TAMPA, Fla. — Dozens of top prep football players in the Tampa Bay area, and their teams, descended on Raymond James Stadium to preview their 2023 football seasons.
In the process, Rivals connected with most of the most highly-recruited talent in town to check in on the decision making process, upcoming visits and so much more.
One of the top uncommitted players in America regardless of position, and trimmed down to 320 pounds ahead of his senior season, Pierre-Louis is headed towards the final stretch of his recruitment. His public list of programs is currently at a top 10, but it will likely soon be chopped in half before he kicks of his final run at Tampa (Fla.) Catholic High School. Summer official visits to UCF and Oklahoma will keep each program in the mix, and he’s headed to Miami this weekend for his final offseason visit. Georgia, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Oregon could each be in the mix for early-season visits, too.
Statistically the most productive pass rusher in America in 2022, Pickett is still looking for his collegiate home. Ohio State, where the senior has already taken multiple visits, continues to stay consistent with Pickett from a communication standpoint. Closer to home, Florida State and Miami have long prioritized the lengthy edge presence, who plans on returning to both campuses for in-season official visits. OSU is also likely to receive one in the coming months. Georgia and South Carolina are also active in courting Pickett at this time.
As is the case with many Clemson commitments, programs continue to call and court Moore despite his pledge — but there appears to be no budge in sight. Florida, Ole Miss and several others continue to push for visits or interests into the 2023 season, but the senior has no plans on being on a campus other than Death Valley before he inks his name during the Early Signing Period. Moore has added good weight to his frame, too.
A sleeper now under the tutelage of Tampa native and USC All-American wide receiver Mike Williams, Jones has added offers from Boston College and Toledo of late. Programs like Cincinnati and Tulane are also keeping tabs on the two-way talent, who has tight end experience. Jones has shed weight with a plan to work up and down the Robinson High School defensive line as a senior.
The speedy Tampa native has a busy weekend ahead with trips set to in-state programs Florida and UCF ahead of the season. Beyond that, the plan is to begin to narrow his list to a group of top schools, possibly up to 10. About half of that list is set with programs like Florida State, Auburn, Tennessee and Oregon very likely to make the cut in addition to UCF. If Florida offers this weekend, the Gators could also find themselves among the contenders at this time for Isaac. There are no plans for an early verbal commitment, however.
One of the biggest offseason risers in the area, Thurman is also among the most well traveled class of 2025 recruits in the country. He took in several campuses of late, with standout trips to both Notre Dame and Kansas among them. A return to South Bend is in order this weekend, with more of the Thurman family in tow this time around. There aren’t any concrete plans to come off the board early, but if that changes it looks like the Irish could present as the team to beat.
After a breakout 3,000-yard, 36-touchdown season, Nixon has seen his recruitment uptick quite a bit. Already armed with offers from Maryland and Toledo, programs like Virginia Tech are keeping tabs on him entering his all-important junior season at Tampa Gaither. The lefty, who notched all-state honors in 2022, is up to 195 pounds and could be poised to play his way into even more Power Five opportunities in the coming months.
An emerging name to keep track of in the class of 2025 could be that of Cole, a longtime baseball player now thriving as a pass catcher in Tampa. Already pushing beyond 6-foot-3, Cole has good speed and a head-turning 6-foot-9 wingspan. The 2022 tape, where he put averaged better than 20 yards per catch as a sophomore, has helped Cole land his first two scholarship offers of late — South Florida and Toledo.