Commitments have started to pick up steam in the 2023 cycle as recruiting classes begin to take shape. As a result, programs are getting a better idea of which targets are the most important moving into the summer portion of the cycle.
Here are five players from the Mid-South that are must-get prospects for certain teams this cycle.
TEXAS: Arch Manning
Arch Manning is easily the most important recruit that Steve Sarkisian and his staff have recruited since arriving in Austin last January. The relationships that Manning has built with some of the top recruits in the country would be huge for whatever school lands his commitment, and for Texas that could help spell out a top-three class with commitments from prospects such as Rueben Owens and Johntay Cook.
What would a commitment elsewhere look like for Texas? The Longhorns have put all focus and energy into landing Manning at the quarterback position in 2023, so a quick pivot to a different 2023 option or to a quarterback that hits the portal would be necessary to keep stability in the room heading into 2023. However, it would massively affect how Texas would be able to recruit in 2023 without the added bonus of having Manning in the class.
The ceiling with Manning in Texas’ class? Top-three. The floor without Manning? Somewhere in the 15-20 range.
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TEXAS A&M: Anthony Hill
Texas A&M’s historic 2022 class did a phenomenal job of stacking top-tier talent on the defensive line and in the secondary. However, the linebacker class was sub-par at best with only two commitments from Ish Harris and Martrell Harris. That creates a situation where a commitment from Anthony Hill would be the final piece to creating a talent-stacked defense in College Station that has the ability to lead the Aggies to a national championship.
Hill’s ability to rush the passer paired with his ability to cover sideline-to-sideline as an inside linebacker makes him the top player at his position in the country, and his violent streak has fans begging for his services.
Texas A&M is squarely in the mix along with Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Miami and USC.
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LSU: Shelton Sampson
It’s hard to make the argument that any program in the country has as much of an in-state advantage as LSU, and this class is no different with multiple prospects already showing heavy interest in the Tigers despite Brian Kelly‘s new staff not having hit the field yet.
One of those prospects is five-star wide receiver Shelton Sampson, but the battle for his services won’t be easy with schools such as Alabama, Michigan, Texas A&M and USC all involved at this point in the process.
One of Kelly’s top objectives in 2023 has to be landing top in-state talent, and it starts with keeping Sampson at home in Baton Rouge to help add a day-one contributor to the receiving room and a big face in Louisiana high school football.
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OKLAHOMA: Cayden Green
There’s little-to-no question that Oklahoma’s most important position group in recruiting the 2023 class is offensive line, and four-star Cayden Green is the top target at this point for the Sooners.
Green’s size and play-early ability would provide a major boost to an offensive line group that has not seen a ton of top talent find its way to Norman in recent classes.
The Sooners will battle with Nebraska, Missouri, Miami and Michigan down the stretch, but it’s hard to make the argument that any school needs Green more than Brent Venables and his Oklahoma Sooners.
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BAYLOR: TayShawn Wilson
For the last decade going back to the late Art Briles years and the Matt Rhule era, Baylor has made a living off of bringing in undervalued recruits and developing them into All-American talents. The evaluation process in Waco has been one of the best in the country as well as the development with some of the coaching that has come through.
However, coming off of a Big 12 title, Baylor has some juice behind its name to recruit some of the state’s top talent and it has the Bears in the mix for four-star cornerback TayShawn Wilson.
In a recruitment that is expected to come down to Texas, Baylor and Houston, the Bears have an opportunity to land a top-140 player and a talented defender in the secondary. If Wilson were to pick Baylor, I would make the prediction that it would be Dave Aranda‘s highest-ranked commit in the class, but it would help the Bears moving forward into future classes with legitimate momentum with highly-ranked recruits.
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