HONOLULU – The Polynesian Bowl has established itself as a top-tier event annually and 2023 is no different, with several five-star prospects making the trek to the islands to take part in this year’s game. While most of the roster is already signed, intrigue remains for several unsigned players as National Signing Day looms large and is just a few weeks away.
We share the latest news, notes and rumors after spending the last few days covering the event.
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TROJANS AND DAWGS STILL FIGHTING FOR FIVE-STAR TE ROBINSON
Five-star Duce Robinson‘s relentless schedule continues and he was a late arrival for this week’s festivities, landing on Monday night and making his debut at practice on Tuesday. Robinson is one of the nation’s highest-ranked unsigned players and his recruitment continues to be at two-team battle between USC and Georgia. But Robinson is also a high-level baseball prospect and an All-American in that sport as well and the Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly hosting him for a workout this month. While he’s likely to announce and sign on February 1, Robinson could be a first-round pick and have a chance to make millions as a professional.
He has said he plans on going pro in both sports, so the intrigue is likely to continue at least through the draft and when Robinson reports to the school of his choice.
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PLEASANT A USC LOCK?
Four-star defensive back Rodrick Pleasant is one of the nation’s fastest players, regardless of position, but his recruitment has taken a more deliberate pace as he elected not to sign early. He’s been quiet about what his next moves are, but one thing is clear, USC is the leader in the clubhouse.
Pleasant has been with other USC signees all week, including Malachi Nelson and Zachariah Branch, and even joined them for a group photo at the end of Monday’s practice. Serra has always been a pipeline to USC for elite prospects over the years and it seems as if Pleasant will be the next prospect from the Southern California power to play for the Trojans.
WHAT WILL THE HARRIS TWINS DO?
When twin brothers Michael and Andrew Harris de-committed from UCF just before the start of the Early Signing Period, Knights fans were resigned to the fact that the local prospects would likely head elsewhere. But after not signing in December, the door has re-opened for the Orlando-area linebackers to stay close to home.
The Knights continue to push the on- and off-field advantages of staying close to home and are working to get the duo back on campus before National Signing Day. The biggest threats to UCF remain Arkansas, which hired away the Harris’ primary recruiter with the Knights, linebackers coach/defensive coordinator Travis Williams, and Maryland.
After the Hogs looked like the likely destination in December, Maryland has the momentum as of late. Both brothers aren’t tipping their hand just yet and plan to announce on Feb. 1.
CAN ARMY HOLD ONTO SLEEPER OL RUFFINS?
Three-star offensive lineman Tyson Ruffins has been one of the pleasant surprises of the all-star game season. Despite not having many offers, he was invited to the All-American Bowl in San Antonio earlier in the month, where he more than held his own. That performance earned him an offer from UNLV and interest from Cal and others, but it appears as if Army might be the school to beat with signing day just a few weeks away.
Ruffins took a visit to West Point last weekend and came away impressed with the opportunities both on and off the field. As of now, his plan is to announce a decision on signing day and he has no other visits set, but if he continues to impress this week that could change again.
RASHADA A NO-SHOW AMID FLORIDA DRAMA
Four-star quarterback Jaden Rashada has yet to report to Florida for the start of the spring semester and he was also a late scratch for this week’s event. Several prospects declined to weigh in on Rashada’s situation due to the lack of clear details, but it seems more and more likely that he won’t end up playing college football in Gainesville.
The buzz among the players is that Rashada reached out to several other programs and while most are settled at quarterback, SMU has emerged as a possible destination.