On or off the field, there has been plenty to delve into within the world of college football. The storylines filter beyond the most widely discussed, as per usual, something SI All-American explores to wrap up the work week.
In the second installment of a weekly SIAA feature titled the 'Friday Five,' we dive into five topics of conversation we're most curious to see revealed in the coming weeks and months. Some answers will be revealed in a matter of a day.
1. Trevor Lawrence Tests Positive for COVID-19, D.J. Uiagalelei Next Up
As SI All-American was established less than a year ago, we were tasked with naming the inaugural SI All-American high school team for the class of 2020. There's no doubt the toughest position to pick was for first-team quarterback between California rivals Bryce Young and D.J. Uiagalelei, each plenty deserving from gaudy numbers to prospect profile and everything in between. Young got the nod but it's Uiagalelei who will be the first to start at the next level, some 24 hours away as Clemson star Trevor Lawrence has tested positive for COVID-19.
Uiagalelei is one of the more physically impressive prospects in the modern era at a listed 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, but the pure ability progresses well passed the measurables here. There is power, poise, accuracy, drive and his new-found ability to find success as a runner inside and out. Clemson utilizing him to occasionally counter Lawrence early on this season looks like quite the call from Dabo Swinney and Tony Elliot and now the rest of college football will see what evaluators have had for years -- D.J. is next up. Good luck, B.C.
2. Beginning of the End for Herman with no Ewers?
Texas enters the weekend with a 3-2 record, including a loss to rival Oklahoma. Facing Oklahoma State on Saturday is yet another uphill battle for the Longhorns. However, this week featured some bad news on the recruiting trail, as heralded 2022 QB Quinn Ewers of Southlake Carroll (Texas) decommitted from his pledge to play in Austin. Many UT fans voiced their displeasure online, but not towards Ewers. It was head coach Tom Herman who drew the ire from Longhorn nation, in what could spell the beginning of the end of support for the once-viewed savior of Texas football. Ewers is the second coveted QB to change his mind on playing QB for Herman, as 2021 QB prospect Jalen Milroe flipped to Alabama in mid-August.
Herman is 28-17 in 4 seasons at the helm for the Longhorns, which is not up to the program’s lofty standards. Ewers was expected to take Texas to new heights, and his commitment had residually bought Herman some more time. Now, that equity seems to have diminished with Longhorns fans. It also doesn’t help many expect Ewers to commit to Ohio State, where Herman once served as offensive coordinator.
3. Big Halloween Brewing for Alabama?
The Crimson Tide takes on Mississippi State this weekend in Tuscaloosa. This certainly makes for an intriguing matchup since its defense has not played great this season and the Bulldogs are capable of putting up points under new head coach Mike Leach. Yet Halloween day could bring even bigger news for Alabama from the recruiting trail. SI99 member, No. 90 overall and No. 4 Nickel prospect Sage Ryan is set to announce his commitment.
While the Louisiana native has LSU in the mix, there’s a growing buzz ‘Bama will win his services. Adding to the significance of Ryan’s possible commitment is the notion he’d be the 10th SI99 member in the Tide’s 2021 class, matching Ohio State for the most in this cycle and putting Alabama in a strong position to overtake the Buckeyes for No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
4. Watch Out for Under Armour Flipping Prospects from the All-American Bowl
The recruiting for the top two high school football all-star games between Under Armour and the All-American Bowl can almost be as competitive as recruiting between two college programs. Unfortunately, the All-American Bowl will not be played this coming January due to safety measures pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Armour has not made any announcement of canceling its game, and it has started prying top players away from the All-American Bowl.
Running Back TreVeyon Henderson, No. 9 overall in the SI99, has already flipped to the Under Armour game to wrap up his prep career. SI All-American candidate Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins, a heralded IDL out of South Carolina, also tweeted his disappointment in not being able to compete in the All-American Bowl. Keep an eye on other players currently slated to be part of the All-American Bowl’s now virtual festivities electing to play in the Under Armour game set for January 3rd in Orlando - if it isn’t canceled as well.
5. Poly Bowl Still a Go
Speaking of postseason high school football, SI All-American has confirmed that the 2021 Polynesian Bowl is still “all systems go” for late January. Set to take place three weeks after the UAAAG, the week of festivities culminates with the nationally-televised game January 23 on CBS Sports Network. Earlier this month it was announced that two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, Doug Williams and Trent Dilfer, will be head coach of the teams set to compete in Hawaii. The roster is loaded, led by the nation’s top defensive prospect in JT Tuimoloau and dozens of Power 5 prospects. Click here for the full list.
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