Friday Night Notes: Caleb Downs picks Alabama, busy times at The Swamp, and more

Friday Night Notes: Caleb Downs picks Alabama, busy times at The Swamp, and more

Friday Night Notes

Friday Night Notes: Caleb Downs picks Alabama, busy times at The Swamp, and more

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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.

Caleb downs highlighted an end-of-July surge of top 2023 recruits announcing their college destinations, with the five-star safety committing to Alabama. The announcement is the opening act to multiple follow-ups from others in the class, all leading to the August rush that will end with actual football.

As for the winners of the talented safety? Alabama landing Downs—or any top prospect—isn’t surprising. But that doesn’t water down the boost it provides for the perennial SEC power and head coach Nick Saban’s future depth chart.

Plus, in the recruiting race among dominant NCAA programs, it also one-ups the Crimson Tide’s battle with Ohio State and others in that arena.

And while it’s easy to label the big-time commitment to Alabama as “‘Bama being ‘Bama,” we’d be amiss not to give some credit to the Tide’s persistence in the face of the “Flash Cash”associated in such NIL-shadowed details of today’s recruiting world.

When asked about the Crimson Tide decision, Downs unveiled to Rivals an  interesting part of the process — Alabama cornerbacks coach Travaris Robinson.

From the Q&A:

“Coach Robinson has been recruiting me since my freshman year. I’ve known him for three and a half years now. So just the ability to go play for him after knowing him for this long and him staying steady recruiting me through South Carolina and Miami and now Alabama is a big thing.”

Now that’s a cool payoff. 

Moving on

The Florida Gators: Trending

(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

At this point, it’s easier to list the big-time recruits who haven’t either made a visit or are planning to check out the Florida Gators program. And the team’s annual Friday Night Lights event this weekend has added to the trend, attracting some notable names that includes five-star quarterback D.J. Lagway (class of 2024).

Gators Wire writer Adam Dubbin has more on the Texas slinger’s decision to visit Florida here.

And Lagway’s not the only QB heading to Gainesville this weekend—2025 QB recruit Colin Hurley is making a return visit to the Swamp this weekend too.

Hykeem Williams is next on the WR Watch List

(Photo: Andrew Ivins, 247Sports)

Williams is one of the top receivers in the country, listed among the best of the 2023 class. And unlike the other top-tier pass catchers in that group, he hasn’t made any verbal commitments. Brandon Inniss (Ohio State), Carnell Tate (Ohio State) and Zachariah Branch (USC).

The Stranahan High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) product has narrowed his choices down to Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Pittsburgh, Miami, and Texas A&M.

Some have him headed to either Miami or Texas A&M. While others might still be looking at what he told Rutgers Wire writer Kristian Dyer at the beginning of the year:

“Georgia, man. They just won the national championship. And actually, before they even won, I mean, they were doing great with me – like I was talking to them throughout the year. I have built a great relationship with them before … with coach [Dell] McGee, coach (Kirby) Smart I built a really great relationship with them. And, man, they just had a great season this year.”

Williams added:

“They just tell me how they will use me if I come over there. And  honestly they could just keep it rolling if I go there because right now they’re on a great path. So if they can develop me to where I want to be…then we can just keep rolling.”

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