Friday, January 17, 2014
Key recruiting visits -- SEC
By Gerry Hamilton
The dead period is in the rearview mirror, coaches are back on the road and the last three official visit weekends are set to begin. That means the rush to national signing day is upon us, and the scratching and clawing to close with a bang begins on Friday.
As expected, nearly every SEC program is hosting key visitors with both committed and uncommitted prospects remaining in play. Here's a look at some of the top recruits who are taking visits this weekend:
1. No. 14 prospect Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross): One of the three uncommitted five-star prospects, the recruitment of Carter is down to LSU, Florida, Florida State and Georgia, with the Tigers getting an official visit this weekend. Trips to Florida State on Jan. 24 and Georgia on Jan. 31 remain on the schedule.
ESPN 300 linebacker Rashaan Evans is visiting Alabama this weekend.
2. No. 17 Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian): The high-flying wide receiver is the top in-state target left on the board for LSU, and this weekend is huge for the Tigers, as Dupre will take his official visit with a quick turnaround official visit to Alabama scheduled for Jan. 19-20. With trips to Florida State on Jan. 24 and UCLA on Jan. 31 looming, the pressure is on LSU to fend off serious competition for the elite receiver.
3. No. 52 Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn): The ultra-athletic Evans will take an official visit to Alabama this weekend with the Crimson Tide trying to position themselves to pull the upset over hometown Auburn. A visit to Auburn on Jan. 24 is also scheduled. UCLA is the third and final school in the mix. Evans remains intrigued by the 3-4 schemes of Alabama and UCLA, but both are fighting an uphill battle with the Tigers.
4. No. 109 Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C./Havelock): The Florida Gators will take a swing at the versatile running back this weekend, with his decision set for Jan. 27. Scott has already taken official visits to Tennessee and South Carolina, and he will choose between the three SEC programs, with in-home visits from Vols coach Butch Jones and Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier set for Jan. 22 and 23, respectively.
5. No. 120 Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King): Cornerback is a huge position of need for South Carolina in the 2014 class, and the former Gamecocks commit will make an official visit this weekend to Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks have the task of beating out Ole Miss and Georgia for the cornerback who has excellent change of direction. Visits to Ole Miss on Jan. 24 and possibly Georgia on Jan. 31 are also on the docket.
6. No. 127 Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South): Once thought to be a prospect who would end up in the state of Texas at TCU or Texas A&M, Auburn has made a late run at Smith. In fact, the 6-foot-6, 285-pound guard will be in Auburn this weekend for an official visit, with trips to Texas A&M on Jan. 24 and TCU on Jan. 31 to follow as coach Gus Malzahn and staff look to pull the upset.
7. No. 179 Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda): Keeping the best players in state is always key for programs, and South Carolina has the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Wideman -- a Florida State commit -- on campus this weekend for an official visit. With a trip scheduled to Florida State on Jan. 31, this weekend is huge for the Gamecocks.
8. No. 187 Otaro Alaka (Houston/Cypress Falls): The Longhorns commit will be in College Station, Texas, this weekend, as Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin will look to flex his in-state recruiting muscles once again. With linebacker remaining a key position of need in the class, Texas A&M will apply the full-court press. Alaka will also visit LSU on Jan. 24.
9. No. 286 Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage): The Florida Gators need speed and playmakers, and Under Armour All-America Game standout McKenzie fits the bill. Once thought to be a Notre Dame lock, the Gators and Ole Miss have been surging of late. Florida takes its shot this weekend, while a Rebels visit is scheduled for Jan. 24.
10. Breeland Speaks (Jackson, Miss./Callaway): The Ole Miss commit with a high ceiling will take an official visit to LSU this weekend and is scheduled to be in Oxford, Miss., on Jan. 24. While the four-star defensive tackle prospect is a target for the Tigers, the weekend in Baton Rouge would get even more interesting for the Rebels fans and coaches if No. 56 prospect Rod Taylor (Jackson, Miss./Callaway) shows up in Baton Rouge with good friend Speaks, which is a possibility. Like Speaks, Taylor has his official visit to Ole Miss on Jan. 24.