Georgia Bulldogs: ermon lane

Signing day winners and losers

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5
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The ceremonies have concluded, the ink has dried and the fax machines have been turned off once again. And with that, the Class of 2014 is mostly in the books. As is the case annually, there were a number of winners but also some losers on national signing day. Here is a look at a few schools that excelled -- and a couple others that didn't.

THE WINNERS

LSU: The Tigers began the day at No. 3 in the RecruitingNation class rankings and ended with 2014's No. 2 class. The reason is simple: Les Miles and staff got the prospect they had to have in the nation's No. 1 wide receiver, Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian). The Tigers lost both Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson to the NFL, making defensive tackle a key position of need, and they inked a pair of talented tackles in ESPN 300 Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnant Catholic) and four-star Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio, Texas/Earl Warren). Under the radar but significant is three-star defensive end Sione Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller), who flipped from Texas to LSU. Teuhema’s younger brother Maea Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller) is the No. 38 junior in the ESPN Junior 300 and has pledged to LSU as well. Holding off Auburn and UCLA to keep ESPN 300 defensive end Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La./Plaquemine) was another win on Wednesday.

Florida State: The Seminoles entered signing day with the No. 4-ranked class but were poised to close with a vengeance, and Jimbo Fisher and staff did just that. While the Seminoles moved up only one spot to No. 3, the hits on Wednesday are significant. Leading the way was No. 2-ranked wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead). The Noles weren’t done at receiver either, as Fisher and staff flipped Virginia Tech commit and No. 117 overall Ja'Von Harrison (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen). No. 158 Roderick Johnson (Saint Louis, Mo./Hazelwood Central) and No. 253 Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) were key gets at offensive tackle and defensive tackle, respectively. Three-star offensive tackle Derrick Kelly Jr. (Quincy, Fla./East Gadsden) was another key win over rival Florida.

USC: The Trojans stood to have a big signing day, and Steve Sarkisian and staff certainly delivered. Not only did USC win the hotly contested battle for five-star athlete Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra), but the Trojans won the race for ESPN 300 No. 24 Juju Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and signed No. 67 overall Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) as expected. More than the names and rankings, Wednesday was a huge perception win for the Trojans and Sarkisian. USC jumped to No. 14 from No. 24 in the RecruitingNation class rankings.

Georgia: The Bulldogs didn’t have a big day in terms of number of commits, but quality ruled the day. Mark Richt and staff signed the player they had to have in five-star outside linebacker/defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross). While Carter’s announcement was the big one Wednesday afternoon, the morning started off with a bang for Georgia with the signing of No. 286 overall Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), who was first offered on Monday and never even visited Athens. Those two big signings kept the Bulldogs in the top 10 at No. 9.

South Carolina: One of the big movers in the class rankings on Wednesday was the Gamecocks. Not only did South Carolina make a jump from No. 27 to No. 19 throughout the day, but the Gamecocks also addressed major areas of need. Steve Spurrier and staff had key areas of need at cornerback and along the defensive front, and they delivered by picking up a pair of ESPN 300 corners in No. 87 overall Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation) and No. 120 Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King), as well as flipping ESPN 300 defensive tackle Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda) from Florida State and three-star defensive end Blake McClain (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) from Nebraska. Fighting off the late January runs by Alabama and Georgia for ESPN 300 linebacker commit Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) has to be included in the huge wins in recent days.

Kentucky: Sure, Kentucky plucked only one key target on Wednesday in three-star former Vanderbilt and Penn State defensive end commit Lloyd Tubman (Louisville, Ky./Seneca), but it was still a huge day at the finish line for the Wildcats. The 2014 class marks the first time in the nine years that ESPN has ranked recruiting classes that the Wildcats have finished with a top 25 class, and that includes a big win over Alabama for in-state four-star defensive tackle Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin). Signing six defensive backs fills a huge need as well.

Michigan State: The Spartans had a near dream season on the field, and followed it up by closing strong in recruiting. Not only did Michigan State jump nine spots in the class rankings from No. 38 to No. 29 on Wednesday, but it did so while filling a big need on the defensive front with big-time talent. ESPN 300 defensive end Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) was a big win over Ohio State, Florida State and Michigan, while flipping four-star defensive tackle Craig Evans (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie) from Wisconsin earlier in the week was another huge win for the Spartans.

Pac-12: The conference as a whole was quite possibly the big winner on signing day. Of the 13 live commitments on ESPNU throughout the morning and afternoon, seven committed and signed with Pac-12 programs. The winner within the Pac-12 was USC, but Stanford also enjoyed a big day with No. 25 overall Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) and three-star corner Terrence Alexander (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian).

THE LOSERS

UCLA: Along with USC and South Carolina, the UCLA Bruins came into today with the most to gain. While Jim Mora and staff scored with four-star linebacker Kenny Young (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian), it was mostly misses throughout the day. Jackson and Smith picked crosstown rival USC, while Dupre opted for home-state LSU. At defensive end, the Bruins missed out twice on Wednesday with Thomas selecting Stanford and Godchaux sticking with LSU. And finally, No. 52 overall Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) stayed in state by picking Alabama over Auburn.

Ole Miss: It’s difficult to place the Rebels' No. 17 class with the losers on signing day, but that was the case in Oxford, Miss. Not only did Ole Miss drop a spot in the class rankings, but it also came up dry with explosive ESPN 300 receiver and return man Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), after Hugh Freeze and staff worked the Under Armour All-America Game standout all the way up until Wednesday morning before McKenzie announced for Georgia. While Dupre was a long shot, he was yet another prospect who went elsewhere. The Rebels also lost out on Alexander, who selected Stanford over Notre Dame. The bright spot for the Rebels on Wednesday was signing former Notre Dame transfer and No. 22 in the ESPN JC 50, Tee Shepard

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 13, 2014
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As the last weekend before the dead period comes to an end, there is still plenty of recruiting news throughout the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt suffered through a difficult weekend, there were a few important commitments and some key prospects backed off their pledges. Here’s a closer look at the top recruiting news around the SEC:

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 6, 2014
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College football recruiting is currently in a dead period, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a ton of recruiting news around the SEC. There were several commitments during the Under Armour and U.S. Army Bowl All-America games, including the top player in the country, Leonard Fournette, announcing his decision. There were also some decommitments and new, important offers were handed out. Here’s the latest news around the SEC.

SEC schools land big commitments: There was a flurry of commitments during and after the All-American games this weekend. SEC schools landed commitments from eight different players during the Under Armour All-America game and the U.S. Army Bowl. Here’s a closer look at who committed where. All eight players were ranked in the top 150 players of the ESPN 300.

RB Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine) -- Committed to LSU over Alabama and Texas.
DT Gerald WIllis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr) -- Committed to Florida over LSU and Alabama.
S Laurence “Hootie” Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) -- Committed to Alabama over LSU and Ole Miss.
ATH Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr) -- Committed to Texas A&M over LSU.
WR Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside) -- Committed to Texas A&M over Missouri, LSU, Oregon and Arkansas.
OL Brian Wallace (Saint Louis/Christian Brothers College HS) -- Committed to Arkansas over Alabama and Missouri.
S Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) -- Committed to LSU over Florida.
DB Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas) -- Committed to Alabama over LSU.


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When ESPN 300 wide receiver Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) verbally committed to Tennessee on Wednesday afternoon, it didn’t come as a surprise to many. After all, Malone is the top-ranked prospect in Tennessee and the Vols have placed a heavy emphasis on landing the talented pass-catcher.

Clemson, however, has been known to go out-of-state and land top receiver prospects such as Sammy Watkins. The Tigers might have lost out on Malone, but it’s not like they were left empty-handed.

Clemson already has commitments from ESPN 300 wide receivers Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) and Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), as well as Kyrin Priester (Snellville, Ga/Fork Union Military Academy).

The Tigers are also targeting another ESPN 300 prospect Trevion Thompson (Durham, N.C./Hillside) and they are considered, by many, to be the favorite for the talented pass-catcher.

In addition to Clemson, Malone was also heavily considering Georgia and Florida State before narrowing down his choices to Clemson and Tennessee late in the process.

For Georgia, the Bulldogs already have commitments from Shakenneth Williams (Macon, Ga./Rutland) and Gilbert Johnson (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) and they are limited on scholarships. Unless something changes on its recruiting board, Georgia might not take another receiver in this class.

Florida State, meanwhile, is still in heavy contention for ESPN 300 wide receiver Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) and Florida commit Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead). If FSU continues to have success on the field and happens to win the national championship, the Seminoles will likely see new names appear on their board.

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

November, 25, 2013
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As the regular season winds down, there was a lot of news around the Southeastern Conference over the weekend. There were a few big commitments, and LSU hosted several visitors for its dominating win over Texas A&M. Here’s a closer look at some of the top story lines in the SEC this weekend.

Biggest commitment: Ole Miss might have a lost a home game to Missouri on Saturday night, but the Rebels received some good news earlier in the day as ESPN 300 wide receiver Markell Pack (Purvis, Miss./Purvis) flipped his commitment from Florida State to Ole Miss. The Oxford (Miss.) Clarion Ledger first reported his switch and Pack later confirmed his decision in a text message.

The Rebels now have 23 verbal commitments, including three ranked in the ESPN 300.

In addition to Pack’s commitment, there was another ESPN 300 commitment in the SEC on Saturday. Defensive tackle Joshua Frazier (Springdale, Ark./Har Ber) verbally committed to Alabama over Arkansas, Auburn, Texas A&M and USC.

Biggest weekend performance: Several SEC-committed prospects put up impressive numbers but Florida quarterback commit Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day) might have had the best performance of the season for prospects who are committed to SEC schools.

Grier set a season-high for passing yards with 592 passing yards and added six touchdowns through the air in a 69-28 victory in his teams state championship game on Friday. Grier finished the season just 18 yards shy of 5,000 passing yards on the year. He is set to enroll at Florida in January.

Most Important visit: LSU hosted several top visitors for its big 34-10 victory over Texas A&M. The group was headlined by Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine), the No. 1-ranked player in the country, and linebacker Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South), who was in Baton Rouge on an official visit.

Garrett was impressed with what he saw from the LSU fans.

“LSU has a great fan base,” Garrett said. “They have coaches [who] know exactly what to do in big-game situations and against great players like [Johnny] Manziel. It’s just a great place.”

This visit is significant for the Tigers. Garrett has taken four official visits and will likely make his decision in the near future. LSU has certainly put themselves in a good position to land the talented linebacker.

Questions for signing day: SEC 

November, 12, 2013
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With signing day three short months away, several questions remain in the SEC. Here's a look at the top questions to ask as signing day quickly approaches.

1. Where will Leonard Fournette go?


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
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Lots of news around the Southeastern Conference over the weekend. There were a few commitments, and Alabama hosted several visitors for its big win over LSU. Here’s a closer look at some of the top storylines in the SEC this weekend.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

November, 4, 2013
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As always, there was a lot of news around the SEC over the weekend. There were some record-setting performances and some important visits. Here’s a closer look at some of the top recruiting storylines in the SEC from this weekend.

Best weekend performances: Several SEC committed prospects put up ridiculous numbers. Here's a look at some of the top weekend performances


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Recruit reaction: Florida-Georgia 

November, 3, 2013
11/03/13
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Though neither school hosted visitors for the neutral-site matchup between Georgia and Florida on Saturday, there were several recruits who tuned in to watch an exciting game.

For Georgia, its hopes to win the SEC East are still alive after the 23-20 victory over Florida. The Gators are now just fighting to become bowl eligible.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 21, 2013
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On the field there was some huge upsets over the weekend in the Southeastern Conference and off the field there was a ton of recruiting news. Here's a closer look at the latest recruiting news in the SEC:

Biggest commitment: After watching Texas A&M's defensive performance on Saturday, there is no question five-star defensive end Myles Garrett's (Arlington, Texas/James Martin) commitment to the Aggies on Friday was the biggest recruiting news of the weekend. Garrett had been a long-time Aggie lean and finally decided to pull the trigger.

For the Aggies, Garrett becomes their 15th commitment including 10 that are ranked in the ESPN 300. Garrett is the No. 7-ranked player in the nation.

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Best SEC recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

It's no secret that Southeastern Conference has been the top conference in the country as far as recruiting over the last several years. The league currently has six teams ranked in the top 11 of the team recruiting rankings. Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters around the ultra-competitive conference.

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SEC class rankings analysis 

October, 9, 2013
10/09/13
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Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings. For an in-depth look at the SEC, check out our conference rankings:

1. Alabama, 21 commits: The Crimson Tide sit atop the RecruitingNation class rankings with a class that features 15 ESPN 300 prospects, including most recent commitment Ronnie Clark (Calera, Ala./Calera), the No. 96 overall prospect. Alabama remains in the hunt for several five-star prospects, including No. 1 overall Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine) and No. 9 Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover).


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

September, 9, 2013
9/09/13
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With football season in full swing, there was plenty of recruiting news over the weekend. From Georgia's big victory over South Carolina with several top prospects in attendance to some impressive high school performances, here is the latest around the SEC.

Best weekend performances

QB Drew Barker (Hebron, Ky./Conner, Kentucky commit): Barker was 28 of 44 for 356 yards and four touchdowns and added a fifth touchdown rushing in a 42-35 loss.

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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

September, 2, 2013
9/02/13
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With football season now in full swing, there was plenty of recruiting news over the weekend. From top high school performances to a five-star prospect ready to announce his decision, here is the latest news around the SEC.

Biggest commitment: There was only one commitment in the SEC over the weekend. Defensive lineman Braxton Hoyett (Pelham, Ala./Pelham) verbally committed to Mississippi State on Friday. Hoyett also had offers from Miami and UAB. The 6-foot-3, 274-pounder announced his decision via Twitter:

SEC recruiting mailbag

August, 30, 2013
8/30/13
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It’s time to dip into the SEC recruiting mailbag and answer your questions. Because of the amount of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today -- but we encourage you to ask again next week by tweeting your questions to @DerekTysonESPN or @HamiltonESPN and use the hashtag #SECRecruiting.

@ryandavidk: Do you expect to continue to see the top notch recruits picking SEC schools rather than B1G, Pac-12, etc...?

Lamont Gaillard
Derek Tyson/ESPNDefensive tackle Lamont Gaillard is one of several five-star rated players that could be headed to the SEC.
Derek Tyson: Currently the SEC has only one commitment from a five-star player (Lamont Gaillard to Georgia), but there is a real possibility the conference could land all 10 remaining uncommitted five-star players. Da'Shawn Hand is probably the most unlikely of that group, but he does have two SEC schools, Alabama and Florida, in his final three.

Looking at the ESPN Junior 300, there are several SEC targets among the top 15 players in the country. Teams such as Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Oklahoma, Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Texas will always get their fair-share of five-star prospects, but top to bottom, the SEC is showing no signs of slowing down as far as landing the top prospects in the country.

@BamaBrad79: [Da'Shawn] Hand, Cam [Robinson], [Marlon] Humphrey, [Leonard] Fournette, [Malachi] Dupre, [Raekwon] McMillan, [Jalen] Tabor...how many 5-stars can/will Bama get?

Gerry Hamilton: There are currently 10 five-star prospects in the ESPN 300 yet to commit. Of those, Alabama is very likely to get eight on campus for official visits and top-ranked offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (Monroe, La./West Monroe) will be making his decision on ESPNU’s College Football Daily on Wed., Sept. 4 at 1:30pm ET. The Crimson Tide is the favorite to land Robinson over LSU. Alabama is certainly the current favorite to land No. 9 overall Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Al./Hoover High). Alabama also enters the season as the favorite to land No. 11 Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross High), but Florida and home state Georgia provide real competition. No. 1 overall Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine) will likely pick between LSU and Alabama at the end of the day. Five-star Texas prospects Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/James Martin) and cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) will likely visit officially, as will inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) and defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge).

The net has been cast wide, and it’s hard to imagine Nick Saban and staff not closing as strong as ever. In the last four classes combined, the Crimson Tide have inked four five-star prospects. It’s not out of the question Alabama approaches that number in this class alone, but a whole season and a lot of official visits are still to be made.

@tcpipman: Why does it seem that Florida can not attract any top WRs?

DT: The Gators signed five wide receivers last year including three in the ESPN 300 and at least two, Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood, are expected to make major contributions this year. Florida also has the No. 2-ranked wide receiver, Ermon Lane, committed for this year and the No. 1-ranked wide receiver, DeVante Phillips, committed for next year. It appears they are doing just fine recruiting the position.

Florida will need to continue to show improvement in the passing game during the season to continue to attract top wideouts but bringing in a record-setting quarterback, Will Grier, will also help attract top talent.

@ufdlp: Where do you think [David] Sharpe is leaning?

GH: Hard to go against Florida right now, but this recruitment doesn’t have the feel of one that is coming to a conclusion in the near future. Sharpe will attend the Georgia-Clemson game Saturday, and both programs are under serious consideration. There are family ties to Clemson, and Sharpe’s father likes Georgia. An official visit to North Carolina is also in the works, and Sharpe would like the chance to play basketball as well at the next level. Florida State has ace recruiter Jeremy Pruitt in its corner, of course, and USC has been mentioned as a possible official visit destination.

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