Fact or Fiction: LSU has already won the month of July in recruiting

Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman along with Julie Boudwin from TigerDetails.com and Ryan Young of TrojanSports.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.

1. Alex Cunningham moving to California for his junior season is a huge boost to USC in his recruitment.

Alex Cunningham (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Gorney’s take: FACTS When I walked into the Elite 11, I saw a massive lineman standing on the sidelines with Chris Flores, who’s also know as coach Frogg, and he runs Stars, the elite training center in Southern California. I did a double take and then realized it was Alex Cunningham from Georgia so I went up to them and asked what he was doing out here. Cunningham was training at Stars this summer and so they came out to get a feel for the Elite 11 experience. Talking with Cunningham, he loved California, he loved his recent visit to USC and it has now sparked his move to play at Los Alamitos, Calif., for his junior season. It absolutely cannot hurt that Malachi Nelson and Makai Lemon are on that team as the Trojans definitely take a leap ahead to land the elite 2024 defensive end.

Young’s take: FACTS Nothing excites USC football fans these days quite like having legitimate hope for landing an elite offensive or defensive lineman, as rebuilding in the trenches remains the biggest obstacle for lincoln riley moving forward, and in Alex Cunningham the Trojans indeed look like major contenders now. It was one thing for Cunningham to take an unofficial visit last month and talk highly about the experience afterward, which he did. But it’s been tough for the Trojans (and really any West Coast program, for that matter) to ultimately close the deal with top prospects from the southeast. If Jones was still living in Georgia, his USC recruitment would feel much different. Now, though, not only is he attending Los Alamitos HS just 25 miles from USC’s campus but he’ll be playing this fall with Trojans QB commit Malachi Nelson and WR commit Makai Lemon. Yes, Cunningham’s move from Georgia to Southern California is a major, major boost for USC in his recruitment of him.

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2. Jamaal Jarrett is the best defensive tackle in the 2023 class.

Jamaal Jarrett

Jamaal Jarrett (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Gorney’s take: FACTS For someone who is well over 300 pounds, Jamaal Jarrett does not have much bad weight and is so wide that it was striking to see him at the Rivals Camp Series inCharlotte. Although he isn’t going to win 40-yard dashes against some of the more athletic, leaner defensive tackles in this class he’s still plenty athletic, can be tough to block because of his speed off the snap and then there aren’t going to be many interior offensive linemen who can deal with him for an entire game. I’m interested to see more of James Smith and Jason Moore during the all-star weeks but Jarrett is one heck of a devastating defensive tackle.

Friedman’s take: FICTION. Is Jarrett the best defensive tackle in the class? I don’t think so right now. The Jordan Davis comparisons are fun and Jarrett could be used in a similar way at the next level but he isn’t the athlete that Davis was as a prospect coming out of high school. Overall, it’s a bit of a down year at defensive tackle but I’m still partial to the more athletic prospects at the position. Players like Jason Moore, Will Norman, Edric Hill and Stephiylan Green are the style of defensive tackle I favor but if Jarrett, who is more of a bulldozer at defensive tackle right now, can continue to slim down and show more of those athletic traits, I could see him moving into that top spot at the position after the season.

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3. Brian Kelly and the LSU staff won the month of July in recruiting and the Tigers are not done yet.

Jalen Brown

Jalen Brown

Gorney’s take: FACTS Brian Kelly was hired by LSU on Nov. 29 and the first commitment in the Tigers’ class did not come until four-star tight end Mac Markway nearly four months later. It was definitely a methodical, calculated approach by Kelly to hire a staff, hire some heavyweight recruiters, build up the staff and then go out and sell the LSU program. It has worked incredibly well as the Tigers have basically touched every corner of the country to land recruits whether tapping Midwest contacts, going to the Mid-Atlantic, going West or staying in the recruiting hotbed of the Southeast. Kelly is clearly a winner and now he’s selling guys on his program before he’s ever coached a game in the SEC.

Boudwin’s take: FACTS LSU ended the month of June with a total of six commitments in the 2023 class and since then the Tigers have doubled that number. Brian Kelly & Co. have pulled in seven 2023 pledges and one in 2024 in the first nine days of July with a handful more expected to come throughout the month. The Tigers landed perhaps their biggest commitment thus far Friday afternoon when Rivals100 receiver Jalen Brown picked LSU over Florida State, Miami, Michigan and Texas A&M.

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