, and there is a connection between coach Ed Orgeron and Armella’s dad, Enzo, who was recruited by Orgeron to Miami so the Tigers have a real chance. Armella has told me he loves how position coach James Cregg is recruiting him to Baton Rouge. This could be an interesting battle to the end.
LINGUIST LEAVING SO SOON HURTS
I completely understand why Maurice Linguist left Michigan to become the Buffalo head coach after only about 100 days in Ann Arbor. Being a defensive coordinator at a Power Five school is great but being a head coach is even better and so I do not fault him at all for his decision.
But this is a difficulty for Michigan especially adding in another layer of coaching changes. When I talked to five-star corner Domani Jackson about possibly visiting Michigan he said there was disappointment that Don Brown and Mike Zordich were gone. Now Linguist is gone as the Wolverines try to stay involved with prospects in Texas and show stability with top prospects like Walter Nolen at the top of the 2022 class. I don’t blame Linguist one bit but it’s another hurdle for Michigan to overcome.