- Gerry Hamilton, ESPN Staff Writer
The college season is three weeks in, and as expected the recruiting wheels are back in motion with official visits now taking center stage. From Alabama’s win in a showdown at Texas A&M with a slew of prospects on hand, to standout performances, here is the latest around the SEC.
Best weekend performances
QB Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Day, Florida commit): The weekly Grier statistical dominant performance includes a 30-of-40 night for 422 yards and five touchdowns, along with 201 rushing yards and two touchdowns. In four games this season, Grier has 25 touchdown passes.
RB Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown, Georgia commit): Chubb continues to be a tough tackle on the high school level. The powerful and deceptively fast runner rushed for 266 yards and five touchdowns in a 62-21 win, and now has more than 70 yards in three games.
RB Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy, Alabama commit): Scarbrough rushed for 291 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries in IMG Academy’s 43-24 win over Cardinal Newman.
QB Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford, Georgia commit): Park threw for 323 yards and a touchdown and rushed for a score with Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo watching from the sidelines. Stratford improves to 3-0 with the Friday night 26-13 win over Fort Dorchester.
Most important visits
Texas A&M hosted a number of official and unofficial visitors over the weekend. The list was headlined by five-stars Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/James Martin), Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr) and Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen). Among the impressive official visitors list were No. 7 overall Garrett, No. 8 Noil, No. 25 overall Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), No. 29 overall Gerald Willis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr), No. 75 overall Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau), No. 81 overall Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/James Bowie) and top junior college offensive tackle Dontavius Blair (Anniston, Ala./Garden City Community College). Among the many class of 2015 prospects on hand were ESPN Junio 300 members No. 64 overall Malik Jefferson (Mesquite, Texas/Poteet), tight end commitment Jordan Davis (Houston/Clear Lake), No. 98 James Lockhart (Ennis, Texas/Ennis), No. 97 Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas/Allen), No. 32 Tyron Johnson (New Orleans/Warren Easton), No. 18 Soso Jamabo (Plano, Texas/Plano West), No. 127 Justin Dunning (Whitehouse, Texas/Whitehouse), No. 122 Chris Warren (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall) and No. 133 Ross Donnelly (Cypress, Texas/Cypress Fairbanks).
Garrett, considered a Texas A&M lean headed into the official visit, came away talking about the atmosphere and the offensive output.
“It was amazing out there. Great game, not a lot of defense, but a whole lot of offense.” He said.
Will Tennessee’s 59-14 loss at Oregon slow down the post-hire momentum and have prospects second guessing? The simple answer to this question is no, as Butch Jones and staff have done a very good job of selling a vision and the future for Tennessee football. Class-building commitments such as Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech) and safety Todd Kelly Jr. (Knoxville, Tenn./Webb) have connections to the Vols and are very solid in-state commitments who have helped build the top 10 class.
The biggest question for the Vols moving forward with a schedule that still has games remaining against Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama is can Tennessee close with the type of strong finish needed to have the type of big class that can help add talent and build depth for the future? The recruitment of two-way lineman Charles Mosley (Brighton, Tenn./Brighton) looks promising with a decision scheduled for Oct. 4, but recruits such as ESPN 300 wide receiver Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) are very key in taking the next step in an ubertalented conference.
Ole Miss has thrown its hat in the ring for class of 2015 running back Ray-Ray McCloud III (Tampa, Fla./Sickles). The Rebels are working hard on the trail to make the most of the 3-0 start, having offered 2015 cornerback Maurice Smitherman (Montgomery, Ala./Carver) last week, among others.
Recruiting isn’t always just about the W’s and L’s, but the relationships and official and unofficial visits for prospects and families. While Texas A&M lost at home to top-ranked Alabama on Saturday, the response from the prospects on hand for official and unofficial visits was very positive, to say the least. As the Aggies continue to build momentum with an electric home field atmosphere and an offense that is fun to watch with Johnny Manziel at the helm, all signs point to a terrific close in 2014 for Kevin Sumlin and staff. Among the bigger needs remaining in the class is offensive tackle. In fact, there were rumors of a commitment Saturday by junior college tackle Dontavius Blair. While a verbal might be premature, the Aggies made a very strong impression and are position to pull the upset over in-state Auburn.
4hTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney