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Recruiting Notebook: Championship 7v7 Orlando

SI All-American tracks down official visit destinations, decision dates and more from top class of 2022 football recruits

College football recruits and programs alike are looking forward to the NCAA allowing official visits beginning June 1. Here’s a run down of what top 2022 recruits had to say about their impending visits at the Championship 7v7 Orlando event.

During the tournament, official visit plans were the most discussed topic. While most of the prospects listed below have been interviewed several times, the first prospect has absolutely blown up along the recruiting trail. Thus, a more in-depth interview follows. Starting with the latest Seffner (Fla.) Armwood High School prospect to earn national recognition, here’s a look at six top 2022 recruits from this past weekend.

Kye Stokes, S/WR, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood

One of the hottest recruits in the country, Stokes began to pick up recruiting momentum when Illinois offered on April 17th. His next nine offers included Alabama, Georgia, Miami, Florida, LSU, Auburn, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Ohio State, from April 20th through April 26th. This incredible stretch is a combination of wanting a versatile player on and off the gridiron.

Stokes’ frame is quite muscular. His lower half possesses plenty of room for growth, and he’s still filling out his upper half as well. His self-reported 4.9 college-prep GPA is also a big reason why teams are clamoring for his services.

“As of right now, I have Duke, Indiana and Northwestern,” Stokes said of his summer official visit plans. As for his last two visits, that’s a work in progress. “Yes sir, me and my parents are going to talk about it, see what other schools we can work in, whether (it’s) official or unofficial during the summer months."

As for a timeframe, Stokes has a plan in place.

“Hopefully before the season, I’m going to try and make a decision,” he said.

When it came to the barrage of offers, Stokes was caught somewhat off guard.

“Really, all of them surprised me,” Stokes admitted. “I had been communicating with Alabama a little bit, so I was hoping that one was going to come soon and it did, but the others caught me by surprise. I was excited though.”

The emerger was asked about communication between himself and all the schools that recently offered, Stokes was excited with his answer. “Yes sir, I’ve been talking to all of them on the phone. We’ll be setting up some Zoom (calls) over the next couple of days.”

When it comes time to make a decision, Stokes is ready to take his game wherever he feels most comfortable. “It doesn’t matter how far (a school is from my home), I’m ready to go anywhere.”

Also asked about his future position, Stokes was open-minded. “I feel I had a more productive season at safety, but I could see myself at either (safety or wide receiver).”

Regardless of the position Stokes ends up playing in college, no question he’s been one of the more heavily recruited players in Florida, as well as the nation, over the past few weeks.

Quan Lee, Slot, Gainesville (Fla.) Buchholz

Not many prospects are more fun-loving and happy than Lee. As seen below, he’s always ready to have a good time and keep everyone loose.

Shortly before earning the Championship 7v7 Offensive MVP award for his performance this past weekend, Lee gave a quick update about his recruitment. Lee has been excellent along the 7-on-7 circuit, and his stock is rising.

“I have four official visits set up,” Lee confirmed. “I got West Virginia set up, I got Miami set up, UCF, and I got Coastal Carolina.”

As for a possible fifth official visit, Lee has options. “Nebraska, Penn State … Georgia Tech is already full on official visits for June, so I was planning to take one there (Georgia Tech), but they are already full, so…”

As for a decision, it’s not all that far off. “July 7th, that’s when I will be making my decision.”

Shemar James, LB, Mobile (Ala.) Faith Academy

Built with a powerful lower half and the on-field leadership skills required to play linebacker in today’s college football world, James is one of the South’s most highly coveted prospects. He already knows three of his official visits.

“I plan on visiting Alabama, Auburn and Florida this summer, and I am currently talking with Oregon about visiting.” As for where he’s headed, he has two out in front.

“I would say I have a strong two,” James said with a smile. “Alabama and Florida, a strong two.” As for why, James elaborated.

“Alabama, there just, uh, Alabama. Great facilities, great campus. The coaches, they really just want me to be there. And just the environment, and the chemistry I’m building with the coaches.

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"And Florida, They are just going to put me in the right position to make plays, and get to the next level, which is the NFL.”

Growing up, surprisingly, James did not root for any one school, so that’s not going to be a factor in his decision.

“Actually, I never was a fan of any college team,” James said matter of factly. “But my family is all Crimson Tide.”

As for a future position, James is projected to play outside linebacker or possibly end up playing defensive end.

Kajuan Banks, CB, Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby

Just before heading to the field, Banks confirmed four of his official visits. “I’ve got South Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia, and USF.”

Mack Mims, WR/CB, St. Augustine (Fla.) High School

One of the best players from this past weekend would be Mims, although he’s under the radar, for now. Mims blew by numerous cornerbacks during the tournament en route to scoring touchdown after touchdown, and that may not be his best long-term position.

As commonly noted, it’s hard to find cover cornerbacks. Mims provides the explosiveness needed to play field cornerback, and he’s capable of being a slot cornerback as well. While his best attribute would be his change of direction, his ability to read the quarterback prior to breaking on the football should also be noted. Recruiting is just getting going for Mims.

“I’ve got a couple of coaches talking to me (from) FSU,” Mims remarked. “Other programs like LSU and Kansas know about Mims through coaches and players that Mims knows, but again, he’s relatively new to the recruiting scene. That’s why he plans to go to camps.

“The SMU camp,” Mims said, was one of the schools he would go and workout for in hopes of earning an offer. He’s open to going to other camps as well, but nothing is set in stone. When it comes time to make a college decision, Mims is open to any program that recruits him.

“I mean, I don’t care really. I just want to go to school and play ball.”

Greg Gaines, WR, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Tech

Few wide receivers make more acrobatic catches than Gaines, and he once again provided an absolutely spectacular highlight reel catch to help C1N win in dramatic fashion. See the following clip, as it will not disappoint.

On the recruiting front, Gaines plans to visit four schools this June, with other programs still in the hunt. “Virginia Tech, Indiana, Iowa State, and UCF,” Gaines said of his official visit itinerary. As for a fifth official visit, that remains a guessing game.

“That’s wide open,” Gaines said. A couple of other programs are definitely trying to grab that last visit. “Penn State . . . Georgia Tech has been trying to get one.”

For all of the above prospects as well as players around the country, It’s going to be a wild month of will be well over a year since any program hosted official visitors by the time June rolls around. It’s going to be a lot of fun to cover all of the recruiting action. 

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