Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney has thoughts on the NIL situation being problematic for college football, the fight for the No. 1 spot in the 2025 Rivals250 and he also takes an early look at the 2025 team rankings.
I’m not going to clutch my pearls and act surprised that there is confusion around NIL when it comes to college football but there have been worrisome developments lately that continue to confuse and befuddle.
As Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger wrote this week, there is this strange juxtaposition of the NCAA moving forward with NIL proposals so each school could handle those deals internally while the organization is also starting to come down hard on schools that allegedly break the murkiest rules known to mankind.
Florida State offensive line coach Alex Atkins gets hit for reportedly driving a recruit to a collective meeting. Florida is in hot water from what I understand is a look at Jaden Rashada’s recruitment and a blown NIL deal where the four-star quarterback ended up at Arizona State.
And now Tennessee reportedly is being investigated for a private plane flight five-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava took to Knoxville. Attorney Tom Mars, on behalf of Spyre Sports Group, the outfit in question, released a statement Tuesday night which amounted to word salad to those who didn’t finish first in his class at the University of Arkansas School of Law, like Mars did (it says so on his web site).
So Florida, Florida State and Tennessee are in the crosshairs. Who’s next? Could be anybody. Literally.
You think those are the only schools breaking rules? I’m not even sure anyone firmly has a grasp of the rules from the NCAA to the college coaches to the collectives or anyone else. They are so opaque it’s like the Wild West in recruiting right now.
The No. 1 prospect in the 2024 class, Jeremiah Smith, caused indigestion across the Ohio State community after signing with the Buckeyes in December but then not sending in his paperwork for hours as lawyers reportedly reviewed NIL figures. We dedicated our signing day show to the matter since it was so unclear.
Former five-star offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor transferred from Alabama to Iowa and said the Iowa Swarm collective helped him out “a lot” in the process of going from the Crimson Tide to the Hawkeyes.
Proctor also said the Iowa coaching staff hit him up after he struggled in the SEC and told him they’re proud of him and he’s going to get through this and that “ultimately helped with my decision because they still believed in me.”
So is encouragement from a previous relationship against the rules? Can a nice gesture be construed as tampering? Was it?
That’s the point. The NCAA has so unsurprisingly bungled NIL and the organization is so late to understanding its impact and predominance in college football that only now it reflexively comes out to whack Florida, Florida State and Tennessee.
The current model is unsustainable because it’s so ill-defined not because NIL is a bad idea. But the NCAA has to put guardrails and guidelines around this thing and not play from behind like it always does.
Dellenger writes for Yahoo Sports that NCAA enforcement managing director Mark Hicks said at its convention early this month that the organization has proof that recruiting rules are being “widely violated.”
Wow, that’s a bulletin. Duh.
The NCAA allowed this tube of toothpaste to be opened and millions upon millions of dollars got squeezed out. Now they’re trying to put it back in, starting with Florida, Florida State and Tennessee. Good luck.
But we’re meeting later this month for another rankings release for the 2025 class and I’m going to strongly push to make Lewis the No. 1 prospect in the class.
It’s nothing against Sanders, a dominant and athletic offensive tackle from Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day who has Georgia, Clemson and others high on the list. He could move to No. 2 no problem but here’s the thing: Lewis is so incredibly special that it’s going to be hard over time to keep him off the top line.
At Steve Clarkson’s QB Retreat last spring, Lewis was right there with five-star quarterback Julian Sayin, who has already transferred from Alabama to Ohio State, and that’s a huge compliment. Lewis was more impressive than other 2024 and 2025 quarterbacks in attendance.
We should have made Bryce Young No. 1 in his recruiting class. He ended up second. I don’t want to make the same mistake again when it comes to Lewis.
In the history of Rivals dating back to 2002, so more than 20 recruiting cycles, a program from the northern part of the country has never won a team recruiting title.
That’s not deliberate and it’s not even really up to the analyst team since the computer model crunches the numbers and spits out the team rankings, but it is telling as we look at the early 2025 rankings.
Notre Dame sits at No. 1. Irish fans, don’t hold your breath.
There are already 14 commits in Notre Dame’s 2025 class – and the second signing day for 2024 has not even happened yet. That is an incredible early run for the Irish as one of three teams (along with LSU and Clemson) to have double-digit pledges in that class.
But there is always a ton of movement. Prospect rankings go up and down. There were 115 decommitments in December alone. Teams will rise and fall – and then there are the transfer rankings as well to consider for the all-important comprehensive rankings.
That’s not to say Notre Dame cannot spurn history and finish with the top class. But LSU is right on its heels and Alabama and Georgia over the years had significant say in how the team recruiting rankings pan out.
We’re not even completely through 2024 and the focus has turned to 2025. Recruiting never stops.