Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst Nick Harris – along with Ryan Young of BruinBlitz.com and Jed May of UGASports.com – tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
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1. Georgia should feel optimistic about landing No. 1 tight end Duce Robinson.
Gorney’s take: FACT. It’s still difficult to be supremely confident in this pick, but it’s trending in Georgia’s favor, and when the Bulldogs really want someone they usually don’t lose. USC is definitely the main contender, and playing in Lincoln Riley’s offense – with Caleb Williams and then presumably Malachi Nelson – has to be an attractive proposition that’s hard to turn down. But after talking to some people close to Robinson, along with the five-star tight end himself, combined with the amount the Bulldogs use the tight end, how they envision him in the offense, how the team coalesces around each other and the campus feel in Athens, Georgia should have some confidence here.
May’s take: FACT. Georgia has been a constant presence in the recruitment of Robinson. The Bulldogs have sold him on the possibility of adding him in the 2023 class, in addition to current commits Pearce Spurlin and Lawson Luckie. That vision is now seen even more clearly, thanks to NFL and transfer departures this offseason. It’s not a sure thing by any means, but Georgia should be confident in its position with Robinson as his recruitment comes down the stretch.
MORE ROBINSON: Duce speaks to Rivals
2. Following his performance at All-American Bowl, Dante Moore has a case for being No. 1 in the 2023 class.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Every time I’ve seen Dante Moore over the last year he’s been awesome. Arguably the best quarterback at Elite 11. Great at OT7 in Las Vegas. Phenomenal in the All-American Bowl. He’s very highly rated and he’s going to play at UCLA for a coach in Chip Kelly who has done great things with quarterbacks. But I would still have Arch Manning ahead of him, and David Hicks Jr. was incredibly physical and dominant at the Under Armour Game. Moore should stay among the top handful of players, but not No. 1. I would have loved if Manning attended all the national events and was just like all the other quarterbacks in this class and went through a normal routine, but that did not happen. It still doesn’t take away that he’s a phenomenal talent with a tremendous pedigree, and that cannot be ignored.
Young’s take: FACT. Several QBs have an argument for the No. 1 spot, Moore among them. You can’t argue with the results, steadily performing well at national camps and 7v7 tournaments and then outperforming everybody else in the All-American Bowl. I still think overall he’s at his best when getting out of the pocket and playing on the move, though, and look forward to seeing how he develops and how quickly he emerges at UCLA. In terms of QB makeup, you couldn’t want any more than the intangibles he brings, paired with some pretty impressive tangibles. Nico Iamaleava has such a great release attached to a huge arm. Malachi Nelson can throw the deep ball on a dime as well as anyone in the class. I know Arch Manning has the name – and he may well have the game – but avoiding all national camps and tournaments simply doesn’t give me enough to tell me he’s No. 1. I’ll say the other three I mentioned all have a strong case, and I don’t have a definitive answer.
3. Texas A&M signed three five-star defensive linemen in its 2022 class. David Hicks Jr., a 2023 Aggies signee, is better than all three of them.
Gorney’s take: FACT. From what I saw out of David Hicks Jr. during the week in Orlando, he plays with more ferocity and more of a physical nature than Walter Nolen, Shemar Stewart or LT Overton, and with his position versatility and motor I’d give the edge to Hicks among that group. The question with Stewart was always how bad did he want it and he proved this season that he could be really special, and Nolen and Overton also had their moments. No Texas A&M player had more than three sacks this season, so the bar is pretty low to impress and get on the field early. I like Stewart, Overton and Nolen, and they can all become elite pass rushers at A&M, but Hicks brings a fire in the eyes the others don’t have on every play.
Harris’ take: FACT. Of the four five-star defensive linemen that A&M has signed in the last two cycles, Hicks’ college-ready physical profile and elite pass-rushing ability both as an interior defensive lineman and an end make him a different beast in comparison to Nolen, Stewart and Overton. Nolen’s size and Stewart’s big freshman season made me think on it, but I see Hicks having an even bigger impact upon his arrival in College Station, along with being able to compete for a starting job despite not being an early enrollee. What will always put Hicks over the edge as a true prospect is his athleticism and power that make him a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen.