Tuesday, January 21, 2014
5 to watch: SEC signing day preview
By Derek Tyson
With signing day quickly approaching, there are several storylines developing throughout the SEC. Here’s a closer look at five things to watch for on national signing day:
1. The SEC could end up with seven players ranked in the top 10
Florida, LSU and Tennessee will have to hold off USC to bring Adoree' Jackson to SEC country.
As it stands, there are six prospects committed to SEC schools in the top 10. The lone uncommitted top-10 prospect, Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra), has Florida, LSU and Tennessee among his top schools. USC is a team that could sway the five-star prospect, but the odds appear to be in favor of the SEC. There is no question the conference had an incredible year as far as landing the top talent in the country, and the SEC has a realistic chance of landing 11 of the 15 five-star prospects in the ESPN 300.
2. Can anyone catch Alabama?
It will be tough. Alabama has put together an incredible class full of elite talent. The class, which ranks No. 1 in the Recruiting Nation class rankings, has 24 commits, including 17 ranked in the ESPN 300. Alabama has commitments from No. 1 offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe), No. 1 center Josh Casher (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul’s Episcopal) and No. 1 outside linebacker Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley), as well as the No. 2 athlete, Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy). The Crimson Tide are still in the hunt for five-star defensive back Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) and four-star linebacker Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn). It will be difficult for anyone to overtake the Tide. Texas A&M, ranked No. 2, has put together a tremendous class that includes two five-star prospects, but unless the Aggies land an unexpected ESPN 300 member, it looks as if the Tide will finish with the top class.
At different times, the five-star defensive end had Florida and Alabama as his leaders. Georgia might have saved its best for last, though. The Bulldogs will get Carter’s last official visit before signing day and have been trending upward for the talented pass-rusher. Florida and LSU appear to be the top contenders, but his mother wants him to stay closer to home while his father is more open to the idea of Carter leaving the state. Carter will announce his decision on signing day, but as of now it appears Georgia might have the slight edge.
There are 31 uncommitted prospects in the ESPN 300, and the SEC has a strong chance to land half of them, including all four of the top-20 uncommitted players in the country. The SEC has been the most dominant conference both on the field and in recruiting over the past several years and this year is certainly no different. An astounding 24 of the top 50 players in the country are committed to SEC schools, and overall, 107 prospects in the ESPN 300 are committed to SEC schools.
5. Can Vanderbilt salvage a class?
The Vanderbilt recruiting class has taken a beating since head coach James Franklin jumped ship to Penn State. What started off as a promising class that was ranked in the top 40 of the ESPN recruiting class rankings and had 21 commitments is now down to just nine. Five former commits switched their pledges to Penn State. New head coach Derek Mason will try desperately to hold on to the commits Vanderbilt already has, including ESPN 300 members Kyle Gibson (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) and Dallas Rivers (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson). Look for Mason to hand out several offers from now until signing day in hopes of landing close to a full class.