Fact or fiction: Miami passed out LSU for five-star DJ Pickett

Rivals National Recruiting Analyst John Garcia Jr.. is joined by the national recruitment director Adam Gorneynational recruiting analyst Sam Spiegelman and CanesCounty.com Marc Benjamin to tackle three topics and determine whether they think each statement is FACT or FICTION.

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1. Miami has overtaken LSU as the favorite for five-star DJ Pickett.

DJ Pickett (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Gorney: DONE. LSU is a sneaky contender and Oregon could be the dark horse here, especially if the Ducks provide a lot of NIL money, but DJ Pickett has said time and time again that Miami is the team to beat. He sees a huge opportunity to start there, early, and he’s close to his family. Not to mention potentially playing with family, since Booker Pickett is already on the team and his cousin. It’s going to take a lot to get them out of state, which was also said at the start of this recruiting. I’m not going to face LSU or Oregon yet, but Miami is definitely the program to beat.

Garcia: FICTION. Pickett said a lot of positives about Miami, but the local buzz hasn’t been as pro-Hurricanes heading into the official visit season. Instead, many around the five-star continue to cite LSU as the most likely program to take the high school recruit right now. From a multitude of trips to Baton Rouge, to reconnecting with Corey Raymond and the opportunity to help restore the “DBU” nickname with Brian KellyOn the program, the Tiger angle should not be neglected. I agree that Miami is in the best position within state lines for the Floridian, and that Oregon is absolutely not out of this race, but I see the Tigers increasing their lead with the first visit official under their belt this weekend.




2. Georgia has become the favorite of Rivals250 WR Travis Smith Jr.

Travis Smith Jr.

Travis Smith Jr. (Rivals.com)

Spiegelman: DONE. If Georgia is not the leader, then Kirby Clever and his offensive staff are certainly positioning themselves to be at the forefront when Smith announces his commitment on July 13. Smith was back in Athens last weekend for the annual scavenger hunt, the Bulldogs made a strong move to close the gap with some of the other SEC heavyweights in the mix here. Tennessee’s offensive success and quarterback stability behind center is a factor. So it is Kaleb DeBoer And JamMarcus ShepherdTrack record at receiver from Washington. He also sees several impact freshmen in the Plains right now. Georgia’s staff is making this method more attractive as the summer heats up, and the Dawgs’ recent success throwing the ball could ultimately be the catalyst.

Garcia: DONE. This one feels more like a classic Georgia vs. Alabama battle, where it’s never really over until the dust really settles. Smith is one of two priority receivers remaining for Georgia within the state borders, along with CJ Wiley, but his recruitment is expected to end much earlier in July. Setting that deadline before official visits begin is generally not bad news for the longtime favorite, and it could play out that way, especially since Wiley’s recruitment includes more suitors and will likely last longer . Smart’s scheme works against perception at very few positions, but wide receiver is one of them, so there’s added pressure to win this one in Athens – something to rarely bet against wisely.



3. Miami fans should be concerned about Elijah Melendez’s commitment status.

Elie Melendez

Elie Melendez

Benjamin: FICTION. The Miami staff is allowing its players to engage in the recruiting process, and Elijah Melendez is doing just that. Although Melendez has official visits scheduled to Auburn (May 31), Michigan (June 7) and Oklahoma (June 14) in the coming weeks, Miami will have its final essential visit on June 21. The backer will take a serious look at the Blue Bloods, but the Hurricanes appear to have a stranglehold on the situation.

Miami has a cultural fit that is unmatched by any other program to date. Miami will make a run at blue-chip linebackers Zayden Walker and Gavin Nix, a fellow Orlando-area native who Melendez is actively trying to persuade to join the Hurricanes class. Melendez will be strategically joined by coveted linebackers HerBert Scoggins III and Ohio State commit Tarvos Alford during his official visit. Should Miami fans be worried at this point? No, but cautious optimism might be a better term to describe what they should think about Melendez staying with the Canes.

Garcia: DONE. If the trips were to some of the other programs once included here, like Colorado, USC, etc., there would probably be less caution with Melendez’s travels. But two of the trips, in particular, are causing some intrigue when it comes to the physical linebacker going to these campuses. Michigan already hosted him for several days and he admitted it was eye-opening, and now he’ll get to do it at the Wolverines’ expense. Oklahoma is the other interesting twist, as Melendez never went to Norman. The push of Brent Venables himself and the allure of playing SEC football is something that could combine well for one of the most physical defenders in the class. Miami will have the last word on the final visit, and it may take just as much to keep him permanently on the commitment list.