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Recruiting Rumor Mill: Junior Days heating up across the country


Junior Days and unofficial visits were in full force this past weekend. We have all the latest news and rumors in this week’s Recruiting Rumor Mill:

The 2023 three-star offensive guard from Burien (Wash.) Kennedy loved his visit to USC over the weekend especially because he loved meeting coach Lincoln Riley and talking to others that followed Riley to the Trojans.

“It was easy to follow someone they trust and respect,” Banuelos said. “That told me a lot.”

Meeting with position coach Josh Henson and seeing the Coliseum also stood out. He’s working on trips to Oregon and Washington soon but USC made a big impression.

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West Virginia has been the team standing out most in Cotman’s recruitment but his weekend visit to Virginia Tech stood out a ton and he loved his time in Blacksburg. The one-on-one meeting with new coach Brent Pry and position coach Derek Jones. The message that stood out from those coaches was that Cotman could use his size and technique to be the best DB in the country.

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Michigan State is definitely considered one of the front-runners for the 2023 four-star offensive guard from Clarkston, Mich., and getting back to East Lansing this past weekend was important. He loved the NIL developments that Michigan State has in place, he met many of the new coaches and Dellinger had another great conversation with coach Mel Tucker which could propel the Spartans higher on his list. Visits to Michigan, Missouri and LSU are coming up.

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The 2023 four-star receiver from Chicago (Ill.) Simeon felt at home during his junior day visit to Illinois and that could carry weight moving forward. He also loved the coaching staff and how welcomed he felt there especially since some of the coaches are from the same background. But Elzy’s list remains long with Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, Missouri, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Boston College standing out, too.

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Illinois assistant coaches Cory Patterson and Terrance Jamison kept reiterating to the 2023 three-star defensive end how Illinois can develop players at his position and it made an impact. Gant also loved the facilities and the photo shoot especially focused on other top St. Louis prospects. Arkansas, Iowa State, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Iowa have been his top five and the Illini are in that fray too as Gant is looking into engineering programs. He will visit Iowa State later this month, Iowa and Wisconsin in March and is looking to schedule Kentucky and Arkansas.

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A lot of schools including Oklahoma, Iowa and Missouri have impressed the high four-star offensive lineman from Lee’s Summit (Mo.) Lee’s Summit North but his trip to Michigan was especially important this weekend. The genuineness of coach Jim Harbaugh and position coach Sherrone Moore especially stood out and could catapult the Wolverines much higher up his list. Green visits Cincinnati this weekend and then Alabama to close out the month.

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Michigan might be very tough to beat for the 2023 four-star offensive guard from West Bloomfield, Mich., with Michigan State involved too but his weekend trip to Penn State was great. Herring loved his talk with coach James Franklin and especially a positional meeting with offensive line coach Phil Trautwein. The Nittany Lions should be involved for a long time here. Herring is figuring out a trip for this weekend and then closes out January with a visit to Cincinnati.

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The high four-star defensive end from Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep remains committed to Notre Dame but he’s closely watching the defensive line hire of Al Washington after Mike Elston left for Michigan. While that’s happening, Keeley is planning a visit to Alabama after the Crimson Tide offered and meeting with coach Nick Saban and assistants Sal Sunseri and Freddie Roach is crucial.

“See for myself why Alabama is Alabama,” Keeley said.

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Florida State has emerged as the front-runner for the 2023 three-star offensive tackle from Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic after his weekend visit. Kinsler was picked first by coach Mike Norvell to have a personal meeting with and it didn’t go unnoticed by the 2023 prospect. Kinsler also hit it off with position coach Alex Atkins which could go a far way.

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Georgia made a huge impression on the 2023 safety from Jacksonville (Fla.) Raines this past weekend as he was on campus for the big parade celebrating the Bulldogs’ national championship and he said the environment he experienced on Saturday “was like no other.” He loved talking with the Georgia coaches and seeing the fan base come out as the Bulldogs could have moved right to the top.

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From the second LeBrun got on campus he felt very welcomed by the coaches at Penn State especially by James Franklin and that left a huge impression. The Nittany Lions haven’t offered yet but LeBrun loves it there and feels like Penn State is “more of a family than a football team.” LeBrun is definitely planning a trip back to Happy Valley and will be at Louisville this upcoming weekend.

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The four-star from Folsom, Calif., had an exceptional time at Utah this past weekend and feels like the offensive scheme and how the Utes would use him at tight end is “one of the best offensive fits I’ve seen.” Lyons is expected to announce a top five soon and then take officials to those schools and after this weekend, Utah is squarely in the picture to be among that top group. He could visit USC and Stanford soon and then have his list ready.

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McLeod was expected to visit South Carolina this weekend but instead headed to Georgia and had a great time, got a big message from the coaches that he was an important piece to keeping the Bulldogs on that championship level and he loved the environment in Athens for the title parade. Georgia has not offered yet but the 2023 three-star defensive tackle from Camden, S.C., is optimistic one is coming. He plans to be at South Carolina this upcoming weekend.

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One of the top offensive linemen in the 2023 class, McVay visited Illinois and Michigan State over the last few days. While some believe Missouri is highest in his recruitment right now, the East St. Louis, Ill., standout said he appreciated the love Illinois’ coaches showed and that it was “like family.” At Michigan State, the conversations McVay had with coach Mel Tucker and position coach Chris Kapilovic especially stood out and could keep the Spartans high on his list. He plans to visit Alabama later this month.

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The 2023 three-star offensive lineman from Middletown, Del., had a great weekend visit to Penn State and loved how much coach James Franklin talked about getting a degree that matters for life after football. O’Neal had already been to Penn State for a game in the fall and “the atmosphere was wild” and the Nittany Lions will play a major factor in his thinking. He will visit Wake Forest this weekend and then Rutgers to close out the month.

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Penn State has emerged as a top school for Pendleton along with Clemson and Michigan after his weekend visit to State College the honest, frank conversations he had with coach James Franklin and position coach Phil Trautwein.

“My visit at Penn State was amazing,” Pendleton said. “It was one of my favorite visits I’ve been on.”

The relationship being built with Franklin and Trautwein will go a long way for Pendleton, who did admit the Clemson offer was “big” and a “dream for a while.”

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Texas was the dream school for the 2023 four-star defensive end from Cypress (Texas) Cypress Ranch and he will be in Austin this upcoming weekend, Texas Tech on Jan. 29 and then Baylor to close out the month but his visits started well at Arkansas this past weekend. It was an “amazing visit” as Porter loved the academic presentation that they went through during the trip. The four-star sat down with coach Sam Pittman and the message was that Porter could play early in Fayetteville.

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In December, the 2023 four-star receiver from Powell, Tenn., named a top five of Tennessee, Georgia, Penn State, Florida and LSU but after his weekend trip to Happy Valley, the Nittany Lions and the Bulldogs look best. Redmond loved “everything” about Penn State from the stadium, to the jerseys, to the academic success there and the playcalling. The Nittany Lions have moved way up his list.

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What stood out most to the 2023 three-star defensive tackle from Savannah (Ga.) Calvary Day was how family-oriented his visit to North Carolina was over the weekend. He ate dinner with assistant coach Tim Cross and his family and Simmons felt like he was with coach Mack Brown the entire day. The Tar Heels haven’t offered yet but there is significant interest there. He was to visit Duke Sunday and Wake Forest on Monday.

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Turner is about three months out from ACL surgery and the 2023 four-star from Star City, Ark., made it to the Arkansas junior day on Saturday where he received really positive messages from the Razorbacks coaches and had a great time while on campus. The word was that they love Turner as a player but want him to get through rehab and to start moving around again. An offer has not come in yet as Turner looks at upcoming visits to Colorado and possibly Kansas, too.

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Florida State is going to play a huge factor in Vickers’ recruitment since he’s from Tallahassee (Fla.) John Paul II Catholic and he had a great trip there over the weekend. The 2023 four-star cornerback caught up with the coaching staff and had a personal meeting with coach Mike Norvell. He also loved the photo shoot and liked spending time with some players. This weekend, Vickers will be at Texas and then at Alabama to close out the month.

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The 2023 five-star defensive end from Tacoma (Wash.) Lincoln was supposed to visit North Carolina but travel issues didn’t allow it so Wayne went to Oregon – and had an awesome time. Wayne hit it off with new defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi and they told him he’s a potential top-10 NFL Draft pick who checks all the boxes. The Ducks are definitely under serious consideration now.

“They are creating a winning atmosphere,” Wayne said. “They want to win a national championship and so do I.”

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A former Georgia and Oklahoma pledge, the four-star all-purpose back from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian was back in Athens this weekend and connected again with the coaching staff as the Bulldogs once again emerge as the front-runner. The message that stood out most to Webb was that Georgia wants to bring in two running backs in the 2023 class and that he was always a top target.

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The four-star receiver from Pittsburg, Calif., had a great time at Cal over the weekend, spent a ton of time with position coach Burl Toler III and director of player personnel Marshall Cherrington and loved that Berkeley is right down the road. Williams “can’t wait to get back” to see more of the Golden Bears as the four-star has a very good understanding of how he’d be used in that offense.

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The message from FSU coach Mike Norvell and position coach Ron Dugans to the 2023 four-star receiver from Lakeland, Fla., was that he has a lot of connections to the Seminoles but it’s still his decision and needs to make the choice that’s best for him. Florida State is going to play a huge factor for the four-star since Karlos and Vince Williams are his cousins.

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The 2023 three-star quarterback from Springdale (Ark.) Shiloh Christian had an outstanding visit to Arkansas but nothing stood out more than having lunch with offensive coordinator Kendal Briles. The message from the Razorbacks is that they’re a blue-collar team that is going to build on their momentum from this season and that they’re taking pride in the program and the state. An offer has not come yet but Wisdom loved how involved the coaches were with him and it could be something to watch moving forward.



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