Florida Gators: Christian Lacouture

Impact early enrollees in the SEC

February, 21, 2013
2/21/13
11:22
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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:

(Read full post)

Greg Gilmore picks LSU over Florida

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
5:43
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If there were concerns about LSU's defensive tackle depth, Greg Gilmore (Hope Mills, N.C./South View) put them to rest Thursday evening.

The Tigers landed their latest ESPN 150 prospect when Gilmore, the No. 104 player in the country, publicly pledged LSU's 2013 recruiting class live on “ESPN RecruitingNation” on ESPNU.

Gilmore's commitment gives LSU four commitments in the ESPN 150 and 12 commitments in the ESPN 300. The 6-foot-4, 285-pounder, who’s the nation’s No. 9 defensive tackle, is also the Tigers' second defensive line commitment in less than a week after three-star DT Christian LaCouture (Lincoln, Neb./Southwest) joined the class last Friday.

"I'm going to school at Louisiana State," Gilmore said. "I called every coach last night, and it was hard -- it was hard. It was really between LSU and Florida in my opinion."

Defensive tackle was one of the last big concerns for LSU -- which now boasts 25 commitments after Gilmore's decision. The Tigers will lose senior defensive tackle Josh Downs after the 2012 season, and junior Bennie Logan is a likely loss to early entry in the 2013 NFL draft. That leaves Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson as the only battle-tested defensive tackles on the roster for next season.

"With LSU, I liked how they're losing six guys on the front," Gilmore said. "I think I can go in there and I can play early. I don't know how you could not play in Tiger Stadium. I went down there for the Alabama game and it was rocking. I had so much fun down there."

Gilmore chose LSU over Florida and Oklahoma. The consensus opinion since this past summer had been that the Gators and Tigers were the top two contenders for his signature. The final decision came after a busy month that saw Gilmore travel to Gainesville, Fla., on Sept. 22 for Florida's game against Kentucky and an Oct. 27 trip to Norman, Okla., to watch Oklahoma play Notre Dame.

Gilmore concluded the whirlwind tour with an official visit to LSU this past weekend to watch the Tigers' tilt with Alabama.

Interestingly enough, Gilmore's name adds to a surprisingly stocked haul of out-of-state commits for LSU. The Tigers rely heavily on Louisiana talent in recruiting. But Gilmore is LSU's 12th out-of-state commit for 2013. He joins LaCouture and defensive ends Frank Herron (Memphis, Tenn./Memphis Central) and Lewis Neal (Wilson, N.C./James B. Hunt) as LSU defensive line commits from outside Louisiana.

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