National recruiting director Adam Gorney along with analysts Adam Friedman and Chad Simmons and Hod Rabino of DevilsDigest.com tackle three topics in recruiting and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
1. A.J. Duffy is going to pick
Arizona State when he commits on March 31.
Gorney’s take: FACT. I’ve been told that A.J. Duffy is torn between choosing Arizona State, Florida State or Michigan State when he commits later this month. The Seminoles already have four-star Nicco Marchiol committed at quarterback but that’s probably not going to scare off Duffy. Michigan State has made him a big priority and Mel Tucker’s coaching experience in the NFL is a big selling point. But I do think Arizona State is still the team to beat here since there are so many connections to the program and there’s a huge opportunity to take over for Jayden Daniels once he leaves.
Rabino’s take: FACT. Duffy will pick Arizona State when he commits on March 31. His relationship with the Sun Devils has been taking place for a while now. He was offered back in 2019, and the family got to know ASU’s offensive coordinator Zak Hill very well over the course of Duffy’s recruitment. ASU’s DB’s coach Chris Hawkins, who right now is the hottest recruiter in the 2022 class for the Sun Devils, has been keeping in close contact with Duffy and that is significant as well.
It’s not only the extensive relationship Duffy has with the Sun Devil staff that works in the program’s favor, but also the fact that the competition he will likely face at ASU to earn the starting job presents an easier path than the other finalists. Furthermore, there is a chance that current ASU starter Jayden Daniels will declare for the NFL draft following the 2021 season and a pledge by Duffy to the Sun Devils will likely put him as the prohibitive favorite to earn that starting job. It’s highly doubtful that any of the other schools will present that opportunity to him.
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2. Ryan Brubaker will flirt with
playing in the SEC but will end up at Penn State.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Ryan Brubaker is from a small town and a small school that does not usually pump out Division I recruits so it’s tempting when SEC programs come calling. The four-star offensive tackle is going to see everything that’s out there but the fact remains that Penn State is the in-state program and he’s a legacy there since his father, Jeff, played for the Nittany Lions. Those connections run deep in Pennsylvania and with State College just about two hours away, I’d be really surprised if Brubaker ends up elsewhere. If he does, that should be really concerning for Penn State’s in-state recruiting efforts.
Friedman’s take: FACT. Brubaker is very new to the recruiting process and is excited to take his visits to see what this is all about. As a Penn State legacy prospect, the Nittany Lions surely have a leg up on the competition and they are getting his first official visit once the dead period ends at the end of May. He’ll also be taking official visits to South Carolina and Tennessee and an unofficial visit to Ole Miss for their spring game. Brubaker will use at least one more official visit before announcing his commitment. This isn’t a slam dunk for Penn State but, unless one of these other schools blows him away, they will probably be the choice.
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3. The top-four tight ends in the
2022 class will end up in the SEC.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Oscar Delp to Georgia. Jake Johnson to LSU. Jaleel Skinner to Florida or now Alabama. And Donovan Green to Texas A&M. That’s the idea here and right now it looks to be shaping up that way at the top of the tight end position. Delp could easily go somewhere else and Skinner’s recruitment is fluid with Clemson also involved but the real danger to it is if Johnson ends up elsewhere. His brother, Max, plays for the Tigers and that has to help but Clemson, Oklahoma and others are very involved. Still, my guess is all four end up at SEC programs and that would be huge for the conference.
Simmons’ take: FICTION. The No. 4 tight end, Donovan Green, is committed to Texas A&M, so one is already in the house, but Oscar Delp, Jake Johnson and Jaleel Skinner remain uncommitted with a lot of schools in and out of the SEC in pursuit. It looks like Georgia as the school trending most for Delp, but with Johnson, although he has a strong connection to LSU, it is Clemson you hear the most about with him. And when it’s not Clemson, Oklahoma has a lot of buzz, as do others. Skinner looks to be a Clemson vs. Florida battle at this stage although Alabama also just offered, so the odds of the top four tight ends this cycle playing in SEC looks unlikely at this point.