Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst Sam Spiegelman along with Zach Berry from RebelGrove.com and Andrew Bone from BamaInsider.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
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1. Alabama is the clear front-runner now for four-star TE Jaleel Skinner.
Gorney’s take: FACT. I was told earlier this week that it’s a two-team race for Jaleel Skinner but I think that’s a smokescreen and that Alabama is the front-runner to land his commitment. It has been a winding road of a recruitment, though, for the Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star tight end who’s originally from Greer, S.C. He told me if Clemson offered then his recruitment would be over but then the Tigers offered and he didn’t commit. Florida State looked like the leader this summer. Then Texas and Miami looked like they pulled ahead. But through the maelstrom, Alabama has been the steady force in his recruitment. There are so many reasons to like the program and it looks like the Crimson Tide will win out.
Bone’s take: FACT. Alabama appears in strong position for Skinner ahead of his decision on Friday. Skinner received his offer from the Tide in April and took an official visit with his family in June. Alabama has been pushing for Skinner and believes he can be a featured weapon in the offense much like Jaleel Billingsley and Cam Latu. Miami and Texas are considered the biggest threats to Alabama in his recruitment with the Longhorns making a strong push, but the Crimson Tide should be able to win this recruiting battle in the end.
2. Texas’ resurgence on offense will keep five-star Evan Stewart home to play for the Longhorns.
Gorney’s take: FACT. It feels like Texas will continue to make up ground in Evan Stewart’s recruitment with a win over Oklahoma or even a really strong showing – a game where he will be in attendance – and there is definitely interest in the Longhorns. This feels like a Texas/Florida battle right now and Alabama should be watched especially if he ends up visiting later this season. But coach Steve Sarkisian’s offense is humming, Stewart was already committed to Texas for a brief time and there’s a little bit of a wild card nature to his recruitment so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in the Longhorns’ class.
Spiegelman’s take: FICTION. Stewart is a one-time Texas commitment and he has been planning to attend the Cotton Bowl showdown featuring the Longhorns and Sooners for well over a month at this point. First off, he is still in heavy communication with Texas and is of course a top priority for Sark and staff. The resurgence on offense is also a factor worth considering. However, I like where Florida sits at this point in the calendar and there’s still some visits on the horizon before a decision is solidified. That includes a visit back to Tuscaloosa when Alabama hosts LSU and possibly a return trip to Baton Rouge before it’s all said and done. Texas cannot be discounted, but it has ground to make up.
3. USC quarterback commit Devin Brown should be on flip watch to Ole Miss.
Gorney’s take: FACT. I don’t know if a flip is imminent but it’s definitely telling that Devin Brown is now taking visits with a big one to Ole Miss this weekend. The USC commit has dreamed of playing for the Trojans and he wants to play for current offensive coordinator and position coach Graham Harrell but a new coach is also going to bring in a lot of his own guys and Brown knows that as well. The Rebels definitely look very good in his recruitment but it might take some time if Brown wants to see who is brought in to run the USC program.
Berry’s take: FACT. After Clay Helton was fired, both Lane Kiffin and Jeff Lebby quickly mobilized and began their pursuit of Brown. Since the offer was extended, things began to move quickly. Both Kiffin and Lebby went to Utah two weeks ago and Lebby stayed to watch him play in a 38-23 win over Skyridge. Now, he’s scheduled to officially visit this weekend and with the Rebels seemingly turning all their attention toward Brown as four-star Justyn Martin is trending to UCLA, I expect a flip to happen sooner rather than later. The Ole Miss offense is very quarterback friendly and Matt Corral has gone from a backup to the Heisman conversation in less than two years. With the uncertainty in Los Angeles, Brown could be looking for a new landing spot and Oxford is one of the more comfortable ones for a quarterback.