Fact or fiction: Arch Manning should remain the no. 1 in the ranking for 2023

National Rivals Recruiting Director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analysts Clint Cosgrove and Nick Harris together with Brandon Howard From TideIllustrated.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement to be FACT or FICTION.

1. If a player enters the NFL draft and is not selected, he must be able to return to school.

NFL draft

NFL Draft (USA Today Sports Images)

Upper receptions: 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 go back to school. I want the best for the players and the coaches, staff and schools can handle the rest. This won’t wreak so much havoc on programs since they – and the player – have a good understanding of where/if they’ll be drafted and players won’t want to just jump to the draft hoping to get drafted, then get rejected and have to come back at school. But if a player makes the wrong decision and declares for the draft only to go undrafted and remain eligible? Yes, of course it should be able to return.

Cosgrove’s conclusion: FICTION. I’m not opposed to college football adapting similar rules to the NBA, where players have the opportunity to explore their draft potential. My suggestion would be to allow draft-eligible players to declare themselves as early entry candidates. They would then attend pre-workouts where an NFL committee would give an evaluation and projected draft position.

These players will then be given a withdrawal schedule. If they continue with the draft after this process and remain unselected, they will lose all remaining college eligibility as a result. Without such requirements, countless players would enter the draft each year knowing they could automatically return to play in college when not selected. It 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 made a splash, but Alabama still has to feel confident in landing Kelby Collins.

Kelby Collins

Kelby Collins (Rivals.com)

Upper receptions: FACT. Kelby Collins seriously interested in Florida with another good visit for Friday Night Lights and beyond South Carolina and others have intrigued him, but I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t choose Alabama. The Crimson Tide is looking to load up on this defensive lineman recruiting class, 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 my decision, the choice has to be Alabama.

Take Howard: FACT. Florida handled Kelby Collins, especially after that Derrick LeBlanc chose the Sooners. Collins has done an excellent job keeping things close to the vest as a Rivals250 prospect who holds more than 30 offers to consider. Collins would make a major splash for the Gators if they could beat programs like Alabama and Georgia for his verbal As it stands, I’d pick Alabama. The Tide have a lot of momentum in the lane, and Collins looks poised to add to that.

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3. Arch Manning should remain the number. 1 in the new 2023 edition of the ranking.

Arch Manning

Arch Manning (Nick Harris)

Upper receptions: FACT. Trust me, I don’t like that at all Arch Manning did not compete in any of the national 7-on-7 contests or in any of the national quarterback contests. An apples to apples comparison Malachi Nelson, Niko Yamaleva, Dante Moore (who all did these events) and others would be great. But that 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 entirely sure there is a clear No. 1 that doesn’t move up because Manning holds that spot.

Harris’ conclusion: FICTION. The summer is used as an opportunity to prove the best prospects, and there have been a number of defensemen and others who have been able to make it alongside some of the best competition in the country. While we are well aware of Manning’s skills and potential, there are still questions that need to be answered in my mind. Because of that, I consider him a top five prospect at this point, but not the highest overall prospect.

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