Rivals national recruiting analyst Nick Harris – along with national recruiting director Adam Gorney, Kyle Kelly from InsideNDSports.com and Cole Patterson from Orangebloods.com – tackle three college football recruiting topics covering the Mid-South and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
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1. Derion Gullette will be one of the biggest rankings risers this summer.
Harris’ take: FACT. Derion Gullette‘s current ranking as the No. 94 recruit in the state of Texas may be one of the more undervalued rankings in the country, as he has shown positional versatility, insane production and possesses a college-ready skill set and frame. Gullette is also being recruited by some of the biggest programs in not only the region, but the entire country, including Texas, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Alabama and more. His positioning in the state of Texas should reside in the top 20.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Seeing Gullette in person was just as important for us as it was for the college coaches who offered him because he’s a great-looking kid who can move and he’s also very physical. It makes complete sense to dramatically move him up in the rankings because he could be one of the best linebackers in the class. I think the move from Alabama to Texas slowed down his recruitment a little bit, but that has ended.
2. Notre Dame will sign four prospects from the state of Texas in the 2023 cycle.
Harris’ take: FICTION. While I think it’s certainly possible for Notre Dame to sign four Texas prospects this cycle, I don’t think it will happen. The Irish remain heavily in the mix for Micah Bell and Jaden Greathouse and they have Braylon James and Peyton Bowen committed. But if I had to pick a scenario, I’d say Bowen ends up being the one going elsewhere. Texas A&M and Oklahoma have made an impression and could land visits this summer. Greathouse is also an interesting recruitment as Marcus Freeman will battle with Texas, a program Greathouse has seen more than any other recruit.
Kelly’s take: FICTION. Signing four prospects from Texas might be the ceiling at this point for the Irish. Their two commits from the Lone Star State — Bowen and James — have expressed interest in visiting other schools, even after they’ve committed to Notre Dame. Meanwhile, ND is only in good spots with Bell and Greathouse. Although both players seem to be leaning toward ND, earning their pledges will be no easy task. With that said, Notre Dame has a great shot at landing all four, but it’s a long way from now until National Signing Day.
3. The out-of-state program that will have the most success in Texas in 2023 will be either LSU or Alabama.
Harris’ take: FACT. While this answer could change by next week, as I see it now Alabama or LSU will have the most success in Texas this cycle. The Crimson Tide have made a living off of pulling recruits out of the Lone Star State during Nick Saban’s dynasty run, and a generation of Louisiana displacements in Texas have created massive momentum for LSU. I see that continuing to be the case in 2023 as the Tigers continue to pursue TJ Shanahan, Bravion Rogers, Jalen Hale and more, while having Ryan Yaites committed. I see Alabama having similar success as well, but I’m watching Oregon and Oklahoma closely. The Ducks remain heavily in the hunt for DJ Hicks, Javien Toviano, Tyler Turner and more, while Oklahoma has already hauled in Jackson Arnold and has remained in good position with DJ Hicks, Anthony Hill, Jaquaize Pettaway and many more.
Patterson’s take: FACT. It is difficult for me to ever bet against Alabama and LSU having the most success in the Lone Star State when it comes to out-of-state programs. The two are always major players in Texas, and that is no different in this year’s cycle. Alabama is in the running for talents such as Malik Muhammad, Anthony Hill, Jalen Hale and Jaydon Chatman, while LSU already has a commitment from Denton Guyer (Texas) DB Ryan Yaites and remains in contention to land Shanahan, Toviano, Jaylon Braxton and Hicks. I think Alabama is in position to land some of the state’s best, adding more fuel to the Nick Saban–Jimbo Fisher rivalry. Oregon is the big wild card to keep a close eye on, however, as the Ducks are serious factors for elite talent such as Hicks, Toviano and Johntay Cook.