National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
1. Four-star LB Terrence Lewis will end up back with the Vols.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. The star linebacker from Miami de-committed from Jeremy Pruitt but said the Vols are still very much in the mix. But will they get him back? I doubt it.
Lewis has had some off-field issues that held some teams back from recruiting him but it’s clear that Miami, Auburn and Florida are showing legit interest and trying to land him so he has more options now, especially to stay closer to home, and he will take one of those.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Lewis said Tennessee is still his top school but if he wanted to stick with the Vols, he wouldn’t have decommitted. Tennessee is not going to give up even though the Vols are OK at inside linebacker but Lewis is so talented and he’d been committed for a while, so getting him back in this class is going to be crucial. I just don’t think it’s going to happen.
Auburn looks very good but I also think Miami and Florida are going to make a major run at him. Lewis is uber-talented, so many, many schools will give chase and it’s going to be tough for Tennessee to get him back.
***** 2. Five-star CJ Hicks could flip from Ohio State to Cincinnati.
Farrell’s take: FACT. These rumors began a few days ago and seemed ridiculous. Yes the Bearcats are a top 10 team and Luke Fickell has done an amazing job. But most assume Fickell will be gone for a bigger job and there’s no way Hicks, a five-star, would spurn Ohio State.
But let’s remember one thing. The Bearcats were his first offer, he loves Fickell and Hicks knows he can find his way to the NFL no matter where he goes. I’m not saying this happens, but it could, and that’s all that matters.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. I asked Hicks about this and he said Cincinnati was his first offer and he thinks the Bearcats are a solid program. He loves the coaches and that they’ll be “family” no matter where he goes because they have such a great relationship but I find it very hard to believe he could flip to Cincinnati. It is a great program and Fickell is fantastic but Hicks is already committed to Ohio State. That’s a better program and puts more people in the NFL. Almost no one says “no” to the Buckeyes, especially in-state superstars.
***** 3. Michigan State will push up the Big Ten.
Farrell’s take: FACT. It’s been an up-and-down season for Mel Tucker, but he’s recruiting well. He’s going to hit the Southeast a bit in recruiting and he has a couple of nice wins including the huge upset of Northwestern. And let’s remember that Michigan and Penn State are currently in shambles. In a couple of years it’s possible that Tucker could have his team as the biggest challenge to the Buckeyes. Don’t sleep on Mel.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Tucker and his staff have done an excellent job recruiting in this class in-state with Rayshaun Benny. But they’ve also done well in New Jersey with Audric Estime and Geno VanDeMark and in the Southeast, where he has his connections from coaching at Alabama and Georgia. Tucker has NFL experience and SEC experience. The rebuild starts with recruiting. There have been ups and downs this season but the Spartans are bringing in a lot of talent and Tucker is building from the ground up in East Lansing.