Fact or Fiction: Williams Nwaneri could end up as the top 2024 DE


Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst Clint Cosgrove – along with Greg Smith from InsideNebraska.com and Seth Berry from TheMaizeandBlueReview.com – tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.

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Williams Nwaneri could end up as the top defensive end in the 2024 class.

Williams Nwaneri

Williams Nwaneri

Gorney’s take: FACT. What’s interesting is that a lot of Nwaneri’s film is of him playing more inside and not off the edge, which speaks even more to his dominant ability. The high four-star prospect can use his speed inside, off the edge, he dips his shoulder, he has incredible length, he plays with tenacity and can track down anybody in the backfield. Colin Simmons, Eddrick Houston and Kamarion Franklin are currently ranked ahead of him at defensive end, and all of them are supremely talented, but Nwaneri could end up on the top.

Cosgrove’s take: FACT. Not only do I see Nwaneri ending up the top defensive end in the class but he has a legitimate shot to be the top non-quarterback recruit in the 2024 recruiting cycle. At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, the Lee’s Summit (Mo.) North standout has an incredible frame with the athleticism to match. He is explosive off the ball, has an impressive amount of tools in his pass rush tool-kit and possesses the “want-to” to be great. As good as Nwaneri is today, his upside is what gets me most excited about him as a recruit, and he is the type of player who has the potential to be a high-round draft pick.


2. It’s starting to feel like Dylan Raiola will end up at Nebraska.  

Dylan Raiola

Dylan Raiola (Rivals.com)

Gorney’s take: FICTION. Nebraska is absolutely seriously involved in his recruitment and every time the five-star quarterback returns to Lincoln he gets more comfortable and has a better time. That will play a significant role in his thinking, and the family connections to the school can only be a major bonus. But it’s far from a done deal, and I keep getting pulled back to Raiola’s meeting with USC coach Lincoln Riley, how much they hit it off and Riley’s resume and success developing quarterbacks at Oklahoma and now in L.A. Georgia is still right there and Nebraska is very much in this, but the Trojans might have the slightest edge.

Smith’s take: FACT. Many people in the recruiting world believed this was a pipe dream for the Huskers when Raiola left Ohio State‘s class. Quietly, the Georgia lock talk has calmed, while Nebraska coach Matt Rhule and his staff have gone to work. Rhule has built a good relationship with the top-ranked quarterback and his family in short order with hard work and consistency. There is a strong emotional pull for Raiola to Nebraska with his dad being a legend in Lincoln and his uncle being the current offensive line coach. The hurdle is obviously that other programs pursuing Raiola are more established. The X-factor is if Raiola believes Rhule can rebuild Nebraska like he did Baylor and Temple. My feeling right now is Raiola puts his faith in Rhule and ends up in the Nebraska class.



3. It’s likely Michigan will land five-star QB Jadyn Davis in 2024 and five-star QB Bryce Underwood in 2025.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. It’s definitely possible, but until Underwood sees schools across the country it’s hard to say it’s “likely.” Michigan scored more than 40 points per game last season, which will be intriguing to a quarterback who wants to put up big numbers on a massive stage. Michigan State will be involved, among others, including Ohio State, but some SEC schools will be a threat as he visits LSU this weekend and will see others. The good news here is that it would be shocking if the Wolverines miss out on Davis and Underwood as Michigan remains the heavy favorite for Davis. So either way, at least one top quarterback should be coming to Ann Arbor in the next two recruiting cycles.

Berry’s take: FICTION. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities for Michigan to land both Davis and Underwood, but I would call it unlikely. The Wolverines need to focus on sealing the deal with Davis. The recruitment has dragged out maybe longer than people would have expected up to this point, but there’s still reason to have confidence in Michigan being the favorite for the Providence Day product.

Assuming Michigan can close, Davis would be the Wolverines’ quarterback of the future once J.J. McCarthy departs. Would Underwood want to come into a situation where he isn’t considered as the starting signal caller from day one?

Maybe he would, and Underwood was certainly impressed with the Wolverines when he visited last October for the MSU game. But the Belleville product hasn’t explored SEC schools to the full extent yet, and he said he would be open to schools from both conferences (the SEC and Big Ten). It just feels like a lot of cards would need to fall in Michigan’s favor to land both prospects, but Wolverines fans will certainly be happy if the program can close with Davis soon, and adding Underwood in ‘25 would be a huge bonus.


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