Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst Sam Spiegelman along with Ryan Young from TrojanSports.com and Eric Lammers of ScarletAndGrayReport.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement.
1. After this Michigan visit and firing of coach Clay Helton, five-star USC commit Domani Jackson should be on flip watch.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Before Clay Helton was fired on Monday, I thought it was not even close to happening that Domani Jackson would consider flipping. The five-star cornerback had a great relationship with Helton and he’s super close with Donte Williams, plus Jackson always dreamed of playing at USC, so it looked like it was all coming together perfectly. But now Helton is gone, Williams is the interim coach but who knows if he’ll even be considered for the head coaching job (probably unlikely) and Jackson is coming off a phenomenal visit to Michigan. The Wolverines and Alabama are going to try very hard to flip the five-star. Something that looked improbable just days ago looks like a 50-50 shot now.
Young’s take: FACT. USC’s firing of Helton on Monday will have some ripple effects throughout recruiting — some negative as it casts uncertainty on the future of many prospects’ lead recruiters, some positive as Helton’s own uncertain status had been aggressively used against the Trojans in recruiting — and in Domani Jackson’s case it’s going to be interesting because he was very close with Helton. Jackson is certainly close with interim head coach Donte Williams too, likes the program for other reasons and has long been attracted to USC. But he really liked Helton. After he committed he told us that while he hears all the negative talk about Helton, “He’s my favorite coach.” I would still put faith in Williams to solidify that commitment, especially as it seems likely he is retained regardless of who is hired, but it’s something to file away, especially depending on who is hired to fill the position.
In the meantime, the unknown of who will take that job and what assistant coaches will remain in place creates a prime opportunity for Michigan or Alabama to make a strong move for Jackson. So, sure, the potential of a flip needs to be on the radar.
2. Luther Burden has proven he’s the best receiver in the 2022 class.
Gorney’s take: FACT. When I saw Luther Burden in person on Friday night, he was phenomenal and I don’t think East St. Louis, Ill., threw the ball to him enough. Every time he touched it, the five-star receiver made something happen and the Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco defense was trying everything possible to limit his touches. Still, Burden is a physical receiver who can set up cornerbacks, he’s competitive and just an impactful player every snap he’s on the field. The top of the receiver rankings could still see a lot of change over the coming months, but I’d be hard-pressed to believe someone could take Burden off that No. 1 spot now.
Spiegelman’s take: FICTION. I don’t know if Burden has cemented his spot atop the 2022 wide receiver rankings, but he has certainly fortified his five-star status in recent months. Burden is built like a player that can dominate on Saturdays and Sundays at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds. He is a mismatch when it comes to contested catches and making plays over the middle and I appreciate his playmaking ability after the catch as well. But Texas five-star Evan Stewart is right there with him. Tetairoa McMillan, Kaden Saunders and Shazz Preston could wind up pushing for consideration inside the top five at the position. Burden certainly belongs at or close to the top with Stewart.
3. The Buckeyes are going to suffer on the recruiting trail because of their loss.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Will Xavier Nwankpa, Shemar Stewart, Omari Abor, Kenyatta Jackson, Zion Branch, Kam Dewberry or Caden Curry now turn their nose up at Ohio State because it lost to Oregon? I definitely do not think the Ducks’ win will have any influence on their thinking. But if there is an overreaction here like moving on from defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs (who was getting a lot of heat postgame) then that could negatively affect Ohio State’s recruiting efforts. The Buckeyes are dominant almost every week. This was one poor performance against a good Oregon team. Recruiting should not be impacted much at all.
Lammers’ take: FICTION. At this point in the recruiting cycle I wouldn’t expect the outcome to have major implications on the recruiting trail. The relationships, especially in the ’22 cycle are so far established, one game like this doesn’t tilt emotions very much, if at all against the Buckeyes. Now, if days like this past Saturday start to become a trend, then you could start to see some trickle down into recruiting for Ohio State. However, for now, one game’s outcome does nothing to change the narrative the Buckeye staff is preaching to recruits. If anything, it helps sell to a few of their top targets how they would be used early on the defensive side in particular.