A snapshot of traditional college football blue bloods, relative to the amount of prospects verbally committed at this time, may cause head-scratching from the casual fan.
Alabama, fresh off of another national title, is sitting with just a half-dozen prospects on board in the class of 2022. Playoff regular Oklahoma is also in single digits while Clemson holds just four commitments to date.
This will change in rapid fashion come June, as the 15-month NCAA recruiting dead period comes to an end. It will be the first time prospects will officially and unofficially visit campuses in the traditional sense, all while each program hosts droves of talent at prospect camps throughout the coming weeks.
Don't expect the 'slow' starts on the recruiting trail to continue much longer. SI All-American looks at important visits lined up early next month for the top programs with under 10 verbal commitments to date.
(Teams listed by number of commitments as of May 24)
Oklahoma - 9 Commits
The third weekend of June is shaping up to be the biggest for the Sooners when it comes to official visitors, with the bulk of top talent expected during that stretch. That group is stretching into double digits and includes one of the nation's most coveted running backs in Gavin Sawchuk, who would pair with OU's most intriguing pledge to take in fellow tailback Raleek Brown. Arguably the top in-state prospect, two-way star Genrtry Williams, was in Norman for the spring game in April but will be back in the middle of the month for a more detailed look at campus and much more.
Lincoln Riley's staff is offense-heavy with early commitments, with six of nine pledges projected on offense, so prospects like Williams carry important perception in how the class shakes out. The other big perception prospect with OU is legacy and Lakeland (Fla.) star defensive lineman Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy, who will be back on campus later this year.
Florida State - 9 Commits
The Seminoles have done a strong job to build the foundation of its 2022 class with top-tier talent to date, led by the nation's top two-way prospect in Travis Hunter, but it has manufactured its own buzz within the all-important state lines as well. From youth football camps throughout Florida this month to blitzing some of the top transfers as well as any program this cycle, Mike Norvell's staff has done about all it could before they're to host prospects in Tallahassee for the first time.
The current FSU class is also offense-heavy, including two quarterbacks in AJ Duffy and Nicco Marchiol, so supplementing defensive talent will play paramount against rivals Florida and Miami (each with less verbal commitments) going forward. Patience is seemingly at play with the staff approach to official visits, building its lists for later summer and even September for game weekend trips, the big catch over the next two weeks is the mega camp the program is hosting on June 6. 60-plus colleges will be invited to evaluate talent alongside Norvell's staff, including Oregon, Penn State and Willie Taggart's Florida Atlantic Owls as well. Demand is apparently increasing among prospects to get in front of those staffs.
Texas A&M - 8 Commits
There is quality already on board headed to College Station, including Elite 11 finalist Connor Weigman and NFL legacy defensive back Bobby Taylor, but June will be quite busy on campus and it will start right out of the gate. The first weekend of the month will see Weigman, Taylor and several other verbal commitments on campus while top targets like defensive back Denver Harris and premiere linebacker Harold Perkins check it out. Hosting those elite, among others, first among several planned visits could wind up as the right strategic move in battling Alabama, LSU, Texas and others for elite Texas talent.
June will also offer A&M to showcase its program to less familiar, out of state, talent. Elite IMG Academy defensive prospects Keon Sabb, Jihaad Campbell and Kamari Wilson will be in town the same weekend in late June, along with Alabama's Caden Story. Mid-month, the Aggies will get their in-person shot at impressing Brownlow-Dindy of Florida and impressive Peach State wide receiver Kojo Antwi, among others. The No. 6 class ranking from the 2021 cycle won't be easy to match for Jimbo Fisher, but it won't be because of a lack of top talent on campus.
Texas - 8 Commits
Elsewhere in the Lone Star State, first-year Longhorn head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff are plenty eager to showcase Austin for the first time in their tenure. Six of the eight commitments already on board are from within state lines, including opt-out running back Jaydon Blue, but battling A&M, Oklahoma and others for undeclared Texans will be how the staff is measured moving forward.
If perception is the play with UT, getting electric in-state wide receiver Evan Stewart back on campus in May was critical. Getting him back to Austin for an official visit in June will be more impressive given the staffs after his pledge. He will be back in town the second weekend of the month. Offensive tackle Kelvin Banks, the aforementioned Harris and fellow defensive back Terrance Brooks are each national battles. From a buzz perspective, Texas will receive additional national attention in preparing to host top 2023 quarterback recruit Arch Manning on campus as well.
Michigan - 7 Commits
The Wolverines biggest recruiting news of late has been holding onto its most important commitment, in-state defensive back Will Johnson, despite a change in secondary coach of late. It's been relatively slow otherwise, but intriguing talent is headed to Ann Arbor over the next few weeks to potentially flip the perception. Staying at or near the top of the race for the most coveted defensive prospect in the country, Walter Nolen, would go a long way.
Nolen, who has a who's who list of programs trying to add him to their future defensive front, is expected at Michigan along with Johnson in the middle of the month. He isn't taking many official visits in June as far as we can confirm to date, so that first UM impression has a chance to go a long way. The push for another top 10 class will come with plenty of talent on campus, from Georgia tight end Oscar Delp to Alabama pass rusher Justice Finkley and Tampa defensive line duo Mario Eugenio and Tawfiq Thomas, among many others.
Alabama - 6 Commits
Nick Saban is always game for a big recruiting flip and few would hit from a national perspective like Domani Jackson would should he change his mind. The local USC commitment has that coveted Saban size at cornerback and Alabama, not Michigan, appears to be best primed to push for potential flip with a June trip on the itinerary. Elite talent at other priority positions are slated for Tuscaloosa trips as well, including offensive linemen Zach Rice, Julian Armella and Tyler Booker, Harris and Bryce Anderson in the secondary as well as Omari Abor and Enai White up front on defense.
Closer to home, in-state hybrid defender Shemar James will be on campus at his top two programs between Alabama and Florida, before a potential decision. Former commitment and Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson linebacker Jeremiah Alexander will be back on campus as will legacy offensive lineman Riley Quick, among others. UA will also be one of the few to host Manning ahead of what could be a summer decision.
USC - 5 Commits
Beyond holding onto the aforementioned Jackson, there is plenty to sort out for Clay Helton's staff. Sawchuk will kick off his visit slate at USC next weekend in what could be the most star-studded group to kick off any program's weekend visit slate. Alexander is on the list as are elite out-of-state offensive prospects Devon Campbell (offensive line) and Shazz Preston (wide receiver).
USC is a national program but doesn't hold any commitments east of Texas to date, a fact that much change should another top 10 class be in order. Southeastern prospects Earl Little, Antwi and Addison Nichols are among those scheduled to be in Los Angeles later in June. The Trojans splash in Florida and Georgia just about every cycle, so landing one of those national battles would continue the trend. If it competes for top Peach State pass rusher Mykel Williams, who is viewed as a Georgia lean, it could have an early 2000's USC feel from a national recruiting scale.
Florida - 5 Commits
Following a pair of first-round NFL Draft picks, another 10-win season and ahead of perception in the all-important Sunshine State relative to the rivals, the Gators' handful of pledges may be seen as a slight surprise. But compared to FSU and Miami, UF is in best position to see a boom on the commitment list in the coming weeks given expected visitors. Top pass catchers Stewart and South Carolina's Jaleel Skinner are headlining the slate on offense while Nolen will give the Gators their shot to kick off the slate.
A strong majority of the Gators official visit slate for the 2022 class will be in the books by the time the season begins. Upwards of 30 official visits are already set, with many of the state's best headed to see Gainesville including Booker, Campbell and running back Kaytron Allen from IMG Academy along with Orlando running back Terrance Gibbs, Tampa's Jaquise Alexander and Panhandle athlete Azareyeh Thomas.
The perceived slow start is a contrast from last cycle, where the program was near two dozen pledges before losing several near National Signing Day. UF finished at No. 14 on SI All-American, lower than several programs it out-performed on the field like Miami, Ole Miss, Michigan and others. The more calculated approach figures to play better for Dan Mullen.
Clemson - 4 Commits
Dabo Swinney and his staff are often on their own wavelength when it comes to recruiting and the 2022 cycle is no different, but there is a solid foundation on board around quarterback Cade Klubnik. What is different about the Tiger approach relative to most programs on this list is the official visit schedule, in single digits as of this writing in the month of June.
With the CU approach of playing patient and offering after an in-person evaluation more diligently than perhaps any other elite program nationally, the camp scene at Clemson will create a competitiveness from 2022 and 2023 prospects alike. IMG's Campbell, rising-junior QB Manning and many other elites are expected on campus. Area talent Jeadyn Lukus and Skinner are likely, among others, and like with Alabama and Ohio State visitors -- it is rarely a surprise to see decisions made while still on campus.
Auburn - 3 Commits
Another first-year staff eager to host at their new home, Auburn is strong out of the gate from a local perspective with a pair of commitments on defense as well as with Georgia quarterback Holden Geriner strong and recruiting others. Local talent like Story and Ja'Kobi Albert are expected in June as well as key pipeline prospects in Florida and Georgia.
The transfer market has been a strong secondary recruiting tool for Bryan Harsin thus far, but hosting prospect camps alongside SEC staples like Derek Mason and Mike Bobo as coordinators won't hurt with the prep pipeline, especially in the Southern footprint in Tennessee, the Carolinas and more. If there is a sneaky staff to eye against programs in its own conference, it could be this one.
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