Five-star CeCe Jefferson narrows list 

January, 21, 2015
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GLEN ST. MARY, Fla. -- Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson is nearing the time to make his college decision and the No. 9-ranked player in the ESPN 300 is starting to narrow his choices.

SEC morning links

January, 21, 2015
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1. Here's another kind of story that we occasionally see this time of year -- of the much more pleasant variety than those about transfers and dismissals. Florida tight end Jake McGee tweeted Tuesday that the NCAA granted him a sixth season of eligibility after he broke his leg in the first game of the Gators' 2014 season. Georgia offensive lineman Kolton Houston received similar news about a month ago, less than two years removed from a years-long eligibility case that prevented him from playing during his first three seasons on campus. It's always nice to see the NCAA side with the athletes and give them the opportunity to make full use of their college experience when possible.

2. So maybe Nick Marshall is a defensive back, after all. Since it seemed likely that he would shift from quarterback -- where he starred at Auburn -- to cornerback during the run-up to the NFL draft, it seemed surprising when initial stories had Marshall coming to the Senior Bowl as a quarterback. Marshall cleared things up on Tuesday, however, saying he expects to be a defensive back in the pros after practicing at corner and as a gunner on special teams. When Southeastern Louisiana's Bryan Bennett joined the South team's roster Tuesday, it enabled Marshall to shift to cornerback full-time for this week's practices.

3. He's been rumored to be a front-runner for the San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator opening, but Lane Kiffin continues to recruit for Alabama. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Tuesday at Senior Bowl practice that he couldn't say with certainty that Kiffin would return to his staff next season, but he's “hopeful that will continue.” Kiffin certainly provided a jolt for Alabama's offense last season, helping Blake Sims become one of the nation's most efficient passers and funneling the ball to receiver Amari Cooper enough to solidify his status one of the most coveted prospects in the upcoming NFL draft. Insider. Kiffin predicted during Sugar Bowl week that he would return to Alabama in 2015, but an NFL coordinator job would have to be tempting for the former NFL coach.

Around the SEC

Age is just a number to Steve Spurrier, 69, who said he feels “really good” physically and has dedicated himself to improving South Carolina's performance from its disappointing 2014 campaign.

Former Missouri football player Phil Pitts reportedly stepped down from his position as head coach at Helias High School in Jefferson City, Missouri, to accept a coaching position at Mizzou. Pitts played at Missouri under Gary Pinkel, who is still recruiting Helias' star tight end Hale Hentges, a 2015 Alabama commit.

Tennessee will play its annual Orange and White spring game on April 25.

Louisiana athlete Donte Jackson will announce his pick between LSU and Georgia on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Alabama defensive end prospect Prince Tega Wanagho Jr., whose “Coming to America” story we mentioned in Monday's morning links, suffered a serious left leg injury during a basketball game Tuesday night. Wanagho recently emerged as one of the nation's hottest football prospects by flashing a rare combination of size and athleticism in his first year playing football after moving to the U.S. from Nigeria.

Tweet of the day

Tuesday was a busy day on the recruiting trail with head coaches and assistants earning frequent flyer miles with national signing day only 15 days away. The headliner on Tuesday was No. 2-ranked Terry Beckner Jr. and a visit from Florida State.


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BATON ROUGE, La. -- For a player like Lamar Louis, LSU's defensive coordinator change might be helpful on multiple levels.

For starters, Louis should have the opportunity to play more on scrimmage downs -- potentially displaying new skills that might help the 5-foot-11 senior linebacker impress pro scouts enough to become an NFL draft pick. Louis also believes that defensive coordinator Kevin Steele's new defensive looks will help the Tigers become tougher to scheme against.

"If we can get [the new defensive scheme] down pat and be the multiple defense that we want, I think that it switches things up for other teams," Louis said. "It's not coming into Tiger Stadium going, ‘OK, they're going to be the same old 4-3 team, so this is how we're going to come at it.' They're actually going to have to think now.

"We can … when we play Auburn, play something different. When we play Arkansas, play something different. So we're going to not be as predictable as in the past if we can get everything down pat and be multiple like we would like."

Under Steele's predecessor John Chavis, LSU frequently lined up in defensive back-heavy packages like the nickel and Chavis' dime package, known as the "Mustang," which uses six defensive backs. As the starting strongside linebacker, Louis was often the odd man out when the Tigers brought extra defensive backs onto the field.

But if all goes according to play, the linebackers might play a bigger role under Steele even when the Tigers shift to a nickel defense.

"Being able to play in a 3-4 and a 4-3 and being able to have an opportunity to stay in in a nickel package, and just looking at different schemes, it's definitely going to help me at the next level," Louis said. "And I think it's going to help our team tremendously."

LSU's coaches have greater concerns at the moment than nailing down a defensive scheme or roles for specific players. First, they need to nail down the final spots in their recruiting class, with national signing day just two weeks away.

At last week's introductory news conference, new defensive line coach Ed Orgeron said the Tigers will still be a 4-3 defensive club -- deploying four defensive linemen and three linebackers as its traditional defensive front -- but they will also add elements of the 3-4 that Steele coached with Nick Saban at Alabama.

"We're going to base out of a 4-3, but there's some times where you're going to get in a 3-4 front," Orgeron predicted. "But we have 4-3 personnel here and I believe that's what we're going to start off with."

Steele agreed with that premise, pointing out that having four linebackers on the field with 3-4 looks will make it easier to defend the spread offensive schemes in place at nearly every other SEC West school.

"You're going to have to use it all in this league," Steele said. "You're going to have to have some odd-front stuff, particularly against the spread offense that much of the West is running. And so to get those two edge guys [outside linebackers] out there. But there also is a place for the other, so we'll have to mix that in there."

Between signing day and spring practice, the Tigers' coaching staff will likely sit down and begin nailing down a scheme that best suits the available personnel. Steele said he has no intention of simply "taking a playbook out and dusting it off and throwing it on and saying, 'OK, this is what we're doing.' We have to adapt things to the talent on the field, because I'll promise you this, I cannot tackle."

That approach suits Tigers head coach Les Miles just fine. Miles clearly likes the idea of throwing multiple looks at opposing offenses, and it appears that the Tigers will do so under the new defensive regime.

"I want to do both. I want to make sure we have elements of the 4-3 package ingrained and I'd like the opportunity to be open in certain situations," Miles said. "So that being said, I just want to make sure that it goes that way. As Steele said, we'll sit down and talk techniques and all that stuff and then we'll be on the right page."
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 counting down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Arrelious Benn, No. 17 in 2007 class

Benn came out of talent-rich Dunbar High in Washington, D.C., where he was teammates with 2009 NFL first-round pick Vontae Davis and 2011 seventh-round selection Nate Bussey. Benn picked Illinois in November of 2008 after making official visits to Florida State, Miami (FL), and Notre Dame. His choice was due in large part to then-Illini assistant coach Mike Locksley and the fact that Davis was already on campus at Illinois and Bussey was already committed to the Illini. Benn was part of a stellar Illinois class in 2007 that included Martez Wilson, Craig Wilson, and D'Angelo McCray.

Benn hit the ground running at Illinois, earning Big Ten Freshman of the year after setting school freshman records for receptions (43) and yards (521). He caught two TD passes.

As a sophomore in 2008, Benn caught 67 passes for 1,055 yards and three TDs, and accounted for 1,668 all-purpose yards. He was named All-Big Ten second team by the coaches, and first team by the national media. He also received fourth-team All-American honors from Phil Steele Magazine.

Benn was named All-Big Ten honorable mention as a junior after catching 49 passes for 645 yards.

Benn chose to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the 2010 NFL draft. He left Illinois with 159 receptions for 2,221 yards, and 996 kick return yards. He caught a pass in 36 of 37 games played.

Benn was selected in the second round, No. 39 overall, by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010. He has battled through a torn ACL, missing ample time the past two seasons.

Honorable mention: Timmy Jernigan, No. 17 in 2011, and Malachi Dupre, No. 17 in 2014. Jernigan was a three-year standout at Florida State starting his junior campaign on the Seminoles' BCS National title team. He was selected in the second round, No. 48 overall, in the 2014 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Dupre was named to the All-SEC Freshman team in 2014 after catching 14 passes for 318 yards and five TDs.
From time to time, our SEC reporters will give their takes on a burning question facing the league. They will both have strong opinions, but not necessarily the same view. We will let you decide which reporter is right.

Today's Take Two topic: With the NFL draft inching closer and closer, we're trying to figure out which SEC player will help his draft status the most between now and the NFL draft. Who can make the biggest jump, and who might need to make that jump to secure a better spot -- or a spot at all -- in the draft?

Take 1: David Ching

If history is any indication -- and it should be -- there are probably a couple dozen guys we could choose here and be correct. There is a reason that more players are drafted out of the SEC than any other conference on an annual basis: it’s the most talent-rich league out there.

For our purposes, I’ll go with a player who I covered over the past year at LSU, Danielle Hunter.

This is the kind of guy who makes draft analysts' jobs interesting, because it’s not what he has done thus far that would justify drafting Hunter. If he becomes an early-round pick, it will be because of expectations of future performance.

Hunter would probably be the first to say he has yet to play his best football after posting good-but-not-unbelievable stats in his junior season (73 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks). ESPN’s Todd McShay said this month that Hunter should return for his senior season, as that time would have allowed him to become more consistent and develop into an elite pass-rusher.

To date, he has not done that, as his total of 4.5 sacks over the past two seasons would prove.

Hunter jumped into the draft, anyway, and I still believe he will emerge as a much-discussed prospect over the next couple months despite the measly sack total.

For starters, he made huge strides in 2014 and typically did a good job setting the edge from his defensive end position. For another thing, just take a look at the guy. He’s enormous (LSU listed him at 6-foot-6) and he looks like he’s carved out of granite.

Hunter is a freak, and I can’t help but think an NFL team is going to see that physique and the way he improved in his first full season as a starter and opt to call his name in the first two rounds. It will be a risky pick based on potential, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Hunter become a first-round/top-50 selection.

Take 2: Edward Aschoff

I really like that pick. I think Hunter could have really benefited from another year in school, but as David points out, he's a physical freak who could light up any pre-draft workout.

I'm going to stay in the SEC West and go with Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson, who had a great season in 2014 after being almost the forgotten man in Oxford. For three years, Golson suffered with consistency and maturity. But he put everything together in 2014, leading the SEC and ranking second nationally with 10 interceptions. He also tied for first in the SEC with 18 passes defended.

Golson, 5-9 and 176 pounds, is another one of those athletes capable of impressing a lot of pro teams with his intangibles on the field. What I think will really perk teams' interest when they watch film from the 2014 season is how much mental development he made on the field. A tremendously gifted athlete, Golson perfected the mind game in 2014 and was able to finally dissect and predict plays before they happened on the field. He felt lost at times in years prior, but was completely dialed in last fall, and it showed. That is really going to help him.

But what will also help are his natural physical abilities and instincts. Golson can fly to the ball, and though he isn't the biggest cornerback out there, he isn't afraid to get physical with bigger receivers. To him, size isn't an issue in coverage, and the way he found passes in the air last season was very impressive.

As Golson begins to work out for teams and scouts get a better look at him, he could really turn some heads. He'll need to impress in drills, but Golson has the athleticism to push his draft stock up in the coming months.

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 20, 2015
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National signing day is less than three weeks away and it’s coming down to crunch time. This past weekend was one of three remaining weekends for recruits to take official visits before signing day and some of the top prospects took full advantage of the available weekend. Auburn had a monster recruiting weekend and, though not to the same extent, so did Alabama, Texas A&M, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and others. Here’s a closer look at the top news from this past weekend.


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It’s that time again. Time to count down who the best players in the SEC were this past season.

21. Markus Golden, DE, Missouri
Shane Ray got most of the attention on Missouri’s defense, and rightfully so considering he led the league in sacks. But don’t sleep on Golden, who it could be argued had a more complete season than his running mate. Not only did the senior rack up 8.5 sacks, he had 20 tackles for loss and led the team in quarterback hurries (12), forced fumbles (3) and fumble recoveries (3).

22. A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama
At first glance, Robinson wasn’t the player he was as a freshman in 2013 when he led the team with 5.5 sacks. But as an interior lineman in coach Nick Saban’s 3-4 system, stats don’t tell the full story -- at least not individual ones. Rather, the 6-foot-4, 320-pound sophomore was a vital cog in a defense that ranked 12th nationally, taking on countless double-teams in the running game while also lending a hand rushing the passer.

23. Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn
Auburn didn’t make it back to the national championship, but it wasn’t the fault of its quarterback. Rather, Marshall’s numbers were actually much better than his first season under center as he went from 1,976 yards passing to 2,531 and his quarterback rating jumped eight points. With a record of 20-7 as a starter, 6,425 total yards and 57 total touchdowns, Marshall’s career stands out in SEC history.

24. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Speaking of ridiculously talented freshmen, how about Texas A&M’s stud defensive end? On an abysmal defense, Garrett, a former five-star prospect in his own right, shined. The 6-5, 250-pound rookie wound up finishing second in the SEC in sacks with 11.5. He also had 14 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hurries and one blocked kick.

25. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
OK, so the Heisman Trophy talk was a little premature, but don’t let that obscure the solid freshman season the nation’s former No. 1-ranked recruit had. After all, in a backfield that was plenty deep with Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard, it was Fournette who led the team in rushing with 1,034 yards. In his final two games, he showed why there was such eagerness to see him in purple in gold as he ran for 289 yards and three touchdowns against Texas A&M and Notre Dame.

SEC morning links

January, 19, 2015
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1. For recruiting maniacs, Prince Tega Wanogho Jr.’s story is not new. But for those who follow recruiting only as national signing day nears, this is one of the more unique prospects you’ll come across. Recruiters across the country are beating down the door of the recruiting prospect who hails from Alabama by way of Nigeria. The 6-foot-7 defensive end has already lined up visits to LSU, Auburn and Tennessee, but he’ll have no shortage of options on national signing day. Check out the brand-new football player’s “Coming to America” story from AL.com’s Jeff Sentell.

2. It’s that time of year. Between bowl games and signing day, college headlines frequently involve players leaving their programs because of playing time or disciplinary or academic reasons. It happened at LSU on Sunday when the school confirmed that sophomores Rashard Robinson and Melvin Jones are no longer members of the team because of academic issues. It’s apparently happening at Alabama, where Altee Tenpenny and Malcolm Faciane are not expected to return. And similar stories will continue to pop up all over the country as classes resume for spring semester. Keep your eyes peeled, it will probably happen at your school, too.

3. This is a big week for 25 former SEC players who started arriving in Mobile, Alabama, on Sunday for this weekend’s Senior Bowl. For instance, former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall was invited to show that he can play the position in the pros – some draft analysts believe he should switch to defensive back to make it in the NFL – while plenty of other players from the conference hope to solidify their draft stock by performing well in this week’s all-important practices against other top-notch prospects. Here is a link to the rosters for the North and South squads for this week’s all-star game.

Around the SEC

Is it time to stop calling Kentucky’s offensive scheme the “Air Raid?” Maybe so.

Stephen Rivers, who transferred from LSU to Vanderbilt prior to the 2014 season, announced on Twitter that he will transfer from Vandy and use his final season of eligibility elsewhere.

Georgia early enrollees Michael Barnett and Natrez Patrick both underwent recent surgeries, but Patrick is still expected to participate in spring practice and Barnett should be available for the fall.

Multiple players who competed on NFL championship Sunday had ties to Mississippi State and 2010 defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.

Tweet of the day

Best of the visits: SEC

January, 18, 2015
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Auburn hosted an incredible seven five-star prospects over the weekend, while Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Texas A&M and other SEC schools also had big recruiting weekends. Here’s a closer look at some of the top sights and sounds from the weekend visitors.

Three-star linebacker Dwaine Thomas flipped his commitment from Louisiana-Lafayette to Texas A&M on Saturday afternoon. Thomas tweeted out a photo of himself wearing an Aggies jersey and helmet.


Auburn had a huge recruiting weekend. Here are several photos prospects tweeted out over the course of the weekend:

Georgia commit Terry Godwin posing with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn.


Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson posing with a young fan after Auburn’s basketball game Saturday night.

Byron Cowart posted an Instagram photo of himself along with Jefferson and four-star linebacker Jeffery Holland on Auburn’s field.

#wareagle @holland_jeff @cecejeferson7

A photo posted by Byron Cowart (@byroncowart99) on


Auburn commit Jordan Colbert posted several pictures of other targets wearing Auburn jerseys in the Tigers locker room.


ESPN 300 defensive end Arden Key took an official visit to LSU with his family. Here are a few photos of his time in Baton Rouge.


Alabama also had a big recruiting weekend. Here is a photo of Arkansas wide receiver commit K.J. Hill, Miami receiver commit Lawrence Cager and Alabama safety commit Rico McGraw.


Here's Alabama commit Adonis Thomas in a Crimson Tide uniform.


Tennessee commit Kyle Phillips tweeted a photo of several Tennessee commits goofing around.


Mississippi State wide receiver commit Farrod Green tweeted a photo of himself in a Bulldogs uniform.


Virginia Tech commit Houshun Gaines poses for a picture with Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason.


Kentucky commit Jeremiah Dinson poses with uncommitted cornerback Rashad Fenton at the University of Florida.


Florida commit Tyler Jordan and South Carolina commit Christian Pellage pose for a picture while at Florida.


Another Florida commit, Mike Horton, tweeted out a photo of him in a Gators jersey.

Postseason #CFBrank: 51-60

January, 17, 2015
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We're wrapping up the 2014 season by ranking the top 100 players in college football, just like we did before the season. As the rankings are announced, you can also find them here on the pages of ESPN.com.

What is #CFBrank?

#CFBrank is the Twitter hashtag to use if you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along.

How did we rank the players?

We asked 32 of ESPN's college football writers and editors to rate players on a scale of 0-10 based on their performance during the 2014 season.


(Read full post)


College football is getting younger and younger. Gone are the days of just relying on upperclassmen to guide your football programs. Really, gone are the days of waiting for freshmen to develop.

Getting guys on the field earlier and earlier is more than just the norm, it's a necessity. Just look at all the young skill players tearing it up around the country.

The SEC has a treasure trove of young stars, so today we're going to look at rising sophomores and redshirt freshmen to keep an eye on in 2015.

Now, we aren't going to talk about the obvious guys. No All-SEC members from the coaches or the Associated Press. That's just too easy. We're diving into guys who just slid under the title of star in 2014 and could jump right in to the limelight this fall.

Here are the obvious guys who either made All-SEC teams, were honorable mentions or already are well known:
There are a ton of youngsters to choose from, so this certainly wasn't easy, but here are 10 rising sophomores and redshirt freshman from the SEC to keep an eye on in 2015:

EAST

[+] EnlargeJosh Malone
Randy Sartin/USA TODAY SportsJosh Malone didn't live up to the hype as a freshman, but expectations for him remain high.
Will Grier, QB, Florida: He redshirted last year but will be in an all-out battle with Harris for the starting job. Some feel he might be more suited to run new coach Jim McElwain's more pro-style offense.

Jacob Park, QB, Georgia: Another quarterback who redshirted in 2014, Park will challenge for the starting spot in Athens, and he might be the most physically gifted of the three guys competing for that job this spring.

Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia: He really came on at the end of last season, proving to be one of the Bulldogs' best pass-rushers. He finished the year with 4.5 sacks and 18 quarterback hurries.

Isaiah McKenzie, WR/RS, Georgia: Running back Sony Michel should be fun to watch too, but McKenzie has a chance to really take a big step forward in the receiving, rushing and return game. He registered 684 all-purpose yards in 2014.

Dominick Sanders, S, Georgia: Sanders started all 13 games for the Bulldogs last season and finished the year on a very high note with a two-interception performance in Georgia's bowl win over Louisville.

Matt Elam, DT, Kentucky: He started seven games last season and finished the year with 10 tackles. He has to become a more disruptive player up front, but he really has a chance to help this defense in 2015.

Chris Lammons, CB, South Carolina: The Gamecocks' defense will be a little bit older and hopefully a little bit wiser in 2015, and Lammons could be a big part of the improvements in the secondary.

Josh Malone, WR, Tennessee: The Vols return a pretty deep receiving corps, but Malone could have a bright future in Knoxville and should improve on his 23 catches for 231 yards and a touchdown from 2014.

Ethan Wolf, TE, Tennessee: Another talented, young weapon in the Vols' offense, Wolf made an instant impact as a freshman and should continue to be a key part of the Vols' aerial attack in 2015.

Nigel Bowden, LB, Vanderbilt: Not much went right for the Commodores in 2014, but Bowden could be a budding star. He led Vandy with 78 tackles and added two tackles for loss and a sack.

WEST

[+] EnlargeNick Marshall
Nelson Chenault/USA TODAY SportsFreshman defensive end Marquis Haynes led Ole Miss in sacks.
Da'Shawn Hand, DE, Alabama: He registered only seven tackles with two sacks in 2014, but Hand, a former five-star prospect, is a monster talent for the Tide who should see plenty of time this fall.

Marlon Humphrey/Tony Brown, CBs, Alabama: Brown played in 13 games, making two starts, while Humphrey redshirted. Alabama had issues at corner all year and these two youngsters, who might be the most talented corners on the team, will have every opportunity to take both starting spots.

Cam Sims, WR, Alabama: With Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones all departing, Alabama will be rebuilding at receiver. Sims, a former top high school prospect, could jump right into a key role at receiver for the Tide.

Jojo Robinson, WR, Arkansas: Coaches knew that he was really talented when he arrived last year, but he wasn't ready. There are high hopes for the former four-star prospect, who has a chance to make a strong impact in Arkansas' passing game.

Roc Thomas, RB, Auburn: In a crowded backfield, Thomas played in 12 games and registered 214 rushing yards with two touchdowns. With both Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant gone, Thomas will take over as Auburn's lead back so of course he'll be productive.

Travonte Valentine, DT, LSU: Eligibility issues cut into Valentine's chances of playing in 2014, but he has the potential to be a major player up front for the Tigers. He was probably physically ready to play last year.

Clifton Garrett, LB, LSU: Garrett didn’t really play much last season but was one of LSU's top prospects in its 2014 recruiting class. Garrett just wasn’t ready last season, but that will all change this year.

Gerri Green, LB, Mississippi State: While he sat out the 2014 season, the good news is that he's built like Benardrick McKinney, who just left Starkville for the NFL. He's a big, fast, strong, long, athletic linebacker, who the coaches are very excited about.

C.J. Hampton, S, Ole Miss: With Cody Prewitt gone, Hampton should step right in at that safety spot. There was even talk before the 2014 season that he could have replaced Prewitt and moved him to linebacker. He already has had good field experience, playing in 13 games.

Marquis Haynes, DE, Ole Miss: The Rebels are loaded with defensive line talent, but Haynes was Ole Miss' best pass-rusher in 2014. He started four of the 13 games he played in and led the team with 7.5 sacks while tying for the team lead with nine tackles for loss.

SEC all-bowl team

January, 16, 2015
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The postseason wasn't just about the SEC Western Division going 2-5, sending the rest of the country into a state of euphoria. There were also some impressive individual performances that the league could hang its hat on, and it's time to acknowledge them.

Here's our All-SEC bowl team:

Offense

QB: Dak Prescott, Mississippi State: His team might have faltered in the Capital One Orange Bowl, but no other quarterback had close to the numbers he did in the Bulldogs' loss. Prescott threw for 453 yards with three touchdowns and ran for 47 yards with another score.

[+] EnlargeNick Chubb
Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY SportsNick Chubb had an SEC bowl-record 269 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries in the Belk Bowl against Louisville.
RB: Nick Chubb, Georgia: Is there anything this freshman can't do? He earned Belk Bowl MVP honors with his SEC bowl-record 269 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries in the win over Louisville.

RB: Jalen Hurd, Tennessee: Another incredibly talented freshman, Hurd ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in Tennessee's Outback Bowl win over Iowa.

WR: Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina: The Gamecocks' star receiver had a nice closing act to the season, catching nine passes for 170 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown to jump-start South Carolina's offense in a win over Miami in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.

WR: De'Runnya Wilson, Mississippi State: He was Prescott's top receiving threat all season, and he didn't disappoint in the bowl game, catching nine passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns.

WR/TE: Amari Cooper, Alabama: Cooper's final game in an Alabama uniform didn't go exactly as planned, but he still had an impressive night with nine catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns in the Tide's 42-35 loss to Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

OL: Jacob Gilliam, Tennessee: Despite playing with a torn ACL in his left knee and a heavily wrapped, injured left hand, Gilliam, a former walk-on, was an intricate part of Tennessee's impressive offensive performance against Iowa.

OL: A.J. Cann, South Carolina: The main cog on South Carolina's line for years, Cann had another impressive day for the Gamecocks, helping push South Carolina's offense to 344 yards.

OL: Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M: The Aggies piled up 529 yards of offense in the win over West Virginia with Ogbuehi leading the way on the left side. He didn't have the most impressive year, but a solid showing in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl helped send the Aggies off on a high note.

OL: Evan Boehm, Missouri: Yes, he's a center, but he was just too good in the Tigers' 33-17 win against Minnesota in the Florida Citrus Bowl. It didn't hurt that the Tigers ran for 337 yards.

C: David Andrews, Georgia: Chubb was able to do a lot of his damage because of his own talent, but Andrews helped by having a very impressive game in front of him. Georgia finished with 492 offensive yards.

All-Purpose: Leonard Fournette, LSU: How about that? Another freshman running back. Fournette capped his first season in college football with 143 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. He also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

Defense

DL: Dante Fowler Jr., Florida: Considered one of the top defensive end prospects in this year's NFL draft, Fowler registered three sacks and was a constant disruptive force in Florida's win against East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl.

DL: Markus Golden, Missouri: Not a real shocker that Golden ended the season on such a high note. He recorded 10 tackles, including four for loss and 1.5 sacks. He also forced a fumble and had three quarterback hurries.

DL: Trey Flowers, Arkansas: During the Razorbacks' impressive defensive performance in their win against Texas, he had five tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss.

DL: Shane Ray, Missouri: Another solid game for the SEC's top pass-rusher. Ray had four tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss, half a sack and a forced fumble.

LB: Kris Frost, Auburn: Frost really cleaned up in the Outback Bowl despite the Tigers' loss. He piled up 12 tackles (nine solo) and a sack.

LB: Lorenzo Carter, Georgia: The freshman just continued to impressive during the latter part of the season. He had eight tackles (tied for team lead) and a sack against Louisville.

LB: Martrell Spaight, Arkansas: He was all over the field for the Hogs, registering five tackles, including two for loss.

CB: Brian Poole, Florida: He returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown, forced a fumble, recovered one and registered four tackles.

CB: Damian Swann, Georgia: In his final game with the Bulldogs, Swann grabbed an interception, broke up four passes and totaled three tackles.

S: Dominick Sanders, Georgia: The youngster snagged two interceptions and broke up another pass in Georgia's win against Louisville.

S: Jermaine Whitehead, Auburn: He finished Auburn's bowl game with eight tackles and two interceptions.

Special teams

K: Marshall Morgan, Georgia: When you hit 3 of 3 field goals, with a long of 41 yards, and all four extra points, you've done well.

P: JK Scott, Alabama: Another great game by Scott in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. He boomed five punts 50-plus yards, including a long of 73 yards. Five of his punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.

Top recruiting targets in the SEC 

January, 16, 2015
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With the dead period ending and less than three weeks remaining until national signing day, recruiting is coming down to crunch time. Each school is working feverishly to fill out the remainder of their 2015 recruiting class. Here’s a closer look at the top remaining targets for each school.


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