Southeast Spotlight: How things go with top uncommitted leads

The clock towards the Early Signing Phase seems to be speeding up with two months left before players put pen to paper on National Letters of Intent. Official visits are underway with college coaches hitting the trail to show the five- and four-star prospects they prioritize.

This week, we look at the vacancies of our top uncommitted leads. Today, we together look for the South East.

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Top rated full-back in the 2023 class, Florida five stars Cormani McClain choose your school. Candidates for the Lakeland defender have included BYU, Ohio State, Michigan and Oklahomawith Miami and Georgia give him powerful hits during the summer months.

In a September interview with Rivals, McClain shared two of the three schools that are pursuing him: Alabama and Florida. The official visit to Alabama on October 7 was canceled for family reasons without announcing a rescheduled date. Even before Billy Napier era, McClain had a close relationship with the Florida show. The Gator seems to be the leader in this race.


Samuel M'Pemba

Samuel M’Pemba (

Another potential customer in 2023 with the choice of seemingly any program he wants is Sam M’Pemba. IMG Academy’s five-star defensive finish took him 8th in July down to 4th in September, the list Georgia, LSU, Miami and Tennessee. The Bulldogs are scheduled to host M’Pemba on November 5, followed by Tennessee on November 12, LSU on November 19, and Miami on November 26.

Out of the four, LSU is possibly the biggest black horse of the bunch. Tennessee is bursting with a great roster of hires and good results this season. The pipeline from IMG Academy to Miami is not to be missed. Hurricanes has done a good job of securing top IMG prospects, can the appeal of continuing to play alongside his teammates be won over? Georgia is the head of the club from an outsider’s point of view. This recruiting battle still has twists and turns.


Keon Keeley

Keon Keeley

Some may promote Keeley’s top schools like Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame and Ohio State, but this is a two-team competition between the Crimson Tide and the Buckeyes. Keeley abandoned Notre Dame in August after not officially arriving in Bama at the end of July.

Speculation is that Keeley will commit to Tide after that, but the hiring process continues with one official to Ohio State and one unofficial to Florida in September. Bama took Keeley on campus to an officer on October 8. From the look of it, Alabama was intent on signing Keeley.


James Smith

James Smith (Caleb Jones |

Smith has the top six including AlabamaState of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and Ohio State. Official visits were made to Georgia and Auburn in June, with the Tigers receiving major defense back on campus in September and October. On October 14, Smith sent an official to Gainesville with a defensive end and teammate Carver Jaquavious Russaw. The word is that this duo is a package deal with someone willing to commit to Alabama.

Gator seems to be placed on their defensive front in the class of 2023, but one would argue that adding two four-stars would be a loss. Auburn’s side situation makes it difficult to determine if it is a real possibility or not, it is unknown who the head coach next season will be. As usual in the Southeast, this is another Alabama vs Georgia recruiting showdown for influential players of the future.


Damon Wilson

Damon Wilson (

Venice High School ends defense Damon Wilson remove two of the top five from his list, leaving Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State. In September and again a week ago, Wilson expressed interest in committing earlier. George took Wilson on campus for an informal extended period in June and then received him for an official on October 7. Bama gave him to an official on May 17. 6, with Ohio State playing officially on September 3.

This also looks to be a two-team race between the Buckeyes and Georgia. Side note: Keeley and Wilson are friends off the field. The two have not publicly expressed their intention to play together at the next level, but what a chance for a lucky show if that goes down. On the other hand, Georgia could end up with M’Pemba and Wilson, and that would be a great one-of-a-kind punch for the Bulldogs.


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