Auburn, FSU, Michigan among disappointments on CFB recruiting track

Sports Illustratedof John Garcia Jr. selects a question posed to him via social media (@JohnGarcia_Jr and @SIAllAmerican) each week to dive into the college football recruiting topics fans want to know about the most.

During the spring months, when most people in the recruiting industry really turn the page on the next class, I am often asked when it is time to panic about the slow start of a given program to get commitments. verbal. The answer is still in the realm of “Let’s see where they are closer to the college football season.”

Between spring football, official spring visits, college camps, and the long dead period of July, many prospects want to make their college decisions in June and July, and the Class of 2023 was no different. Almost all Power Five programs have or are close to double-digit verbal commitments by now.

While volume for volume’s sake doesn’t define a recruiting class, a string of multiple engagements like Miami, Texas, Florida and LSU at the moment is building momentum and heightening perception around the program this offseason. Marquee recruiting wins against a rival or even nationally carry similar weight, as does filling the position requirement at the start of the class or grabbing that top-flight quarterback recruit.

However, several flagship programs were unable to capitalize on any of these markers. From last-cycle national champions to a pair of SEC West programs and a Big Ten team fresh out of the college football playoffs, there are plenty of puzzles when comparing summer recruiting courses across the board. national – even so early.

For today’s mailbag, we’ll perhaps focus on the five most disappointing races to date in the class of 2023 compared to expectation. This last part is essential, especially since the ranking of the 25 best classes of SI has not yet been published in its entirety.

Mitigating circumstances, like Arizona State trying to recruit when there’s uncertainty at every level of the program, from the conference to the coaching staff and potential punishment from the NCAA, will not be on this list. Instead, the focus is on programs that should see more tangible success at this stage of the game, the time of year when the majority of P5 prospects seem to drop out of the board.

(The programs are listed in alphabetical order.)

Auburn

Alabama State is singled out by many in the industry as one of the nationwide sneaky talent producing states in football. These locals will stand on the table for a talent boost for the Class of 2023 in Yellowhammer State, especially along the defensive line. This means that the expectation under Bryan Harsin was on the road to recruiting success, which has yet to materialize.

Not only has the state’s top quarterback Chris Vizzina opted to play elsewhere (Clemson) even without Alabama in the mix, but No. 2 option Brock Glenn now looks like an uphill battle despite having a lead. early and its heritage status. Back in the home state, homegrown talent has eluded the Tigers in the trenches, including Keldric Faulk (Florida State) and Tomarion Parker (Penn State) in the past three weeks alone. The state’s top offensive line rookies are also expected to look away from the Plains.

Beyond the complexities, not to mention the burgeoning programs around the SEC Tigers, the class optics are a tough sell. The AU has only four verbal commitments so far, the lowest number at the conference. Half the group, for glass-half-full types, jumped on board this month and running back Jeremiah Cobb and wide receiver Karmello English are semi-local on campus. Big Cat Weekend, the program’s flagship recruiting event in July, couldn’t come at a better time.

state of florida

That doesn’t add up after Chris Parson opted out of Florida State this week, though the Elite 11 runner-up has a variety of options to consider moving forward. This placement for Mike Norvell’s program starts with the optics, especially against the two programs under new management that FSU sees as rivals. Miami has the nation’s attention on the track right now and Florida has been gaining momentum on its side, adding seven promises since the start of June, including overturning Penn’s quarterback commitment. State Marcus Stokes.

The program has been overlooked among the state’s elite, which simply can’t happen in the Sunshine State no matter what rivals do on the track. Two of its four public disengagements are from state boundaries and two of the current state-aboard engagements resumed the program in 2021, when the needle is not moved the same way their decisions would at this time of year. .

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There is a silver lining with the class, however, and a touch of momentum later this summer seems possible. FSU could spoil Auburn‘s run to Tiger legacy rookie Glenn in what would be a strong and fast counter move on to lose Parson on the commitment list. Even if not, the Seminoles have a strong trenching class so far, led by headliner and Sweden native Lucas Simmons who picks the program on a national offer sheet on Monday. . Beating Auburn for Faulk was also a strong perceptual pull up front.

Michigan

After the CFP race in the field last fall coupled with a top-10 class when the 2022 rankings were established, few expected a dip in recruitment in 2023, but that’s where UM is at. under Jim Harbaugh. A pair of top sevens this week softened the blow, at least some, but otherwise the class doesn’t have a national headliner and is still looking for the next quarterback rookie to step in.

Timing is key with this blow to Michigan’s class, especially with the state’s top prospect and priority target quarterback Dante Moore picking Oregon on Friday. Last year’s No. 10 recruit now seems like a pipe dream to replicate. Volume isn’t the issue for this group, however, sitting at 11 promises Thursday morning. Other undeclared targets like defensive back Makari Vickers and defensive lineman John Walker are expected to drop off the board soon in what could start to push that perception the other way if corn and blue hats are grabbed by the competition from the SEC.

Ole Miss

Not only are the numbers low at five commitments, as some of the best in the state (Dante Dowdell in Oregon, John Slaughter in Tennessee) have already committed to other programs, but the top athlete among current commitments could change. ‘notice. Suntarine Perkins, a two-way talent in the state with projections for playing linebacker or rushing the passer in college, went public with his flirtations with Alabama despite being engaged to Lane Kiffin and company since 2021. Mississippi State has also hosted Perkins on several visits.

Ole Miss swung big at quarterback but eventually fell flat in pursuit of Arch Manning, Vizzina and Jaden Rashada, although he countered with a nice long-term addition in Tennessee native Marcel Reed. Recruiting offensive lines and wide receivers seems like the Rebels’ best opportunity to create strong positional groupings before all is said and done, but a top-25 group like last cycle might be overkill. Of course, Kiffin is the self-proclaimed king of the transfer portal, so perhaps a shift in strategy towards that recruiting element is already underway.

Texas A&M

Optically, two can’t-miss off-season events led to a rare period of quiet for Jimbo Fisher’s program on the recruiting trail. It can be summed up by a pair of surnames, Saban and Manning (this is where Aggie fans tune into the story and/or seek out the author on Twitter to answer). Nick Saban of course publicly spat with Fisher about A&M’s heightened recruiting profile and NIL’s role within it. Manning, as in Arch, committed to his rival at Texas State and that program has been recruiting ever since, adding 10 prospects since Manning made his decision.

No disrespect to Tyler White, but a punter pledge shouldn’t be among the first prospects discussed by the reigning National Recruiting Champions. When there are only five recruits on board, overall there isn’t much choice for deeper dives. Sure, Texas State is loaded and swarms of high-profile targets like defensive lineman David Hicks and linebacker Anthony Hill ahead of final decisions, but expecting a repeat title on the track seems like a bold prediction piece for the dead of summer at this point.

A&M is still looking for a quarterback to replace Eli Holstein, who has since committed to Saban and ‘Bama, among other class needs. Beyond finding the future face of the program, it is possible that national victories later in the cycle will change this perception in a short time. USC enlistment and electric receiver rookie Zachariah Branch recently made an official visit to College Station and a flip-win there could revive the class’s national appeal.

The initial ranking of SI’s recruiting class teams is scheduled to begin in August.

A question of recruitment? Login with @SIAllAmerican and or @JohnGarcia_Jr to submit yours and it could be on the next mailbag.


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