USA TODAY High School Sports‘ Friday Night Notes is a weekly high school football recruiting recap that looks at the latest news from around the country—from the Class of 2023 to ’24 and beyond.
Friday evening Santa Ana, California, will be the site of the biggest high school football game of the season. For the first time in three years, the top-two schools in the country will meet on the field, as reigning national champion and No. 1 ranked school Mater Dei hosts No. 2 St. John Bosco.
Tickets for the game are a hot item on the resale market, and for a good reason. Together these teams have dozens of highly-ranked recruits for the class of 2023 and into the future – some of whom may end up playing on Sunday afternoons.
We begin this week’s edition of Friday Night Notes by examining a few of the top recruits who are playing tonight.
Matayo Uiagalelei (St. John Bosco Edge – 2023)
Uiagalelei (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) is the highest-rated recruit in this matchup. He’s ranked as the No. 2 edge-rusher in his class and No. 8 overall nationally by 247 Sports. He already has 2.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for a loss this year.
Brandon Baker (Mater Dei Offensive tackle – 2024)
One of the offensive linemen who will be tasked with containing the explosive Uiagalelei is Baker (6-foot-5, 285 pounds). He’s the second-ranked offensive tackle and No. 8 overall recruit in California. Baker has visits scheduled for Ohio State, Oklahoma and Oregon.
Elijah Brown (Mater Dei Quarterback – 2024)
Baker will also be watching the back of his team’s highly-ranked quarterback prospect. Brown (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) is the fifth-best QB in his class and threw five touchdown passes when these teams met last season, a 42-21 win for the Monarchs.
R.J. Jones (St. John Bosco Safety – 2023)
One of the defensive backs Brown will have to keep an eye out for is Jones, a four-star, 6-foot-1, 195 pound safety. He was committed to Cal but backed out and is now drawing interest from several other Pac-12 schools, including Colorado, UCLA and Oregon State.
SEC 2023 recruiting rankings
As conference play begins in college football, now seems like a good time to check in on the best of the Power Five. In the current SEC standings, Alabama (5-0), Georgia (5-0), Mississippi (5-0) and Tennessee (4-0) all remain undefeated heading into this weekend’s action. Meanwhile, LSU, Mississippi State and Kentucky are also in good shape at 4-1.
Let’s take a look ahead and see how each team in the SEC is doing in the 2023 recruiting race so far. Here is where all 14 schools rank according to the 247Sports composite score, how many commitments they have and how many highly-rated recruits.
1. Alabama – 309.21
23 commits, 5 five-star, 14 four-star
2. Georgia – 289.98
20 commits, 1 five-star, 15 four-star
3. LSU – 283.99
22 commits, zero five-stars, 18 four-stars
4. Tennessee – 263.82
21 commits, 1 five-star, 11 four-stars, 9 three-stars
5. Florida – 260.82
20 commits, zero five-stars, 18 four-stars
6. South Carolina – 237.51
20 commits, zero five-stars, 10 four-stars, 10 three-stars
7. Arkansas – 234.67
23 commits, zero five-stars, 8 four-stars, 15 three-stars
8. Texas A&M – 230.45
12 commits, 2 five-stars, 7 four-stars
9. Ole Miss – 199.04
12 commits, 7 four-stars, 5 three-stars
10. Kentucky – 191.62
15 commits, 4 four-stars, 11 three-stars
11. Mississippi State – 187.45
15 commits, 2 four-stars, 13 three-stars
12. Vanderbilt – 172.98
15 commits, all three-stars
13. Auburn – 168.73
10 commits, 7 four-stars, 3 three-stars
14. Missouri – 163.20
11 commits, 4 four-stars, 7 three-stars
LSU's first official visit part of big SEC recruiting weekend
It’s also a big recruiting weekend around the SEC, with several elite recruits scheduled for visits.
At the top of the list is LSU’s first official visit of the year, which goes to Skyridge High (Utah) EDGE Tausili Akana. He is a four-star prospect who is ranked No. 4 at his position by 247Sports and the top overall recruit in the state of Utah. Akana (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) posted 13 sacks, 23 hurries and 28 tackles for a loss as a Junior last season.
This will be a jam-packed recruiting weekend, especially for both Georgia and Alabama, who are getting visits from the following prospects:
Georgia: IMG Academy EDGE Samuel M’Pemba, Lincoln (Calif.) RB Roderick Robinson, Providence Day (N.C.) OT David Sanders Jr., Venice (Fla.) DE Damon Wilson
Alabama: Gardendale (Ala.) DE Kelby Collins, Berkeley Prep (Fla.) EDGE Keon Keeley, Raleigh (Miss.) OLB Suntarine Perkins, Pinnacle (Ariz) TE Duce Robinson
More recruiting news from around the USA TODAY Sports college wires
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