Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney along with national recruiting analyst Sam Spiegelman, social media lead Woody Wommack and Eric Lammers from ScarletandGrayReport.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
1. Even after reclassifying, Alex Styles is talented enough to make an immediate contribution in Ohio State’s defense.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Coming in June does not give Alex Styles a ton of time to get used to the new defense but from a physical and mental perspective, the five-star prospect is ready to go and be a big part once he hits the field. This is not someone who needs another year of maturation on the high school stage to then step onto a college football field. Styles is big, physical, very capable as a playmaker and someone who should not be on the sidelines for long at Ohio State.
Lammers’ take: FACT. This is a bit of a tricky one to answer, “talented enough” is key here. Styles definitely has the raw talent even as a young guy to be a contributor for the Buckeyes in 2022. However, he won’t officially join the program until June and as a result will miss some fairly valuable classroom time with new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles as he implements his defense. The pace and physicality will always be an adjustment for any incoming freshman, let alone one that realistically would still be playing high school ball if he wasn’t able to reclassify. Styles has such a unique combination of size and athleticism, it’s hard to believe he wouldn’t be talented enough, but the mental side of the game could be just as big of factor in determining just how he can contribute in 2022.
2. Josh Conerly projects as the best offensive tackle in the 2022 class.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. There is no surefire No. 1 offensive tackle in this class. At different times and at different events, different players have looked like the best only to not perform the next time we see them, so this is a very tough call. I side with Alabama signee Elijah Pritchett just because of his size, how he performed against fellow five-star Mykel Williams this season and how he looked at the All-American Bowl. But an argument could be made for Josh Conerly and others. This has been a very strange year at that position.
Wommack’s take: FACT. This has to be one of the hardest years I’ve seen when it comes to sorting out the offensive linemen nationally. Having not seen Conerly headed into the All-American Bowl he really wasn’t in my mind for the top spot. But with his frame and athleticism I think he’s only scratching the surface at what he can become at the position. His recruitment is going to play out for a while so finding the right fit will be key to him tapping into his potential, but if he does he could be a future first-round pick.
3. Where five-star LB Harold Perkins now ends up is a complete wild card after his Florida visit and upcoming trips possible.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Texas A&M still has Harold Perkins‘ commitment and then Florida, Miami and LSU are the programs to watch. From there, it is anybody’s guess. During his Polynesian Bowl interview, it sounded like Florida has a real chance with the five-star linebacker after his visit to Gainesville, that he could take a late trip to Miami and that he’s still lukewarm on LSU. The Aggies have led in Perkins’ recruitment for so long and he committed at the Under Armour All-America Game but if a surprise is coming in the next few weeks, it wouldn’t be a stunner if Perkins heads elsewhere at the last minute.
Spiegelman’s take: FACT. I like Texas A&M’s chances of holding on. The Aggies have been at the forefront of Perkins’ recruitment since the jump, but the visit to Florida — a program he’s long been interested in — went well and Miami is dialing up its efforts, too. There’s a lot of connections to both schools that has Perkins considering all of his options. Would it be surprising to see the five-star wind up in College Station? Not at all. But recruiting is anything but predictable.