REDONDO BEACH, Calif.—As the performances of 20 top class of 2023 quarterback recruits took center stage to open the competition on Tuesday, the latest in where the passers will play at the collegiate level is also among the hottest topics this year.
Three of the 20 QBs are not verbally committed to any program while at least three are continuing to take visits to other schools ahead of an impending final decision. Another group appears solid in a pledge despite other programs reaching out.
Sports Illustrated connected with the top recruits on Tuesday for the latest updates in their individual recruiting processes.
Dante Moore not only was the top performer from the first night of action, but he was the recruit reporters wanted to connect with most. The Detroit (Mich.) King star conducted several interviews, fresh off an Oregon weekend visit in which he connected with top recruits and legendary Duck Marcus Mariota. UO has plenty of buzz at this stage, but Moore has yet to commit to a verbal commitment timeline. He also chooses not to hint at any top schools, admitting he won't before making a verbal commitment. Notre Dame, Michigan, LSU, Texas A&M and others have been linked to Moore at various stages of the process.
Austin Novosad has been verbally committed to in-state Baylor since December, but recent offers from Ohio State and Texas A&M have many curious of the Texan's next move. He officially visited each of the three programs in the month of June, and all remain in contention as the summer wears on. Novosad's parents went to A&M and he spent part of Tuesday being coached and somewhat recruited by Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, who's working as an Elite 11 counselor. Novosad says there is no timeline to make a final decision between the programs.
Long on board with Florida State, Chris Parson is another verbally committed talent who has made visits elsewhere as of late. Both Mississippi State and SMU got the Tennessean on campus, but FSU got him back on campus last weekend to wrap up planned official visits. Despite ties to both programs, having spent time in both Texas and Mississippi earlier in his life, Parson maintains the Seminole program was his dream school and it still represents the next step of his college career.
Avery Johnson is the likeliest uncommitted Elite 11 Finalist to come off the board, with a planned pledge between Kansas State, Washington and Oregon on July 5. The Ducks are of course also after Moore, and he just spent time in Eugene, so there is more optimism in Manhattan and Seattle at this time. K-State is certainly the program Johnson is most familiar with, by a wide margin compared to the contenders, though Washington is very hot on the recruiting trail on its own end. Privately, the Kansas native admitted he was all but sure of who the leading program is at this point.
Brock Glenn wanted to be committed to a program by the time he arrived in Los Angeles for the event, but late offers and plenty of visits slowed down his decision-making. Now, he says five programs—Ohio State, LSU, Auburn, Florida State and TCU—are his finalists heading into a summer decision. LSU is the latest offer and while he has already taken all of his official visits, Glenn says the Tigers aren't out of it and that plenty of "Zoom meetings" are ahead between both parties.
Marcus Stokes has been on board with James Franklin and Penn State for some time, but recent decision by fellow top quarterbacks had some curious about how open the Floridian may be to SEC and ACC options closer to home. Stokes admitted to hearing the chatter on social media, especially related to Florida after missing out on Jaden Rashada on Sunday, but he plans on sticking with his Big Ten decision at this time.
"Obviously I've been seeing it on social media," he said. "You know, 'Just try to flip Marcus Stokes, that's the only hope for the Gators.'
"But I'm locked in [with Penn State]."
Speaking of Rashada, he's the most recent Elite 11 finalist to come off the board, pledging to Miami on Sunday. The Hurricanes secured the final official visit, and it was enough to overtake Florida, Texas A&M and others just before the pick went public. Rashada cites time with Mario Cristobal, Josh Gattis and Frank Ponce as primary factors behind picking UM after his visits slate wrapped up late last week.
Emory Williams committed just ahead of Rashada, to Miami, and remains solid to the program despite it being the first to pick up multiple prospects at the position. Like the other passer headed to Coral Gables, he cited Ponce and the team of coaches aiding the QB coach ahead of the pick. The head coach there has a believer in the 6-foot-4 commitment, who says he's "hoping to be done" with the process as other programs reach out to challenge the recent decision.
"I really think he's gonna bring The U back," Williams said of Cristobal.
Kenny Minchey is another many have been curious about relative to new programs reaching out to challenge a verbal commitment to the Pitt Panthers. While he admits there have been inquiries by other suitors, Minchey says the programs have respected his decision to play in the ACC without plans to consider others down the line.
FanNation's Zach Goodall, Matt Galatzan and Brian Smith along with SBLive's Connor Morrissett contributed to this report.
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