College football recruiting analysis: Future commits, sleepers

The college football recruiting trail has heated up significantly over the summer. More than 60 prospects ranked in the 2024 ESPN 300 announced their commitments in the month of June, including five-star linebacker Sammy Brown (Clemson) and five-star defensive end Jamonta Waller (Florida).

The action has picked up in July as well, as 21 ranked recruits have announced their decisions over the past four days.

Still, there are over 100 ESPN 300 prospects who have not announced their commitments, and with national signing day still five months away, there is plenty of action to be determined.

We break down five of the most impactful commitments during the 2024 recruiting cycle, five under-the-radar announcements you need to keep an eye on and five prospects who are announcing their decisions over the coming days.

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Impact commits | Sleepers
Commits on the horizon

Five impact commits

Dylan Raiola, QB
Georgia | 2024 ESPN 300 rank: 2

Raiola is the No. 1 quarterback and was one of the most highly sought recruits in the 2024 class. At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he has the size, arm strength and accuracy to push for playing time early at Georgia. He can make any throw and has the ability to drop balls into a bucket if he needs to.

The Dawgs have options at quarterback for the future with Carson Beck, Gunner Stockton and Brock Vandagriff, but none have jumped off the page and taken over as the clear-cut starter. Adding Raiola to the mix will keep the offense at a championship level for the next few years and give Georgia every shot at competing for more conference and national championships.

Julian Sayin, QB
Alabama | 2024 ESPN 300 rank: 3

It's unusual to see Alabama in a situation in which the coaches aren't 100 percent sure who start at quarterback. With Bryce Young gone to the NFL, the Crimson Tide are looking for a new signal-caller with Jalen Milroe on the roster, as well as incoming transfer Tyler Buchner, who followed new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees from Notre Dame.

It's not certain, though, that either of those two will be the quarterback of the future, so it was crucial for the staff to land a sure thing at quarterback in this class. Enter Sayin, who won this year's Elite 11 quarterback competition with every top quarterback recruit in attendance. He has thrown for over 2,700 years each of the past two seasons at Carlsbad High School (California) and has 61 touchdowns and nine interceptions during that time. He can play early at Alabama, and Nick Saban has shown in the past he is not afraid of playing the best quarterback in the moment.

D.J. Lagway, QB
Florida | 2024 ESPN 300 rank: 18

The Gators had a very public loss at quarterback in the 2023 class with Jaden Rashada, who was released from his national letter of intent after the early signing period. A $13 million contract that was promised through name, image and likeness didn't come through, and the two sides split, leaving Florida looking for options at quarterback for the future. The coaches did not sign another high school quarterback in 2023 but brought in Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz.

That scenario made Lagway's commitment that much more impactful, given that he is the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the class and will give Billy Napier and his staff a quality option going forward once he hits campus. Lagway threw for 2,081 yards, 24 touchdowns and five interceptions this past season while also rushing for 517 yards and seven touchdowns.

Justin Scott, DT
Ohio State | 2024 ESPN 300 rank: 34

Scott is one of the top defensive line recruits in the country and listed as the No. 4 defensive tackle. The Buckeyes didn't have a stout tackle in this class, so adding Scott fills a need on the field, but the ramifications off the field might be what is more important.

Scott was seriously considering Michigan, and it looked as though he might pick the Wolverines at one point. It's always important for Ohio State to win battles on the recruiting trail against its rival, and it is especially important lately -- with the Wolverines winning on the field the past two years. Flexing their recruiting muscle and getting a top defensive lineman to add to defensive line coach Larry Johnson's room is a big deal, but beating Michigan is an added bonus.

Jadyn Davis, QB
Michigan | 2024 ESPN 300 rank: 114

Michigan has won the Big Ten championship the past two seasons with College Football Playoff appearances as well. The expectations continue to rise in Ann Arbor, and the key for the Wolverines is finding a way to keep consistency through recruiting and the transfer portal while finding their specific type of recruit to fit the culture they've built.

Michigan hadn't signed an ESPN 300 quarterback since J.J. McCarthy in the 2021 class, and because the quarterback position is so important to consistency on the field, it was imperative that the staff got a signal-caller who fits their system and can eventually take over for McCarthy. The staff believes that Davis can be that guy and give them a chance to stay in the championship conversations.

Davis is one of the top quarterbacks in the class, but he has also had a Pied Piper effect on the recruiting trail, helping recruit other top recruits to the class like his wide receiver teammate, Channing Goodwin as well as receiver I'Marion Stewart. It was a win-win for Michigan, which is hoping he is someone who makes an impact early on in his career.

Five sleeper commits

Will Hammond, QB
Texas Tech | 2024 ESPN 300 rank: four stars

Hammond, ranked a four-star prospect just outside the top 300, held his own at the Elite 11 Finals in a competition among a list of highly ranked recruits. From Hutto, Texas, he received some big offers in December and January from Tennessee, Auburn and Texas A&M, among a few other programs.

Texas Tech was able to win out, though, and got a quarterback who threw for 2,763 yards, 30 touchdowns and five interceptions this past season. He also ran for 828 yards and four touchdowns and should be a perfect fit for the Texas Tech offense.

Carter Nelson, TE
Nebraska | 2024 ESPN 300 rank: 185

We're using the sleeper term a little liberally here, as in prospects outside the top 100. Nelson is a well-known recruit who fits that mold. At 6-4, 210 pounds, he has the size and football skills to make a significant impact at Nebraska early on.

Nelson had major programs after him, including Notre Dame, Alabama, Penn State and others, but ultimately chose to stay in-state and commit to the Huskers. He's a multisport athlete who is still a little raw at the tight end position, but has vast potential.

Ondre Evans, CB
LSU | 2024 ESPN 300 rank: 213

Evans has quickly become a hot commodity on the recruiting trail and got a little bit of a late start to his process. He didn't receive many of his bigger offers until this year, and quite a few came in June, including from LSU, Alabama and Georgia.

The 6-1, 185-pound Evans has the size to be a talented corner at the next level and runs a 10.55 second 100-meter dash. The Tigers have had a lot of success in the past with corners, and Evans could be another big name to come out of LSU if he stays on the trajectory he has seen over the past few months.

Luke Reynolds, TE
Penn State | 2024 ESPN 300 rank: 253

Reynolds had a big rise in the rankings in the previous update and saw his recruitment take off quickly, as he earned a Penn State offer in March before committing to the Nittany Lions. Reynolds had been a quarterback, but only recently switched to tight end, where he'll be a 6-4, 220-pound target in James Franklin's offense.

He had offers from Cincinnati, Stanford, Duke, Pittsburgh and a few other programs, but once Penn State saw what he could do at tight end, the staff offered him and got him on board. If he can continue to develop at the position and learn the nuances, the Nittany Lions could have a gem on their hands.

Elijah Newby, LB
USC | 2024 ESPN 300 rank: 245

Newby needs to bulk up before he'll make a big impact, but he has the frame (6-5, 185) to do it. If he can maintain his skill and speed while getting bigger, he should be an asset to the USC defense. The Trojans are still trying to build up the defensive side, and Newby was a good addition to add more speed and someone who can cover a lot of ground.

Newby, who's from Connecticut, didn't get a ton of attention early on and was one of 22 new faces to the ESPN 300 in last week's update, but he had seen interest from Penn State, Stanford, South Carolina, Michigan and plenty of other schools.

Five upcoming commitments to watch

Daniel Calhoun, OL
2024 ESPN 300 rank: 110

Calhoun, a 6-7, 355-pound offensive tackle, is scheduled to decide between Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas on July 5. He has visited each school in his top list, but the Dawgs could be the benefactor of his decision given he's from in-state Marietta.

Elijah Rushing, DE
2024 ESPN 300 rank: 20

Rushing, a 6-6, 235-pound defensive end who has totaled 19 sacks over the past two years for Salpointe Catholic High School (Arizona), lists Arizona, Notre Dame, Oregon and Tennessee as his finalists.

Nick Marsh, WR
2024 ESPN 300 rank: 167

Marsh is a 6-3, 205-pound receiver from the state of Michigan who has a final list of Kansas, Michigan State, Oregon, Pitt and Penn State. He decommitted from the Spartans in March and is ready to make his next commitment on July 7.

Aeryn Hampton, ATH
2024 ESPN 300 rank: 145

The 5-10, 180-pound Hampton is set to decide between Alabama and Texas on Friday. He visited both schools in June and his decision could go either way. As a receiver, Hampton had 1,161 yards and 13 touchdowns last season and would be a big help on offense for either team.

Nyier Daniels, OT
2024 ESPN 300 rank: 154

Daniels is making his decision on July 7 and has shown interest in Georgia, Florida State, Rutgers and Texas, among other programs. Being from New Jersey could bode well for Rutgers, but given his 6-8, 350-pound size and upside as a tackle, Georgia, the two-time defending national champion that has the No. 1 class, also has a good shot at landing him.