Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney along with recruiting analysts Sam Spiegelman and Adam Friedman tackle three topics in recruiting and determine whether or not they believe each statement.
1. Damari Alston is close to a lock to Auburn.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Auburn, LSU and Northwestern are the three finalists for Damari Alston and his decision is slated for July 25. It feels like Auburn should be very happy about where it stands in his recruitment. I would be surprised if the College Park (Ga.) Woodward Academy standout heads to Northwestern although he does like it there so an SEC battle looks more likely. LSU is targeting TreVonte’ Citizen and Trevor Etienne and I don’t think the Tigers are going to give up on Alabama commit Le’Veon Moss, who’s from Baton Rouge as well. Alston could end up at LSU but I see Auburn much more likely as his spot.
Friedman’s take: FACT. The Auburn Tigers are in the best position right now and it looks like they could end up beating Northwestern and LSU for his commitment next weekend. Alston took a ton of visits during June but it seems like Auburn has done the best job keeping his attention since then. Looking at some of the other running backs that have committed already, it looks like Auburn could be where he ends up.
2. Ta’mere Robinson could be the best outside linebacker in the 2023 class.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Ta’mere Robinson definitely has a chance because he has great coverage skills like a defensive back and outstanding length. That ability cannot go unnoticed but I’m not sure any outside linebacker is as good as Malik Bryant in the 2023 class. Whether he ends up as an outside linebacker or a straight edge rusher is yet to be determined but Bryant is big, physical, fast and he’s an outstanding playmaker on one of the best high school teams in the country. There are numerous outside linebackers in 2023 who have five-star potential and Bryant tops the list for me.
Friedman’s take: FACT. We’re still learning so much about the top group of outside linebackers and Robinson is no exception. Robinson was at a 7-on-7 tournament in the Philadelphia area a few months ago and his body has had some noticeable changes. He’s now at least 6-foot-4 and just over 220 pounds, and still has the quickness and athleticism that makes him a special outside linebacker. As a former safety, Robinson has a good feel for coverage and playing in space but he continues to get bigger and is now working on expanding his skillset to include more advanced edge rushing techniques. He looked pretty comfortable engaging with and working against offensive linemen in one-on-ones. Drayk Bowen, Malik Bryant and Tackett Curtis are outstanding athletes too and it’s going to be a great competition to see which player can make themselves the best prospect possible before the final rankings update.
3. LSU could definitely land the top 10 in-state players for the first time in Rivals history.
Gorney’s take: FACT. It’s tough, but LSU has a better chance this recruiting cycle than most to land the top 10 players in the state for the first time in more than 20 years. Safety Jacoby Mathews, quarterback Walker Howard, offensive tackle Will Campbell, cornerback Laterrance Welch and receiver Aaron Anderson are already committed. Running back Trevonte’ Citizen has LSU in his top three and the Tigers probably lead, defensive end Quency Wiggins has the Tigers top three as well with Alabama and Florida, running back Trevor Etienne is looking closest at LSU and Clemson, many people don’t think J’Mond Tapp is going to leave the state. LSU usually gets the top in-state receiver and this year that’s Shazz Preston. Will it happen? Who knows? But the change is definitely there.
Spiegelman’s take: FICTION. The theme is right and LSU has plenty of in-state recruiting momentum right now, particularly in this loaded 2022 class, but trends tell us that the Tigers won’t get a clean sweep in-state. Since Ed Orgeron took over the job, he’s effectively kept a good chunk of the best in-state, particularly the elite-level talent. Orgeron has successfully locked that up again for 2022 with five-stars Mathews and Howard on-board as well as Rivals100 offensive tackle Will Campbell. The biggest question marks are elite prospects like Wiggins, Etienne and Preston. Alabama, Clemson and Georgia are also in play for these national recruits and it’ll be a tall task for Orgeron to go 10-for-10. It seems more likely that eight or so could wind up sticking in-state and close to 11 or 12 out of the top 15.