Among the droves of Jimbo Fisher barbs from his viral response to Nick Saban last week, the speedy response to the next Texas A&M–vs.-Alabama tilt was more of a call to get to the game already. Players on both rosters were considering the same on social media, but recruits for both programs were largely quiet.
At least in principle.
On Tuesday, the former headliner for the Aggies class of 2023 followed through with the first recruiting link between the two coaches since the public spat. Quarterback Eli Holstein, who broke out at Zachary (La.) High School last fall en route to a state championship, announced his verbal commitment to Saban and Alabama.
Not a traditional recruiting flip, but the Holstein decision is one that will be looked back upon for some time given the state of each coaching staff and the aggressive search A&M has been on to replace the 6'4", 225-pound dual-threat talent since he defected from the class in mid-March.
In addition to trying to bring Holstein back into the current class, A&M has been busy connecting with other top quarterbacks in the class nationally. It has been targeting national names, setting up visits and making the type of moves that will inevitably affect scores of other programs still in search of their quarterback in the current recruiting class outside of the group in the mix for the phenom considered to set the pace among the passers in Arch Manning. He has set June official visits to the three programs he's long been linked to most in Georgia, Texas and Alabama.
LSU, Michigan, Florida, Miami and Oregon are among those that should look to Fisher and A&M to gauge where their top targets may be settling. College Station will soon play host to two, possibly three, of the national quarterback recruits that have a ripple effect on other programs as great or greater than Holstein did. Alabama was widely viewed as the favorite after he de-committed from Texas A&M, while LSU and Florida also got him on campus.
Dante Moore could potentially have a bigger impact than even Manning when it comes to his final decision. Not only has the Detroit (Mich.) King star visited more programs than the NFL legacy, but he has admitted consideration for all of the listed programs above despite the narrative for some time of Notre Dame being in the best position to land him. His next trip, however, will be his first to Texas A&M, a relatively new school in the race for his services compared to Midwest programs like the Irish and Michigan Wolverines, having recruited him for years.
“They signed the No. 1 class ever last year, so I want to see how they did it," Moore told On3. "I want to see what Texas A&M is about.”
Not long after Fisher’s staff began to push for Moore, A&M also offered Jaden Rashada in April. The Pittsburg (Calif.) High School standout will also soon make his initial trip to Texas A&M, though the date has yet to be determined. He contends, after calling the program his “dream offer” when the news was shared with him, that he will visit before making a final decision June 18. Moore will be in College Station on Rashada’s planned verbal commitment date, too, making the top of the national quarterback dominoes that much more ironic.
The two are considering similar programs like LSU, Florida, Miami and Oregon, in addition to A&M. By the time Rashada commits, each passer would have visited each of the programs at least once. According to 247Sports, Florida is set to host the Californian for an unofficial visit beginning Wednesday.
A third uncommitted quarterback has admitted the Aggies could put a dent into his recruitment plans, too. Brock Glenn, a Memphis native who is surging up recruiting boards after earning a ticket to the Elite 11 Finals two weekends ago, has his own top group of schools under consideration. Auburn, Mississippi State, Virginia and TCU, where he just took an official visit with family in tow, have offered within the group. A&M hasn’t just yet, but Glenn is considering taking an official visit there, anyway.
“We’ve built a really good relationship,” Glenn said of Texas A&M’s interest. “They’ve liked me for a while now. Coach Darrell Dickey and my head coach have a really good relationship, so it kind of started there for them. Then coach Dickey was able to watch me throw not too long ago and he loved it.
“Now they want me to come on a visit and I definitely plan to. It’s been great getting to know him; we talk once a week or so.”
The emerging QB also wants to have a decision locked in during the month of June, so expect pressure between each party to ramp up should Rashada make a commitment to a program not coached by Fisher. Florida State, which already holds a quarterback commitment from another Volunteer State quarterback in Chris Parson, offered Glenn on Tuesday evening. Mike Norvell's extension doesn't appear to be too late despite the desire to commit next month.
“I will definitely go back down there and check them out again to see how well it fits me,” Glenn told Sports Illustrated on Tuesday.
The combination of programs overlapping for top passers and the urgency each side feels in moving toward a final decision could now be speeding up the process for the next wave of prospects at the spor’ts most important position—a far cry from the outlook of the class in the fall.
Manning and Moore, though, have remained consistent in taking their time, perhaps even taking their decision into the season to see how programs like Texas, Oregon, Florida and others perform under their new or relatively new coaching staffs.
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