Sports

Fact or fiction: No show beats LSU for Shelton Sampson


Rivals . National Recruitment Manager Adam lawyer and national recruitment analyst Ryan Wright with Julie Boudwin of the TigerDetails.com and Andrew Bone of the BamaInsider.com address three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is TRUTH or AFFECT.

1. No show can beat LSU for four-star WR Shelton Sampson.

Shelton Sampson

Shelton Sampson (Rivals.com)

Lawyers do: REALITY. It’s been an incredible July run for LSU and while Shelton Sampson may not pick the Tigers this month, my prediction is he will pick the Tigers. Alabama recently went to Louisiana to pick up a recipient, he has his former coach at State of Florida and Texas A&M is pushing, but the new LSU staff has made Sampson a top priority, he really lives right from the campus and this makes too much sense. Others will try but I would be surprised if Sampson didn’t end up in this LSU class.

Boudwin’s takes: REALITY. Alabama, Florida State and Texas A&M will certainly try but it really looks like the writing might be on the wall for this one already. Shelton Sampson attends high school minutes from LSU’s campus, to which he has been to more times than he can count. New hires and recruiters have built a solid relationship with him and his family. Sampson now has friends on the LSU team, and the Tigers recently created a social media push with a trending hashtag “SheltonStays” from rookies and current players. To pair Sampson with commit Jalen Brown and athletic ability Khai Prean would be an impressive group for the tigers. At this point, I can’t see the state’s best receiver leaving home when LSU has made him such a priority for a needed position next year.

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2. Alabama fans should feel confident in landing safely at No. 1 Caleb Downs.

Caleb Downs

Caleb Downs (Nick Lucero / Rivals.com)

Lawyers do: REALITY. Caleb Downs is a very difficult read but it looks like this is coming to Alabama and Georgia and right now I’m going to give the Crimson Tide the edge. He is a four-star friend who runs back Justice Haynes. . I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Downs chose Georgia. But Alabama is motivated to make his decision and I bet he will end up in Tuscaloosa.

Bone’s take: REALITY. Downs visited Alabama several times throughout his recruiting process, including a trip to Tuscaloosa in the spring of 2021 for the A-Day game. Recruits were not allowed to speak to coaches or visit facilities that day because of the death deadline still in effect from COVID-19. It was clear that Downs, who had not yet finished his sophomore year at the time, was very interested in the Crimson Tide. Alabama continued to pursue the Downs for the next 15 months. Downs has a close relationship with the Alabama coach. Travaris Robinson before he joined the staff of Tide. T-Rob, Charles Kelly and Sam Petitio led recruitment fees. Alabama’s success in safety is a major selling point including the highest-paid player in his position in the NFL, Minkah Fitzpatrick. It was a very tight game at home, but Alabama proved very beneficial for top ranked safety.

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3. Zachariah Branch is better than WR who is fourth in the class.

Zachariah Branch

Zachariah Branch

Lawyers do: FICTION. I love Zachariah Branch. He’s phenomenal and fun to watch and possibly the best player of the entire wide receiver group. But who is he jumping to move higher than receiver number 4 in class? Carnell Tate has game-changing abilities, impressive size, he’s a great route runner and he can go up and through corners to do plays. Brandon Inniss is a ball-catching machine and can open doors against anyone. And Hykeem Williams is that elite outside threat, who runs like an antelope and has the length like no other elite receiver in its class. It could be easily argued for Branch to be taller, especially after his performance at Future 50 but I don’t know who he jumped on.

Wright’s takes: REALITY. This could be the hardest Truth or Fiction ever. The class of 2023 around the country is equipped with great receivers, and the Branch is one of the best. Of the three people ahead of him in the placement rankings, Carnell Tate, Brandon Inniss and Hykeem Williams, Branch may be the only true inside receiver of those who can also play outside. Branch’s agility, speed, and clear line of sight allowed him to line up anywhere on the field and produced results that set him apart from his group of peers. If an order had to be shared, Williams, Tate, Branch and Inniss would be one of my four. If Branch is ranked top, I won’t argue because he can do it all at the elite level.

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