Rivals national recruiting analyst John Garcia, Jr., Rivals recruiting director Adam Gorney, TheOsceola.com’s Charles Fishbein and FirstandTenFlorida.com‘s Jason Higdon tackle three key topics in SEC and ACC country and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
MORE FACT OR FICTION: Julian Sayin is the No. 1 QB in the 2024 class | Penn State will get a commitment out of the White Out game
FINAL 2023 TEAM RANKINGS: Comprehensive (overall) ranking | High school/JUCO ranking | Transfer portal ranking
CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
CLASS OF 2026 RANKINGS: Rivals100
TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Transfer portal player ranking | Transfer portal team ranking | Transfer Tracker | Message board
1. Five-star Julian Sayin will be ready to compete for the starting QB job at Alabama as a freshman.
Gorney’s Take: FACT. A real argument could be made that Julian Sayin would be the best quarterback on Alabama‘s roster right now. Others know the playbook better and have been inside the program longer but Sayin is incredibly skilled and fits almost exactly what coach Nick Saban is looking for in his quarterbacks. One of his QB coaches compares him to Bryce Young – not in the style of play necessarily but in the way he prepares, how he sees the field and his ability to anticipate what’s going to happen on the football field. It’s pretty clear Alabama doesn’t know what to do at quarterback right now as no one in the trio of Jalen Milroe, Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson has stepped up and taken control. Knowing Sayin, he’s going to come into Alabama completely prepared and ready to compete for that starting job from day one.
Garcia’s Take: FICTION. Sayin has the billing of being arguably the most accurate passer in the country and he has shown off better-than-expected mobility as a senior, but Saban rarely trusts freshmen at the game’s most important position. Young, Tua Tagovailoa and fellow first-rounder Mac Jones didn’t get the nod right after high school. The one who most famously did, Jalen Hurts, was specifically brought in to be a game manager and not make mistakes, which feels either outdated or a formula for losing grip on the top of the mountain in college football. I can see Alabama going the transfer portal route before a teenager gets the nod to open the 2024 season, although Sayin could wind up as the top passer in that QB room by year’s end, ala Tagovailoa back in 2017.
MORE SAYIN: Who is the No. 1 QB in the 2024 class?
2. Five-star DB KJ Bolden will be on ‘flip watch’ until early National Signing Day.
Fishbein’s Take: FACT. Bolden, a Florida State commit, is the top-rated defensive back in the country. Georgia coach Kirby Smart is one of the top head coaches and defensive back coaches in the country. UGA assistant coach Fran Brown is also an elite recruiter. These two will not stop recruiting Bolden until the ink is dry on National Signing Day. Until Bolden shuts his recruitment down it will be open until he steps on campus at FSU.
Garcia’s Take: FACT. If it was just one contender trying to pry Bolden from Florida State then maybe the flip watch buzz dies down at different points, but by all indications Georgia isn’t alone in its pursuit of changing the five-star’s mind. Auburn has been expecting an official visit sooner rather than later, per Bolden himself, and the other finalists are Alabama and Ohio State which always play the flip game. Bolden’s visit log the rest of the college football season will be must-see in the recruiting world, including if and when he gets back to Tallahassee.
3. Florida should be considered the favorite for Rivals250 DL LJ McCray.
Higdon’s Take: FACT. Florida is the front-runner to land McCray. The four-star Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland standout has a close relationship with the entire defensive staff at Florida. The Gators have made McCray a priority, and he believes in the vision they have for him. Also, teammate Zavier Mincey is a top target for the Gators, and if it works out the two would like to continue their careers together. I have a forecast for the Gators for both Mincey and McCray. If McCray ends up somewhere else it would be a huge blow to the Gators.
Garcia’s Take: FICTION. Florida does have the most visits to its name in the race for McCray, including the most recent in Florida’s upset over Tennessee, but he is still on the board. The Gator momentum is real, but it will be challenged by both Florida State and Georgia, most notably, going forward. FSU gets the last official visit the weekend of Oct. 7, and McCray has talked about making one more Georgia trip before a decision in late October comes down. That means Florida would be the third (or fourth, if Auburn can grab a game visit as well) most recent game he would have taken before making a college decision.