Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney has thoughts on the five-star cornerbacks after watching Javien Toviano, the possibility of two others joining the five-star ranks and he takes a look at the latest with former Notre Dame commit Keon Keeley.
COULD TOVIANO PUSH FOR NO.1 CORNER?
It was only one game and against an opponent in Austin (Texas) Lake Travis that was missing Michigan State quarterback commit Bo Edmundson because of an injury but Javien Toviano should be under consideration for the No. 1 cornerback in the 2023 class.
The Arlington (Texas) Martin prospect has such outstanding size, length and while he looked like he turned and ran a little slowly at Future 50 this summer, that was not the case at all in his game on Thursday night. Toviano was as smooth as ever and looked like he could cover any receiver out there.
In many ways, Toviano reminds me of Patrick Surtain at the same stage and Surtain ended up being the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Toppling Cormani McClain could be difficult though. While Toviano is exceptional, McClain is equally as good if not better and he was phenomenal during his junior season. A senior year is coming up at Lakeland, Fla., and the expectation is for McClain to be a complete lockdown corner as well.
There will be a debate around McClain and Toviano and even if the Arlington Martin standout doesn’t reach No. 1 at the position it certainly looked like he reinforced his ranking as the second-best corner in this class.
TWO OTHERS THAT COULD MOVE HIGHER
I don’t want to make too much after one game this season and be reactionary when it comes to rankings. Plus, so many others haven’t even taken the field yet or are just getting started in their seasons.
Ranked as the third-best safety in the 2023 class, we already think very highly of Bowen but he stepped in front of a pass and had a 75-yard pick-six on Thursday night. The Notre Dame commit who’s still being chased by Texas A&M and others has such excellent vision, timing and playmaking skills on the back end that he will push Alabama commit Caleb Downs and Texas pledge Derek Williams for that top spot at safety.
In a loaded weakside defensive end class, Russaw is ranked sixth and there isn’t a ton of room to move up because the players ahead of him are also dominant but the Montgomery (Ala.) Carver prospect can play. Russaw comes off the edge so well, he closes like nobody else in the class and he plays with an aggressive personality which breeds production. He and teammate James Smith were impressive on Thursday night and both could be stock up in the next round of rankings if they continue to play this way.
LATEST THOUGHTS ON KEELEY
The Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep standout will be one of many elite prospects who attend Ohio State’s season opener against – you guessed it, Notre Dame – next weekend. It could be a monumental trip in Keeley’s recruitment because the Buckeyes are trying to keep pace mainly with Alabama in his recruitment.
Florida will also be a program to watch. After talking to some people, there are mixed ideas about how involved the Gators are right now or whether this will be Keeley biding his time until he can visit Alabama for the Texas A&M showdown in October and then to start leaning even more heavily toward the Crimson Tide.
As it stands now, Alabama looks to be in great shape. A visit to Ohio State could make things very interesting and then once Keeley gets to Florida, that could sway his decision more. The Tampa Berkeley Prep standout doesn’t talk much about recruiting so that makes this whole thing even more intriguing.