- Gerry Hamilton, ESPN Staff Writer
Here are five things to watch over the holidays in the SEC:
Fournette set to announce
The nation’s top ranked prospect, running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine), is scheduled to announce his decision during the Under Armour All-America Game Jan. 2, which will be on ESPN at 4 p.m. ET. Fournette has made official visits to Texas, LSU and Alabama.
Should Fournette select the Tigers, Les Miles and staff would have the needed momentum to make a strong run and finish with a top three recruiting class.
Alabama sits atop the class rankings at the moment with 16 ESPN300 prospects committed, while LSU is No. 11 with 12 ESPN300 pledges.
Two more five-stars announcing at Under Armour
Along with Fournette, two more five-star prospects are scheduled to announce at the Under Armour All-America Game. Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr), No. 8-overall, and No. 11 Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) also will make announcements during the prestigious game.
Like Fournette, both prospects have LSU very much in the mix. Noil will decide between LSU and Texas A&M unless he makes an unexpected selection. Brown has LSU, Alabama, Texas and Texas A&M among his favorites. Some believe the Tigers are in front due in large part to proximity to home and his sister being a member of the track team in Baton Rouge.
Also planning to announce at the Under Armour All-America Game are No. 15 Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate), No. 23 Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), No. 29 Gerald Willis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr) and No. 61 Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman).
Tabor is considering Maryland, Florida and Alabama. Adams is down to Florida, LSU and Ole Miss. Willis III has LSU, Florida and Texas A&M in contention, while Rudolph has his sights set on Florida State, Auburn, Alabama and Florida.
What will Dalvin Cook do?
Cook (Miami/Central High), No. 20 overall, has remained committed to the Florida Gators while making official visits to Texas, Arkansas, Florida State and Miami. The explosive running back will make his final decision among the “Big 3” Sunshine State schools on or around Jan. 2, with the Seminoles trending of late. Cook’s running back teammate Joseph Yearby (Miami/Central) is committed to the Hurricanes.
Decision day for Hampton
C.J. Hampton (Meridian, Miss./Meridian), No. 134 overall, has been committed to Ole Miss since June 5, 2012. On Friday, the 6-foot-1, 193-pound hard-hitting safety will announce his final decision after visiting Alabama, Arkansas, Florida State and Miami, along with the Rebels. The ultimate decision is expected to come down to the Crimson Tide, Rebels and Razorbacks. Alabama has received more than a handful of unofficial visits since June.
Will Kentucky finish with a top 25 class?
The Kentucky Wildcats have never finished with a top 25 recruiting class in the history of the Recruiting Nation class rankings. Shortly after New Year’s, the Wildcats can take another step in that direction if Mark Stoops and staff can secure a commitment from No. 292 overall Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin) in early January. The Wildcats are ranked No. 18 nationally and have room for only two or three more prospects.
Kentucky currently has 25 commitments, including ESPN 300 prospects in No. 107 overall Denzel Ware (Crestview, Fla./Crestview), No. 161 Drew Barker (Hebron, Ky./Conner), No. 211 Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Oh./Springfield), No. 214 Stanley Williams (Monroe, Ga./George Walton Academy) and No. 252 Darius West (Lima, Ohio/Lima Central Catholic).
801dDerek Tyson and Tom VanHaaren