Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst Nick Harris along with Jed May of UGASports.com and Ryan Young of TrojanSports.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
1. Eli Holstein will end up being in Alabama’s recruiting class, especially after another visit to Tuscaloosa.
Gorney’s take: FACTS How the quarterback dominoes play out in the 2023 class is especially interesting since Arch Manning is at the top of it all but here’s the thing: If Eli Holstein committed to Alabama today I don’t think the Crimson Tide would tell him to hold off for later. The four-star is visiting Florida later this week and other programs are involved, or trying to stay in the picture, but the Zachary, La., standout is so far along with Alabama it would be a surprise if he doesn’t end up with the Crimson Tide at this point. In the end, it could be the smartest move for both sides.
Harris’ take: FACTS Even in the days before his decommitment from Texas A&M, Holstein’s name had already been attached to some growing buzz at Alabama, and I feel that it’s only strengthened since then. His recent visits to Tuscaloosa have only produced solid reviews, and Alabama continues to key in on the four-star. Other SEC programs remain in the mix, but I see Alabama eventually winning out.
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2. Justice Haynes will end up in Georgia’s class.
Gorney’s take: FACTS This looked like a lock to Georgia only a few short weeks ago but after a visit to Florida – where Justice Haynes’ father (who played for the Bulldogs) said was their best trip yet – the Gators have become serious contenders in Haynes’ recruitment. That should not discount the four-star’s relationship with the Georgia staff especially with position coach Dell McGee. There will always be a post-visit high. That’s normal. But when things settle out, the Bulldogs will still have an edge for Haynes and I still have him headed to Athens.
May’s-take: FACTS Florida has joined the Ohio State as serious threats to Georgia in the battle for Haynes. By all accounts, the Gators crushed Haynes’ visit earlier this month. However, I still believe Georgia holds a slight lead. There are the obvious ties with his father playing there, but Haynes has also built strong relationships of his own with the Bulldog staff. Georgia has had him circled as priority number one at running back in this class for quite a while now. Ultimately, I think the Bulldogs win out.
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3. Matayo Uiagalelei visited Alabama and Ohio State in recent days. He will still end up staying in the Pac-12.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Let me start with this: I would not be shocked at all if Matayo Uiagalelei ends up at USC or Oregon. Both programs have shown a lot of interest, been involved for years – maybe even before he was a national recruit – and his ambitions beyond football could be playing a major role in his decision-making process. If I had to pick right now, I would say Uiagalei ends up with the Trojans. But the high four-star defensive end is traveling around the country for a reason and seeing Alabama and Ohio State is telling. Can I absolutely say he ends up staying home? Not yet.
Young’s take: FACTS Uiagalelei has been going on visits around the country for a year now, so it’s not a new development or one that should particularly concern the West Coast schools that want to keep him close to home. He’s already been out to USC multiple times this spring and there’s a lot of dots one could connect to project the Trojans as the favorites. Even going back to when the Trojans initially offered him, his father tweeted about the significance of having his younger son get offered by the hometown school after brother DJ headed to Clemson (when USC, at the time, took an early commitment from Bryce Young instead ). There is a strong family connection to the program. Uiagalelei also seems to have pretty real ambitions in the music industry, and USC is selling him on the advantages of not only what the university can offer in that way but the value of remaining in Los Angeles. It’s certainly not a done deal or he wouldn’t be taking these other trips, and whenever you’re talking about programs like Alabama and Ohio State, nothing can be ruled out. But USC is recruiting very well again under lincoln riley and staff, they’ve made Uiagalelei a priority and they’re going to be hard to beat in his recruitment when all is said and done.
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