Where things stand with top five uncommitted DEs in 2023 class
Top prospects are coming off the board all the time but it’s only April, which means a lot of elite recruits are still uncommitted. In this two-week series, we break down the top five uncommitted players at each position, moving today to defensive ends.
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It will be interesting if Hicks’ visit to Oregon over the weekend changes things because the five-star defensive end who recently transferred to Katy (Texas) Paetow looked like he was having a great time in Eugene over the weekend. Getting to visit that campus, see the atmosphere and the loaded list of recruits could be compelling.
But as Hicks’ recruitment continues, this still looks like a battle between Oklahoma and Texas A&M. It has been believed that the Sooners hold the edge to land the five-star prospect but now that Hicks is playing in Katy, a little more than an hour away from College Station, things could be getting a little more interesting.
Wayne was another top prospect at the Oregon spring game on Saturday as the Ducks try to convince the Pacific Northwest standout to stay close to home and be the next big-time defensive end at the program. It could be a compelling case but up to this point, Wayne has shown the most serious interest in three SEC schools.
Alabama did have the edge in Wayne’s recruitment for a long time but after visits to Georgia and LSU all three are definitely in the running and any of them could land his commitment. It looks like Oregon or the SEC for Wayne although things could get interesting if USC or some other programs start pressing more.
Early in Uiagalelei’s recruitment, it looked like Georgia and Ohio State had the biggest edge and that the high four-star defensive end could land at either of those pograms. But that has changed dramatically in recent months and things are still very fluid in his recruitment.
His brother, DJ, plays at Clemson but it’s unlikely the younger Uiagalelei ends up there. A recent visit to Alabama went really well and the Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco standout was also at Ohio State. But the longer this goes, it looks like a battle between USC and Oregon. Uiagalelei is also serious about pursuing a career in the music industry so the Trojans especially have made a big run at him.
Texas A&M and Tennessee have especially caught the attention of the four-star defensive end from Platte City (Mo.) Platte County even though Bradley is sticking with his top 10 that also has includes Washington, USC, Oregon, Miami, Florida State, LSU, Auburn and Clemson.
Playing with that outstanding defensive line haul for the Aggies is intriguing to Bradley, who is also a friend of Tennessee commit Jack Luttrell. Those two look best but Bradley has connections at other programs as well that are important.
Asked if another Alabama visit meant Smith was a lock to the Crimson Tide, a source close to the Montgomery (Ala.) Carver standout said that isn’t the case and that many others remain under consideration. That could be a little bit of a smokescreen because Smith seems highly interested in Alabama and he’s been to Tuscaloosa often.
But Georgia is definitely battling and a trip to Athens in recent months went very well. In the end, it could be a classic SEC powerhouse showdown between those two programs. Ohio State, however, is also expected to get an official visit with Auburn, Miami, Texas A&M, USC and others trying to stay in the mix.