Rival National Recruitment Analyst Adam Friedman Looking at the biggest wins on the recruitment route so far, its five biggest questions in the ranking meeting and the five teams that recruited surprisingly well.
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Promises are set to ramp up again on the first big weekend of the official visit, but we’ve already seen the fair share of wins on the way to recruitment. This recruitment cycle is the five biggest wins so far.
1. Niko Imaleva: Tennessee doesn’t often go to California for quarterbacks, but the Vols were able to get Emaleva on board this year. Defeating Alabama, Georgia and a few others was a huge victory for the Vols and Iamaleava has been a big help in recruiting for the Vols ever since.
2. Dalen Austin: Austin’s early favorite was the U.S.C. Willie McGinest, That could be his uncle. Defeating the hometown favorite is a big win for the LSU Tigers.
3. Pierce Clarkson / Dandre Moore: Scott Sutterfield And his staff in Louisville has the top 10 recruiting class in the team rankings right now, and that’s largely due to Clarkson and Moore’s commitment. Clarkson has been a huge help in hiring recruits and helping the Cardinals get Moore, an Oklahoma former promise that was followed by Texas.
4. Mason Robinson: Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh has been a fertile ground for the Penn State, and the Nitani Lions were Robinson’s early favorites. Evanston, however, was a big part of the tour as the Northwest was able to land a promise from the four-star defensive end.
5. Rodney Gallagher: Penn State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia have been the main contenders for Gallagher since the beginning of his tenure, but Notre Dame became really hot with a visit in early spring. In one of the biggest wins of the year, West Virginia kept its promise last week.
The spring was full of camps, showcases and 7-on-7 tournaments, and the rival dot com team was forced out to evaluate thousands of college football prospects. No doubt there will be a lot of changes in the rankings but, with the ranking meeting starting this week, here are my five biggest questions.
1. Could this be a record-breaking quarterback class?
Arch Manning, Malachi Nelson, Dante Moore and Nico Imaleva are five-star quarterbacks at the moment. The four have already achieved that high status, with the 2023 class tied with the 2017 and 2007 classes for the second-highest five-star quarterback in a single year. The 2021 class – featuring Queen Years, Caleb Williams, Brock Vandagriff, Tie Thompson and Sam Howard – holds the record with five.
You would be surprised to see any one of the current four five-stars lose, but there are some signal callers who can push for their fifth star. Eli Holstein and Jaden Rashadar have had a great spring season, and Christopher Vigina has put together a tough biography.
2. What do you do at the top of the receiver rankings?
Brandon Inis has topped the receiver rankings since the start of the cycle, but he has some serious rivals on the throne. Shelton Sampson and Colonel Tate are already five stars and finishing, while Zakaria Brunch and Haikim Williams are pushing for their fifth star and could be challenging for the top spot as well.
3. Can TJ Shanahan finish as top OL?
Shanahan and Kadin Proctor are the only two five-star offensive linemen at the moment. Shanahan will have a lot of contenders for the No. 1 OL title, but if he retains his place at the end of the cycle, he will be in an elite company. Shanahan could only be the fifth guard to finish as the top offensive lineman in the 250 opponent. The previous four were Justin Black, Andre Smith, Jamari Salar and Devon Campbell.
4. Are there five more stars in the Defensive Front Seven?
The defensive front Seven has yet to see many five-star appearances. By June, Keon Keeley, David Hicks, Jayden Wayne and Anthony Hill were five stars and at least six in a class in 2008. There are a few candidates on the outside linebacker and weak side and strong edge, but it will be interesting to see if any defensive tackle pushes for five-star status before the end of the cycle.
5. Is this the best defensive end class of all time?
In addition to Hicks, Wayne and Kylie, the Rival 100 has 13 more defensive edges. That mark of 16 is the second highest with the 2021 class. The 2012 class – led by Jonathan Bullard, Noah Spence, Darius Hamilton and Adolfas Washington – had 17 defensive ends in the 100 opponent, the highest ever.
With another wave of promise on the way this coming month, here are five teams that have hired really well so far that could cut their work for them if they hope to finish in the top 25 of the team rankings.
Arkansas: 250 Tight Ends Shamar Easter and Luke Haasz Promised by Rivals Sam PitmanIts program. Now the razorbacks sitting at number 7 in the rankings have to keep their feet on the gas to stay high in the rankings.
Texas Tech: Joey McGuire And his staff did a remarkable job early in the cycle. They have more promises than any other team and currently have six four stars on their promise list. There is not much space left in the recruitment class of these Red Riders and other teams will probably pass their rankings as they will add more promise.
Northwest: With the second-most promising so far, the Northwest team has found itself in the top five of the rankings. Recent commitments from four-star Michael Kilben and Mason Robinson have boosted the Wildcats’ rankings, but with more four- and five-star boards coming out, it could be difficult for them to keep pace.
Louisville: The Cardinals have a top 10 recruiting class and may have some permanent powers. With only 10 commitments so far, this class has a place in the top 25 for coaching staff to take promises from a fairly high rated prospect. QB Commit Pierce Clarkson is an ace recruiter for them and will continue to work hard for him.
Waking forest: Dave Clason And his staff together have created a recruiting class that ranks 11th in the team rankings, but none of their promises are four-star prospects. With 11 plays in the fold, Damon Deacon has a chance to finish this recruitment class strong, but they have to get a few lucky breaks.