Rivals.com – Fact or Fiction: Arch Manning should remain No. 1 in the 2023 rankings


Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analysts Clint Cosgrove and Nick Harris along with Brandon Howard from TideIllustrated.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.

1. If a player enters the NFL Draft and is not picked, he should be able to return to school.

NFL Draft (USA Today Sports Images)

Gorney’s take: FACT. If there is significant order and a thorough process behind it then yes, if a player declares for the NFL Draft and is not selected then he should be able to return to school. I want what is best for the player and coaches, staffs and schools can figure out the rest. It would not wreak that much havoc on programs as they – and the player – have a good understanding of where/if they will get drafted and players won’t want to just jump to the draft in the hopes of getting drafted, then rejected and have to return to school. But if a player makes a bad decision and declares for the draft only to not get picked and he has eligibility left? Yes, of course he should be able to return.

Cosgrove’s take: FICTION. I am not opposed to college football adapting similar rules to the NBA where players have the opportunity to explore their draft potential. My proposition would be to allow draft-eligible players a limited window to declare as early entry candidates. They would then attend pre-draft workouts where an NFL committee would give a grade and projected draft position.

These players would then be given a timeline to withdraw. Should they proceed with the draft after this process and go undrafted, they would lose all remaining college eligibility as a result. Without such requirements, countless players would enter the draft on a yearly basis knowing they can automatically come back to play in college when they are not selected. This would wreak havoc on college football roster management, waste NFL resources, and ultimately hurt the college recruiting process as a whole.

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2. Florida and others have made a run but Alabama should still feel confident in landing Kelby Collins.

Kelby Collins
Kelby Collins (Rivals.com)

Gorney’s take: FACT. Kelby Collins has been seriously interested in Florida with another good visit for Friday Night Lights and then South Carolina and others intrigued him but I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t pick Alabama. The Crimson Tide are looking to load up in this recruiting class with defensive linemen and he comes from a family full of Alabama fans. This is one of those situations where Collins is legitimately interested in other programs but when it comes to decision time Alabama should be the pick.

Howard’s take: FACT. Florida did make a run at Kelby Collins, especially after Derrick LeBlanc chose the Sooners. Collins has done an excellent job keeping things close to the vest as a Rivals250 prospect holding 30-plus offers to consider. Collins would create a major splash for the Gators if they were able to beat out programs like Alabama and Georgia for his verbal. As it stands today, I’d go with Alabama. The Tide have a ton of momentum on the trail, and Collins seems ready to add to it.

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3. Arch Manning should stay No. 1 in the new 2023 rankings release.

Arch Manning
Arch Manning (Nick Harris)

Gorney’s take: FACT. Believe me, I don’t like at all that Arch Manning didn’t compete in any of the national 7-on-7 events or at any of the national quarterback competitions. An apples-to-apples comparison against Malachi Nelson, Nico Iamaleava, Dante Moore (who all did those events) and others would have been great. But it also doesn’t diminish Manning’s ability and his long-term projection as a first-round NFL Draft pick. The other question becomes: If not Manning, then who? I’m not totally sure there is a clear No. 1 that isn’t getting moved up because Manning is holding up that spot.

Harris’ take: FICTION. The summer is used as a proving opportunity for top prospects, and there were multiple quarterbacks and others that were able to succeed alongside some of the top competition in the country. While we are well aware of Manning’s skillset and potential, there are still questions that need to be answered in my mind. For that, I consider him top-five at this moment but not the top prospect overall.

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