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Five Teams Generating Momentum on the Recruiting Trail in July

Walker Lyons Recruiting

Walker Lyons Recruiting

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As we approach the end of July, the recruiting class rankings over at 247 Sports look far different than at the beginning of this month. In this article, we will take a look at the five hottest teams on the recruiting trail in July. All schools on this list meet at least one of the following criteria. First, a team currently sits a minimum of 20 spots higher in the rankings since July 1st. Second, a school's class ranking deviates significantly from its average rankings over the past three years. Lastly, a school has landed multiple blue-chip recruits and is winning more high-profile recruitments than in recent classes. Again, schools only need to meet one of these criteria to make this list, though some may meet multiple. On that note, let's start with our first school. Also, all player and class rankings mentioned in this article are via the industry-generated, 247 Sports Composite Team Rankings.

Stanford

While the class may fly a bit under the radar in the PAC-12, head coach David Shaw has quietly put together a great 2023 class for Stanford. The Cardinal has added five commitments since June 30th. These commitments include two four-stars and three three-star prospects. Stanford has the 30th-rated recruiting class nationally via 247 Sports.

The headliner is top-100 ranked tight-end Walker Lyons out of Folsom High School in Folsom, California. The Adidas All-American game selectee recently competed in the Rivals Camp Series, where he finished as one of the top-rated performers at his position. Shortly after competing at the Rivals Camp Series, the top-ranked tight-end in California committed to the Cardinal. Another addition to this class was a four-star edge, Hunter Clegg, from American Fork High School in American Fork, Utah. Lastly, one commit that isn't currently ranked but will be incredibly important to this class is punter Aidan Flintoft. Recently, Flintoft competed at the Chris Sailer Kicking Top-12 camp. After a successful showing at CSK Top-12, Flintoft received an invite to punt in the Hall of Fame Polynesian Bowl. Flintoft is considered a six-star, and the second-ranked punter nationally via ChrisSailerKicking.com.

Florida

Head coach Billy Napier is having a good month on the recruiting trail. After starting slow on the recruiting trail this spring, the Gators have picked up some momentum heading into the fall. Napier added commitments from four four-star prospects this month. All four are potential headliners in the class.

The big story came on July 7th, when four-star QB Marcus Stokes flipped his commitment from Penn State to the Gators. After striking out in the Jaden Rashada sweepstakes, the Gators bounced back with Stokes, the homegrown talent from Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. In addition to flipping Stokes from Penn State, the Gators also scored a commitment from Treyaun Webb, a four-star RB from Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. Prior to committing to Florida, multiple experts on the 247 Sports crystal ball projections thought Penn State would be his college destination. Given the success that the Nittany Lions have seen on the recruiting trail in this cycle, it is a healthy sign for Florida that they were able to win these recruiting battles.

Eugene Wilson III, a WR out of Gaither High School in Tampa, Florida, also committed to the Gators earlier this month. Wilson is the son of former Illinois star safety and super-bowl champ Eugene Wilson II. The Gators began the month outside the top 40 classes nationally, and now they sit in the 23rd-ranked class in the nation. Also worth noting, multiple targets for the Gators will be announcing their college decisions soon. By the end of this month, the Gators will have the opportunity to climb the rankings further, likely contending for a top-15 class. 

Lousiana State

Head coach Brian Kelly has had a wave of commitments this month. The Tigers have added 10 of their 16 total commits in July. The breakdown includes six four-star prospects and four three-stars. Five of the four-stars rank inside the top 150 players nationally. Currently, LSU has the 11th-ranked recruiting class nationally. While it may not surprise many that the Tigers are able to recruit well instate, many of their recent commits actually come from outside of the cajun state.

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Headliner, top-50 WR Jalen Brown hails from Miami, Florida where he plays for Gulliver Prep. Brown was long considered a Miami lean, but Kelly and the Tigers were able to come from behind and secure a commitment from Brown. Staying outside of Louisiana, the Tigers also received a commitment from the second-ranked player from Maryland, DL Dashawn Womack out of St. Frances Academy in Baltimore. They also secured a commitment from the first-ranked player in Minnesota, edge Jaxon Howard from Robbinsdale Cooper High School in Minneapolis. Staying along the edge, four-star Joshua Mickens out of Lawrence Central in Indianapolis, Indiana also pledged to the Tigers.

Louisana is one of the few states where a team can recruit almost exclusively in-state and still be able to compete for conference and national championships. If head coach Brian Kelly can maintain LSU's grip on landing in-state talent, while recruiting at a high level nationally, then the Tigers will have no problems landing the talent needed to compete with anyone. With a strong finish to the recruiting cycle this season, I could see LSU contending for a top-five class overall. 

Alabama

Of course, the Crimson Tide has found its way onto this list. At one point this June, Alabama had a class rated outside the top 40 nationally. This was mainly due to a lack of commitments, not a lack of quality. Since the beginning of the month head coach Nick Saban has hauled in seven commitments. The commits include one five-star, four four-stars, one three-star, and one kicker. During this time, the Crimson Tides' class ranking has steadily risen to fifth in the nation.

The top-ranked commit in the class is five-star safety Caleb Downs from Mill Creek High School in Hoschton, Georgia. A big recruiting win from this month comes in the form of RB Justice Haynes. Haynes, the son of former Georgia RB Verron Haynes, was considered a Georgia lock by many analysts. Given the Bulldog's recent success, and Haynes being a Georgia legacy, it made sense. However, when commitment day rolled around, Haynes shocked many by picking the Crimson Tide. As a top-50 player in the country from Georgia, this is a huge recruiting heist by coach Saban and the offensive coaching staff.

Another commitment that impressed many this month was that of top-100 QB Dylan Lonergan. Despite the Tide already having the commitment of top-100 QB Eli Holstein, Lonergan committed to the Tide over schools like Georgia, South Carolina, and Stanford. The last time Alabama took two QBs in the same class, they got Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones. It will be interesting to see if the Tide can finish out this class inside the top three nationally. Sitting at fifth right now, the Tide only have a few prospects left atop their board. They will need a high hit rate on these targets to have a fighting chance at the top class. 

Miami

The final team on this list, Mario Cristobal has had a monster month on the recruiting trail. This month, the Hurricanes won out in multiple high-profile recruiting battles. The most notable among them was five-star OT Francis Mauigoa of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. It is believed that Mauigoa's final two schools were Miami and Tennessee. Both programs have been hot on the recruiting trails this cycle, and Miami winning this head-to-head recruiting battle is no small task. By doing so they were able to land the first-ranked OT in the nation, setting up their offensive line for success in seasons to come.

Also out of IMG Academy, the Canes landed top-50 edge prospect Jayden Wayne and top-100 tight-end Riley Williams. In addition, Christobal also won hotly contested recruiting battles to land four-star LBs Malik Bryant out of Jones High School in Orlando, Florida, and Raul Aguirre out of Whitewater High School in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Following up this month will be challenging for coach Cristobal, there is hope that this excellent run of recruiting could continue. Currently, the Canes have crystal balls placed in their favor to land five-star OT Samson Okunlola, four-star DL Rueben Bain, four-star safety Jayden Bonsu, and three-star IOL Tommy Kinsler. Landing all four of these prospects could allow Miami to push for a top-five class nationally. For now, we will have to wait and see, but I like the momentum the Canes have built on the recruiting trail in year one under Mario Cristobal. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]