Texas A&M Aggies: Frank Ragnow
February, 6, 2014
By Chris Low | ESPN.com
Now that the fax machines are quiet, the 2014 signing classes have been announced and before we start looking ahead to 2015, let's take a moment to examine how each of the SEC schools did in filling immediate needs via recruiting.
We're checking out what all 14 teams did to fill holes, and we're looking at which holes still remain. We'll start with the SEC West (click here for the SEC East):
Needs filled: It was obvious Alabama needed help at cornerback, and the Crimson Tide went out and got two of the best in the country in five-star prospects Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey. Pass rushers were also a priority, which makes five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and four-star outside linebackers Rashaan Evans and Christian Miller key pickups. Cameron Robinson, yet another five-star prospect, could end up starting at left tackle next season on the offensive line.
Holes remaining: The Crimson Tide could have used another marquee receiver and lost out on No. 1 wideout Malachi Dupre to LSU. With Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri both heading early to the NFL, the Tide also might have come up short at safety.
Needs filled: The Hogs’ passing game was in need of a jump-start, and getting an ESPN 300 player out of Miami the caliber of JoJo Robinson adds another playmaker to the equation. Arkansas’ offensive line class is equally impressive with four-star prospects Brian Wallace and Frank Ragnow and three-star prospect Jovan Pruitt joining Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper from last year’s class.
Holes remaining: The highest-ranked player in the Hogs’ class was defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson of El Dorado, Ark., which was big considering they need help everywhere on defense. But they missed out on a pair of highly ranked defensive ends in Solomon Thomas and Demetrius Jackson.
Needs filled: Gus Malzahn called ESPN 300 prospect Tre' Williams the key to the class, and he should provide an immediate boost at linebacker. With Chris Davis departing, the Tigers also needed to replenish at cornerback, which is where four-star prospects Kalvaraz Bessent and Stephen Roberts come in. Both were ranked in the top 10 nationally at their position. With Greg Robinson leaving early for the NFL draft, it was good to add muscle on the offensive line with ESPN 300 prospect Braden Smith, who could play guard or tackle.
Holes remaining: The sting of losing Evans, who’s from Auburn, to Alabama could be felt for a while. He's the kind of explosive athlete who would fit on any defense, and the Tigers need more of those guys, particularly at linebacker.
Needs filled: The loss of running back Jeremy Hill early to the NFL draft was lessened by landing Leonard Fournette, the No. 1 overall prospect in this class. It only got better for the Tigers’ offense on signing day when the country’s No. 1 receiver, Dupre, said he would play his college football on the Bayou. Safety was a real sore spot on defense last season, so getting ESPN 300 prospect Jamal Adams was a major pickup. Adams is rated by ESPN RecruitingNation as the No. 2 safety in the 2014 class.
Holes remaining: Robinson would have been a nice centerpiece on that LSU offensive line, but Alabama came into West Monroe, La., and swiped the five-star prospect. The Tigers also lost five-star athlete Speedy Noil of New Orleans to Texas A&M.
Needs filled: Junior college signee Jocquell Johnson is already on campus and will battle for a starting job next season on an offensive line that’s losing two starters, including All-SEC guard Gabe Jackson. The Bulldogs also added a pair of playmakers at receiver in ESPN 300 prospects Jamoral Graham and Jesse Jackson. Flipping 6-foot-6, 265-pound defensive lineman Cory Thomas from Tennessee on signing day added some more punch to an already deep and talented defensive line in Starkville.
Holes remaining: More secondary help would have been nice, which is why losing cornerback Tee Shepard to Ole Miss on signing day was a downer. A couple of the offensive linemen the Bulldogs wanted, Jordan Sims and Sean Rawlings, also opted for Ole Miss.
Needs filled: The Rebels wanted to continue to stockpile talent on the offensive line after reeling in Laremy Tunsil and Austin Golson a year ago and did that with four-star prospects Rod Taylor, Tyler Putman and Sims. Upgrading the defense was also a priority, which is why beating Alabama for ESPN 300 safety C.J. Hampton was so important along with getting ESPN 300 defensive end Garrald McDowell out of Louisiana. Flipping junior college cornerback Shepard from Mississippi State was a nice signing day coup.
Holes remaining: You can never have enough defensive linemen in the SEC, so losing defensive tackle Michael Sawyers to Tennessee was a blow. The same goes for ESPN 300 defensive end Davon Godchaux, who stuck with his commitment and signed with LSU.
Needs filled: With Johnny Manziel taking his show to the NFL, Texas A&M has to find a quarterback. Early enrollee Kyle Allen is an ESPN 300 prospect and ranked as the No. 1 pocket passer in this class. Noil, another early enrollee, should help fill a void with big-play receiver Mike Evans headed to the NFL, and the Aggies also loaded up on offensive linemen, including a pair of junior college signees. Any help on defense was a priority, which makes five-star defensive end Myles Garrett one of the keys to the class.
Holes remaining: The Aggies are still thin at safety after swinging and missing on several of their top targets in this class, including Adams, Steven Parker II and Mattrell McGraw. They also had ESPN 300 safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner committed but lost him to Boise State when Marcel Yates took the defensive coordinator job there.
February, 3, 2014
By Derek Tyson | ESPN Insider
This was the final weekend before national signing day, and of course, there was a ton of news around the SEC. Vanderbilt added a slew of commitments, as did Alabama and Texas A&M. There were also some key visits and a decommitment from an SEC West school. Here’s a closer look at the latest recruiting news around the SEC.
Biggest commitments: After suffering 11 decommitments after coach James Franklin left for Penn State, Vanderbilt was in desperate need of a big recruiting weekend, and it finally got it.
October, 31, 2013
By Gerry Hamilton | ESPN Insider
Will it be tricks or treats in the SEC? Let’s take a look at the recruiting news and big visits around the SEC:
Big visit weekend for Arkansas
Tom Hauck for Student SportsAfter visits to Texas and Florida State, Arkansas takes its shot at Florida commit Dalvin Cook.
After an open week, Arkansas will play host to No. 11 Auburn Saturday in what will be a big visit weekend for the Razorbacks. Bret Bielema and staff are set to host No. 20 overall and Florida commit Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central), ESPN 300 safety Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks), four-star linebacker and TCU commit Jimmie Swain IV (Olathe, Kan./Olathe North) and four-star offensive tackle Frank Ragnow (Victoria, Minn./Chanhassen).
Cook visited Texas in September and Florida State last weekend and will likely take all of his official visits before shutting the door completely on a flip from the Gators.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Parker is considering the Razorbacks along with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State along and Texas A&M, where he will visit Nov. 8.
The Razorback are very much in the mix for tight end DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, Kan./Derby). The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Goolsby has made official visits to Oklahoma, Florida, Ohio State and Arkansas and is scheduled to be at Kansas State this weekend.
Miami-FSU has SEC implications
Two of the official visitors in Tallahassee over the weekend are top targets of SEC programs. No. 11 Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) and No. 48 Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) will be making official visits to FSU this weekend, and the SEC eyes will be upon them. While Malone has had the visit scheduled for months, the 6-foot, 195-pound Brown just decided to officially visit Tallahassee this weekend, and that will certainly have the attention of LSU and Texas A&M. When looking at Malone, this is FSU’s chance to sway the Tennessee lean who has also made official visits to Georgia and Ohio State with Clemson scheduled for Nov. 23. Seminoles commit Markell Pack (Purvis, Miss./Purvis) will also be making his official visit to Florida State. While he remains committed to Jimbo Fisher and staff, Ole Miss remains in the picture for the No. 92 prospect.
Among the unofficial visitors scheduled to be in Tallahassee Saturday who are highly coveted by SEC programs are No. 9 Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover), No. 25 Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis), No. 61 Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman). Dupre is considered an LSU lean and Rudolph an FSU lean.
In the class of 2015, No. 6 overall Martez Ivey (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) and No. 48 CeCe Jefferson (Glen Saint Mary, Fla./Baker County) are scheduled to be on campus, among dozens of others.
Alabama pushing Michigan for Hand
Five-star defensive end and No. 6 overall Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) made an official visit to Alabama over the weekend, and early indications are the Crimson Tide knocked it out of the park as expected and have cut into Michigan’s sizeable lead following his September visit to Ann Arbor. A final official visit, to Florida on Nov. 9 is all that remains for the 6-foot-4, 262-pound Hand before announcing his decision Nov. 14.
Texas A&M flips a big one
Texas A&M will lose its senior left tackle to the NFL after this season, and junior right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi will have a decision to make following the season, even though a return for his senior season looks likely at this point. Losing one for sure, and the possibility of both starting tackles following Luke Joeckel’s departure last year has made the future of the position a big priority for the Aggies in the 2014 class. On Monday, Kevin Sumlin and staff flipped former Arkansas commit Jermaine Eluemunor (Rockaway, N.J./Lackawanna College) following his official visit to College Station over the weekend. After missing out on Tennessee commit Dontavius Blair (Anniston, Ala./Garden City Community College) and the decision of Avery Gennesy (Southhaven, Miss./East Mississippi Community College) still hanging in the balance, snagging the talented Eluemunor was a big win for the Aggies.
The commitment capped an amazing 10-day run that included commitments from five-star defensive end and No. 5 overall Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/James Martin), No. 191 Qualen Cuningham (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), ESPN Junior 300 No. 10 Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater) and Eluemunor.
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Saturday's top plays in the SEC
12:00 PM ET Eastern Kentucky Florida 12:00 PM ET Charleston Southern 10 Georgia 12:00 PM ET South Alabama South Carolina 3:30 PM ET 8 Ole Miss Arkansas 4:00 PM ET Western Carolina 1 Alabama 7:00 PM ET Samford 14 Auburn 7:30 PM ET 20 Missouri Tennessee 7:30 PM ET Vanderbilt 4 Mississippi State