Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney along with Rivals national analyst Sam Spiegelman and Andrew Bone from BamaInsider.com tackle three topics in recruiting and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals100
RIVALS CAMP SERIES: Info/coverage on 2021 camp series
1. Julian Armella is clearly the No. 1 offensive tackle in the 2022 class.
Julian Armella (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Julian Armella was fantastic at the Rivals Camp Series in Miami over the weekend. He has slimmed down, looks great and still has that nasty physical side that we are looking for in offensive tackles. But I especially liked Kelvin Banks at the Dallas camp two weeks ago and there will be many more to review in the coming weeks as well. There is going to be some heated debates about the offensive tackle position throughout this cycle and I don’t think Armella did anything to hurt his position at No. 1 but it’s not an open-and-shut case like some years.
Spiegelman’s take: FICTION. This is no easy call and may be the biggest debate through the All-American games in January. In our first two weeks of the Rivals Camp Series, we’ve seen close-up looks at five-stars Armella and Kam Dewberry, ranked No. 1 and 2 respectively at offensive tackle, along with Rivals100 prospects Will Campbell and Banks. There is no question in my mind that we’ll be adding more five-stars to this position and both Armella and Dewberry impressed in our first look this offseason. Dewberry has position versatility and is wildly consistent; Armella shed some weight and pieced together a stellar effort at RCS Miami and Banks was near-flawless a week prior in Dallas and the same goes for Campbell. All four of these linemen are franchise pieces.
***** 2. Brandon Inniss would be the top-rated receiver in 2022 even though he’s a 2023 prospect.
Brandon Inniss (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Brandon Inniss is great. He has all the tools to be an elite receiver and that’s what he showed at the Miami Rivals Camp and that’s why he’s an early five-star in the 2023 class. But I definitely love Oklahoma commit Luther Burden a whole lot and with his size, speed and playmaking ability, I would still give him the edge. Plus, Kevin Coleman is undersized but he’s such a dynamic playmaker and in today’s college football, he might be more valuable than anyone else. There are no complaints about Inniss but Burden and Coleman are tough to turn down for this question.
Spiegelman’s take: FACT. The wide receiver crop in the 2022 class is certainly deep, but I’m not sure that Inniss wouldn’t also be the best receiver in that group, too. Inniss plays very Christian Kirk-ian with the ability to make plays all over the field. He’s smooth out of his release and can challenge downfield easily. He also makes a ton of catches with hands in his face and makes it look rather seamless. He’ll wind up as a dynamic, multifaceted chess piece somewhere like Ohio State, Alabama, Florida or Oklahoma down the road.
***** 3. Walter Nolen showing up at the Alabama spring game is a sign the Crimson Tide are on top now.
Walter Nolen (Rivals.com)
Gorney’s take: FACT. I’m going to offer a different opinion on this than Bone and we will see how this plays out. The rumor on Walter Nolen is that he wants to play in the SEC and while giving all these other schools serious consideration, it’s more likely that he ends up somewhere in the Southeast. He also knew heading into the weekend that he wouldn’t have contact with the staff and he still made it to Tuscaloosa because he’s that interested in experiencing what the program has to offer. Once Nolen returns and gets the hard sell from coach Nick Saban and his staff, it will only further reinforce his interest in the Crimson Tide. When Alabama really wants someone, the Crimson Tide usually gets him. By no means is this a lock but it’s a very, very positive sign.
Bone’s take: FICTION. It’s tough to predict a certain school is the team to beat simply because X-recruit attended the spring game. Some will look at it in a different way, but a visit to Tuscaloosa without having in-person contact with the coaching staff probably doesn’t move the needle in any direction at this point. Nolen is high on the Tide’s wish list. He also has very high interest in Alabama. Nolen has a strong relationship with defensive line coach Freddie Roach and defensive coordinator Pete Golding. The relationship continues to build. He is also expected to return to Alabama in June. Nolen is not in a major rush to make a decision. He will enjoy his recruitment and make the best decision for his future when he is comfortable with the choice. Alabama is in it for the long haul and is definitely seen as a top contender, but saying it is on top because he attended the spring game is probably more wishful thinking than anything right now.