Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman along with Mark Passwaters of AggieYell.com, Richie Schnyderite of TheKnightReport.net and Jacey Zembal of Wolfpack Central tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
1. Texas A&M did enough to take the lead in Sydir Mitchell’s recruitment.
Friedman’s take: FICTION. Georgia and Texas A&M were the two leaders for Sydir Mitchell before official visits began and Georgia knocked their official visit out of the park when he was in Athens a couple weeks ago. Mitchell left Georgia with the Dawgs in the No. 1 spot in his recruitment but the Aggies had their chance to impress him this past weekend.
Texas A&M has done a really good job recruiting the East Coast in recent years and it did not disappoint Mitchell either. The Aggies definitely helped themselves while he was in College Station but it doesn’t sound like they overtook Georgia.
Passwaters’ take: FICTION. I say that with a caveat that this trip may not have been intended to sway Mitchell all the way into A&M’s camp. If that happened, great; but the goal here may have been to give him a lot to think about and make sure he comes back to College Station for another visit — or two. That’s what happened with Antonio Johnson and Walter Nolen in recent years, and we’ve seen how that worked out for the Aggies.
2. More players from New Jersey should be in the Rivals250.
Defensive tackle Sydir Mitchell has a chance to jump up the rankings this fall if he keeps physically developing and adding more quickness to his game. Adon Shuler and Jayden Bonsu have the traits to possibly be Rivals250 prospects but this is an especially deep year in the defensive backfield nationally.
There are a couple of three-stars the got bumps in the rankings in this update that could continue to see their stock rise but they’ll continue to be evaluated throughout the summer and the upcoming season.
Schnyderite’s take: FACT. The word on the street right now is that this is a down year for New Jersey in terms of high school football recruiting, however is that truly the case? At the moment, there are only a couple four-star guys and only two have made the Rivals250 rankings – OL Chase Bisontis and DE James Heard. However the case can be made for a couple more to make that list.
Hun School offensive lineman Logan Howland is a late bloomer or just transitioned from TE to OT this offseason and looks just as good, if not better than last year’s top prospect in NJ, OL Jacob Allen. Then you have four-star DT Sydir Mitchell, who continues to show some impressive speed for someone who is a legit 6-foot-6, 340 pounds. Not to mention the defensive back group in the state is loaded with Notre Dame commit Adon Shuler, four-star Jayden Bonsu and Moussa Kane all of whom have excelled in every way possible on the field and you even see their recruitments reflect that. Last, but not least we didn’t even get to multi-position athlete Ejani Shakir from South Jersey, who can do it all on either side of the ball. Regardless of what people are saying about how it’s a down year in New Jersey, I bet you see at least a couple more guys in the Rivals250 when the class of 2023 rankings are all said and done.
3. Prospects from North Carolina are under-represented in the Rivals250.
Friedman’s take: FACT. North Carolina is a huge producer of NFL talent and just having six players in the Rivals250 is a bit low, even for a down year in the state. Jamaal Jarrett is a new addition to the Rivals250 and is now the top-ranked prospect in the state. He is joined by receivers Noah Rogers and Christian Hamilton, running back Daylan Smothers and offensive linemen Sam Pendleton and Sullivan Absher.
Players outside the Rivals250 such as Kevin Concepcion, Rico Walker, Jaybron Harvey and Daevin Hobbs could see their stock rise after the summer or after the upcoming season but each is extremely talented and has the potential to be major contributors at the next level. There are a handful of other prospects from North Carolina that could crash the Rivals250 but these few have already made a pretty compelling case.
Zembal’s take: FACT. One of the biggest differences between North Carolina and other states is the talent is spread out from border-to-border. As a result, it’s a steady process in seeing players emerge. However, only five players were ranked in 2022 from the state, and just four in 2017. The average between 2015-21 has been nine prospects, with a high of 13 in the class of 2016.
Hickory (N.C.) High defensive end Rico Walker or Southern Durham (N.C.) High edge rusher Jaybron Harvey could have big senior seasons. Athlete Chris Peal of Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day will be on a big stage this upcoming fall on a star-studded Chargers squad, and he had a great track season this spring.