Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Most important targets: SEC
By Derek Tyson
The Southeastern Conference already has commitments from six of the top 10 players in the country and has a real possibility of landing two more before signing day. With several key targets still remaining, here’s a look at the top remaining targets in the SEC.
Humphrey is a big, athletic cornerback with great size and would be a natural fit in Nick Saban's system. FSU is also very much in the picture for the five-star defensive back, but with the Seminoles losing defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to Georgia, the Crimson Tide might have a slight advantage. Alabama will have to fight to keep this dynamic defensive back from leaving the state. With his skill set, Humphrey has a chance to play early in his college career.
The four-star defensive end has a top three of UCLA, Arkansas and Stanford, and he visited the Razorbacks this past weekend. By all accounts Thomas enjoyed his visit to Arkansas, but the Razorbacks will certainly have their work cut out for them. With his size, Thomas could play multiple positions along the defensive line, and he has the opportunity to play early if he chooses to attend Arkansas.
Auburn is in Evans' top three along with UCLA and Alabama. He was scheduled to take an unofficial visit to UCLA this weekend but has since said he will not take that visit. Evans is also planning to attend a midweek basketball game between Auburn and Alabama. This one will likely come down to the wire, but Auburn will try desperately to keep this four-star linebacker in his hometown.
Prince had named a top three of Penn State, Florida and Maryland, but after he canceled a planned visit to Penn State it looks like this is a two-team battle between the Terrapins and Gators. The Florida offensive line struggled last season and needs players with the size and athleticism of Prince. His close friend, defensive back Jalen Tabor (Washington D.C./Friendship Academy), enrolled early at Florida. Prince will visit the Gators this weekend.
The five-star defensive end already has a good relationship with new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, and the Bulldogs appear to be the team to beat. He also likes Florida, FSU and LSU. Carter’s mother wants him to stay at home and attend Georgia, while his father likes Florida and LSU. Ultimately, it will be Carter’s decision, and Georgia will get his last visit before signing day. Carter is an athletic defensive end, and his skill set is comparable to that of Bulldogs defensive end Jordan Jenkins.
The four-star defensive tackle is planning to make his decision on Thursday, between Alabama and Kentucky. Will this massive run-plugger resist the temptation to play for Saban and instead stay in-state and play for Mark Stoops? Only time will tell, but the Wildcats have certainly done a tremendous job of recruiting Elam, and this battle will go down to the last minute.
The Tigers have set their sights on Dupre, who is LSU’s top remaining target. At 6-3, Dupre is a big target and has outstanding athleticism. He has already visited LSU, Florida State and Alabama. He will take an unofficial to Ole Miss this week and still has one official to UCLA scheduled this weekend. LSU has long been thought of to be the favorite here, but the way things are shaping up, this one could get interesting.
Mississippi State has put together a solid class but still needs some help along the defensive line. Harris, with his size and potential to grow, will be a key target as signing day approaches. Keeping Harris in-state would be a big addition for MSU. Marcus Griffin (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) is another key defensive line target. Offensively, Mississippi State has set its sights on uncommitted guard Jordan Sims (Birmingham, Ala./Homewood).
This one-time LSU commit has a top two of Missouri and Arkansas, and he visited Michigan State over the weekend. Missouri will have its work cut out, but the Tigers have proven their ability to recruit in the Southeast this year, specifically Florida and Georgia. Rhaheed is an athletic linebacker who could do multiple things in the attacking Missouri defense.
Coach Hugh Freeze has once again put together an impressive recruiting class, and Williams would be a great complement to the defensive line class the Rebels signed last year. A four-star defensive end, Williams visited Clemson over the weekend and came away extremely impressed with what the Tigers had to offer, but the Rebels proved last season they can go head-to-head with anyone in the country.
After Lammons backed off of his pledge to Florida earlier in January, the Gamecocks, along with Wisconsin, immediately jumped to the top of his list. This athletic cornerback would be a huge addition to an already solid South Carolina recruiting class. The four-star defensive back will likely wait until signing day, but it appears that the Gamecocks have put themselves in a good position to land the talented DB.
With the commitment of running back Derrell Scott on Monday, available scholarships are running short in Knoxville. Jackson is one of the few targets remaining on Tennessee’s board. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess where the talented defensive back will end up. His parents, who live in Illinois, would prefer that he play closer to home, which might give the Vols the advantage, but other schools such as USC, Florida and LSU are still in the mix.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has already put together a tremendous class, led by five-star prospects Myles Garrett and Speedy Noil. Texas A&M was 12th in the conference in pass defense and last in total defense. A big, athletic safety such as Parker would help shore things up on the back end of Texas A&M's defense. It will be tough for the Aggies to beat out Oklahoma, but Sumlin has shown he is one of the top recruiters in the country.
Vanderbilt is in scramble mode after James Franklin left and 12 commits backed off their pledges to the Commodores. At this point, Vanderbilt just needs players to fill the roster. Lee, however, continues to show interest in Vanderbilt and took an official visit there over the weekend. His decision will likely come down to the Commodores and Duke, which he will visit this weekend.