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Recruiting Rumor Mill: Intensity remains high at summer’s mid-point

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Recruiting Rumor Mill: Intensity remains high at summer’s mid-point

June was the busiest month but July remains intense as well with tons of recruiting rumors as Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney offers the latest in this week’s Recruiting Rumor Mill.

Oregon continues to be a major contender for the top-rated offensive tackle. He says it feels like home, his brother graduated from there and he loves everything about the Ducks. But he’s had other great visits to Ohio State, Texas and Florida State as all three also remain major players.

A commitment could come in August or September for the Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei standout but he’s working on scheduling an official to Nebraska in the fall and if that happens then Baker will push his pledge to December.

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Settled now at Miami (Fla.) Central after a tumultuous recruitment and high school experience, Cunningham now has a top five of Penn State, Oklahoma, Miami, Texas A&M and Michigan but one program is “definitely recruiting me the hardest out of anyone,” he said.

The Nittany Lions are making the biggest push for Cunningham, who is originally from Georgia, transferred to a school in California and is now in Miami. A decision could be coming soon, too.

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There were plenty of rumors about LSU and Auburn among other schools trying to flip him – and Dixon possibly taking more visits – but the four-star linebacker from Mobile (Ala.) Mobile Christian is now “fully locked in” with his Alabama commitment.

No other trips are being planned. The only visits on his schedule now is that Dixon plans to be at every home game for the Crimson Tide this season.

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Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama are the three front-runners for the four-star defensive end from Hoschton (Ga.) Mill Creek and he’s apparently “working on it now” to announce a commitment date.

There have been other front-runners and top teams throughout his recruitment but this should wind up an SEC East battle.

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Penn State, Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame and Ohio State are the finalists for the 2025 high four-star receiver from Jacksonville (Fla.) Mandarin with his commitment date set for July 22. The word is that the Crimson Tide are very much in control here. They have been for some time since they’ve been so consistent in his recruitment and targeted him as one of the top receivers in the 2025 class. Anything can still happen but Alabama looks to have the edge.

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The Pahokee, Fla., four-star receiver has been busy recently since he reclassified from 2025 to 2024 and is now looking at a potential commitment “soon.”

Kentucky and Penn State are the two front-runners for Gilmore, who had more than 1,000 receiving yards last season, but it’s believed the Wildcats are way out in front for Gilmore’s pledge.

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He’s a 2026 tight end but the St. George (Utah) Pine View prospect is one of the best-looking players at his position regardless of class and already has 15 offers. Oregon is definitely one to watch early since he grew up a Ducks’ fan and they’re already recruiting him hard.

A visit to Georgia was huge and getting that offer was even bigger. Utah and Arizona should definitely be watched, as well. Notre Dame would be a big one for Harris and he visits Alabama later this month so one from the Crimson Tide could join that top list, too.

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Tennessee, USC, South Carolina and Alabama have been recruiting Hill the hardest throughout the offseason as the Meridian, Miss., has planned Aug. 23 for his commitment.

Hill wants to play running back at the next level and the feeling is if Alabama has space in its class then the Crimson Tide could win out. If that doesn’t happen, then South Carolina is the team to watch.

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The new rumor around the five-star receiver as to why he didn’t commit to Texas Tech on multiple occasions – as was expected in the last few weeks – is that Texas A&M has come into his recruitment and is at least making Hudson think again about his pledge.

The Red Raiders are still absolutely the team to beat with Texas trying to hang on but if the Temple (Texas) Lake Belton standout visits College Station later this month then things could get more interesting.

MORE: Hudson makes Patterson’s “Best of” list

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There have been some varying reports about Lindsey and his top teams but the rumor now is that Auburn is surging in his recruitment and could be the team to beat. The Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star defensive end who’s originally from Arkansas is also looking very closely at Texas.

Texas A&M has been the school to watch for a very long time so the Aggies cannot be counted out but there isn’t as much chatter about them recently.

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South Carolina remains the team to beat for the speedy four-star receiver from Burlington (N.C.) Cummings and Gamecocks assistant coach Pete Lembo is leading this recruitment well. People close to Paylor have close connections to Lembo, who used to be the head coach at Elon, which is only a few miles from Paylor’s home in North Carolina.

NC State, Penn State, Maryland and North Carolina are in his top five but it would be a shocker if the Gamecocks don’t get him.

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For months, Pickett has said Ohio State is “for the most part” the favorite in his recruitment and while he’s a take for the Buckeyes, the four-star defensive end from Tampa (Fla.) Wharton still hasn’t made his pledge.

Ohio State still looks very strong for Pickett but Florida State, Louisville and Miami are the other favorites.

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A top 14 is not exactly narrowing down the list significantly but the high four-star offensive lineman now playing at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy is being recruited harder by some and not others.

Some who have slowed down a little bit are Colorado, Texas A&M, Maryland and USC as it seems like Ohio State, Georgia and Alabama could be battling it out the most for the standout offensive lineman right now.

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There is significant pressure for any top Louisiana prospect to pick LSU and Singleton is surely feeling that as well as the Tigers are one of the top teams in his recruitment.

But there are others as well. Texas A&M, TCU and Tennessee are all major strong cases for the four-star safety from Many, La., but LSU could be tough to beat.

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More than half of Miami’s recruiting class is from Florida. Even more importantly, some of them including new five-star commit Joshisa Trader played with Smith in youth leagues – and now with South Florida Express.

Smith even tweeted out a photo of the two playing back when they were young and it could be a major pitch moving forward to flip Smith from Ohio State. It could be an intentional recruiting tactic actually as the Canes, Georgia and others try to flip him as well.

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Texas, Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama and many others have been mentioned through Smith’s recruitment but Oklahoma was the team to beat for a long time and the Sooners still look to be in the best position.

Now there’s a new development as the four-star defensive end is planning to announce his commitment on Sept. 8 during senior night at the new stadium in Melissa, Texas. He’s been communicating more than regularly with the Oklahoma staff and it still looks good for the Sooners.

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Oregon State is definitely a team to watch in Tuataga’s recruitment especially after his visit to Corvallis where he loved the feel of the town and he’s developed a great relationship with position coach Legi Suiaunoa.

The Beavers and BYU have the edge right now for the Eagle Mountain (Utah) Cedar Valley standout who loved the culture in Provo as he’s LDS. But Oregon and Nebraska are also in there.

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One of the next big-time prospects at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei is the 2026 defensive tackle who is already 6-foot-3 and around 300 pounds. An Oregon-USC battle could be brewing for Topui, who grew up a fan of the Trojans but also sees how well the Ducks are recruiting Southern California.

Oklahoma has also recently caught his eye a ton if he chooses to leave the West with Michigan and Auburn two others to watch.

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The recruitment of the five-star receiver should go into the Early Signing Period especially since the St. Louis (Mo.) University standout is now considering official visits to Texas A&M, Tennessee and Miami.

After trips to Texas, Georgia, Missouri and Michigan, Wingo (who showed up to the NIL Sports Summer Kickoff on Friday wearing Longhorns shorts) it still feels like a lot of programs are in contention. Texas did make a huge impression and the Longhorns might have an edge now but he made real arguments for why the others could land his pledge as well.

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