With all the attention on the Texas A&M game last weekend, one thing that didn’t get a whole lot of play was the fact that it was also a pretty big weekend for recruiting. There were a number of big name prospects in attendance, as well as one that didn’t make it after being scheduled to attend. Overall there were eight five star guys in attendance who have not committed as of yet.
Jordan Burch was supposed to be on hand for the A&M game, but could not make it. Depending on who you listen to, most seem to think the Tigers still lead for the 5 star 2020 DE out of Hammond. He’s been one of the hardest recruits to get a read on in recent memory, so guessing who the leader is at this point is just that, an educated guess. He is scheduled to visit UofSC and Georgia in the next few weeks, so him not making it to town over the weekend is certainly a missed opportunity. There is still a long ways to go in his recruitment, so expect this battle to rage on into February.
Without Burch on hand, the headliner was without question 5 star 2019 TE Arik Gilbert from Marietta, Ga. At 6’5 and 250 plus pounds, Gilbert is viewed as a can’t miss prospect, and rated as the 10th best player overall for 2020 in the 247 Composite Rankings. For most of his recruitment he was thought to be a lock for for the in state Dawgs, but it is starting to look like that may not be the case.
Alabama, Tennessee, and Clemson have all become serious players in his recruitment, with some reports having Bama as the leader. Heading into the spring I thought the Tigers had very little shot, but that has now changed. Clemson is very much in this thing. After visiting for the Cookout, again last weekend, and with an expected official visit to come during the season, Gilbert will have made three trips to the upstate in an 8-10 week span. Give this staff that much time with a guy, and all bets are off.
Four star QB Harrison Bailey, a Vols committ and Gilbert’s high school teammate is recruiting him hard to join him in Knoxville. Bama is trying to sell him on being the next OJ Howard in a more dynamic offense, and then of course there is Georgia. However, Tiger fans should be thrilled with where they stand right now. Check out some of his highlights here.
Four star 2020 WR Arian Smith was also in attendance this weekend. Smith is from Lakeland, Florida and is ranked as a Top 100 overall prospect, and the 17th best WR by the Compsite. Considered a Georgia lean, the fact that the staff has now started recruiting him harder could be a sign in their not being very confident about landing their other wide receiver prospect, Xzavier Henderson. This will be something to keep an eye on as we head down the stretch.
One guy we haven’t heard much about of late is 5 star LB Justin Flowe. Some thought a commitment was imminent after the cookout but that has not transpired as of yet. Flowe wasn’t one of the recruits in town, but the Tigers still lead in this one. USC (the real one) is not out of it, however. A big season from the Trojans could have an impact on his decision, as could a coaching change that results in a big name hire.
The weekend also produced two big time commitments for the 2021 class. Four star WR Dacari Collins from Georgia committed Saturday afternoon, and then later in the evening LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr gave his commitment. Collins’ pledge wasn’t very surprising, but Trotter’s seemed to come out of nowhere. The LB board for 2021 is loaded, so the fact that the staff would take Trotter this early on speaks volumes about what they think of him. He is the son of longtime NFL LB Jeremiah Trotter.
Another 2021 guy to keep an eye on is 4 star TE Jake Briningstool. It was thought he might commit over the weekend, but as it turns out that never happened. Don’t read anything into that, as conventional wisdom says it won’t be long now.