During the spring months, as most recruiters really turn the page on to the next chapter, they are often asked when it is a good time to panic as to the slow start of a particular program in securing verbal commitments. The answer is always in the realm of, “Let’s see where they are closer to the college football season.”Between spring soccer, spring official visits, college camps, and the long dead July spell, many potential clients want to make their college decisions in June and July, and the class of 2023 was no different. Almost every Power Five program has had or comes close to double-digit verbal commitments so far.
While size for size does not define a recruiting class, a series of numerous commitments such as those in Miami, Texas, Florida, and LSU currently in place create momentum and build perception around the program during the vacation period. A Marquee recruit wins against a competitor or even on a national scale of the same weight, just as spot needs must be filled early in the class or captured by that first division recruit.
However, many selection programs have not been able to take advantage of any of these tags. From past tournament national champions to two SEC West programs and a freshly started Big Ten in college football playoffs, there are many scratches when comparing summer recruitment classes nationwide.–Even this early.
For today’s mailbag, we’ll focus on the five most disappointing rides so far in the class of 2023 Relative to expectation. That last part is key, especially since the top 25 SI ratings haven’t been fully released yet.
Extenuating circumstances, such as Arizona’s handling of the enlistment attempt while there is uncertainty at every level of the program from conference to coaching staff and potential NCAA punishment, would not be on this list. Instead, the focus is on software that should be more measurably successful at this point in the game, which is the time of year when the majority of potential P5s are looking to get off the plate.
(Programs are listed alphabetically.)
Many in the industry point to Alabama as one of the nation’s top football-producing states. These locals will be at the table to increase talent for the 2023 class in Yellowhammer State, particularly along the defensive line. This means that the expectation under Brian Harsin has been on the path to recruiting success – something that has yet to materialize.
Not only was the state’s best quarterback, Chris Vizina, chosen to play elsewhere (Clemson) even without Alabama in the mix, but the second choice now looks like Brock Glenn is an uphill battle despite his early lead and legacy status. Back in the original state, local tiger talents have escaped into the trenches including Keldric Faulk (Florida) and Tomarrion Parker (Penn) in just the past three weeks. Recruits in the state’s top offensive line are likely to move away from the plains, too.
Complications aside, not to mention the growing software throughout the SEC’s tiger territory, class optics are a tough sell. The African Union has only four verbal commitments so far, which is the lowest number in the conference. Half the group, for half-full glass types, jumped aboard this month and are both running back Jeremiah Cope and wide future Karmello English semi-local on campus. Big Cat Weekend, the show’s July recruiting event, couldn’t have come at a better time.
That doesn’t add up after Chris Parson rescinds his commitment from Florida this week, although the Elite 11 finalist will have a variety of options to consider moving forward. This placement for Mike Norvell’s program begins with the optics, especially compared to the two newly-managed programs that FSU considers competitors. Miami has the nation’s attention on the trail right now, and Florida has been gaining momentum from its end, adding seven pledges since the start of June that includes flop for Penn State’s Marcus Stokes.
The program has been overlooked among elites within the state, something that cannot happen in the Sunshine State no matter what competitors do down the road. Two of its four public commitments come from within state lines and two of the current on-board commitments from the state opt for the program again in 2021, when the needle isn’t moving the same way their resolutions would have moved during this time of year.
Go to follow
However, there is a silver lining to the class, and it looks like a boost of momentum later this summer is possible. FSU could spoil Auburn’s race at Glenn, a Tiger Legacy recruit, in what could be a fast and powerful counterattack. Moving on to Parson’s loss in the commit list. Even if that’s not the case, Seminoles already boast a solid trench class to date, led by leader and native Sweden Lucas Simmons who picked the program on a national show sheet on Monday. The victory over Auburn for Faulk was a strong cognitive drag up front.
After running a CFP on the field last fall, paired with the top 10 when the 2022 rankings were settled, few expected a drop in hiring in 2023 – but that’s where UM is under Jim Harbaugh. A pair of top sevens this week have softened the blow, at least some, but otherwise, the class lacks a national key player and is still looking for the next quarterback recruit to jump in.
Timing is key with this strike on the Michigan row, particularly with a high probability in the state and priority quarterback target Dante Moore, who picked Oregon on Friday. Ending employment at number 10 last year now seems like a far-fetched dream that can be replicated. Size isn’t the issue for this group, however, as it sat at 11 pledges as of Thursday morning. More unannounced targets such as defensive linebacker McCurry Vickers and defensive lineman John Walker are soon set in what could begin to drive that perception another way if the corn hats and blue hats are taken over by the SEC competition.
Be a beauty queen
Not only are the numbers down at five commitments, with some of the state’s best players (Dante Doodle to Oregon and John Slaughter to Tennessee) already committing to other programs, but the top athlete among the current commitments could have a change of heart. Suntarine Perkins, a two-way talent within the state with expectations of playing quarterback or rushing passers-by in college, has been publicly open to courting Alabama despite his commitment to Lane Kiffin and the company since 2021. Mississippi State has also hosted Perkins on several visits.
Ole Miss swung heavily in the middle but ultimately failed to chase down Arch Manning, Vizzina and Jaden Rashada, although he did encounter a nice long-term addition in the original Marcel Reed in Tennessee. An offensive line and broad recruitment for the future seems like the rebels’ best prospect for building strong positional groupings before it’s all said and done, but a top 25 group like the last course may be out of reach. Of course, Kiffin is the self-proclaimed King of the Transfer Gate, so perhaps there’s a shift in strategy to this recruiting item already.
Visually, two unmissable off-season events have led to a rare quiet spell from Jimbo Fisher in the career path. It can be summed up by a pair of nicknames, Saban and Manning (this is where Aggie fans dismiss the story and/or Twitter looks for the author to respond). Of course, Nick Saban publicly confronted Fisher about A&M’s enhanced recruiting profile, and NIL’s role in it. Manning, as in Arch, is committed to rival Texas State and this program has been on the recruiting list ever since, adding 10 possibilities since Manning took his step.
There’s no disrespect for Tyler White, but the Gambler’s Undertaking shouldn’t be among the first few possibilities discussed by current national champions. When there are only five recruits on board, as a whole, there won’t be many options for a deep dive. Of course, Texas State is chock-full of goals like defensive linebacker David Hicks and linebacker Anthony Hill before the final decisions are made, but expecting a repeat title on the track seems like a bold prediction piece to click at the end of the summer at this point.
A&M is still looking for a quarterback to replace Eli Holstein–Who has since committed to Saban and ‘Bama–Among the other needs of the class. In addition to finding the future face of the program, there is potential for national gain later in the cycle to change this perception in a short time. The Zacharias branch recently paid an official visit to College Station and an electrical receptionist for the University of Southern California, and winning a face there could start the class’s national appeal.
Initial classifications for SI’s recruiting teams are set to begin in August.
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