Recruitment Rumor Mill: Carousel turns as early signing deadline nears

The early signing phase is upon us but there are already managerial changes and a big final weekend of matchday visits. Here’s the latest from this week’s recruitment rumor mill.

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A visit to Clemson over the weekend was “just awesome” for the three-star athlete from Bogart, Ga., North Oconee, as the coaching staff emphasized that he is a huge priority in this class of recruit. Clemson couldn’t have run much better and that’s good for the Tigers as Barnes doesn’t plan on making any more visits with Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma as his finalists.

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The Pierce, Neb., three-star tight end, who has caught 69 passes for 1,274 yards with 18 touchdowns this season, has been committed to Nebraska since April, but his recruiting comes down to the Huskers and Iowa State. It’s “still just the two of them,” as Brahmer plans to visit both before signing anywhere, and he also needs to meet a new coach quickly Matt Rhule.

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The hiring of Matt Rhule is a “great move” from Nebraska and could help the Huskers with the 2024 high three-star athlete from Topeka, Kan. So far, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri have shown the most interest in his recruitment for the 6-foot-5, 235-pound prospect, who has nine total offers to date.

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Clemson coaches pushed for a signing for the three-star Roanoke, Ala., native of Handley over the weekend, and he loved his trip there, but the idea is Haynes is yet to make a decision. The Tigers must like their position as Washington State and Western Kentucky are the main competitors for Haynes’ services and the Cougars are trying to bring Haynes to Pullman but no visit has been completed yet.

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Tennessee, Baylor, Duke, Oregon State and Washington made the biggest impression on the 2024 at the tight end of Scottsdale, Ariz.’s Desert Mountain Kenny Dillingham‘s hiring at Arizona State could change things a lot. The Sun Devils could definitely join that top flight for Hipp once he gets to know the new staff and see what they have in store for the program.

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Georgia, Ohio State, Tennessee, Michigan, Alabama and Florida are the top six for the 2024 four-star Rockledge, Fla. safety, but after a weekend visit to Florida State, the Seminoles could move up significantly. Heyward loved the Tallahassee environment and sees an upward trend for FSU among coaches Mike Norvell. The message from the staff was that they will recruit Heyward even harder and he is considering adding the Noles to his top list.

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Miami and Ole Miss have been the two regulars in Johnson’s recruits for the past few months, but Clemson and Penn State have now joined the top flight — and the Tigers could rise very high very quickly. His visit to Clemson was the best yet for the Dillard speedster from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and while Johnson is due to visit Penn State next month, Clemson is looking better.

“You’re in a good place with me,” Johnson said.

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The 2024 high three-star quarterback at Savannah, Ga.’s Benedictine Military School stands by his promise he made to Florida State in March, and he’s thrilled at how the Seminoles have progressed this season. But Penn State is also making a serious run at Krommenhoek, and the 2024 quarterback is considering some visits after his season ends.

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The hiring of coach Matt Rhule at Nebraska has McClellan “very excited” and he will monitor the Huskers more closely as he begins his recruitment. The 2024 four-star recipient from St. Louis (Mo.) Christian Brothers still has Ohio State, Michigan, Texas A&M, Missouri, Oregon and others recruiting him the hardest.

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Penn State shows the 2024 athlete from Bellevue, Neb. West the most love and attention as he speaks to the Nittany Lions “almost every day,” and he really likes that from the PSU staff. This program definitely stands out, but McMorris also hears a lot from USC, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Oklahoma.

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Bringing Matt Rhule to Nebraska is a “great hire” in the eyes of the 2024 quarterback from Wheaton, Illinois St. Francis, as the Huskers recruit hard along with Missouri, Ole Miss, Duke, East Carolina and then a few MAC have programs. So far, Milivojevic has paid special attention to Nebraska, Ole Miss and Bowling Green as these three have offered.

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Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska are the three schools so far offering the security of 2024 from Esko, Minnesota, and then Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Kansas and Kansas State got more involved in its junior season. At the Huskers, Perich is keenly interested as he watches the first coaching change in his recruiting and hopes new coach Matt Rhule keeps much of it Mickey Joseph did within the program.

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Instead of going to the Michigan-Ohio State game this weekend, the 2025 four-star linebacker from Buford, Georgia returned to Georgia and had another phenomenal time in Athens. During that trip, the Georgia coaches spent a lot of time with Perlotte and showed him many reasons why the Dawgs could be the team to beat in his recruiting. A top list could follow shortly.

“It’s different over here, they told me,” Perlotte said.

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Like many top prospects who found out about Matt Rhule’s hiring in Nebraska, Pyfrom wants Mickey Joseph to remain on the team. That’s a big consideration for the 2024 offensive tackle Omaha (Neb.) Central as he looks at his own recruiting with Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Minnesota having recruited him the hardest to date.

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It’s been a busy season for 2024 three-star West Des Moines (Iowa) offensive guard Dowling, with stops in Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma State to recruit him the hardest. When it comes to the Huskers there is a lot of confidence that Matt Rhule can turn the program around, he’s done it before and now he has NFL experience and like so many others, Rakers is hoping Rhule keeps Mickey Joseph on the team.

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The 2024 four-star defensive end from Tucson, Ariz. Salpointe will be watching closely as new Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham assembles his staff and could visit them this offseason, but other trips are currently focused definitely more on them. Rushing, who boasts tremendous length and sharpness, is already targeting junior day visits in Alabama, Tennessee and Washington.

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The 2024 four-star receiver from Bolingbrook, Illinois was “a little shocked” when Nebraska hired Matt Rhule as Stewart expected interim coach Mickey Joseph to step up and get the job. That didn’t happen, so Stewart will have to reassess the situation as the Huskers, Oregon, Michigan, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Penn State, Ole Miss, Illinois and others give chase.

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LSU will remain a key contender for the 2026 defensive end for New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine, who is one of the best players regardless of his class as he always feels wanted and loved at Baton Rouge. Stewart has noted that since the Tigers are one of many early standouts for the 2026 Elite alongside Alabama and other SEC powers, it’s always important for coaches to talk to him and build that relationship.

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All of the top national programs will be interested in the 2024 four-star running back after Tatum has rushed for 1,572 yards and 28 touchdowns, but he has his eye on a few with Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma, USC, Oregon, Tennessee, Penn State, Ole Miss, TCU, Auburn, Stanford and Cal which stand out the most for Longview, Texas.

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