Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst Nick Harris along with Blair Sanderson from HawkeyeReport.com and Ryan Young of CUSportsReport.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Sunday: Who should be No. 1?
Tuesday: Rivals250 released | Biggest Movers | Gorney’s thoughts
Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released
Thursday: Defensive position rankings released
Friday: State rankings released
1. Either Peyton Bowen or David Hicks will end up flipping to Oklahoma.
Gorney’s take: FACT. There seems to be decent confidence on the Notre Dame side that Peyton Bowen is going to stick with the Irish and he just had an in-home visit with position coach Chris O’Leary so that could be good news. But I’m skeptical. I don’t think Bowen wants to string anyone along but he’s legitimately struggling with his decision and my bet is that his final choice is flipping to the Sooners. David Hicks is more of an uncertain situation. If the Texas A&M roster is decimated by the portal, I’m not sure if that further solidifies his pledge or scares him off. I’m not sold Hicks flips but I would think Bowen does.
Harris’ take: FACT. I’m feeling more confident in Oklahoma’s ability to flip Peyton Bowen than David Hicks, but the Sooners remain in the mix for both down the stretch. Bowen has flirted with Oklahoma going back to the spring and the intensity to flip him from Notre Dame has only ramped up as National Signing Day nears. On the other side, Texas A&M recently hosted David Hicks for an unofficial visit after his official visit to Norman, and I’m growing more confident in the Aggies’ chances to hold onto Hicks. But Oklahoma will work until pen is put to paper either later this month or into February.
2. Kadyn Proctor should be higher than No. 14 in the new 2023 rankings.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Proctor is a top-10 talent in this class and is slightly too low in the 2023 rankings but will have a major chance to shoot up even higher after the all-star games. Pushing around kids in Iowa is one thing – and not to go unnoticed – but it will also be important to see how Proctor handles the speed, power, relentlessness and athletic ability of high-level national recruits. My guess is that Proctor will do just fine and make a statement as one of the top players in the class.
Sanderson’s take: FACT. It feels like this is almost taken for granted at this point since Proctor has been in the spotlight for so long, but he is an absolutely incredible athlete for a kid that is 6-foot-8, 335 pounds, and at still only 17 years old the sky is the limit with his potential. Explosive, flexible and mean with heavy hands, he’s a devastating run blocker and makes pass protection look easy. He’s got all the measurables you want in an elite offensive tackle and the attitude to match. A future first-round draft pick that deserves at least a top-10 ranking in the Class of 2023.
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3. Deion Sanders can make Colorado a Pac-12 contender in the next few years.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. I don’t want to throw cold water on the Sanders hire because it brings immediate recruiting help – look at 2025 stud receiver Winston Watkins committing the day Prime came to Boulder – and winning is almost all about having players. Colorado has not had great players and the Buffaloes have been mired in mediocrity for so long. But building a program in a Power Five conference is about more than landing the next Travis Hunter and a few marquee names and some transfers – it’s about building offensive and defensive lines, depth, a consistent recruiting apparatus that can regularly tap into top players in California, Texas, Arizona, in the state of Colorado and elsewhere. We also don’t really know much about Sanders’ coaching ability at this level. He’s been a head coach for 32 games. His record is phenomenal at Jackson State and with players. The portal is going to be utilized heavily and recruiting will absolutely see an uptick. But if Sanders does well in Boulder, does he jet out to the next big job as fast as possible like Mel Tucker?
Young’s take: FACT. That is the question, isn’t it? What we know is he will exponentially elevate recruiting immediately. Colorado will recruit at a level it hasn’t recruited at in I don’t know how long (if ever) — that’s a huge piece of the puzzle. And what he accomplished at Jackson State warrants not doubting what he can accomplish at Colorado. But it’s a different challenge. Building a talent advantage in the SWAC is different than rebuilding a program from its absolute nadir in a Power Five conference with the likes of Oregon, Utah, Washington, etc. That’s a new challenge to conquer from what he’s already taken on, so there’s no real reference point for how he’ll do in Boulder. But is it possible? Yes, I think it is. As I wrote in my column Sunday, there wasn’t a better hire Colorado could have made from the position it was in. Sanders will bring a spotlight this program hasn’t seen in decades and give Buffs recruiting the kind of jolt that no other hire could. That alone is enough reason for Colorado fans to be excited and optimistic about what could be possible.