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Tuesdays with Gorney: Touching on the big recruiting storylines

Cormani McClain
Cormani McClain (

National Signing Day and the all-star events are in the rearview mirror but there are still some 2023 storylines to follow and many 2024 ones emerging. In today’s Tuesdays With Gorney, Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney offers his thoughts on many big stories in recruiting:


MORE GORNEY: Five commits Deion Sanders may regret dropping at Colorado

TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Message board | Transfer ranking | Transfer Tracker

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

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

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100




There is still a very long road ahead for Colorado – let’s not forget this was a team that went 1-11 this past season and got completely obliterated in most of those games – but first-year coach Deion Sanders is hitting the transfer portal productively to bring in fresh talent to rejuvenate the roster quickly.

The biggest fish is former No. 1 prospect Travis Hunter, who’s basically locked in as one cornerback next season. While he’s not coming from the transfer portal, five-star cornerback Cormani McClain visited this past weekend and it wouldn’t be a shock at all to see him end up in Boulder.

While McClain has handled his recruitment haphazardly in recent months, the Lakeland, Fla., standout is incredibly talented at corner with length and instincts, and he plays with supreme confidence. If he and Hunter are the starting corners for the Buffaloes next season, they would form one of the best duos in all of college football.

As of this writing, McClain remains committed to Miami and the rumors were he was set to sign with the Hurricanes prior to the Colorado visit. But that expected date was Sunday and he was touring Boulder at that time so it’s definitely something to watch.




Hugh Freeze
Hugh Freeze (USA Today Sports Images)

When the Auburn job opened, I wrote that Hugh Freeze should be the top candidate and deserved the job. Yes, he had past transgressions in recruiting and off the field but Freeze had paid his penance and he was too smart of an offensive mind to be sidelined with low-level jobs.

Even I didn’t expect this level of success in recruiting and in the transfer portal this early. Freeze and his staff are absolutely killing it and loading up with weapons.

To close recruiting out before the Early Signing Period, Auburn flipped Colton Hood, Connor Lew and Sylvester Smith (he could be really special) and then the two biggest ones were flipping DE Keldric Faulk from Florida State (Auburn fans will be interested in his next rankings bump) and CB Kayin Lee from Ohio State. Lee was one of the best corners at either all-star event. Four-star DB Tyler Scott was more icing on the cake.

And then there’s Auburn’s work in the portal landing Justin Rogers, DeMario Tolan, Dillon Wade and others. Freeze is both building the roster for immediate help in the portal and developing success through recruiting. Things are looking up on The Plains.




Jaden Rashada
Jaden Rashada (

There were two NIL stories that I was following closely this week as Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud finally declared for the NFL Draft on Monday but there were significant rumors that a massive NIL deal was being put in place to keep him in Columbus for another season, even though he could be the first quarterback taken in the draft.

There have been quarterbacks that have come back to school even though they were going to be high draft picks as Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel wrote about Peyton Manning and Justin Herbert as two examples. But those were not NIL considerations. This sounds like it was but smarter heads prevailed and Stroud is off to the NFL.

The stories I’m hearing around Florida commit Jaden Rashada continue to get wilder and he still has not reported to Gainesville as it seems the two sides are working through NIL issues. Maybe they get resolved, maybe Rashada ends up somewhere else but stories like this only further the need for comprehensive rules and guidelines around NIL and the need for Congress to get involved.

In the end, rules of the road will only help both sides although I highly doubt it’s top of mind for any decision-makers in Washington.



Dylan Raiola
Dylan Raiola (

After talking to many elite prospects, especially at the National Combine, I was struck by just how big of an impact Georgia has in the 2024 recruiting class. I understand the Bulldogs have won back-to-back national titles but, like, everyone is talking Georgia and their desire to play there.

The rumor I’ve heard in the last few weeks is that No. 1 Dylan Raiola is leaning toward the Bulldogs now after backing off his Ohio State visit, and not Nebraska where his uncle coaches. Five-star weak-side defensive end Colin Simmons mentioned Georgia first when ripping off the programs that have caught his eye the most in recruiting.

I still think Georgia will be a player for five-star Louisville LB commit TJ Capers. Eddrick Houston and KJ Bolden from Buford, Ga., feel like near-locks to the Dawgs. Then there are five-star Mike Matthews, top four-star T.A. Cunningham, who is originally from Johns Creek, Ga., and hasn’t exactly had a smooth time in California, linebacker Sammy Brown and so many others.

It’s no surprise Georgia keeps loading up but now pretty much every elite player in the country wants to play there.




Arch Manning
Arch Manning (

What’s strange about this five-star quarterback class is that they’ve been in the spotlight for years, one has dodged every big event, one didn’t do some major events and others were at everything. Now to figure out how to project these elite quarterbacks in order for college football and expected NFL Draft positioning.

Current No. 1 Arch Manning has basically been to nothing – not Elite 11, no major 7-on-7 events, didn’t play in an all-star game. But rankings aren’t about how many events you’ve done, it’s projecting college performance and draft status and we still think the Texas signee can be super special in his uncles footsteps.

Tennessee signee Nico Iamaleava missed Elite 11 for a volleyball tournament and didn’t play in either the Under Armour Game or All-American Bowl although he is at the Polynesian Bowl this week. I’ll be interested to see how much he throws out there but after seeing him for years, I’m more than confident in his ranking.

Dante Moore is the most interesting one to me. He’s not the most athletic and during the week at the All-American Bowl he was just OK. But the UCLA signee was phenomenal in the game – one of the best performances in recent memory – not only with four touchdown passes but leading the offense down the field. He was also outstanding at the Elite 11 and numerous other events as he hid from nothing.

USC signee Malachi Nelson missed the Under Armour Game and will miss the Polynesian Bowl because of injury. When he’s hot and in rhythm, the Los Alamitos, Calif., prospect is outstanding. He was very good at the Elite 11 this past summer.

And then there is Oklahoma signee Jackson Arnold, who’s not blowing anyone away from a physical standpoint but I thought he was solid during the week at Under Armour. At the Elite 11 this past summer, he was awesome. A pure gamer, Arnold also put up amazing stats in his senior season against really quality competition so while some want to debate about whether he’s a five-star, I’m more than comfortable with his ranking there.