Ultimate ESPN 300: 15 things to know

February, 16, 2015
Feb 16
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The Ultimate ESPN 300 is RecruitingNation's ranking of the best prospects since we began evaluating high school athletes in 2006. That means there are many names on the list known to college football and recruiting fans since coming out of high school. The list can also provide glimpses of which states have been top producers since 2006 and which teams have done the best and worst jobs of evaluating prospects and producing players.

Here are 15 things to know about the Ultimate ESPN 300:

15. Some classes turn out better than others, and that is true of the 2009 class. There are 45 players from the class in the Ultimate ESPN 300, the most of any class, including 15 that became first-round NFL draft selections. That includes four who signed with Alabama: Trent Richardson, Dre Kirkpatrick, D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack.

14. Bob Stoops recruited and coached 13 players on the list. Of the 13, four were first-round NFL draft selections led by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford. Nine of the 13 were also members of the Sooners team that lost to Florida for the 2009 BCS National Championship.

13. The teams that played for the 2012 BCS National Championship, Alabama and LSU, were supremely talented. There are 22 players from those rosters in the Ultimate ESPN 300, including 14 for the Crimson Tide.

12. Quite possibly the most important part of the recruiting process for coaches is keeping the best at home. Well, only 137 of the Ultimate ESPN 300 stayed in state to play college football. One important aspect of this stat is that not every player on the list had the option to stay in state.

11. The teams from the 2014 BCS title game are well represented on the list. Twenty-three players from Florida State and Auburn make the list, with the Seminoles accounting for 18.

10. NCAA FBS single-game-rushing record holder Samaje Perine enters the list after a freshman season of 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Oklahoma Sooners. His 427 yards against Kansas in 2014 broke the record a week after Melvin Gordon had set a new mark.

9. The 2011 class is special. That class has 41 players in the Ultimate ESPN 300, including 12 first-round NFL draft picks with more possible, including Marcus Mariota, La'El Collins and Shane Ray. The Sunshine State led the way in the 2011 class with first-round picks: Sammy Watkins, Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Shazier, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Kelvin Benjamin with more possible to be added to the list.

8. As expected, the state of Florida leads the way with 52 players on the list. Texas is second with 35, and California third with 28. Georgia follows with 18. Only 23 of the 52 from the Sunshine State stayed in state for college, but 19 of those players left college with national championship rings.

7. There are 15 players who signed with USC on the list, including Jarvis Jones, who would later transfer to Georgia. That's the most from a school on the list that hasn’t won a national championship since 2006. Notre Dame is second on that list with 12.

6. There are six quarterbacks from the state of Texas in the Ultimate ESPN 300, and only one was recruited heavily and offered early by the University of Texas: Matthew Stafford. The five who weren’t offered or recruited as quarterbacks by the Longhorns: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel, Ryan Mallett and J.T. Barrett.

5. There are 17 players on the list recruited by Urban Meyer. The impressive list includes Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin, along with Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott and J.T. Barrett from 2015 national champion Ohio State.

4. St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the high school with the most players on the list with six. That includes NFL running backs Gionvani Bernard and James White, who were members of the same backfield.

3. Nick Saban has recruited 25 players to Alabama on the prestigious list. Of those 25, 11 have been first-round NFL draft selections, with that number to hit 13 in a couple of months with Amari Cooper and Landon Collins projected to be 2015 first-rounders.

2. South Florida's Dade and Broward counties are the two most talented counties in the country that neighbor each other. To illustrate that fact, 22 members of the Ultimate ESPN 300 are from the otherworldly talented counties, including five NFL first-round draft picks, with that number expected to jump to seven or eight in April. Add in Palm Beach County, which neighbors Broward, and that number jumps to 29 of the 300, including seven first-round picks, with that number sure to hit double digits in two months. If one is a Miami (Fla.) fan, time to turn away, as only four of the 22 from Dade and Broward counties played for the Hurricanes.

1. How do you win three national championships in six years? Jimmys and Joes are where it must begin, and Alabama has the most of any school on the list with 27. More than half of the 27 have been or will be first-round draft selections after this year's draft. Both Florida and Florida State have 18 apiece on the list.
COCOA BEACH, Fla. -- The Pylon 7-on-7 2015 tournament at Cocoa Beach High drew many of the top prospects in Florida and beyond in the 2016, 2017 and even 2018 classes Saturday. More than 15 skill players in the ESPN Junior 300 competed throughout the day, including nationally-recruited juniors such as Trayvon Mullen, Dredrick Snelson and quarterback Ervin “Woody” Barrett.

Here is the latest on several Sunshine State prospects.

Eli Stove, WR
ESPN Junior 300 ranking: No. 80

This offseason has been full of turnover among SEC coordinators, with 14 positions having changed hands already.

Some of these coaches will be entrusted with rebuilding efforts at their new locations, while the more fortunate members of the group inherit situations that are relatively stable. But who is in the best position to experience immediate success in his new SEC job?

There are a few directions you could go and make a reasonable argument:

  • [+] EnlargeKevin Steele
    AP Photo/Hilary ScheinukKevin Steele replaces John Chavis as LSU's defensive coordinator.
    Because of the headway Butch Jones' staff has made on the recruiting trail and the young talent on hand -- names like Josh Dobbs, Marquez North and Jalen Hurd -- Tennessee's offense seems to be on the rise. Some college football writers are even tossing out the Volunteers as darkhorse contenders to make the College Football Playoff this season. Former Michigan assistant Mike DeBord is poised to make some noise as the Volunteers' offensive coordinator over the next couple of years.
  • Brian Schottenheimer has some key offensive skill talent to replace as Mike Bobo's successor at Georgia -- that Todd Gurley guy was pretty good -- plus a quarterback competition to oversee, but the Bulldogs will keep rolling on offense. They still have Nick Chubb and the core of a solid offensive line returning along with adequate talent at the skill positions.
  • With nearly everyone back on offense, Dan Enos steps into a promising situation at Arkansas. Especially since the lifeblood of the Razorbacks' offense -- the running game -- is in great shape thanks to the return of ballcarriers Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins and most of a stout offensive line. This might never be an explosive offense while Bret Bielema is head coach, but it will be difficult for opposing defenses to prevent the Hogs from grinding their way up and down the field.
  • Geoff Collins was another tempting pick here. He inherits a Florida defense that under D.J. Durkin and Will Muschamp stood among the SEC's best. The Gators ranked in the top 20 nationally in total defense and scoring defense in 2014, and they return a talented nucleus of players. It doesn't hurt that, despite a recruiting class that didn't measure up to Florida's usual high standards, the Sunshine State is always loaded with premium talent that should keep the Gators among the SEC's top defenses once the new staff digs into its recruiting ground.

Those are all reasonable options, but LSU's Kevin Steele seems like the most obvious choice.

First of all, LSU under John Chavis boasted the SEC's top total defense (ranking ninth nationally, plus the No. 5 scoring defense, which trailed only Ole Miss in the SEC) in 2014. Second, Steele takes over a unit with no glaring holes on the roster. The Tigers return six starters from their bowl game against Notre Dame and most of the key reserves.

That doesn't mean LSU is without question marks. The Tigers lost both starting defensive ends, and they weren't particularly successful at generating sacks even with Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco on the roster. They also must sort out some roles in the secondary and adapt to the schematic adjustments Steele seems likely to make.

There are also questions about Steele himself. The veteran assistant has been a defensive coordinator twice -- he was Alabama's DC in 2007 and served in the same capacity at Clemson from 2009-11. Steele got mixed reviews at Clemson, and his tenure there ended with an embarrassing bowl flop against West Virginia.

Nonetheless, he's a coach who has been hired by multiple current and future Hall of Famers -- Johnny Majors, Tom Osborne, Bobby Bowden, Nick Saban and now Les Miles -- and he's taking over a defense that has been one of the SEC's best for most of Miles' decade on the bayou.

It would be a big surprise if the Tigers failed to remain among the conference's feistiest defenses in its first fall under Steele's leadership. So while many of the SEC's 14 new coordinators inherited good situations, LSU's new defensive coordinator looks like the one who is in the best position to experience immediate success.
There are plenty of five-star, blue-chip recruits who will find themselves playing key roles as freshmen in the SEC this coming fall. It's easy to project big things for Auburn's Byron Cowart, Alabama's Kendall Sheffield or Florida's CeCe Jefferson. But what about all those other players filling out their classes? Odds are, a few will sneak up and surprise people.

Here are a few guesses as to who those players will be:

Edward Aschoff: DT Jabari Zuniga, Florida
Talk about flying way under the radar. Most Florida fans probably don’t even know who this kid is, but Zuniga has a chance to help the Gators up front this fall, and Florida’s staff was very excited about flipping him from NC State. Just take a look at his film and you can’t help but be impressed. He’s incredibly quick off the line, has great burst in the backfield and showcases a lot of power. He was reclassified from the 2016 class to 2015, which contributed to his low ranking (No. 45 DT), but he has the potential to be a real steal for the Gators, who need help along the defensive line.

David Ching: RB David Ducre, LSU
LSU’s coaches think they got a steal in running back David Ducre. He didn’t get the national attention that fellow backfield signees Derrius Guice and Nick Brossette did – probably because he’s a bit of a tweener. But Ducre is a perfect fit at LSU, and he fills an immediate need since the Tigers don’t currently have a scholarship fullback on the roster. Ducre is a power back who is fast enough to play tailback, but expect to see him lining up in front of Leonard Fournette, Darrel Williams and his two fellow 2015 signees more often. Since he’s an early enrollee, he seems likely to make an immediate impact.

Sam Khan Jr.: OL Zach Rogers, Arkansas
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema knows his offensive linemen well and that's why I think four-star guard Zach Rogers has a really bright future in Fayetteville. Rogers, though not in the ESPN 300, is a big (6-foot-1, 318 pounds), physical, tough player who I could see mauling opponents down the road and thriving for the Hogs. If we're talking three-star prospects, I'm a huge fan of outside linebacker Richard Moore. The Texas A&M signee is undersized (6-1, 210) but turn on his highlights and it's easy to see why he had two dozen offers. He's aggressive, hits like a truck and is fast.

Chris Low: TE Austin Cantrell, Arkansas
Tight ends have always been an integral part of Bret Bielema's offense, and that's only going to be reinforced now that Dan Enos is calling the plays. Arkansas signed three H-backs/tight ends in this class, and all three are a little bit different. Of the three, Austin Cantrell of Roland, Oklahoma, is the lowest rated, but he might also be the most versatile. The 6-4, 248-pound Cantrell played tight end, running back, defensive end and linebacker in high school. Oklahoma got on him late after he had a big senior season, but Cantrell stuck to his commitment to the Hogs. The initial plan is for Cantrell to work with the Arkansas H-backs, but he's the kind of football player who could make an impact a couple of different places.

Greg Ostendorf: TE Chandler Cox, Auburn
When Jay Prosch graduated a year ago, it left a huge void at Auburn’s H-back position. He wasn’t always the sexiest player, but he got the job done and the running game was better for it. There’s a reason Prosch beat out the longtime starter in his first training camp with the Houston Texans. The coaches believe Chandler Cox can be that same type of player. He needs to bulk up some, but he might already be a better pass-catcher than Prosch. The three-star prospect enrolled early at Auburn, giving him an even better shot at early playing time.

Alex Scarborough: QB Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
Signing day came and went without much being said about Vanderbilt, and judging by its 18 total signees and No. 44 class ranking that makes sense. But if we're looking for an under-the-radar signee, look no further than Kyle Shurmur, the Commodores' newest quarterback and most highly-rated recruit. The nation's No. 7 QB-PP has everything you look for at the position, with good height (6-4), ideal weight (220 pounds) and a strong throwing arm. And unlike many freshmen quarterbacks in the SEC, he doesn't have much competition in front of him. Considering the fact that six players took snaps at QB for Vanderbilt last season, combining for 13 touchdowns and 19 interceptions, it's not a stretch to imagine Shurmur starting from Day 1.

Derek Tyson: LB Jordan Griffin, Vanderbilt
Defensive end Byron Cowart, the No. 1-ranked player in the country, might get all the attention at Seffner (Florida) Armwood High School. But it’s his teammate, Jordan Griffin, that might have a bigger impact next season. The three-star linebacker, who flipped his commitment from Wisconsin to Vanderbilt on signing day, is a tackling machine. Having seen Griffin play on multiple occasions I feel confident in saying he will make an impact at Vanderbilt early in his career. In the state championship game against nationally ranked Miami Central, Griffin totaled 19 tackles, four for loss, and two forced fumbles.

SEC morning links

February, 12, 2015
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1. While it's been an offseason for getting paid in the SEC, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen still doesn't have a contract extension to speak of. Well, not yet, anyway. Athletic director Scott Stricklin sounds pretty confident that a contract extension for the coach who guided the Bulldogs to their first 10-win season since 1999 this past year is coming. It's more of a "when" issue than an "if" issue. That's great news for the program because Mullen has completely changed the culture at Mississippi State. He has 46 wins in six years and deserves both a raise and an extension, and he'll get it.

2. Alabama hasn't exactly been hurting for running back help over the past few years. Actually, ever since Nick Saban took over in 2007, running the ball has been the Crimson Tide's staple. But with the Tide losing T.J. Yeldon to the NFL, Altee Tenpenny transferring and Tyren Jones being suspended, Alabama finds itself a little thin at the running back position. With that said, Saban is prepared, and now freshman Bo Scarbrough has a chance to see a bigger role immediately. He's already on campus, and don't think for a second that Saban won't give him every chance to earn his keep this spring.

3. The horrific details of the sexual assault case involving four former Vanderbilt football players cast an ugly light on the sport of college football. It was a nightmare of a situation, and SI.com's Jessica Luther took a very complex look at the incident that left two former players convicted of multiple counts of sexual battery and aggravated rape and a community reeling.

Around the SEC
Tweet of the day

Too soon, Jon. Too soon ...

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Jim Hawthorne, LSU's longtime play-by-play broadcaster, is retiring next year after 35 years calling LSU games.
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Mel Kiper Jr. joined SEC Now to discuss the SEC players in his second 2015 mock draft.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- In his most recent mock draft, ESPN NFL Draft Insider Mel Kiper believes the Arizona Cardinals will bolster their secondary with their first pick in the 2015 draft.

He predicted the Cardinals would take LSU cornerback Jalen Collins with the 24th overall choice in the first round.

I disagree.

I think there are more pressing needs for the Cardinals to address in the first round than a cornerback. Last season, the Cardinals had two Pro Bowlers in Antonio Cromartie and Patrick Peterson on the edges, and Jerraud Powers at nickel corner. If Cromartie doesn't re-sign, Powers would be the likely candidate to take his spot unless the Cardinals find a veteran corner in free agency.

But drafting a corner in the first round doesn’t make sense for the Cardinals. They need an athletic inside linebacker and pass-rusher or maybe even a running back if the right prospect falls to them, more than they need to spend the money on a corner.

As Kiper described Collins, who had three interceptions to complement 90 tackles and 25 pass break ups in three years at LSU, he’s still a “work in progress” which essentially means he won’t be ready to start as a rookie.

Collins, who would be joining fellow LSU Tigers Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu if Kiper were to be correct, may be a better fit for a team later in the first round.
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Dari Nowkhah and Barrett Sallee look at Defensive Coordinator John Chavis and his move to Texas A&M.

Ultimate ESPN 300 class rankings

February, 11, 2015
Feb 11
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When looking at the top prospects in the Ultimate ESPN 300, it became clear that a top-10 class doesn't guarantee success on the field. Consistently signing top-rated classes, though, can increase the chances for consistent success.

Below is a look at the 10 programs that assembled the "ultimate" classes from 2006 to 2014. These teams have not only been able to ink highly rated classes, but have also consistently developed top players while winning big. During this span these programs have accounted for eight top-rated classes and six BCS championships, as well as all four participants of the first College Football Playoff.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama has signed seven straight top-three recruiting classes and 2014 marked its third straight top-ranked class. That success on the recruiting trail has helped produce consistent success on the field over this span, including three BCS titles and a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide's recruiting haul during this period included a Heisman Trophy winner in RB Mark Ingram as well as three other finalists in QB AJ McCarron and RB Trent Richardson, who signed in 2009, and most recently WR Amari Cooper from the 2012 class. Alabama's recruiting success also resulted in numerous All-Americans and All-SEC players. While the Tide have consistently recruited well under Nick Saban, their 2008 and 2009 classes were the most impactful. The 2008 class included Ingram, WR Julio Jones and several key defensive players like Marcel Dareus and Dont'a Hightower. McCarron, Richardson, Dre Kirkpatrick and outstanding OLs Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker were members of the 2009 class. The 2014 class delivered No. 1 OT Cameron Robinson, who became the first true freshman to start at left tackle for Alabama since Andre Smith in 2006.


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The days of waiting for youngsters to make impact in college football are over. If you're a top freshman prospect, you're expected to come in and contribute.

So much for slacking on your training before prom.

But more and more, freshmen are proving to be up for the task of immediate playing time and immediate pressure. Coaches aren't afraid to throw these guys into the fire, and it's working out all around the country.

So who are some freshmen to keep an eye on in the SEC from the 2015 class?

Edward Aschoff: DT Trenton Thompson, Georgia
What the Bulldogs needed in this class were hefty, intimidating, athletic defensive linemen. Georgia got all of that in Thompson, a 6-foot-4, 311-pound behemoth who could see immediate playing time for a Bulldogs team in need of help at the defensive tackle spot. With only five scholarship defensive linemen returning, Thompson will have every opportunity to compete for a starting spot. The five-star was the No. 2-rated defensive tackle nationally, according to ESPN’s RecruitingNation, and was named the 2014 Maxwell Football Club’s National High School Player of the Year. Georgia needs a quality plug in the middle who can stop the run and harass quarterbacks. Thompson has everything needed to be that in 2015.

David Ching: DE Arden Key, LSU
I touched on this subject from an LSU perspective earlier this week. The first player I listed in that post was Key, ESPN’s No. 24 overall prospect and No. 6 defensive end, because he can help address an immediate need. LSU must replace starting defensive ends Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco. There is some talent returning – Tashawn Bower seems to be a leading candidate to take over one of the starting spots – but nobody has proven himself as a college player yet. LSU struggled to generate sacks last season, finishing 102nd nationally with just 19. Les Miles and his assistants believe Key can help address that issue right away.

Sam Khan Jr.: S Deionte Thompson, Alabama
The ESPN 300 prospect has good size (6-2, 180) and speed and the advantage of being an early enrollee. Thompson, the nation's No. 3 safety and the No. 65 player overall in the ESPN 300, is a versatile athlete (he was a talented high school track and field athlete) and given the departures at safety for Alabama (two graduated plus Landon Collins declared for the draft) there will be spots available. Don't be shocked if Thompson works his way into one of them and plays well.

Greg Ostendorf: S Jamal Peters, Mississippi State
Peters, ranked No. 40 in the ESPN 300, is the highest-ranked player to sign at Mississippi State since Dan Mullen took over, slightly surpassing current defensive lineman Chris Jones (No. 46). Last week, Mullen was already raving about his new toy at his signing day news conference. With Jay Hughes graduating, there’s an opening at the strong safety spot that’s perfect for Peters to come in and play right away. It’s not an easy position to play early, but Peters has the size and athletic ability to do it. The rest he can learn along the way.

Alex Scarborough: RB Damien Harris, Alabama
I'm tempted to go with Kyler Murray here because I believe he could win the job outright, but the QB position is just too hard to predict. So instead I'll turn to a position that does lend itself to making an impact early: running back. I'm going way down the list of the top players in the country to No. 36 Harris. The nation's No. 2 running back has a chance to make a significant impact from Day 1 with Alabama. T.J. Yeldon and Jalston Fowler off to the NFL, remember, and Kenyan Drake is coming off an injury, Altee Tenpenny has transferred out and Tyren Jones has a history of ending up in the doghouse. If Harris, a well-rounded back, can grasp the offense, he could be a dangerous change of pace to the bruising Derrick Henry.

Derek Tyson: DE Byron Cowart, Auburn
The Auburn defense was tied for 92nd in the FBS in sacks by getting to the quarterback only 21 times last season. That was a point of emphasis for new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, and no player was bigger than the No. 1 defensive end and No. 1 player overall, Cowart. The five-star prospect was absolutely dominant during the Under Armour All-America game week of practice. At 6-3, 258 pounds, he is already big and athletic enough to see the field early on in his career at Auburn.
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Across the SEC and the Power 5 conferences as a whole, there were several coaching changes made after national signing day.

Once a recruit has signed his letter of intent, he is bound to the school he signed with. It seems unfair to the recruits, who have built relationships with coaches over the past two years just to see them leave for another job as soon as the player signs.

Every high school football recruit, at one time or another, has been told by a coach, parent or mentor to "choose a school not a coach."


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Quarterback Kyler Murray grabbed all of the headlines at Allen (Texas) High School over the past few seasons, but it’s actually junior offensive tackle Greg Little who is a higher-ranked prospect.


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The trend to get guys on campus early is steady and strong. While it isn't for everyone, it can be very beneficial for players looking to get a leg up on the college learning curve. It can help youngsters adapt not only to the football side of things but the college side of things, which can go a long way toward a player's maturity -- on and off the field.

You have around six to eight months of college acclimation ... not too bad.

The SEC is just feeding off early enrollees, and it has become and intricate part to recruiting in this part of the country over the last few years. This year, the SEC welcomed 81 early enrollees, with Tennessee bringing in a league-high 10. Last year, the SEC landed 72 early enrollees, with the Vols leading the way with 14.

Back in January, colleague Derek Tyson listed five of the top early enrollees to watch this year. It's a good list, and here's a look at how each school in the SEC did with its early enrollees for 2015:

ALABAMA (8)
QB Blake Barnett
RB DeSherrius Flowers
S Ronnie Harrison
OL Brandon Kennedy
RB Bo Scarbrough
DL Jonathan Taylor*
S Deionte Thompson
OL Dallas Warmack

ARKANSAS (7)
DT Daytrieon Dean
DT Hjalte Froholdt
TE Will Gragg
DT Jeremiah Ledbetter*
OG Jalen Merrick
OG Zach Rogers
QB Ty Storey

AUBURN (7)
OL Tyler Carr
FB Chandler Cox
QB Tyler Queen
RB Jovon Robinson
OT Bailey Sharp
ATH Jason Smith*
DL Maurice Swain*

FLORIDA (2)
TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe
WR Kalif Jackson

GEORGIA (8)
S Johnathan Abram
LB Chuks Amaechi*
DE Michael Barnett
TE Jackson Harris
LB Jake Ganus (UAB transfer)
DE Jonathan Ledbetter
LB Natrez Patrick
S Jarvis Wilson

KENTUCKY (6)
OL George Asafo-Adjei
TE C.J. Conrad
DE Kengera Daniel
TE Greg Hart (Nebraska transfer)
LB Jordan Jones
LB Courtney Love (Nebraska transfer)

LSU (4)
FB David Ducre III
QB Justin McMillan
CB Kevin Toliver II
TE Hanner Shipley

MISSISSIPPI STATE (6)
DE Johnathan Calvin*
WR Malik Dear
WR Donald Gray*
OT Martinas Rankin*
OL Michael Story
WR Deddrick Thomas

MISSOURI (2)
OL Malik Cuellar
OL Tanner Owen

OLE MISS (5)
DB Tony Bridges*
LB Terry Caldwell*
DL D.J. Jones*
QB Chad Kelly*
OL Javon Patterson

SOUTH CAROLINA (8)
LB Ernest Hawkins*
LB Jalen Henry
DE Marquavius Lewis*
WR Christian Owens
LB Sherrod Pittman
CB Darin Smalls
WR Jerad Washington
DE Dexter Wideman

TENNESSEE (10)
DL Andrew Butcher
QB Quinten Dormady
DB Stephen Griffin
OL Chance Hall
QB Jauan Jennings
OL Jack Jones
RB Alvin Kamara*
LB Darrin Kirkland Jr.
DL Kyle Phillips
DL Shy Tuttle

TEXAS A&M (7)
TE Jordan Davis
DB Justin Evans*
LB Claude George*
WR Christian Kirk
LB Richard Moore
WR Damion Ratley*
OL Keaton Sutherland

VANDERBILT (1)
DE/LB Nehemiah Mitchell

*Junior college transfer

SEC morning links

February, 10, 2015
Feb 10
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1. Jim McElwain has made it a point to make his presence known at Florida. The new coach has fans excited with his renewed interest in offense, he just concluded his first recruiting cycle with a solid finish and now it appears he's helping to improve Florida's football facilities. It started with the announcement of finally constructing an indoor practice facility, which is expected to be ready by fall camp. Now, it appears that Florida's football facilities will undergo even more changes, athletic director Jeremy Foley said Monday. Foley didn't go into much detail, but he did mention trying to improve the locker room and the dorms. Amid criticism, Foley adamantly defended Florida's facilities back in December, but the announcement of the indoor practice facility and this new announcement sends a pretty clear message that he understands Florida is behind most of the SEC when it comes to facilities. It hasn't been a secret to other coaches around the country and it's good for Florida that Foley realizes changes need to be made.

2. One decision that hasn't been made is the one concerning where ESPN 300 linebacker Roquan Smith is going to attend college. The four-star prospect from Montezuma, Georiga, dramatically picked UCLA -- like having place cards and a bag full of gloves dramatic -- before almost immediately stating that he wasn't ready to make a final decision on where he wants to play college football. Of course, Georgia is a finalist and was the favorite going into national signing day, but Smith's high school coach, Larry Harold, says there's no timetable on when he'll make his actual final decision and sign. Harold said that there isn't any pressure on Smith to sign yet, and he really can take a ton of time if he wants, but this hammers home the point that if a high school prospect isn't ready to sign with a school, he shouldn't make any sort of public announcement. There's absolutely no point. You don't have to sign on national signing day, it's just the first day you can sign with a school. Take your time and really think, kids.

3. Did you know that there were 14 coordinator changes in the SEC this offseason? Eight of them were on offense, while six were on defense. Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason is even taking over the defensive responsibilities for the Commodores. If you want real perspective on this, only Alabama and Ole Miss didn't make any changes with their coordinators. A lot of new faces in new situations means some growing pains and some adjustments that will need to be made this spring before we can really get a feel for what these guys will do in their new positions. With that said, Athlon Sports decided to really dive into the coordinator carousel and picked four winners and losers, along with four "Wait and See" situations.

Around the SEC:
Tweet of the day (because Florida fans had to be tired of the whole CeCe Jefferson saga ... and Ron Swanson is everything):

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John Chavis Suing Texas A&M, LSU
ESPN.com SEC reporter Sam Khan Jr. reports the latest on Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis, who has sued both LSU and Texas A&M over a buyout he claims he doesn't owe.
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