Every recruiting class has them: The household names who are tracked breathlessly, who can send a fanbase into a whirlwind with one cryptic tweet, who become water-cooler (ie, message board) fodder because of two things: They’re really damn good — and they’re uncommitted. As the 2023 recruiting cycle kicks into another gear, 247Sports is profiling a slew of these players in the War Daddy series as our analysts handicap far-and-wide recruiting battles and tell you why these players matter on a national scale.

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If there’s one position that’s stock seems to be at an all-time high, it’s cornerback. In 2022, two cornerbacks were selected within the first five picks of the NFL Draft: Derek Stingley at No. 3 overall and Sauce Gardner at No. 4 overall. The year prior, it was Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II who both went inside the top 10.

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Why are elite cornerbacks being valued more and more these days? The answer is pretty simple. With most modern day offensive attacks trying to air it out and push the pace, one of the easiest ways to combat all the game-changing wide receivers that everyone rosters is by finding elite cornerbacks who can shut down one side of the field with their quick feet, fluid hips, long arms, natural ball skills and high football IQ.

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The cornerback that checks all of those boxes off with ease in the class of 2023? That would be Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson five-star Cormani McClain.

McClain is viewed by most talent evaluators and college coaches as one of the safest bets to come out of the high school ranks in a while given his tools (4.5 in the 40-yard dash at 6-foot-1.5, 165 pounds) and production (19 interceptions over the past two seasons). That’s in turn why he checks in as the first non-quarterback prospect in the 247Sports rankings sitting at No. 4 in the Top247 heading into the summer months.

While McClain has no shortage of options when it comes to trying to figure out where he will spend the next few years (and for obvious reasons given his upside), those connected to the recruitment believe that really only a handful of schools seem to have a fighting chance to land his signature. Below, we outline who all is alive at this stage in the process – while even making a Crystal Ball pick.