It's been said since September.
The moment USC relieved Clay Helton of his duties, the 2021 college football coaching carousel was going to be one to remember. Many programs followed the Trojans' lead in letting their leader go before the final whistle of the season, prompting more speculation, the doubling-down of hot candidates staying put and every other domino to consider.
Seven Power 5 jobs remains open ahead of rivalry weekend, the final regular-season window on the schedule. It means more chaos is on the way, which of course has a lasting impact on recruiting. Texas Tech's swift hire of Joey McGuire immediately paid off on the trail while USC has lost out on all of its top commitments save for one.
Even breaking it down to just the game's most important on-field position, and there are more dominos set to fall with ripple effects felt throughout the P5 -- and beyond.
Five quarterback recruits, in particular, will help tell the tale of how the recruiting class of 2022 cycle will come to a close.
The most timely for this feature is the freshest onto the market. After a record-setting 2021 season at Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon High School, where interest in his game sky-rocketed despite a long-term commitment to USC, Brown announced a decommitment from the Trojan program on Wednesday evening. The senior has expressed a desire to play for the program but the unknowns about the next head coach allowed for Ohio State, Texas, Ole Miss and others to get him on campus of late.
Brown will sign when the Early Signing Period opens on December 15, and as the most coveted uncommitted quarterback in the country, there will be plenty of college coaches trekking to his school in Utah or even his home as the contact period opens on Sunday. Don't rule out USC in the end, depending on the hire, but the spread success at OSU, Ole Miss and potentially under Sarkisian at Texas are the more likely scenarios until that point. Both the Buckeyes and Rebels don't yet have a passer on the commitment list.
Similar to Brown, the longtime LSU commitment has expressed a desire to stick with the program, but not without due diligence just in case. Notre Dame got him on campus of late and Ole Miss has also made an effort to be in the race for the senior's services come signing day. The search in Baton Rouge appears to be more wide open than most, with speculation shifting back and forth between Lincoln Riley and Matt Campbell most. The feel is that something could happen relatively soon in a sneaky race to be the first among the best perceived jobs (LSU, Florida, USC) to be filled.
If there is a committed QB to a school in transition more solid to the program than tied to the head coach, it's Evers to Florida. When the decision to move on from Dan Mullen became public on Sunday, the Texan acknowledged his commitment to the program beyond its coaching staff or athletics all together.
"While I'm hopeful to have a role with #ChosenFew22, thus my staying verbally committed, it would be reckless not to understand options until a new coach is named," Evers Tweeted Sunday. "I chose Florida for so many reasons other than football and those are still largely in place. I love Gator Nation and want to be here - my hope is that the new staff will have that same love for me and my family!"
But like Brown and Howard, programs have been attempting to reach him since before Mullen's fate was sealed. Evers has had a banner 2021 season following a breakout run at the Elite 11 in the summertime, prompting Notre Dame, TCU and others to try to gain traction with his camp. The strength of the Gator brand resonates well out of state with Evers' word as well as the commitment of fellow SI99 member Chris McClellan, who jumped in this week.
When the carousel spins, it affects all levels and works in each direction. Established Power 5 names like those aforementioned will potentially be poached while Group of Five commitments like Lyddy could potentially serve as those to circle back on. SI loved its first impression of the Louisianan in the spring and he has backed it up as a senior at Shreveport (La.) Calvary Baptist Academy with gaudy production.
Lyddy has become one of just three passers in state history to throw for 50-plus touchdowns in a season and he is on the verge of becoming just the fifth to cross the 4,000-yard mark in one campaign. A defending state champion favored to repeat in 2021, Lyddy is a true point guard on the football field with his accuracy, decision-making and distribution skill. Louisiana Tech would be fortunate to hold on to his pledge as communication is likely to pick up with other programs sooner rather than later.
Beyond Brown, there aren't many head-turning uncommitted quarterbacks this late in the cycle but when it comes to winning, dual-threat talent and an intriguing ceiling, Turner figures to filter through the carousel for something tangible soon. Armed with early scholarship offers from the likes of Texas A&M, Miami, Kentucky and others, The Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas senior has played as strong a competition level as any passer in the country with tangible success.
Turner can run an offense from the pocket, extend plays with his legs and push the ball to the third level, often saving his biggest performances for when most is on the line. The 6'2", 200-pound athlete has led the Raider charge for consecutive state championships and is in the driver's seat for a third to close out his career. As jobs get filled and programs lose hotter names to bigger jobs, Turner could be the type to be the last addition to a class and compete for playing time anyway. Two jobs are currently open in his native Florida and plenty of eyes are on the local Miami Hurricanes to potentially become the next, so transition staffs won't have to look far at the eleventh hour.