In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and count down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Jarvis Jones, No. 59 in 2009 class

Jones was a nationally recruited outside linebacker coming out of Columbus (Georgia) Carver High. He ultimately selected USC after officially visiting Florida, Georgia, LSU and Texas in addition to USC. Jones was a member of the Trojans' No. 4-ranked class that included No. 1 overall prospect Matt Barkley, Devon Kennard and T.J. McDonald.

Jones played on special teams and as a reserve linebacker for USC as a true freshman. He appeared in eight games before the USC medical staff diagnosed him with spinal stenosis.

That diagnosis led to a transfer back home to play for the Georgia Bulldogs. After being cleared to play for Georgia, Jones sat out the 2010 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Jones became one of college football’s top defensive players in 2011, starting every game and recording 70 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks to earn All-SEC First Team honors.

Jones would again take home All-SEC honors in 2012, being tabbed the SEC Defensive Player of the Year after tallying 85 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and an interception in 12 games. He became the first Georgia linebacker to win the Jack Lambert Trophy as well.

Following his standout career, Jones was selected No. 17 overall in the 2013 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Honorable mention: Todd Kelly, No. 59 in 2014 class. Kelly was a lock for Tennessee coming out of Knoxville (Tennessee) Webb School with his father, Todd Kelly Sr., having starred for the Volunteers. The ball-hawking safety played in 12 games as a true freshman, including three starts, and posted 30 tackles and three interceptions.

SEC morning links

December, 9, 2014
Dec 9
1. Monday was a pretty good day for Alabama wide receivers, past and present. Julio Jones finished with 11 catches for 259 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Green Bay on Monday Night Football, and Amari Cooper was named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Cooper, who leads the SEC with 115 receptions for 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns, becomes the first wide receiver to be invited to New York City since Larry Fitzgerald in 2003. Most believe he’ll be battling it out with Melvin Gordon for runner-up as Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is the favorite to win the award, but at least he’s a lock for the Biletkinoff Award, right? For a closer look at all three Heisman finalists, click here.

2. With the playoff news and bowl selections, Jim McElwain’s introductory press conference at Florida got lost in the news Sunday, but here’s a look back. He was charming, funny, and while he doesn’t have a nickname for his offense just yet, he did say that “it will be a blast.” That should be music to the ears of Florida fans. Some might be a little skeptical, but others believe he’s the SEC's next superstar coach and the right fit in Gainesville. The Gators will play in the Birmingham Bowl on Jan. 3, and though McElwain isn’t allowed to coach the team, he plans to be there for the game and watch bowl practices to evaluate the players. He’s also keeping busy on the recruiting trail, putting together what could be a significant first class.

3. The Associated Press released its All-SEC team on Monday. A couple things stood out. First, I was a tad surprised Dak Prescott edged out Blake Sims as the first-team quarterback. Both had sensational seasons, but I just felt like Sims played better in bigger games, especially down the stretch. Also, the only three unanimous selections were Cooper, Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson and Alabama safety Landon Collins. Those three names didn’t surprise me, but I thought there’d be more than three unanimous picks. As for the numbers, Alabama led the way with nine players making the list, including six on the first team. Ole Miss, who had five first-team selections, was second with six All-SEC players in all.

Around the SEC
Tweet of the day

Mark down Georgia graduate assistant Christian Robinson for making the understatement of the year on Sunday shortly after the Bulldogs' bowl matchup became public knowledge.

"This will be interesting,” Robinson tweeted.

No kidding.

There are subplots galore in the Belk Bowl pairing between Georgia (9-3) and Louisville (9-3), but the biggest one centers around who will be standing across the field from the Bulldogs. Not just volatile defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who joined Bobby Petrino's Louisville staff in January after spending the previous four seasons at Georgia, but also defensive backs Shaq Wiggins and Josh Harvey-Clemons, who followed Grantham from Athens to Louisville.

Both sides will do their best to downplay any hurt feelings that accompanied those exits, where Grantham left after fans and media regularly questioned his job security during a disappointing 2013 season and Harvey-Clemons (dismissal) and Wiggins (transfer) leaving shortly thereafter.

In fact, Georgia coach Mark Richt attempted to do as much on Sunday. But rest assured, the winner will privately take a great deal of satisfaction in the outcome. That's nearly as much of an understatement as former UGA linebacker Robinson's tweet.

It was Grantham, after all, who was Robinson's defensive coordinator in the final three seasons of his career. In 2011 and 2012, Grantham's defense played a big role in the Bulldogs winning the SEC East both seasons and posting a combined 8-0 record against rivals Florida, Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia Tech. It was Grantham, also, who helped Robinson land the graduate assistant-ship at his alma mater, bringing Robinson onto the 2013 coaching staff shortly after the St. Louis Rams released him during preseason camp.

But things went south last season, with a rebuilding defense struggling mightily by surrendering 29 points per game and Grantham becoming the target of much of the fans' wrath. When Louisville offered a pay raise and the chance to add his brother, Tony, to Petrino's coaching staff, it felt like the best move for all involved for Grantham to change locales.

By and large, the results have been positive for both parties. Richt hired an entirely new defensive coaching staff, led by new coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, and Georgia's defense has improved over its 2013 performance. And while Louisville lost two defensive starters to the first round of the NFL draft, Grantham's Cardinals defense still ranks sixth nationally by allowing 293.3 yards per game.

His defense is doing that without the services of Harvey-Clemons or Wiggins, who are both sitting out the season as transfers. But the awkwardness of the situation is not lost on the Bulldogs, current or former. Wiggins' tweet after the bowl announcement showed that he was amused by the pairing, and he and former UGA teammate Ryne Rankin traded messages about it later in the afternoon.

Compounding the potential unpleasantness is the presence of Petrino himself. It has been seven years removed from when he abandoned the Atlanta Falcons in midseason in order to take the head coaching job at Arkansas, but it's safe to say many sports fans in the Peach State will never forgive him for the way he handled his exit.

Former Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley experienced the whole thing first-hand as a backup quarterback with the Falcons during Petrino's short tenure. He weighed in on the matchup Sunday, as well.

However, we've long since crossed this bridge with Petrino. He coached against Georgia twice during his time at Arkansas, so the stories about his coaching against a Georgia-based team have already been written.

Shoehorning his departure from the Falcons into some sort of rivalry with Georgia always felt like a stretch, anyway. Not so with Grantham. This is a game that the Bulldogs' former defensive coordinator desperately wants to win, and surely his former co-workers feel the same way.

Robinson was right. It's sure to be interesting when their teams meet up on Dec. 30.

Belk Bowl Preview

December, 8, 2014
Dec 8


Gene Chizik, Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland preview Georgia vs. Louisville in the Belk Bowl.

SEC morning links

December, 8, 2014
Dec 8
1. The four-team field for the first-ever College Football Playoff is set. Did the committee get it right? The Big 12 might disagree, but ESPN’s Ivan Maisel believes they did get it right. And who’s to complain? The matchups are fantastic. The SEC will go in with Alabama as its only representative, but the Crimson Tide did get the No. 1 seed. Their opponent in the first semifinal game? None other than Nick Saban’s old nemesis Urban Meyer and his Ohio State team. How great is that? It hasn’t been that long since the two were on top of the SEC, battling it out for supremacy every year. Some say Saban was the reason Meyer left Florida after the 2010 season. Either way, he’s back now.

2. The playoff is great, but that’s just the beginning. The new way of bowl selections might have been confusing, but it worked. There are plenty of intriguing matchups for SEC teams beginning with Ole Miss-TCU and Mississippi State-Georgia Tech on New Year’s Eve as a part of the New Year's Six bowl games. Dan Mullen will return to Miami for the first time since he won the national championship there in 2007 with Florida, and in an unlikely matchup, the Rebels face a TCU team that has to be upset after getting snubbed from the top four. Other bowl games that jumped out to me included Auburn-Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, LSU-Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl, and Arkansas-Texas in the Texas Bowl.

3. The only “loser” in the SEC from Sunday’s bowl selections was Georgia. The Bulldogs didn’t end up in the Sunshine State like many predicted they would. Instead, they will make the short three-hour drive to Charlotte for the Belk Bowl. However, the SEC and ACC had to know what they were doing when they paired Georgia up with Louisville. For one, Todd Grantham will face his former team. The Louisville defensive coordinator held the same position at Georgia for four seasons under Mark Richt. The Cardinals also have a pair of former Bulldogs, Josh Harvery-Clemson and Shaq Wiggins. Georgia linebacker Ryne Rankin reached out to Wiggins on Sunday, tweeting “see ya over the holidays big dawg!” This should be fun.

Around the SEC
Tweet of the day


Greg McElroy, Gene Chizik and Booger McFarland rank the SEC Bowl Games they are most looking forward to.

2014 college football bowl schedule

December, 7, 2014
Dec 7

From the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 20 to the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T on Jan. 12, here's a look at the 2014-15 college football bowl lineup and playoff schedule.

(Read full post)



Season highlights: The Bulldogs looked like the SEC East’s most talented team for just about the entire season and showed that the young depth brought to Athens has a bright future. The loss of Heisman Trophy candidate Todd Gurley should have discouraged Georgia fans, but the Bulldogs didn’t miss a beat with freshman running back Nick Chubb, who finished the regular season second in the SEC with 1,281 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. The Bulldogs made a late-season playoff run by shutting out eventual SEC East champion Missouri 34-0 and routing Auburn 34-7.

Season lowlights: Even with the most complete team in the division, the Bulldogs still fell short of winning the East. An early-season loss to South Carolina proved devastating because the Gamecocks finished the season 6-6 and won just three SEC games. But the nail in the Bulldogs’ SEC coffin came when they were trounced by underwhelming Florida 38-20 to kick off the month of November. The Bulldogs watched as the same Missouri team they routed in October strutted into the SEC championship game. To add to this season’s woes, Gurley was suspended by the NCAA then tore his ACL in his return. Georgia also ended the regular season with a loss to rival Georgia Tech.

Player to watch: Quarterback Hutson Mason has to shake off his game-clinching overtime interception against the Yellow Jackets. His team needs him to play better in the bowl game, which will be his final game with the Bulldogs. Mason, who sat for four seasons before becoming the starter in 2014, had an underwhelming year at Georgia. He threw for just 2,019 yards and passed for more than 200 yards in a game once all season. Georgia hasn’t needed him to be elite, but with the Bulldogs reeling, coaches will look to him to gather this team.

Motivation factor: Getting 10 wins is important. It helps in recruiting and helps with confidence for this team going forward. Mason is out to end his career the right way after playing backup for so long. I think this Georgia team as a whole wants to prove that it’s better than what it showed in three bad games during the regular season. And coach Mark Richt is once again feeling some heat from fans. A bowl win won’t erase the failure of not winning the East, but it will be a much-needed positive end to the 2014 season.
-- Edward Aschoff


Season highlights: Finishing 9-3 in Year 1 in the ACC qualifies as a major success for the Cards and Bobby Petrino in his second stint with Louisville, especially when you consider the injuries this team suffered at quarterback and to game-changing receiver DeVante Parker. The highlight has to be a 31-28 win at Notre Dame in which freshman quarterback Reggie Bonnafon scored three touchdowns in a game the Cardinals were not favored to win. Gerod Holliman tied an NCAA single-season record with 14 interceptions.

Season lowlights: There are plenty of “what could have been” moments for Louisville. Which loss was toughest? Was it to 5-7 Virginia on the road, when James Quick's fumbled punt led to the Hoos’ game-winning field goal? Was it at Clemson, when Will Gardner spiked the ball on third-and-goal from the 2-yard line and then threw incomplete on fourth-and-goal with a chance to win the game? Was it at home to Florida State, when the Cards blew a 21-point lead and lost 42-31? Opportunities were there to win all three games.

Player to watch: Parker. It really is a shame that Parker missed the first seven games of the season with a broken foot. If not, he would be talked about as one of the best players in the country. Parker has been dominant in the five games he has played, racking up 735 yards to lead the team in receiving. That ranks seventh in the ACC, against receivers who have played a full set of games. His 21 yards per catch is second in the ACC behind Phillip Dorsett. This will be Parker's final game at Louisville before moving on to prepare for the NFL draft, where he is projected as a first-round pick.

Motivation factor: Louisville has a chance to win at least 10 games for a third straight season, something that would hold even more significance considering how much tougher the schedule was this year than the previous two in the Big East/American. This team is losing some terrific seniors who laid the foundation, such as Parker, Lorenzo Mauldin, Michael Dyer, Eli Rogers, Gerald Christian and potentially Gerod Holliman, so you can bet their teammates are going to want to send them out the right way.
-- Andrea Adelson

SEC bowl projections: Week 15

December, 7, 2014
Dec 7
Today we finally get to put an end to the speculation, as college football's postseason picture will become clear this afternoon.

We knew the SEC would get one team into the inaugural College Football Playoff when Alabama beat Missouri on Saturday. Nailing down the destinations for the conference's other 11 bowl-eligible teams is much more difficult.

Here are our best guesses in the final hours before we will know for sure:

College Football Playoff semifinal (Allstate Sugar Bowl): Alabama
Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Ole Miss
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Mississippi State
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: Missouri
Outback Bowl: Auburn
TaxSlayer Bowl: Texas A&M
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Arkansas
Advocare V100 Texas Bowl: LSU
Belk Bowl: Georgia
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Tennessee
Birmingham Bowl: Florida
Duck Commander Independence Bowl: South Carolina

SEC Power Rankings: Week 15

December, 7, 2014
Dec 7
A lot has changed from our preseason list -- South Carolina at No. 3? Vanderbilt ahead of Arkansas? We'd prefer to forget those. But one thing that is the same as in our initial rankings is Alabama on top. The Crimson Tide relinquished the top spot at times, but when it mattered, Nick Saban's crew stood tall.

Edward Aschoff, David Ching, Sam Khan Jr., Chris Low, Greg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough contributed to these rankings.
NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Warren Easton High is headed to the state championship game for the first since 1958 after a 43-36 win against Plaquemine on Friday night. One of the main reasons why is ESPN300 No. 25 Tyron Johnson.

On Friday morning before the huge win last night, the Under Armour All-America Game selection tweeted out his top five.


With LSU ace recruiter Frank Wilson and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Georgia assistants Mike Bobo and Tony Ball, and Auburn's Dameyune Craig all on hand, Johnson showed his talent with a 60-yard punt return for a score, the game winning touchdown run and four receptions for 50 yards.

Following the huge win for Eagles, the nations No. 2-ranked wide receiver gave thoughts on his Top 5:

Auburn: Auburn is a great school, a great passing offense, Duke (Williams) from Louisiana went there from juco and now will go pro. It would be a good fit for me.

Georgia: Coach [Tony} Ball is out here supporting me tonight. He’s a great coach and knows his stuff.


The SEC Network's college football analysts take a look back at the top three catches in the SEC from the regular season.

National recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton offers the latest on ESPN 300 outside linebackers Roquan Smith, Malik Jefferson and Jeffery Holland.
In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and count down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Nick Chubb, No. 63 in 2014 class

Chubb was one of the most heavily-recruited running backs in the 2014 class out of Northwest Georgia. He selected Georgia over Auburn and South Carolina in June of 2013 in a recruitment that wasn’t close. Chubb was a member of the Bulldogs top-10 2014 class that featured Lorenzo Carter, running back Sony Michel, return man Isaiah McKenzie, tight end Jeb Blazevich, defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard and quarterback Jacob Park, who has a very good chance to be the starter in 2015 or 2016.

Chubb rushed for 2,696 yards and 38 touchdowns as a junior at Cedartown, and followed up with over 2,700 yards and 39 scores as a senior. He finished his high school career with nearly 7,000 yards and 102 touchdowns.

Chubb’s freshman season has been nothing short of sensational. He became the go to back after the suspension of Todd Gurley, and hasn’t looked back with seven straight games of 100 yards or more, averaging 163 per game in his last five SEC games. Through 12 games, the SEC Offensive Freshman of the Year has 186 carries for 1,281 yards and 12 touchdowns plus an additional 213 receiving yards and two scores. He’s scored a touchdown in nine consecutive games.

Should Chubb stay healthy, he’s a near lock to be a high NFL draft choice after the 2016 season.

Honorable mention: Max Tuerk, No. 63 in 2012 class, and Curt Maggitt, No. 63 in 2011 class. Tuerk was an impact played for USC on the offensive line, and is now in his third season as a starter. His versatility makes him a potential high round NFL draft choice with starts at left tackle, left guard, right tackle and center. Maggitt has been a productive player when healthy for Tennessee. The high school teammate of NFL first round selection Matt Elam and Florida State tight end Nick O’Leary at Dwyer High made 56 tackles in 11 games as a true freshman and 30 in nine games as sophomore before missing his junior season due to injury. The West Palm Beach native has rebounded in 2014 making 43 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in 12 games this season.
The good news Thursday was that both Florida and Nebraska filled their open coaching positions in a timely manner, but the bad news is we’re less than 60 days until signing day. Plus, what type of recruiter is Nebraska getting?

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The top five freshmen in the SEC
The SEC Network highlights the best freshmen football players from the SEC this year.


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