Who are contenders, pretenders for four-star Jaeden Gould?

Earlier this week four-star defensive back Jaeden Gould named a top six of Clemson, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, Rutgers, and USC.

Gould says he isn’t playing a favorite among these six just yet, but that will surely change in the not-too-distant future. His commitment won’t come sooner than a few months from now, but which programs should be viewed as legitimate contenders and which ones are merely pretenders?

CONTENDERS

At this point, it looks like Notre Dame, Rutgers, Penn State and Michigan could be the top contenders for Gould. Penn State and Rutgers have the strongest relationships with Gould and his family. They’ve prioritized him for a very long time and the relationships that he has with the coaches at each of those schools are stronger than any of the other schools.

Rutgers has a big-time leg up on the competition because his dad, Scott, is a former Rutgers player. Penn State head coach James Franklin and a number of assistant coaches have been in touch with Gould and his family for a very long time and he’s visited there in the past, so there’s a lot going for the Nittany Lions.

Notre Dame’s coaching staff has really come on strong since the addition of defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman. The Irish have been in constant communication and the education that Gould could get there really helps them.

Before Michigan made a number coaching changes on the defensive side of the ball the Wolverines could have been viewed as a favorite, but right now they are still working on their relationships. Still, the tradition that Michigan has on the defensive side of the ball and its ability to develop players is something that Gould really likes.

PRETENDERS

At this point, it seems pretty unlikely that USC or Clemson end up with Gould. USC does have good relationships with Gould, especially with defensive backs coach Donte Williams, and Bergen Catholic has sent a player to USC in the past. But that was many years ago and Gould has yet to visit the campus in a meaningful way.

Clemson is very interested in Gould, but it doesn’t sound like the Tigers have prioritized him like they have some of the other defensive backs on their board. He is very interested in playing for the Tigers, but not having visited or having had many meaningful conversations with the coaches, it seems like Clemson is an unlikely destination for Gould.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Look for Gould to continue regular conversations with the new coaches at Michigan and Notre Dame and eventually take return trips to each. A commitment from Gould likely won’t come before the dead period is over at the end of May, so look for Gould to get on the road again and then make a decision in the month or two after that.

Source: Rivals.com

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