Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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College football’s first big recruiting weekend of summer will be a blast: High stakes for Alabama, USC, more

The next four weeks on the college football recruiting calendar is basically the equivalent of an extended Mardi Gras, the College Football Playoff and NFL Draft put together in a blender and spit out as recruiting nirvana. The jockeying for official visits were months upon months in the making, and there will be plenty of the prospects who wind up committing rather than making their second, third, or even fourth scheduled official visit.

So as Visitpalooza gets into full swing with recruits traveling to their destinations Thursday night or Friday, the 247Sports experts from coast to coast broke down the biggest visits they’re tracking during the first full-fledged recruiting weekend of the the 2025 cycle. Do not expect the Class of 2025 recruiting rankings to look the same a few days from now. 

Alabama could break SMU’s heart

Crimson Tide hosting QB Keelon Russell

“There are several tasty storylines during the first full week of official visits, but Duncanville Top247 QB Keelon Russell‘s trip to Alabama ranks at the top. The SMU commit made his official visit to the Mustangs last week, and Rhett Lashlee and his staff will likely be counting the minutes this weekend as Russell visits Tuscaloosa. 

Alabama has been the most dangerous contender in this race over the last two months, and Kalen DeBoer has the ability to make a strong pitch having just developed Michael Penix. Russell has been vocal about wanting to play on a big stage and win at a high level, and the Crimson Tide could make their move with the top passer in the state of Texas this weekend.” — Mike Roach, 247Sports

Adds 247Sports’ Tom Loy, who says he’s close to putting in a 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction for the Tide to land Russell: “Florida, Ole Miss, Oregon, and others are doing all they can to flip him from the Mustangs, but nobody is pushing the right buttons quite like the Tide.”

Clemson‘s top target slipping away

Tigers must claw back with 5-star OT David Sanders

Clemson gambles on its smaller net of prospects. But the Tigers got burned last cycle along the offensive line specifically. They’re hoping for a better hit rate this cycle. Hence Clemson’s guest list this weekend which is headlined by five-star David Sanders Jr., the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle who plays a few hours away from campus at Charlotte Providence Day in North Carolina.

Clemson was once the perceived favorite, but I continue to like Tennessee, especially coming off another trip to Knoxville last weekend. I’d put Ohio State at No. 2, and Clemson and Georgia jockeying to round out the top three. But can Clemson make a move this weekend and demonstrate to Sanders and his family why it should be the landing spot? I wouldn’t dismiss the Tigers’ chances at this stage. But it’s equally important — if not more so — to point out that the Tigers are not out in front, and it would take a shift in trajectory for Clemson to win out.”  Anna Adams, 247Sports

Michigan gears up for pivotal weekend

Can Wolverines make up ground with PSU lean?

“Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga four-star safety Kainoa Winston has long been considered a Penn State lean in recruiting circles, and it goes beyond cousin KJ Winston playing for the Nittany Lions. The nation’s No. 43 overall prospect was on campus a bunch already, and he is officially visiting June 7-9. However, the Wolverines get the first shot on the official visit tour, and the opportunity exists to set the bar. Winston visited campus in the spring and made a huge impression, and the academic and athletic fit makes sense. Winston, who is 5-foot-10, 185 pounds and a burner, is being compared to Mike Sainristil. He had a similar body type and athletic profile coming out of high school, and the coaching staff is hammering it home. Michigan has to make up ground with Winston heading to Penn State the following week. Official visits to Oregon (June 14) and North Carolina (June 21) are also in Winston’s schedule, but the schools to watch are Michigan and Penn State.” — Brian Dohn, 247Sports

UM wants to set high bar with 4-star pass-rusher

“The No. 1 defensive recruit in Northern California, Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley four-star edge rusher Marco Jones was at Michigan last month for an unofficial visit. Shortly after, he named his top 10 and set up an official visit with the Wolverines. They had two coaches out to see him last week before the evaluation period wrapped and have made the two-sport standout, who also plays baseball, a major priority. He also has some Big Ten roots — Anwawn Jones, his father, played at Northwestern before he transferred to Colorado with Gary Barnett, who coached Northwestern (1992-98) and Colorado (1999-05). Jones has always been keen on leaving the state. This will be his first official visit, but it could set a high bar.” — Brandon Huffman, 247Sports

USC trying to load up during Big Ten move

4-star OT Aaron Dunn a major priority

USC is on the cusp of joining the physical Big Ten and one of the major focus points on the recruiting trail has been adding size and strength up front. The transfer portal has been a good way for the Trojans to replenish with immediate depth, but when there is an elite lineman within their footprint, they’ve left something to be desired. This weekend could go a long way toward correcting that and look no further than four-star offensive tackle Aaron Dunn, the No. 2-rated player in the state of Utah out of Spanish Fork High School and a promising 6-foot-7, 290-pound tackle with terrific athleticism. 

“Dunn made it to Los Angeles for an up-close look at the Trojans this spring before taking officials to UCLA and BYU. There are remaining trips scheduled with Utah and Oregon before Dunn intends to come off the board. This is a massive opportunity for USC to make its move for the top-rated tackle in the West and we’d expect Lincoln Riley to pull out all the stops in hopes of adding a premium talent at a position of need.” — Blair Angulo, 247Sports

New conference footprint helps with 5-star safety

Five-star safety Trey McNutt took a visit to USC last May and the Cleveland (Ohio) Shaker Heights superstar now returns for an official. The Class of 2025’s No. 1 safety has connected well with the staff and is open to going to school further away from home (but it definitely helps that USC can tout how many games it will play near Ohio in the next several seasons).

“Ohio State and Oregon are two of the other contenders. The Buckeyes are an in-state option, but he will not choose a school just for proximity. It has felt as though the Trojans have been a serious option ever since last spring’s offer and following this official, it should become clearer if they are one of the top options or the school to beat going into his other officials.” — Allen Trieu, 247Sports

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