Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Most important SEC recruiting targets
By Derek Tyson
The Southeastern Conference already has one commitment from a top-10 player in the ESPN 300 (Cameron Robinson to Alabama), but the conference has a real possibility of landing the last six uncommitted top-10 prospects in the country. Here is a closer look at the top remaining recruiting targets in the SEC, by school:
CB Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover)
6-foot, 180 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 9
A case could certainly be made for Leonard Fournette in this position, but Alabama has talent and depth at running back and the Tide secondary surrendered 464 passing yards and five touchdowns to quarterback Johnny Manziel on Saturday. Humphrey is an athletic cornerback with great size. FSU is also very much in the picture for Humphrey, and Alabama will have to fight to keep this electric playmaker from leaving the state.
DT Josh Frazier (Springdale, Ark./Har Ber)
ESPN 300 rank: 158
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema already has assembled a solid recruiting class and the Razorbacks are doing well on the field. To compete with some of the power offenses in the SEC West such as Alabama and LSU, Arkansas must have a top notch defensive line. Landing Frazier would be significant for Arkansas for two reasons. First, he brings size that can help anchor a defensive line. Secondly, keeping the No. 2-ranked prospect in Arkansas at home would be huge for the Arkansas program going forward.
OLB Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn)
ESPN 300 rank: 150
Keeping this athletic outside linebacker at home will be key for the Tigers. Auburn has started off the season undefeated and the Tigers are gaining momentum in recruiting. Keeping the No. 8 player in the state will be critical for head coach Gus Malzahn. Defensive end Andrew Williams is another key target, but Auburn has to keep Evans in his home town.
DE Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross)
ESPN 300 rank: 11
This five-star defensive end has a top seven of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Oregon, Notre Dame, LSU and Florida State. Carter has the Gators in his top three along with Alabama and Georgia and is planning to unofficially visit Florida this weekend for the Tennessee game. The Gators already have a top-10 recruiting class. Adding an elite pass rusher such as Carter would almost certainly ensure that the Gators finish with a top-10 recruiting class.
David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence)
ESPN 300 rank: 15
The Bulldogs will have their work cut out for them with Sharpe. The big tackle also likes Florida, Clemson and North Carolina. Sharpe has visited Clemson and Georgia over the last two weeks and came away very impressed with his trip to Athens. Sharpe's AAU basketball team is also in Atlanta, so leaving Florida doesn't appear to be an issue. Georgia's offensive line struggled in the first week of the season and a guy like Sharpe could provide immediate depth at a very important position.
DT Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin)
ESPN 300 rank: NR
With the 16th-ranked recruiting class, first year head coach Mark Stoops has the Wildcats recruiting on a very high level. Adding a big-bodied defensive tackle such as Elam would certainly help bolster a defensive line that currently has the 12th-ranked rush defense in the SEC. Keeping the No. 2-ranked player in the state at home would also be very important for the Wildcats.
RB Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine)
ESPN 300 rank: 1
There is no question the five-star running back is LSU's top recruiting target, especially after missing out on Robinson. The Tigers have always been known for having a hard-nosed, physical offense, and adding a potential all-SEC type player like Fournette is key. Look for the Tigers to pull out all the stops to try and keep this talented running back in-state and away from arch-rival Alabama.
WR Jesse Jackson (Petal, Miss./Petal)
ESPN 300 rank: 93
Jackson has offers from Ole Miss, Alabama, Missouri, Auburn and Alabama, and keeping this in-state wide receiver at home would be very big for the Bulldogs. MSU currently has the 34th-ranked recruiting class in the country, but getting an electric playmaker such as Jackson would certainly bolster their recruiting efforts. Jackson, an Under Armour All-American, has the size and athletic ability to play early on the next level.
WR Nate Brown (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett)
ESPN 300 rank: NR
This three-star prospect is a big target who could help compliment wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who ranks among the top 10 in both receptions and receiving yards per game in the SEC this season. Brown also has offers from Vanderbilt, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Illinois and Indiana. Adding a playmaker such as Brown would help the Tigers get on the right track in recruiting, and landing a player from talent-rich Georgia could pay dividends for the Tigers in the future.
DT Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) 6-6, 295
ESPN 300 rank: 82
The Rebels landed one of the top defensive line classes in the country last year and are hoping to add Shaw to the mix this year. At 6-foot-6 and 295-pounds, this massive defensive tackle is exactly what Ole Miss is looking for, especially playing against run-heavy SEC West teams. Linebacker Nyles Morgan is another key target for the Rebels.
DE Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett)
ESPN 300 rank: 40
With Auburn, Alabama and Georgia also in the mix for this talented defensive end, the Gamecocks certainly have their work cut out for them in landing Sawyer. With all-everything defensive end Jadeveon Clowney likely headed to the NFL after this season, the Gamecocks are looking for young talent to help replace his production. It's a little unreasonable to think Sawyer could have that same type of impact, but he certainly has the talent to be a disruptive end early on in his career.
WR Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp)
ESPN 300 rank: 99
Tennessee is in a fight for Malone with Georgia, and don't count out Vanderbilt and Florida State, either. This big, physical wide receiver comes from a great high school program and could help contribute early in his career. With an embarrassing loss to Oregon over the weekend, Tennessee is trying to hold on to its recruiting momentum. Landing a player such as Malone would help that cause.
DE Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin)
ESPN 300 rank: 7
Despite losing a thrilling game to Alabama this past weekend, the Aggies still appear to be high on several top recruits' lists. This Under Armour-All American is a physical specimen and has everything you are looking for in a defensive end. At this point there is no question Garrett is the top prospect on the A&M's board, and the Aggies appear to be the team to beat for the No. 2 defensive end.
DE Nyles Morgan (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee)
ESPN 300 rank: 64
Vandy coach James Franklin is recruiting on a very high level, and the Commodores are in a good position to land Morgan, the No. 4 inside linebacker in the country. Ole Miss is another team Morgan is highly considering, but the academic success of Vanderbilt might give the Commodores the slight edge at this point. Vandy has the No. 25 class in the country.