Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst Nick Harris along with Jason Suchomel of Orangebloods.com and Zack Carpenter of InsideNebraska.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
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1. Texas has a real shot to flip five-star LB Anthony Hill from Texas A&M.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. I’m going to put this one in the category of ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ There is definitely reason for optimism or at least hope as numerous Texas commits are trying to flip him, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian and inside linebackers coach Jeff Choate attended Hill’s game on Thursday night and the five-star linebacker has kept lines of communication open but Texas A&M has already landed his commitment and he’s supposed to be in College Station again this weekend. If things go south with the Aggies then yes, the Texas door could be open but I’m just not there yet.
Suchomel’s take: FACT. I’d caution Texas fans from getting too excited about the prospect of flipping Anthony Hill just yet, because things are only in the beginning stages, but the UT staff has been in contact with the five-star defender and Hill has been receptive. Several Texas commitments have also been in Hill’s ear (or recruiting him on social media) and there’s a feeling among those prospects that Texas has a real shot. Hill showing up at a Texas game at some point is still under consideration, but in order to have a realistic chance at this one the Longhorns are going to have to continue to play at a high level, especially on defense, and they’ll probably need Texas A&M to continue to struggle on the field.
2. Final prediction time: Jalen Hale will pick Alabama.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. I know there is a lot of chatter about Alabama and how much he and his family loved that official visit – and I don’t dare bet against the Crimson Tide often because they usually get who they want – but I’m sticking with Texas here. The opportunity to stay in-state, to play for coach Steve Sarkisian and especially with Quinn Ewers and Arch Manning, I just don’t see Jalen Hale turning all that down.
Harris’ take: FICTION. While Alabama was able to generate some buzz after his official visit to Tuscaloosa, I’m sticking with my initial FutureCast Prediction in favor of Texas to land Hale. The East Texas four-star told reporters at Future 50 back in July that his decision was already made, and I haven’t heard anything from sources and those close to Hale to indicate that there has been a change since then. Hale will take an official visit to College Station this weekend, but I still see him picking Texas on Wednesday.
3. Iowa State’s Matt Campbell would be the best hire at Nebraska.
Gorney’s take: FACT. In the 10 years before Matt Campbell got to Iowa State, the Cyclones had one winning season. Since that time, Iowa State has had only one losing campaign, the first year Campbell was in Ames. When USC was doing its due diligence on a coaching search prior to hiring Lincoln Riley, the word I got was that they were super, super high on Campbell and many decision-makers felt he was following a career trajectory similar to Nick Saban. That’s not to say Campbell will be the next Saban but he’s been a head coach at Toledo and Iowa State for 10 whole seasons and has only lost more than he’s won once. That’s incredible. He’s a dogged competitor, gets the absolute maximum out of what he’s got and is only 42-years-old. Forget pie in the sky and go after the best fit for so many reasons.
Carpenter’s take: FICTION. The best hire at Nebraska would be Luke Fickell. He’s the absolute home run, dream candidate. But there’s no chance he leaves for Nebraska. If we’re talking in the long shot but still possible range, it’s Dave Aranda or Matt Rhule. Aranda has Big Ten roots and can recruit Texas/the Midwest. Rhule has proven at Temple and Baylor that he’s a program builder who can turn things around quickly. But Matt Campbell is still a knockout hire for multiple reasons — especially if he were to bring his quarterbacks coach Joel Gordon with him. Campbell has turned Iowa State into a Big 12 contender in a situation with fewer resources than he would have in Lincoln.