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Cassidy's Takeaways: Two FutureCasts and more recruiting intel

Darius Acuff Jr.
Darius Acuff Jr. (Junfu Han-USA TODAY NETWORK)

With prospects everywhere narrowing their list and making verbal commitments, the Rivals newswire has been busy in recent weeks. Today, national analyst Rob Cassidy looks ahead and examines a handful of prospects that could be coming off the board soon by making a couple of FutureCasts and sharing other intel related to the recruitments of various in-demand prospects.

RELATED: Recent commitments that could make big impacts as freshmen

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FUTURECAST: Darius Acuff Jr. to Arkansas 

Acuff has been trending toward landing at Arkansas since John Calipari took the reins of the program back in April. Now it seems as though the five-star’s college recruitment could be in its final days, as rumblings about a possible July decision have begun. There’s been no official word from Acuff or his camp about a decision date as of now, but it certainly feels like things are trending in that direction.

The quicker a decision comes, the better it will be for Arkansas, which is seen as the favorite to land the Michigan-born guard despite very real looming threats from Kansas as well as the in-state Wolverines.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH ARKANSAS FANS AT HAWGBEAT.COM

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BONUS FUTURECAST: Meleek Thomas to UConn

The defending champs have taken the lead in the race to land five-star guard Meleek Thomas, who says he hopes to have a commitment made prior to the start of his senior season in the Overtime Elite League, for which he left his Pittsburgh high school this summer.

While this recruitment doesn’t seem quite as open-and-shut as Acuff’s at this point, Thomas’ June official visit to Storrs triggered serious buzz of a possible impending commitment in the grassroots basketball world. It’s worth keeping in mind that Thomas is as well-traveled from an campus-visit standpoint as any player in the 2025 class, so a quick change of momentum isn’t out of the question. That said, UConn fans have good reason to feel a surge of optimism.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH UCONN FANS AT UCONNREPORT.COM

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A PECKING ORDER EMERGING FOR KAYDEN MINGO

With Penn State set to receive Kayden Mingo’s first official visit this fall, the race to land the four-star guard’s commitment involves a handful of schools. Recent intel coming out of the situation suggests that the Nittany Lions and Notre Dame are seen as the leaders in the clubhouse, but programs such as Wake Forest, Xavier and Virginia Tech are said to be within striking distance and will jockey for positions as they host Mingo, who intends to visit each program this fall.

Mingo’s younger brother, Dylan Mingo, is a five-star prospect in the class of 2026. And while the duo is not seen as a true package deal, they admit to having discussed playing together in college in the past and will explore the possibility following Kayden’s commitment.

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FEARS MOVES INTO CLASS OF 2024 

Last week was a noisy one for four-star guard Jeremiah Fears, who announced both a decommitment from Illinois and discussed a possible reclassification from 2025 to 2024 in back-to-back days. Rivals will list Fears as a member of the class of 2025 until he officially becomes a member of a program's 2024 class. On that front, however, Fears has a list of developing options.

Kentucky and Providence are among the programs that have made contact with the AZ Compass prep star. Despite having an available scholarship, Kentucky feels unlikely to add Fears based on its guard-heavy roster and Fears’ desire to play big minutes from day one on campus. Providence would need to make room or find a creative way of adding Fears to a roster that lacks an open scholarship, but could conceivably do so through the use of NIL.

USC offered Fears a scholarship in the wake of his decommitment from Illinois and should also be monitored. Ole Miss and Michigan were listed among Fears’ finalists when he committed to the Illini but how involved either will be this time around is unclear. Fears’ older brother, Jeremy Fears Jr., currently plays for Michigan State.

Fears, who was last ranked as the No. 31 prospect in the 2025 Rivals 150, is a lock to remain in the top 50 even if he moves into the 2025 class as expected.

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