Weekend Visit Preview: Tennessee hosting long list of blue chippers; 5-stars on the move

The Weekend Visit Preview is back again for Week 4, breaking down which top prospects will be on what campuses for games over the next few days. After an eventful first few weeks of the season, which have included a number of key official and unofficial visits, some of the the biggest names in the 2023 class will be out and about again this weekend.

Eyes will be on Knoxville, where Tennessee welcomes SEC East rival Florida into Rocky Top. But key visitors will also make their way to Alabama, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State and more.

As always, these will be updated as more information becomes available.

Key blue-chippers in for Tennessee-Florida showdown

In just two shorts years, Josh Heupel has led Tennessee from the laughingstock of college football to knocking on the doors of top 10. In doing so, he has also rebuilt the Vols’ recruiting efforts, landing the No. 16 class in the On3 Consensus Team Rankings a year ago. Now, Tennessee heads into the end of September with another excellent class in hand, currently sitting at No. 13 nationally.

The Vols already have five-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava, a legit contender for the No. 1 recruit in the class, in the fold. But Heupel and Co. are looking to add to the nine blue-chippers they already have pledged. Tennessee will host a quartet of key official visitors this weekend, none bigger than On3 five-star Concord (N.C.) defensive lineman Daevin Hobbs. Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and others are in the mix, but UT has a big chance to make an impression during his second visit to campus this year.

Along the defensive line, four-star Auburn commit Wilky Denaud will also be in for an official, having seen the Tigers last weekend and expected to also visit Indiana and Florida State this fall.

Tennessee will also host a major offensive target: Gainesville (Fla.) four-star wideout Jaren Hamilton. The On3 top-150 prospect also has official visits set to Michigan and Alabama, with Mississippi State looking to get one as well.

In the 2024 class, top-10 prospect and Vols commit Jonathan Echols will be back on campus after announcing his commitment during the summer. He’ll be joined by a host of other targets, including four-stars Travaris Banks, Mario Craver, Kaleb Beasley, and Fletcher Westphal.

Keon Keeley returns to Ohio State

When five-star Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep EDGE Keon Keeley decommitted from Notre Dame last month, Alabama was immediately considered the favorite to land him. But the Crimson Tide have some legit competition, mainly Ohio State and Florida. The Buckeyes got him on campus for an official visit at the beginning of this month, and Keeley will return to Columbus this weekend when OSU hosts Wisconsin.

On3 Director of Recruiting Chad Simmons caught up with Keeley after his visit to Florida on Sept. 10, but also got the chance to talk to him about the Buckeyes.

“… Obviously we know about Larry Johnson, the defensive line coach and how they’re comparing him to maybe being that next Chase Young if you go to Ohio State. … My biggest takeaway is Ohio State is a true contender in this race and definitely a school to keep an eye on,” Simmons said during On3’s The Inside Scoop podcast.

He’ll be joined by five-star wide receiver and Ohio State commit Brandon Inniss, one of a number of future Buckeyes recruiting him to land in Columbus. Top 2024 targets Charles Lester III and Tayvion Galloway are also expected to be in town.

Uncommitted five-stars taking more visits

In addition to Keeley, a couple more of country’s truly elite prospects will be on the road as well. On3 Director of Recruiting Chad Simmons has confirmed the Montgomery (Ala.) Carver five-star duo of James Smith and Qua Russaw will be at Alabama this weekend for another unofficial visit. The Crimson Tide have long been considered one of their top two schools, alongside Georgia and Auburn. Florida is also in the mix with the pair, who say they definitely plan to play together at the next level.

Michigan, meanwhile, will gets its chance to host five-star Archbishop Carroll (D.C.) athlete Nyckoles Harbor, a week after he was at South Carolina. The Wolverines currently hold a slight lead in the On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine (RPM) over LSU, South Carolina, USC and a handful of others. Harbor and his family like what Michigan offers on and off the field in terms of academics, according to Simmons.

The final five-star official visitor of the weekend is Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle tight end Duce Robinson, who will be spending a few days in Athens while Georgia hosts Kent State. The Bulldogs already have two tight ends committed this cycle, but would be more than happy to add Robinson to that room. USC and Texas are thought to be out in front at this point, according to the RPM, with Georgia, Oregon, Alabama and others trailing behind.

Other notable visits around the country

  • In addition to Harbor, Michigan is expected to host On3 top-150 offensive lineman Nathan Efobi out of Cumming (Ga.) South Forsyth this weekend. The Wolverines have a strong connection with the interior mauler, including a unique bond between him and a former UM star.
  • LSU will get one of its top 2024 targets on campus this weekend when Carlsbad (Calif.) quarterback Julian Sayin comes to town. The No. 16 overall prospect in the On3 Consensus, Sayin is high on the Tigers, along with Georgia, Texas and Alabama. He previously visited LSU in June and told DawgsHQ that a commitment could be coming soon. On Wednesday night, Simmons put in a prediction in favor of the Tigers.
  • Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage four-star cornerback Damari Brown will be at Miami this weekend as the Hurricanes try to lock down one of the country’s top pass defenders. Clemson, Alabama and Florida State are some other schools sticking out, he told Simmons earlier this month.
  • Ole Miss will bring to town a host of 2024 and 2025 prospects, including four-star junior Jeffrey Rush, elite 2025 wideout Caleb Cunningham and in-state sophomore quarterback Emile Picarella.

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