Alabama Crimson Tide: Christian Lacouture

Impact early enrollees in the SEC

February, 21, 2013
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Enrolling into college has become a growing trend in college football. Missing prom and Senior Skip Day has become a regular for a lot of high schoolers these days.

In the SEC, getting a high number of early enrollees is becoming more and more of a priority for coaches. This year, all 14 SEC teams had players from their 2013 classes enroll in school early. Georgia leads the SEC with 13, Alabama has nine, and Florida and Texas A&M both have eight. In fact, 73 players from this year's recruiting class enrolled early at SEC schools in this year.

ESPN colleague Travis Haney unveiled his top impact early enrollees Insider from around the country Wednesday, and of his five players who made the cut, three came from the SEC. Well, four, because he said defensive backs Tray Matthews and Reggie Wilkerson would make immediate impacts at Georgia.

Florida running back Kelvin Taylor, who was the nation's No. 1 running back, and Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, who was an ESPN 150 member, also made the list.

Those all make sense. Georgia is basically replacing its entire secondary outside of cornerback Damian Swann, so the Bulldogs will need all the help they can get in the secondary. Florida proved that it could survive -- for the most part -- on a very strong running game last fall, but workhorse Mike Gillislee is gone, so the Gators will need help for Matt Jones and Mack Brown. Taylor is an elusive, physical back who could find himself getting a boatload of carries this fall. And Howard is a real difference-maker at tight end. The Alabama coaches are very excited about his big-play ability and his ability to create a lot of mismatches for defenders.

Haney also gave Tennessee wide receiver Paul Harris the honorable mention nod. Harris comes in at a position of great need, and it will only benefit, well, everyone, having him on campus early.

But what other players who decided to trade in their prom tuxes for shoulder pads could make immediate impacts in the SEC? Glad you asked, because here are some other guys I think you should all keep an eye on:

True freshmen

Christian LaCouture, DL, LSU: With LSU losing starters at both end spots and one at defensive tackle, LaCouture has a chance to get immediate playing time. He can play inside or outside for the Tigers.

Christian Morgan, TE, Ole Miss: The Rebels lost three senior tight ends from last season's team, and the returning players lack experience, so Morgan could step right into a starting spot with a successful spring.

Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida: The Gators need receiving weapons, and Robinson might be the most versatile of the bunch on campus right now. He's the play-making type this offense desperately needs.

Junior college transfers

Leon Brown, OL, Alabama: Three starting offensive linemen are gone, which means Brown could find himself playing a lot this fall. He could be in line to take the vacant right tackle spot left by D.J. Fluker.

Justin Cox, DB, Mississippi State: Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay are gone, and Cox is already impressing people around the program. Word is he's already one of the fastest guys on the team, and could come in and start immediately at cornerback.

Za'Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky: With all the late movement in UK's class, Smith might have been overlooked, but Mark Stoops is very excited about him. He's been a monster in the weight room and could play right away this fall.

Recruiting recap: Alabama at LSU Free

November, 5, 2012
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In Death Valley and beyond, ESPN RecruitingNation reporters tracked down the prospects who witnessed Alabama's win Saturday night at LSU. Here's a recap of the players' reactions so far Insider:

RB Scarborough solid to Bama after LSU hurdles: 2014's Bo Scarborough, a Crimson Tide commit, ran into logistical problems during his visit to Death Valley.

WR Quinn: Mettenberger looked like NFL QB: Louisiana's leading prep receiver from Lake Charles, La./Barbe and a member of the ESPN Watch List for the 2014 signing class also enjoyed meeting a former Tigers standout.

CB Tony Brown applauds Bama, LSU: The ESPN Watch List cornerback called Saturday’s clash of SEC powers "one of the best games I’ve ever been to."

RB Fournette surprised by Bama's play call: Two of Leonard Fournette's top schools, Alabama and LSU, came down to the final minute -- and a a screen play executed to perfection by the Crimson Tide.

Desean Smith liked Nic Jacobs' wrinkle: "I got to talk to [LSU tight ends coach Steve Ensminger] at the end and I told him I liked the way they used the tight ends," Smith said.

Watch List WR Dupre excited by LSU: The 6-foot-3 target couldn't help noticing Zach Mettenberger's explosion for 298 yards and a touchdown with a 68 percent completion rate.

QB commit Rettig: LSU is 'right place': While the Tigers took Saturday's setback hard, Rettig was feeling the emotions with them during his visit.

DT Rod Crayton narrows list to four: The three-star prospect said his top schools currently include Arkansas, LSU, Penn State and Tennessee.

Kendell Beckwith likes 'crazy' Death Valley: "I never thought it could get much crazier at night in Tiger Stadium than it was for South Carolina. ... I thought I had seen it as bad as it could get as far as the fans go, but this game, man. They were crazy as far as hollering. Just all night. I see why it's hard for teams to come in there and win."

ESPN 300 prospects Neal, Herron love visits: Both are commits; Herron, a DL, emailed: "It was great. That was my first game and I feel that I can play right away."

DL Tim Williams: 'It was Alabama loud': The target says Death Valley's game atmosphere is why people want to play for the Tigers.

LB Tre Williams talks Bama-LSU: The 2014 target says he knew LSU had the ability to give Alabama a game if they proved mentally ready.

DT LaCouture pledges to LSU during visit: Formerly committed to his hometown Nebraska Cornhuskers, LaCouture became LSU's 24th commit while in Baton Rouge with his mother.

Players who didn't make it to the game still had opinions to share as well:

Watch List CB Hardeman happy with LSU: "The secondary played ball out there. Jalen Mills is a true freshman, but he’s been playing real well. From top to bottom, the guys stepped up."

Race of 3 for DL Justin Manning?: Manning, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound lineman, has been considered an Oklahoma lean for months, as his brother, DeMarcus Granger, played defensive tackle for the Sooners from 2006 to 2009.

Four-star S Tahaan Goodman stays patient: It pained Goodman to postpone the trip, but that, "Me and Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) are still going to head out to Louisiana, but just on a different weekend."

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