Twitter Tuesday: Penn State, Texas, USC, more
On Sunday, Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and social media lead Woody Wommack hosted their first Twitter Spaces of the college football season. Here were five questions picked out for further discussion in today’s Twitter Tuesday.
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1. Who might be Penn State’s next commit?
The Nittany Lions have had some impactful decommitments this recruiting cycle that could meaningfully change their team recruiting ranking nationally so I wouldn’t be surprised if the coaching staff was doing a little undercover work for landing their next round of commits.
With all that being considered, Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More defensive back Zion Tracy just landed a Penn State offer and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him commit soon. Wyncote (Pa.) Chelteham defensive end Kion Wright could be someone to watch.
Even 2024 four-star QB Jayden Bradford from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy has loved Penn State for a long time and could decide to make his decision with 2024 quarterbacks coming off the board regularly.
2. Who do you have Jalen Hale picking Sept. 21?
This question has actually gotten more complex in the last few days although the short answer is I still believe it’s Texas. Hale’s recent Alabama visit with his family went incredibly well, he’s been to Tuscaloosa numerous times and turning down coach Nick Saban and his staff is incredibly difficult especially that position.
So Alabama has made significant strides but Texas is the in-state school, he can play with Arch Manning where a friendship has been developed by taking visits to schools and he can operate in coach Steve Sarkisian’s offense. Those factors alone are enough to pick the Longhorns. This has gotten way closer and there’s not one clear answer here but I’m sticking with Hook Em - for now.
3. Will USC coach Lincoln Riley be able to land D-line difference-makers?
USC has offered about 50 defensive linemen in this class and while many are long shots, and the coaching staff is smart enough to know that winning in the trenches is a significant factor in success. Even more so when the Trojans move to the Big Ten and a lot of teams in that conference are competing with elite line play.
The problem is that there just is not the quantity of high-end defensive linemen in the West so Riley and his staff will have to develop a nationwide approach to recruiting those players. For that to happen, USC is going to have to have some luck in getting either top-level guys to commit or take undervalued players and develop them into elite D-linemen. It’s not easy.
One lucky part is that high four-star T.A. Cunningham in the 2024 class just transferred to Los Alamitos, Calif., from Johns Creek, Ga. Keeping him local would be huge. So, too, would be convincing high four-star Matayo Uiagalelei to stay home as well.
4. Caleb Downs took a visit to the Georgia-Oregon game. Will he flip?
Very doubtful at this point. The Mill Creek (Ga.) Hoschton four-star safety had every opportunity to commit to Georgia when he made his decision in late July and he still picked Alabama. Many players have had second thoughts and flipped their pick later but I just don’t see it happening here especially if friend Justice Haynes, the No. 1 running back in the 2023 class, stays pledged to the Crimson Tide as well.
Any top player would be intrigued by Georgia not only coming off the national championship, not only putting so many players in the NFL but how completely dominant the Bulldogs were in that win. It wasn’t even close. But Downs is also someone who doesn’t seek attention in recruiting and so flipping or rethinking his decision, I’m not so sure.
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5. Will Cormani McClain have a Derek Stingley-type freshman year?
From a talent perspective, McClain is phenomenal. He’s so smooth in coverage, he had Pick Sixes in his junior year when teams were foolish enough to throw his way, he’s a quiet kid but in coverage he’s fearless and competes hard. From that line of thinking, the Lakeland, Fla., standout has all the tools to be special from Day 1 in the SEC.
Two things that are different about these two: McClain has only been playing the position for a few years exclusively where Stingley was groomed from early on to be an elite corner. And two, Stingley was rocked up at 185 pounds in high school and is now 195 in the NFL. At that pace, McClain would have to gain 20-30 pounds to keep up physically.
McClain certainly has the skills to step in early in the SEC and shut down top receivers. But I do wonder if DB coaches will take it a little slower with him, get some more pounds on him and then send him out to lock down one side of the field.