Fact or Fiction: Four-star DT Xzavier McLeod will commit to South Carolina
Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman along with Richie Schnyderite of NittanyNation.com, Deana King of TarHeelIllustrated.com and Caleb Alexander of GamecockScoop.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
Penn State will lose at least one more commit.
Friedman’s take: FACT. It’s been a bumpy stretch for Penn State. Since the beginning of July the Nittany Lions added six commitments, three of the four-star prospects, and lost commitments from quarterback Marcus Stokes and Rivals250 prospects Tomarrion Parker and Yazeed Haynes. There is a chance this pattern continues. Florida native and Rivals250 defensive back commit Conrad Hussey is being heavily pursued by multiple SEC teams along with Miami. The same is true of Dakaari Nelson, another Rivals250 Penn State commit from Alabama. It will be interesting to see what visits these players take once the season starts up.
Schnyderite’s take: FACT. It’s basically a fact of life that when you recruit top-ranked prospects, other schools will always try to poach them from your program. That’s happened quite a few times for Penn State recently, as the Nittany Lions already lost a couple of Southern recruits this cycle.
Now the other reason I say fact is because current defensive back commits Conrad Hussey and Dakaari Nelson have been getting pushed to flip recently from schools such as Auburn, Arkansas, Miami and Ole Miss. It’s been getting interesting, especially with Nelson who just took a trip to Mississippi at the end of July. It would be a big win for PSU to keep these guys but the odds aren’t looking so hot.
2. If Kevin Concepcion commits to North Carolina, the Tar Heels will still take one more WR commit.
Friedman’s take: FICTION. Four-star wide receiver Kevin Concepcion is committing this Friday and will choose between North Carolina and NC State. Tar Heels’ receiver target Paul Billups is scheduled to commit on Aug. 24. Concepcion has been wrestling with his decision but there is a feeling that NC State might have a slight edge.
However, if he were to commit to North Carolina, it would seem unlikely that the Tar Heels would take another receiver in this class. It’s a great year for receivers in North Carolina so if you told Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown and receivers coach Lonnie Galloway at the beginning of the cycle they could sign Christian Hamilton, Chris Culliver and Concepcion, they’d be ecstatic.
King’s take: FACT. The Tar Heels need wide receivers and will take several. They already have Christian Hamilton and Chris Culliver. North Carolina has a very great shot of landing Paul Billups as well on Aug. 24. Receiver coach Lonnie Galloway will be down to six scholarship receivers in 2023 after standout Josh Downs likely heads to next level and graduation hits.
3. Rivals250 DT Xzavier McLeod will commit to South Carolina on Thursday.
Friedman’s take: FACT. Xzavier McLeod‘s recruitment has been a bit of an up-and-down ride and this is a very close decision heading into Thursday. Georgia has turned up the heat on him since it missed out on Sydir Mitchell but South Carolina has been consistent with him throughout the process. The Gamecocks were recruiting him harder than anybody early in the cycle and Shane Beamer‘s program has done a great job making him feel very comfortable in Columbia. Georgia has been pressing and it could very well pull off the upset but it seems like South Carolina has the edge.
Alexander’s take: FACT. The recruitment of McLeod has been a real rollercoaster. The Gamecocks led early, but as more and more teams got in the mix, it seemed like McLeod was enjoying the attention from the who’s who of college football a little more than I initially anticipated. In fact, at one point in April, I even argued that South Carolina was no longer leading. That said, I would say there are only two teams left standing at this point: South Carolina and Georgia.
I put in a FutureCast for McLeod to South Carolina back on Aug. 5, and I don’t currently plan on changing it before he commits on Thursday. It’s been a long and winding road, but I think McLeod will ultimately stay home, which means South Carolina (seemingly) hit its biggest in-state targets in McLeod, Monteque Rhames and Markee Anderson. Now the only question is can they hold all three until signing day, and I would lean toward yes, as long as nothing overly strange happens during the 2022 season.