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First Spring Visit Weekend Provides College Football Commitments

SEC, ACC programs pick up commitments as the spring visit period opens up

Spring is right around the corner but both spring football and the spring evaluation in recruiting are already upon us and it means new verbal commitments are coming in. 

The first weekend of the visit period provided a half-dozen Power 5 programs with new members of the class of 2023 -- including the first pledge of the cycle for Syracuse. Most of the new names among those with the recruiting process in the rear view mirror were on campus at their school of choice over the last several days. 

Sports Illustrated catches up on the most recent decisions coming from the rising-senior class. 

OT Malachi Wood - Kentucky

The Wildcats added to the 2023 haul and in-state haul when the Richmond (Ky.) Madison Central standout went public with his pick on Saturday over rival Louisville, Maryland, West Virginia and others. A towering presence, Wood lists himself at 6'8", 280 pounds and started at left tackle during the program's deep playoff run in 2021. Naturally Wood's length makes him hard for pass rushers to get around him, but he's capable downhill despite a higher center of gravity than every opponent he faces. Added mass and strength in Wood's lower half will help him to develop an SEC anchor with potential blind side or font side upside in pass protection. 

QB LaNorris Sellars - Syracuse

The Orange coaching staff kicked off the 2023 class in an ideal way, bringing in a quarterback to not only sit as the potential future of the program -- but to begin helping to build the remainder of the recruiting class. Sellars was a Virginia commitment to assistants Robert Anae and Jason Beck when they were on staff under Bronco Mendenhall and they were able to sell central New York to the South Carolina native after they were hired by offensive-minded coach Dino Babers. 

Sellars has a great, physical frame at 6'3", 215 pounds and can stand in the pocket to deliver despite traffic in one of many flashes of maturity at the position. Also a good athlete, he is capable of making college defenses account for his wheels in addition to an arm equipped with above average power and a condensed motion. 

"Run it, throw it, can extend the play if need be and can also stay in the pocket," Sellars told All Syracuse of his game. "Really can use my feet whenever."

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IDL Keith Sampson - Florida State

FSU had one of the more impressive groups of prospects on campus over the weekend and it made moves for many, with Sampson being the first to go public with a commitment to Mike Norvell and his staff. The New Bern (N.C.) High School standout spent multiple days in Tallahassee and longtime assistant Odell Haggins gets the assist in pulling the interior defender from enemy ACC territory. 

"Basically the history and watching practice today and how Coach Odell was working with the guys,” Sampson told Nole Gameday.

Sampson picked Florida State over two dozen offers as a coveted and balanced threat on the defensive front. He displays good first step snap off the football, utilizes his hands with heavy force and can finish. Redirection despite a 280-pound frame is a strength and the motor looks well above average coming off of his junior tape. Throw in finishing power and Sampson looks like a three-down threat with some flexible alignment strength.

WR Nate Spillman - Tennessee

A big in-state pass catcher out of Nashville (Tenn.) Lipscomb Academy who helped the program to a Division II-AA championship as a junior in 2021, Spillman uses his long stride and wide catch radius to pick up yardage in big chunks. Despite being 6'3" he can settle and break at the top of the route without much wasted movement and the overall frame helps to make contested grabs when he isn't able to create maximum separation. Plus awareness, toughness and ball skills round out the game of a jumbo receiver with a relatively high floor, coming from a program preaching polish and efficiency under former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer. 

"It is special," Spillman told VR2. "The explosive offense and the turnaround Coach (Josh) Heupel has been able to make at Tennessee is really special. I can really Tennessee is going somewhere, and I wanted to be a part of that."

CB Rayquan Adkins - Louisville

The lengthy defensive back out of Hialeah (Fla.) Dade Christian is more rangy than his listed 5'11", 165 pounds suggests -- with the ball skills to make him a turnover threat in the process. Adkins had more than a dozen offers to his name but wrapped up the process while unofficially visiting Louisville over the weekend, representing the latest south Florida star to pick the program despite holding the offer for just about two weeks. Adkins is as productive as it gets on the back end, intercepting nine passes as a junior in 2021 and breaking up 18 more. There is grit, competitiveness and toughness throughout his game and his savvy fits what is needed on the island against the type of spread looks he will see in the ACC.

IOL Anthony Birsa - Northwestern

Northwestern is building a 2023 class from the inside out as Birsa is already the second interior offensive line talent to pick the program to date, going public with the pick on Friday after a visit to campus. Another state champion to make a commitment this weekend, Birsa is a sturdy 6'5" but has room to add mass to his frame at this stage. 

The in-state standout out of Joliet (Ill.) Catholic is a leverage winner in a run-first offense that utilizes him in a variety of ways, and often on the move. A good athlete with pop at the point of contact, plus length and consistent extension make him capable as a pass blocker as well. As the frame fills out and the pass reps increase, Birsa could evolve into the type of swing prospect every offensive line coach needs as a Big Ten season wares on.