1. Nyckoles Harbor, ATH | Washington (DC) Archbishop Carroll
247Sports rankings: No. 16 overall, No. 1 ATH
Maryland, Michigan and South Carolina battle for uncommitted five-star Nyckoles Harbour in a race down to the wire, according to 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong. Harbor, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound talent from Washington (DC) Archbishop Carroll.
“Well, two weeks in a row that he’s been at Maryland,” Wiltfong said on 247Sports’ College Football Recruiting Show last week. “Went to a basketball game there two weeks ago. That was the family’s first-ever basketball game on the Terrapins’ campus. They loved the energy and the environment there, got a chance to spend time around (Mike) Locksley and the staff. Then they come back this weekend for some more face time with Mike Locksley and company, but also got a lot of face time with the school president, the school athletic director.
“Nyckoles Harbour has aspirations of playing in the NFL, he has aspirations of running in the next Olympics and he has aspirations of being a surgeon. So, what do you do? You bring in one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the company to hang out with Nyckoles Harbour as well. So Maryland laid out the red carpet for him.”
2. Matayo Uiagalelei, EDGE | Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
247Sports rankings: No. 17 overall, No. 2 EDGES
The brother of Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, now in the transfer portal, Matayo Uiagalelei is an equally elite prospect who has narrowed his list of options to three schools — Oregon, Ohio State and USC. Notes 247Sports recruiting analyst Greg Biggins, Uiagalelei attended the USC-Notre Dame game this season and grew up in a pro-USC family.
“USC is the hometown school and I’ve been there more than anywhere else,” Uiagalelei said in an interview with Biggins. “I like coach (Shaun) Nua a lot and Lincoln Riley is going to build a winning program there for sure. There’s a lot of positive energy there.”
3. Duce Robinson, TE | Phoenix Pinnacle
247Sports rankings: No. 30 overall, No. 1 TE
Robinson is two-sport star at the high school level and is a talented baseball prospect with a chance of being drafted. The Under Armor All-American is in the final stretch of a national recruitment with a final five of Texas, Alabama, USC, Georgia and Oregon. At 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, Robinson is a pass-catching option with limitless potential at the next level.
4. James Smith, DL | Montgomery (Ala.) Carver
247Sports rankings: No. 33 overall, No. 4 DL
Alabama hosted James Smith over the weekend and, according to BamaOnLine, the nation’s fourth-best defensive lineman came away impressed with the Crimson Tide. According to his mother, Smith talked to several Alabama staffers, including Nick Saban, and he has a strong relationship with Alabama’s coaches. Auburn, Georgia, and Florida are considered to be the other programs in the mix for Smith’s services.
5. Tausili Akana, EDGE | Lehi (Utah) Skyridge
247Sports rankings: No. 34 overall, No. 4 EDGES
One of Oklahoma’s top targets left on the Sooners’ board, four-star Tausili Akana is projected to Brent Venables’ program, according to recent 247Sports Crystal Ball updates. If Akana chooses Oklahoma over Texas and LSU, he’ll become the Sooners’ highest-ranked defensive commit in the Top247. According to Parker Thune, the versatile Hawaii native helped lead Skyridge High to a Utah state title, and amidst that push for glory, visited Oklahoma in October.
6. Damon Wilson, EDGE | Venice (Fla.)
247Sports rankings: No. 40 overall, No. 6 EDGE
One of several elite prospects set to make his announcement this week, Damon Wilson is leaning Georgia, according to Wiltfong. Ohio State is also considered to be on the same wavelength as the Bulldogs. Wilson visited both top programs in November and was impressed by each. Wilson, a four-star on 247Sports, is the sixth-best edge rusher this cycle. Wilson is an elite player in pass-rush situations.
7. Desmond Ricks, CB | Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
247Sports rankings: No. 42 overall, No. 3 CB
LSU is “Cornerback U” with the way it consistently lands top-end cornerback prospects, and Desmond Ricks could soon join that fraternity. The Tigers are believed to be the leader for his services. Ricks is making his decision Dec. 22. Alabama and Florida are doing what they can to beat out LSU for his commitment and he recently took officials to both programs.
8. Qua Russaw, EDGE | Montgomery (Ala.) Carver
247Sports rankings: No. 48 overall, No. 7 EDGE
Another available four-star from talent factory Carver, Qua Russaw announces next week. Wiltfong locked in his 247Sports Crystal Ball projection to Alabama on Wednesday for the 6-foot-2, 230-pound pass rusher. Auburn, Florida and Georgia are also in the mix for Russaw, according to his recruiting profile. He stars opposite fellow top-50 prospect James Smith on the same defensive line. If the Crimson Tide sign both, that would almost ensure the nation’s top-ranked class.
9. Jordan Hall, DL | Jacksonville (Fla.) Westside
247Sports rankings: No. 55 overall, No. 6 DL
Set to make his announcement on Thursday among a host of elite programs, Jordan Hall has taken official visits to Alabama, Georgia, Florida and LSU, according to BamaOnLine. The Gators recently had an in-home with Hall and are doing everything they can to keep him in-state. Hall’s official visit to Gainesville came earlier this month. Georgia hosted him on campus last weekend for an official visit and currently holds the majority of the predictions on the 247Sports Crystal Ball.
10. Malachi Coleman, ATH | Lincoln (Neb.) East
247Sports rankings: No. 63 overall, No. 3 ATH
Malachi Coleman visited Colorado over the weekend and loved the “new look” of the program under Deion Sanders. At 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, Coleman is one of the fastest, most explosive players in the country boasting 10.4 speed in the 100m dash. Coleman took an official visit to Nebraska earlier this month and has not yet determined when he’ll make a decision. Both first-year coaching staffs could use a player of his caliber.
11. Rodrick Pleasant, CB | Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra
247Sports rankings: No. 80 overall, No. 6 CB
UCLA hosted Rodrick Pleasant, one of the newest additions to 247Sports’ top 100, over the weekend. UCLA is considered a “longshot” for Pleasant, but getting him on campus ahead of the early signing period was huge for Chip Kelly and staff. Per his 247Sports scouting report, Pleasant “has tremendous speed and is arguably the fastest player in the 2023 class. He had personal bests of 10.14-100m and 20.40-200m as a junior and will double sport in college. His speed shows up on the football field and he’s a dangerous player in all three phases of the game.”
12. Jelani McDonald, ATH | Waco (Texas) Connally
247Sports rankings: No. 97 overall, No. 5 ATH
Jelani McDonald visited Texas over the weekend and is deciding between the Longhorns, Oklahoma State and TCU, according to Wiltfong. According to Horns247, McDonald took his official to Oklahoma State back in the summer and traveled to TCU last weekend. He will commit on Jan. 7 during the live broadcast of the All-American Bowl. Texas currently has the No. 4 class in the country per 247Sports and the addition of McDonald would be another major win.