National recruiting analyst Nick Harris addresses the anticipation surrounding Alabama‘s next move in the 2023 QB recruiting wars, Baylor‘s potential to make some serious waves with its 2023 class and how Steve Addazio is a perfect fit as Texas A&M‘s new offensive line coach.
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1. A lot of eyes are watching Alabama’s next move at quarterback in the 2023 class.
During Nick Saban‘s tenure at Alabama, and especially in the last half-decade or so, it has been hard to find a school that can consistently beat the Crimson Tide at landing a top quarterback target. Granted, the Tide swing and miss sometimes, but they seem to always make contact with the next swing to land a top 100 quarterback.
This cycle is no different, as Alabama has keyed in on multiple signal-caller targets, including Arch Manning, Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan. If you’re Alabama, you can’t go wrong with taking any of those options if one wanted to commit tomorrow – and for Holstein that could be the case sooner rather than later.
The Louisiana four-star has been linked to Alabama since before his decommitment from Texas A&M, and if he were to commit to Alabama, it would help set things in motion for some of the quarterback dominoes in 2023. It would be the catalyst for Texas A&M to open its board up even further and potentially offer Austin Novosad, who could also realistically make a flip to the Aggies from Baylor. That would affect how the entire in-state quarterback picture in Texas could look with prospects like Jake Strong and Jacobe Robinson.
If Alabama were to land Manning, Texas would need to quickly pivot and find its next option after only focusing on the five-star since the arrival of Steve Sarkisian. That would certainly shake up the landscape nationally at the position.
The possibilities are endless, but the first domino still needs to fall, which is Alabama finding its quarterback commit in 2023.
2. Baylor has the potential to put together a huge 2023 class.
Coming off of a Big 12 championship last season, the momentum has never been more smooth in the Dave Aranda era at Baylor, and it’s showing on the recruiting trail.
While the Bears’ commit list may not be filled with bonafide four- and five-stars, most of the nine commits possess really high ceilings. We can start with the class leader, Austin Novosad, who is coming off a big junior season that made him easily the second-best quarterback prospect in the state behind Jackson Arnold. His ability to read coverages and keep the ball out of the opponents’ hands makes him a high floor guy that will certainly see an opportunity to earn the starting job early in his career in Waco.
Looking deeper into the film room on Baylor’s commit list shows a lot of potential in prospects such as Christian Brathwaite, Micah Gifford, Cory Huff Jr., Hawkins Polley and Javeon Wilcox. Each of those prospects have a game-changing ability that shows Baylor’s evaluation skills.
Moving forward, the Bears have the opportunity to reel in more four-star commitments from targets such as Ashton Porter, Cordale Russell, TayShawn Wilson, Corey Kelly and Mikal Harrison-Pilot, among others. A class with just three of those five could prove to be what Baylor needs to go from being an occasional Big 12 contender to a perennial one, especially with the conference’s realignment on the horizon.
3. Steve Addazio might just prove to be the perfect hire as offensive line coach for Texas A&M.
Texas A&M has seen a lot of recruiting success on the offensive line in recent classes, even before 2022’s historical cycle for the Aggies.
Josh Henson had been a dynamite recruiter for some of the state’s top talent in the trenches, and he was not afraid to go hunt down national talent. Relationships and development were always the big notes when talking to recruits about Henson, and he was able to back that up even further with Kenyon Green going in the first round of the NFL Draft last week.
So when Henson made the jump to USC to join Lincoln Riley‘s new staff it left a big hole in College Station that needed to be filled with someone that could stack up with Henson and could pick up where he left off in recruiting future targets. That hire: former Colorado State head coach Steve Addazio.
Recruiting ability? Well, that was always the question mark, but Addazio has come in and maintained positions with some of the Aggies’ top targets, such as Harris Sewell and TJ Shanahan, and Addazio has reaffirmed the direction to commits such as Colton Thomasson.
“He tells it straight and he tells it honest,” Thomasson said about Addazio. “That’s something I want in a coach. I want someone that’ll be honest and get me better and that’s what he’s doing with the guys down at A&M.”