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Three-Point Stance: UCF surges, Georgia protecting its turf, FSU struggles


Rivals national recruiting analyst Ryan Wright is here with a look at UCF‘s surging 2023 recruiting efforts, Georgia‘s chances at protecting its home recruiting turf and Florida State‘s struggling 2023 recruiting class.

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1. UCF SHOULD CHALLENGE FOR A TOP-25 CLASS IN 2023

Kaven Call

Kaven Call (Rivals.com)

Since 2005 when UCF was being guided by head coach George O’Leary, the program has been fighting for respect on the national level. Over the years the wins have continued to pile up under Scott Frost, Josh Heupel and now Gus Malzahn. What may be different this time around for the Knights, they have an established coach that does not see UCF as a stepping stone. The stability and resume Malzahn brings to Orlando should pay off along the recruiting trail in 2023.

Fighting against the traditions at Florida, Florida State and Miami, UCF is set to break through. Taking that next step will help once the Knights join the Big 12, a move that will in turn help bring in the high-profile prospects. The last three UCF recruiting classes have been ranked in the 50s – 58th in 2020, 52nd in 2021 and 53rd in 2022. The 2023 recruiting cycle is in the early stages, but the Knights are ranked 29th nationally with four verbal commitments that includes four-stars Kaven Call and Isaiah Nixon.

More four-star prospects are making the stop in Orlando, wanting to see what the Knights have to offer. The opportunity is there for UCF to lock down the recruits in their backyard, expanding to Tampa and throughout the state.

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2. GEORGIA WILL WIN ITS STATE

Caleb Downs

Caleb Downs

Looking solely at the Rivals’ top 10 state rankings for Georgia, the Bulldogs are already way out in front holding commitments from OT Jonathan Hugley, SDE Gabriel Harris, and CB Marcus Washington. The big win would be keeping top-rated RB Justice Haynes away from Florida, Notre Dame and whomever else. The Bulldogs are in the running with Haynes.

Caleb Downs is the next big recruiting domino Georgia needs. The four-star safety has taken multiple trips to Athens, but has also visited NC State, UCF, Florida, Florida State, Clemson and Alabama this spring. The Bulldogs are in the top 10 for OG Madden Sanker as a legitimate contender for his signed NLI. If these three can be signed, the Bulldogs have pulled off another big-time recruiting class.

Defenders Victor Burley and Raul Aguirre are wild cards. Washington visited Georgia back in January and has gone on to visit Clemson a couple of times. Aguirre is coming off eye-opening visits at Ohio State and Florida with Miami this weekend and one to Alabama wanted but yet to be set. Landing either one or both would further strengthen Georgia’s 2023 class.

Avieon Terrell seems like a lock to Clemson and Terrance Love is verbally tied to Auburn. Georgia, however, should still control the Peach State on National Signing Day.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH GEORGIA FANS AT UGASPORTS.COM

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3. RECRUITING BOOST NEEDED FOR FLORIDA STATE

Darren Lawrence

Darren Lawrence (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

On paper, Florida State is off to a strong start in the 2023 race, but a closer look suggests recruiting efforts have been somewhat stagnant. Of the six verbal commitments tied to the class, four committed by July 2021. The two newest editions are three-star defensive tackle Keith Sampson and three-star receiver Darren Lawrence. Lawrence joined the haul in March and Lawrence on April 1.

In one of the most competitive recruiting markets in the nation, some four-star wins are needed. Among their in-state Power Five challengers, the Seminoles (No. 17) are still ahead of Miami (No. 23), UCF (No. 29) and Florida (No. 52).

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH FLORIDA STATE FANS AT WARCHANT.COM



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