One the NCAA re-opened the recruiting calendar for the bulk of June, there was a sense college football recruiting would be rapid with news as prospective student-athletes hit the road.
The sense was quite accurate both in volume as well as its impact on making critical decisions like verbal commitments or even decommitments throughout the first week of the open period.
Each side was represented during the first week of the fluid world of college football shifting back to in-person status.
Commitments Coming In
In the first week of June, more than 30 prospects have elected to make college football commitments, most coming off of a visit or even multiple visits to the new program of choice.
Blue bloods like Alabama (running back Le'Veon Moss), Ohio State (wide receiver Kaleb Brown), and Notre Dame (defensive lineman Donovan Hinish) have each added pieces to their respective class of 2022. USC and Florida did during the last few days of May as scores of other programs are compiling talent at various positions.
At the game's most important post, quarterback, the ACC has seen an uptick of future faces of the program in the first week of June. Atlanta (Ga.) Pace Academy star MJ Morris, who also plays baseball at a high level, picked NC State over Georgia Tech and Nebraska. Virginia also added a quarterback to the fold, also with intriguing two-sport athleticism. New Cavalier commitment Davis Lane, fresh off of scoring 18 touchdowns in eight games during a spring season at Lynchburg (Va.) Liberty Christian, picked the program just days after landing the tender as his lone Power 5 offer. Lane won the state championship in the 55-meter dash in March and also has an 11.01-second 100-meter dash time to his name this year.
A pair of Power 5 sleepers to commit have SI All-American's attention. Eric Weatherly opted for Duke University on Saturday, just two days after picking up the offer, and projects as a versatile offensive weapon. The Jacksonville (Fla.) Bartram Trail prospect makes plays at both running back and wide receiver at a high level. In the condensed 2020 season, Weatherly averaged a touchdown about every eight touches as a junior while racking up 522 yards receiving and 345 more on the ground for the Bears. Sir Mells, the Henderson (Nev.) Liberty defensive lineman, picked the Oregon Ducks after his official visit to Eugene. A 6'5", 327-pound run stuffer, the pledge resonates throughout the Pac-12 considering he was previously a Washington commitment and also held offers from USC, Arizona and others.
"The whole coaching staff was standing right there when I got there," Mells told Ducks Digest. "I just knew it was the fit for me."
Mississippi State has added multiple pieces to the fold as part of the nation's largest recruiting class to date, now standing at 14 prospects. In addition to a lineman it took from another SEC program's commitment list (more on that below), MSU picked up in-state edge prospect Donterry Russell over the weekend. The younger brother of current Bulldog De'Monte Russell, the rising-senior picked the program over Arizona State and others.
Notre Dame also holds 14 verbal commitments as of Tuesday morning. Rutgers, which added 6'7" Leo (Ind.) defensive lineman DJ Allen on Sunday on the tail-end of his official visit, stands at 13 commitments. 11 classes stand with at least 10 verbal commitments, including No. 1 class Ohio State.
Decommitment Numbers to Increase
With the uptick in big decisions being made, the flip-side of opting for one program could continue to come with the choice to back off of a previous commitment or make a change all in one motion -- what Lucas Taylor did Monday evening. The Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's Episcopal offensive lineman, committed to LSU since August, announced a new commitment to Mississippi State on the heels of an unofficial visit to Starkville. Taylor moved to Mobile from Mississippi earlier in his high school career and has long been courted by the Bulldog staff under Mike Leach. Keep in mind LSU fired longtime offensive line coach James Cregg just last week, something he admits factored into the decision.
"Starkville felt like home!" Taylor told SIAA. "Numerous family members up here, I know lots of the players, It’s awesome. They rolled out the red carpet. Solo unofficial [visitor] and spent all day on campus with the coaches."
Traditional decommitments, without following through with a pledge to a new program, figure to continue as well. Monday morning featured one of the bigger decommitments to date in the class of 2022, as big Bear Alexander backed off of a Georgia pledge following a trip to Texas A&M. He had been on campus at UGA just days prior, but figures to draw out the process much more before another decision. Miami and USC will get him on campus for official visits this month, he also announced. Programs like Alabama and LSU, and perhaps Texas, figure to make runs at the Fort Worth (Texas) Brewer standout moving forward.
Other decommitments could come from increased recruiting profiles, as the college camp scene has resulted in hundreds of new scholarship offers being extended by various coaching staffs. Take Clearwater (Fla.) International Academy defensive back Rhyland Kelly for instance. He committed to Northern Illinois back in March, when he had offers from NIU and Illinois State to his name. Since participating at the Mercer and Florida State mega camps, where several programs work the same event, Kelly has added offers from another half-dozen FBS programs, including Purdue and Minnesota in the Big Ten. Keep your eyes on P.J. Fleck and company, here.
The final form of decommitment is by way of moving on from the primary program with visits, official and otherwise, elsewhere. While some programs like Ohio State and Clemson institute relatively strict no-visit policies for prospects on their commitment list, others are somewhat flexible. The discussion point came up throughout the week in tracking quarterback Nicco Marchiol, who had been committed to Florida State since late January. The Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton standout has been busy on the trail this month, checking out Michigan State for an official visit over the weekend and Arizona State before that. West Virginia will get his next trip in what could be a national battle coming to a close relatively soon.
FSU added IMG Academy quarterback AJ Duffy to the commitment list in April. More than 40 Power 5 programs have their class of 2022 quarterback commitment in the fold.