NCF On The Trail: Brandon Lee

SEC recruiting scorecard

February, 4, 2014
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And just like that, national signing day is a day away.

The future is almost here, folks, so here's one last recruiting scorecard for the 2014 recruiting season.

As of Tuesday, seven SEC teams rank in the top 10 of ESPN's recruiting class rankings. Alabama and Texas A&M lead the charge for the league, ranking first and second, respectively. Alabama has 27 verbal commitments, with 18 in the ESPN 300. Four are five-star prospects. Texas A&M has 23 commitments, including 11 ESPN 300 members and two five-star prospects.

How's the rest of the SEC doing before signing day? Let's take a look:

ALABAMA

2014 verbal commitments: 27

Spotlight: Defensive end Da'Shawn Hand of Woodbridge, Va., is a huge addition for the Crimson Tide. He's the nation's No. 2-ranked defensive end and could provide an immediate spark to a front seven that wants to generate more pressure on opposing backfields.

ESPN 300 members: 18 (Hand; OT Cameron Robinson of West Monroe, La.; CB Tony Brown of Beaumont, Texas; RB Bo Scarbrough of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; CB Marlon Humphrey of Hoover, Ala.; S Laurence Jones of Monroe, La.; OLB Christian Miller of Columbia, S.C.; WR Cameron Sims of Monroe, La., QB David Cornwell of Norman, Okla.; Ross Pierschbacher of Cedar Falls, Iowa; ATH Ronnie Clark of Calera, Ala.; ILB Shaun Dion Hamilton of Montgomery, Ala.; DT Joshua Frazier of Springdale, Ark.; C Josh Casher of Mobile, Ala., C J.C. Hassenauer of Woodbury, Minn.; WR Derek Kief of Cincinnati; DT O.J. Smith of Bossier City, La.)

Key targets: After gaining Humphrey's recent commitment, No. 1-ranked wide receiver Malachi Dupre of River Ridge, La., remains the Tide's top target.

ARKANSAS

2014 verbal commitments: 23

Spotlight: Defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson of El Dorado, Ark., is the top player in the state and ranked as the nation's No. 6 defensive tackle. At 6-foot-2 and 334 pounds, Jackson can clog the middle for the run, but has the quickness off the line to be a threat against the pass as well.

ESPN 300 members: 2 (Jackson; OT Brian Wallace of St. Louis)

Key targets: Offensive lineman Rashawn Shaw of Fort Pierce, Fla., was very much on Arkansas' radar, as the Hogs look to add much-needed depth up front, but he recently committed to Wake Forest. Florida State receiver commit JoJo Robison recently visited and could be one to watch with Arkansas, as could ESPN 300 linebacker Sharieff Rhaheed of Fort Pierce, Fla.

AUBURN

2014 verbal commitments: 21

Spotlight: Tre Mason might be gone, but Gus Malzahn hopes he has a solid replacement in running back Racean Thomas of Oxford, Ala. The nation's No. 5 running back runs hard and has the explosiveness to make some real noise in Auburn's offense. He's also elusive and strong enough to stretch plays.

ESPN 300 members: 10 (Thomas; QB Sean White of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; CB Stephen Roberts of Opelika, Ala.; CB Kalvaraz Bessent of Kingsland, Ga., ILB Tre' Williams of Mobile, Ala.; ATH Nicholas Ruffin of Atlanta; DE Justin Thornton of Prichard, Ala.; DT Dontavius Russell of Carrollton, Ga.; ATH Stanton Truitt of Monroe, Ga.; RB Kamryn Pettway of Prattville, Ala.)

Key targets: Auburn is almost done with this class, but ESPN 300 linebacker Rashaan Evans of Auburn, Ala., and defensive end Andrew Williams of McDonough, Ga., are still in the mix. Florida State quarterback commit Treon Harris is also very much in the mix for the Tigers.

FLORIDA

2014 verbal commitments: 21

Spotlight: Quarterback Will Grier of Davidson, N.C., is already on campus and gives the Gators a real quality body to work with behind Jeff Driskel. Grier appears to be he future of the position, and he totaled 4,989 passing yards with a national-best 77 touchdowns and rushed for another 1,251 yards with 13 more scores in 2013.

ESPN 300 members: 12 (Grier, CB Jalen Tabor of Washington, D.C.; OT David Sharpe of Jacksonville, Fla.; DT Gerald Willis III of New Orleans; DT Thomas Holley of Brooklyn, N.Y.; ATH J.C. Jackson of Immokalee, Fla.; WR Moral Stephens of Perry, Fla.; CB Duke Dawson of Cross City, Fla.; ATH Brandon Powell of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; DE Justus Reed of Clearwater, Fla.; S Quincy Wilson of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Key targets: ESPN 300 members Lorenzo Carter (defensive end from Norcross, Ga.), Damian Prince (offensive tackle from Forestville, Md.) and Adoree' Jackson (athlete from Gardena, Calif.) remain the Gators' top targets, while Treon Harris from Miami and former Florida State receiver commit C.J. Worton from Homestead, Fla., are very much in the mix.

GEORGIA

2014 verbal commitments: 19

Spotlight: The Bulldogs have had some recent success at the running back position and just added to it with Sony Michel of Plantation, Fla. The 5-11, 194-pound Michel is the nation's No. 2 RB and is an every-down back who can do it all. He has a chance to see the field early in his career at Georgia.

ESPN 300 members: 9 (Michel; DT Lamont Gaillard of Fayetteville, N.C.; RB Nick Chubb of Cedartown, Ga.; ATH Malkom Parrish of Quitman, Ga.; QB Jacob Park of Goose Creek, S.C.; TE Jeb Blazevich of Charlotte, N.C.; OG Isaiah Wynn of Saint Petersburg, Fla.; DE Keyon Brown of Wauchula, Fla.; WR Shakenneth Williams of Macon, Ga.)

Key targets: ESPN 300 defensive end Lorenzo Carter of Norcross, Ga., is the top remaining target on the Bulldogs' board. Georgia appears to be in good shape for the five-star prospect. Georgia is also hoping to gain ground with Rashaan Evans and is still in the hunt for South Carolina linebacker commit Bryson Allen-Williams.

KENTUCKY

2014 verbal commitments: 28

Spotlight: After being committed to Florida State for a year, defensive end Denzel Ware of Crestview, Fla., committed to Kentucky, before decommitting, and then committing again. He appears solidly committed to the Wildcats and has tremendous upside to match his explosiveness off the line.

ESPN 300 members: 6 (Ware; QB Drew Barker of Hebron, Ky.; WR Thaddeus Snodgrass of Springfield, Ohio; RB Stanley Williams of Monroe, Ga.; CB Darius West of Lima, Ohio; CB Kendall Randolph of Tallahassee, Fla.)

Key targets: With Elam in hand, the Wildcats are looking to add to their defensive line with fellow ESPN 300 member Travonte Valentine of Hialeah, Fla.

LSU

2014 verbal commitments: 19

Spotlight: Running back Leonard Fournette of New Orleans was the recruit LSU had to have. Not only is he the nation's No. 1 overall player but he immediately fills the need at running back with Jeremy Hill's departure. His excellent combination of size, speed and strength will get him on the field early in Baton Rouge.

ESPN 300 members: 14 (Fournette; S Jamal Adams of Lewisville, Texas; ILB Clifton Garrett of Plainfield, Ill.; OG Garrett Brumfield of Baton Rouge, La.; TE Jacory Washington of Westlake, La.; S Devin Voorhies of Woodville, Miss.; WR Trey Quinn of Lake Charles, La.; QB Brandon Harris of Bossier City, La.; S Edward Paris Jr. from Arlington, Texas; DE Davon Godchaux of Plaquemine, La.; OLB Donnie Alexander of New Orleans; WR D.J. Chark of Alexandria, La.; DE Deondre Clark of Oklahoma City; WR Tony Upchurch of Pearland, Texas)

Key targets: Five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson is still on the board, as is Lorenzo Carter. ESPN 300 receiver Malachi Dupre from River Ridge, La., is in the mix and would be a major get for the Tigers.

MISSISSIPPI STATE

2014 verbal commitments: 21

Spotlight: ESPN 300 athlete Jamoral Graham of Decatur, Miss., has been committed for nearly a year and gives the Bulldogs their most versatile commitment. The 5-11, 180-pound Graham has 4.4 speed and can play on both sides of the ball. He will probably end up as a defensive back for the Bulldogs.

ESPN 300 members: 2 (Graham; WR Jesse Jackson of Petal, Miss.)

Key targets: Committed ESPN 300 defensive tackle O.J. Smith (Alabama) of Bossier City, La., and three-star defensive tackle commit Cory Thomas (Tennessee) are still in the mix with the Bulldogs.

MISSOURI

2014 verbal commitments: 27

Spotlight: With the Tigers losing two starting linebackers from the 2013 team, the addition of outside linebacker Brandon Lee of Indianapolis could be big down the road. There will be a lot of competition for those open spots, and Lee has a chance to get some reps, especially with him already being on campus. He has good speed and should fit any scheme once he adds some weight.

ESPN 300 members: 2 (Lee; OT Andy Bauer of St. Louis)

Key targets: ESPN 300 defensive tackle Poona Ford of Hilton Head, S.C., is one of the Tigers' top remaining targets, as is four-star linebacker Sharieff Rhaheed of Fort Pierce, Fla. Tennessee defensive end commit Derek Barnett is also still on Mizzou's radar.

OLE MISS

2014 verbal commitments: 24

Spotlight: It won't be easy to replace Donte Moncrief, but adding wide receiver Markell Pack of Purvis, Miss., to the roster will help soften the blow early. He's a natural playmaker who can get to the next level quickly with his speed. He'll need to add some weight when he gets on campus, but he's a major get at a position of need.

ESPN 300 members: 4 (Pack; OG Rod Taylor of Jackson, Miss.; DT Garrald McDowell of Covington, La.; S C.J. Hampton of Meridian, Miss.)

Key targets: Yet again, Malachi Dupre is in the mix here, as are ESPN 300 members defensive end Andrew Williams, safety Steven Parker II of Jenks, Okla., and running back Dacorius Law from Haines City, Fla.

SOUTH CAROLINA

2014 verbal commitments: 18

Spotlight: Defensive end Dante Sawyer of Suwanee, Ga., might not be Jadeveon Clowney, but he could help ease the pain of losing that physical freak. One plus about Sawyer is that he's versatile enough to play both defensive end and outside linebacker, which should allow the Gamecocks to move him around and show different looks to opposing offenses.

ESPN 300 members: 7 (Sawyer; CB D.J. Smith of Marietta, Ga.; TE Kevin Crosby of Bamberg, S.C.; WR Shaquille Davidson of Gaffney, S.C.; OLB Bryson Allen-Williams of Ellenwood, Ga.; OG Donell Stanley of Latta, S.C.; ATH Terry Googer of College Park, Ga.)

Key targets: ESPN 300 cornerback Wesley Green of Lithonia, Ga., and former Florida cornerback commit Chris Lammons are top targets for the Gamecocks, as is Florida State defensive tackle commit Dexter Wideman.

TENNESSEE

2014 verbal commitments: 34

Spotlight: The Vols need to add more athleticism and playmaking ability to the wide receiver position, and Josh Malone of Gallatin, Tenn., could step right in and get a healthy amount of reps this spring. Having him on campus now will help him as he continues to develop into a more sound receiver.

ESPN 300 members: 11 (Malone; S Todd Kelly Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn.;RB Jalen Hurd of Hendersonville, Tenn.; OLB Dillon Bates Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; RB Derrell Scott of Havelock, N.C.; DE Dewayne Hendrix of O'Fallon, Ill.; S Cortez McDowell of Locust Grove, Ga.; ILB Gavin Bryant of Jackson, Ala.; CB D'Andre Payne of Washington, D.C.; ATH Evan Berry of Fairburn, Ga.; DE Derek Barnett of Brentwood, Tenn.)

Key targets: Four-star defensive tackle Michael Sawyers from Nashville has become a very important target for the Vols, who need another interior linemen. Tennessee's staff is still going after Alabama commit Bo Scarbrough.

TEXAS A&M

2014 verbal commitments: 23

Spotlight: Defensive end Myles Garrett of Arlington, Texas, is a major addition to this Texas A&M class. The Aggies need more playmakers on defense, especially up front, and Garrett, the nation's No. 1-rated defensive end has a chance to compete for immediate playing time and should add more of a presence in the pass rush.

ESPN 300 members: 11 (Garrett; ATH Speedy Noil of New Orleans; QB Kyle Allen of Scottsdale, Ariz.; ATH Nick Harvey of Richmond, Texas; WR Frank Iheanacho of Houston; DT DeShawn Washington of Nederland, Texas; OLB Otaro Alaka of Houston, Texas; DE Qualen Cunningham of Chandler, Ariz.; RB Shaun Nixon of Austin, Texas; ATH Armani Watts of Forney, Texas; OLB Josh Walker of Gilmer, Texas)

Key targets: Safety has become a spot of need, so the Aggies are going after ESPN 300 safeties Steven Parker II of Jenks, Okla., and Mattrell McGraw of River Ridge, La. ESPN 300 linebacker Kenny Young from River Ridge, La., is also still on the board.

VANDERBILT

2014 verbal commitments: 17

Spotlight: Running back Dallas Rivers of Stone Mountain, Ga., is the Commodores' top commitment and he's been solid with Vandy since committing last March. He's the type of playmaker Vandy needs going forward and will provide a grinder in the middle of the field, who can also stretch the field with his speed.

ESPN 300 members: 1 (Rivers)

Key targets: The Commodores are in the hunt for Tennessee ESPN 300 defensive end commit Derek Barnett.

Midyear Signings: Missouri

December, 21, 2013
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According to MUTigers.com, the following players have signed with Missouri:

Brandon Lee, OLB, Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central
HT: 6-2 WT: 210
Positional Rank: No. 16 OLB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (No. 239)

Kenya Dennis, CB, Leland, Miss./Hinds CC
HT: 5-11 WT: 195
Positional Rank: No. 6 CB Juco
Stars: 3

Michael Fairchild, OT, Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West
HT: 6-6 WT: 270
Positional Rank: No. 112 OT
Stars: 3

Logan Cheadle, CB, Lee's Summit, Mo./West
HT: 5-10 WT: 173
Positional Rank: No. 66 CB
Stars: 3

Marvin Zanders, QB-DT, Jacksonville, Fla./Raines
HT: 6-2 WT: 175
Positional Rank: No. 36 QB-DT
Stars: 3

SEC recruiting storylines: Nov. 21 

November, 21, 2013
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It has been another busy week in the SEC. Alabama has had a rough week, while other programs will be getting visits from high-priority targets. Here's a closer look at the latest story lines in the Southeastern Conference.

Bama loses second recruit in three days

Weekly Commitment Roundup

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AAC
Louisville
Lukayus McNeil OT Indianapolis/Decatur Central
HT: 6-6 WT: 260
Positional Rank: No. 123 OT
Stars: 3

Rutgers
Jordan Fuchs TE-Y Middle Village, N.Y./Milford Academy
HT: 6-6 WT: 235
Positional Rank: N/A Post-Grad
Stars: 3

ACC
Miami (Fla.)
Anthony Moten DT Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas
HT: 6-4 WT: 292
Positional Rank: No. 11 DT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (No. 176)

Virginia
Donovan Dowling WR Richmond, Va./Varina
HT: 6-1 WT: 200
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big 12
Kansas
Damani Mosby DE Mesa, Ariz./Mesa CC
HT: 6-3 WT: 235
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Kansas State
Tramal Ivy DE Muskogee, Okla./Muskogee
HT: 6-4 WT: 230
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big Ten
Wisconsin
Caleb Kinlaw RB Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek
HT: 5-11 WT: 184
Positional Rank: No. 106 RB
Stars: 3

Pac-12
UCLA
Cameron Griffin OLB Los Angeles/View Park
HT: 6-3 WT: 210
Positional Rank: No. 116 OLB
Stars: 3

SEC
Alabama
Da'Shawn Hand DE Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge
HT: 6-4 WT: 262
Positional Rank: No. 2 DE
Stars: 5
ESPN 300 (No. 6)
Under Armour All-American

Arkansas
Santos Ramirez S Shreveport, La./Evangel Christian
HT: 6-1 WT: 170
Positional Rank: No. 120 S
Stars: 3

Florida
DeAndre Goolsby TE-H Derby, Kan./Derby
HT: 6-4 WT: 225
Positional Rank: No. 9 TE-H
Stars: 3

Kentucky
Montrell Custis CB Lovejoy, Ga./Lovejoy
HT: 5-11 WT: 168
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3
Class of 2015

Missouri
Brandon Lee OLB Indianapolis/Lawrence Central
HT: 6-2 WT: 210
Positional Rank: No. 16 OLB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (No. 239)

Tennessee
Dimarya Mixon DE Mesquite, Texas/West
HT: 6-4 WT: 263
Positional Rank: N/A (late qualifier)
Stars: 3

Cory Thomas DT McCalla, Ala./McAdory
HT: 6-6 WT: 265
Positional Rank: #47 DT
Stars: 3

Texas A&M
Justin Dunning S Whitehouse, Texas/Whitehouse
HT: 6-3 WT: 190
Positional Rank: No. 10 S in 2015 class
Stars: 4
ESPN Junior 300 (No. 127)

C-USA
Florida Atlantic
Jewison Dawkins WR Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation
HT: 6-0 WT: 153

North Texas
Jalen Adams WR Moore, Okla./Southmoore
HT: 5-10 WT: 161
Positional Rank: No. 162 WR
Stars: 3

Tulane
Robert Kennedy ILB Belle Chasse, La./Belle Chasse
HT: 6-0 WT: 225

Tulsa
Michael Rios DT Fort Worth, Texas/Amon Carter-Riverside
HT: 6-3 WT: 280

Mid-American
Buffalo
Myles Nicholas OLB Rochester, N.Y./Irondequoit
HT: 6-2 WT: 220

Kevin Rogers QB-PP Cincinnati/Anderson
HT: 6-3 WT: 195

Toledo
Mykale Rogers WR Lima, Ohio/Central
HT: 6-1 WT: 175

Mountain West
Air Force
Nick Colson TE-Y Gilbert, Ariz./Higley
HT: 6-4 WT: 223

Boise State
Kekoa Nawahine S Meridian, Idaho/Rocky Mountain
HT: 6-2 WT: 190
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Hawaii
Nick Nelson WR Forestville, Md./Suitland
HT: 5-10 WT: 180
Positional Rank: #209 WR
Stars: 3

Devan Stubblefield WR Honolulu/St. Louis
HT: 6-0 WT: 185
Positional Rank: No. 133 WR
Stars: 3

Sun Belt
Louisiana-Monroe
Benjamin Luckett RB Palestine, Texas/Palestine
HT: 6-0 WT: 193

Mizzou, UK try to keep recruit momentum

November, 14, 2013
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While Missouri and Kentucky continue to zoom in opposite directions on the playing field, both appear to be having relative success off the field.

In the realm of recruiting, where futures are made -- and crushed -- Missouri and Kentucky are succeeding at an exciting pace, and for very different reasons.

For Missouri, it's quite simple: The Tigers have bounced back from a dreary 5-7 SEC debut in 2012 to become one of the nation's hottest teams. Mizzou is 9-1 (5-1 in SEC play) and sits at No. 9 in the BCS standings. At one point, the Tigers were unbeaten and as high as fifth in the BCS.

[+] EnlargeDorial Green-Beckham
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesThe physical attributes of ex-Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham might not outweigh the potential distraction he could bring to Oklahoma.
The Tigers control their SEC Eastern Division destiny and have a legitimate shot at a BCS bowl game. Because of that, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, who entered the year with a relatively warm seat below him, said he's seen a spike in interest in Mizzou on the recruiting trail.

"I don't think there's any question about that. Yeah, it's been very, very positive," said Pinkel, who is 99-62 in 13 seasons as Mizzou's head coach. "That's a benefit that happens with success.

"It's nice to have a lot of people interested in us."

Don't just take his word for it, either. At the beginning of the month, Mizzou had zero ESPN 300 commits, but in the past week has gained verbals from two -- offensive tackle Andy Bauer (St. Louis/De Smet Jesuit) and linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central). Those two commitments helped the Tigers leap into ESPN's class rankings at No. 32. Since the season started, Mizzou has received six verbals to up its number to 26.

Pinkel welcomes this recruiting momentum, but he isn't shocked by the interest. To him, Mizzou has always had the appeal, even with last season's roadblock.

"We had a great reputation for winning and a consistency of winning, graduation, APR ranking and all those other things," Pinkel said. "It's not like a brand new staff that's just showed up somewhere."

At Kentucky, there is a new staff in town. In Mark Stoops' first year as Kentucky's head coach, he's seen he share of recruiting success without the wins. With only a couple of months to work with, Stoops snagged ESPN 300 members Jason Hatcher and Ryan Timmons -- along with junior college standouts Za'Darius Smith and Javess Blue -- in his first class. Smith leads Kentucky with 5.5 sacks, while Blue and Timmons are one and two, respectively, in catches and receiving yards.

But despite a 2-7 (0-5 SEC) season and no bowl game for the third straight season, the Wildcats are 17th in ESPN's class rankings with 25 commitments, five of which are ESPN 300 members.

Kentucky has had only two commitments since the season began, but Stoops said he feels confident that a class as good as this -- which could help solve the playmaker issue with the No. 7 quarterback, two running backs and five receivers -- can stay together come signing day, even with the on-field losses piling up.

"These guys know," Stoops said. "Most of these recruits knew we were going to be in for a tough year this year. They know we're progressing and working toward the future."

Both programs are trending up in recruiting, but neither job is done. For Mizzou, it's all about maintaining popularity in states such as Georgia and Florida, while keeping Missouri and Texas talent in check. Pinkel and his staff made Atlanta and southern Georgia a major priority with their billboard/letter-sending strategy last year, and he expects to keep making inroads in such a fertile area.

"It's important, I think it is," Pinkel said of recruiting in the heart of the Southeast. "It's great high school football. Obviously, you want to have a place in the geographical areas in which you play your games. That's why that was very important to us."

For Stoops, he just wants to hammer home is message that better days are coming. So far, a rough first season hasn't dented Stoops' recruiting success and he doesn't think it will in the waning recruiting months.

"I think anybody who is a fan of our program or involved in our program -- in any shape or form -- or in the future of our program would like to see us win some more games, but nobody is deterred," he said. "Everybody knows where we're headed and we're moving toward good things."

SEC class rankings analysis 

November, 13, 2013
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With Missouri's recent run on the field and the recruiting trail, all 14 teams in the SEC are in RecruitingNation's top-40 class rankings. While Missouri and Tennessee have made the most news of late, the strangle hold on the top spot remains in the hands of Alabama.

Trending up: Missouri and Auburn are a pair of schools on upward trends. Missouri's Tigers had a huge week with commitments from ESPN300 No. 82 Andy Bauer (Saint Louis, Mo./De Smet Jesuit High) and No. 239 Brandon Lee (Indianapolis, In./Lawrence Central High). The SEC East leaders are now clearly in the picture for No. 145 Brian Wallace (Saint Louis, Mo./Christian Brothers College High), No. 156 Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central High) and others.


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Questions for signing day: SEC 

November, 12, 2013
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With signing day three short months away, several questions remain in the SEC. Here's a look at the top questions to ask as signing day quickly approaches.

1. Where will Leonard Fournette go?


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

November, 11, 2013
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Lots of news around the Southeastern Conference over the weekend. There were a few commitments, and Alabama hosted several visitors for its big win over LSU. Here’s a closer look at some of the top storylines in the SEC this weekend.


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Scouts' Take: OLB Lee to Mizzou

November, 9, 2013
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Missouri's been hot on the field this fall and is now heating up on the trail. Friday, the Tigers grabbed outside linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central), their second ESPN 300 pledge of the week. Read below to see how our scouts think Lee will contribute at Mizzou.

What he brings: Lee is a tall, rangy backer who can really run, close and make plays at linebacker. He possesses great length and long-striding speed needed to chase plays down outside the hashes and close on the ball in coverage. While not a real stout downhill filler at this stage, he is a highly productive sideline-to-sideline defender and we feel the size and strength will eventually come to assist him as an inside run stopper. This solid tackler can get up field, pressure and close for big plays behind the line of scrimmage and really has a lot of upside when you look at his size and athleticism.

How he fits: Missouri is proving it has an SEC-caliber defense this fall and its building toward a positive future with prospects such as Lee. The Tigers landed a smart and athletic linebacker who will be able match up in space while being sound in his assignments. The long and athletic, fast-closing linebacker fits well in their scheme. He is active and opportunistic when it comes to creating big plays and turnovers. Lee will likely start off as a weak-side linebacker, which will allow him to play covered-up more and will make plays with his range until he gains the necessary bulk to stack the run inside.

Prediction for performance: Lee has the athleticism, closing ability and range the Tigers are going to want to utilize early, but we feel the best football is still ahead of him and he might be most productive later on in his career after time in the weight room. Still, it will be hard to keep him off the field and we do think he will work his way into early sub packages and also be an early standout on special teams.

How the class is shaping up: Missouri is doing well on the recruiting trail, having recently moved into the top 40 with the pickup of ESPN 300 offensive lineman Andy Bauer (St. Louis, Mo./De Smet Jesuit), and now they add a top-20 OLB in Lee. The Tigers' second ESPN 300 pickup could lead to more movement up the rankings next week as their success on the field has recruits taking notice.

Two for Mizzou: Lee keeps Tigers on roll 

November, 8, 2013
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Missouri was expected to be an afterthought in the SEC in 2013. The same belief was held regarding the 2014 recruiting class. Well, the Tigers control their own destiny in the SEC, and their 2014 class is emerging into a top-40 class nationally.

Expect the Tigers to rise in the class rankings as ESPN 300 outside linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) committed to Mizzou at a Friday ceremony at his high school. Several outlets, including 247 Sports, reported the commitment.

The four-star prospect is the second highest-rated prospect in the Tigers’ class of 26 commitments.

As Gary Pinkel’s team emerged as an SEC East contender, they emerged as a landing spot for the No. 239 player nationally. Pinkel began making a late push for Lee, who set a Nov. 8 decision date months in advance. The Tigers crept up the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Lee’s top group before sealing the deal on an official visit to Columbia, Mo., last weekend.


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SEC recruiting storylines: Nov. 7 

November, 7, 2013
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It’s been a busy week in recruiting in the SEC already, but the beginning of the week is only the start with two announcements Friday that could impact SEC recruiting class, and the annual LSU-Alabama showdown that draws almost as many top prospects as a postseason all-star game.


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SEC recruiting storylines: Oct. 24 

October, 24, 2013
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Taking a look back at the week that was in the SEC recruiting and looking ahead as teams build toward signing day, here is a peek at some of the top SEC recruiting storylines.

Nation's No. 4 to see Tuscaloosa

The nation's No. 4 prospect overall, Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge High), will make his official visit to Alabama this weekend after tripping to favorite Michigan in September. The 6-foor-4, 262-pound five-star will also officially visit Florida on Nov. 8 before announcing his decision on Nov. 14 at his high school.

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From commitments to official visits to offers tendered, the Big Ten is never at a loss for headlines.

Here’s a look at the latest from an always busy conference:

Bill O’Brien serving pancakes

Urban Meyer has been known as the master in flipping committed prospects in his time at Ohio State and rightfully so with more than a dozen pledged targets becoming Buckeyes. O’Brien is catching up after flipping Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) from Syracuse to Penn State on Wednesday.

Cabinda marks the sixth pledge to change stripes and join the Nittany Lions since O’Brien took over the reins in Happy Valley.

He’s raided Maryland three times in landing running backs Richy Anderson and Johnathan Thomas as well as offensive guard Tanner Hartman. O’Brien has also plucked quarterback Steven Bench from Rice and landed defensive tackle Parker Cothren from Purdue.

Buckeye leafs

Ohio State’s biggest target is headed to Columbus this weekend for the game against Penn State as the top-ranked linebacker in the nation regardless of position comes to town on an official visit in Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County).

McMillan isn’t the only one slated to take an official visit as East Mississippi Community College teammates Avery Gennesy at offensive tackle and A.J. Stamps at safety are coming along. ESPN 300 wide receiver Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) will be on an official visit, too as will commit and defensive end Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor).

By the way, Gennesy and Stamps went to the same community college current Ohio State junior and 2013 signee Corey Smith went to.

ESPN Junior 300 standouts Jauan Jennings (Murfreesboro, Tenn./Blackman), Lorenzo Nunez (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison), Brandon Wimbush (Jersey City/N.J./St. Peter’s Prep), Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City N.J./St. Peter’s Prep), Jacques Patrick (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek), Anthony McKee (Columbus/Walnut Ridge), Shy Tuttle (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson), Larry Scott (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) and Kelly Bryant (Piedmont, S.C./Wren) have all said they are coming.

As always, the list is fluid and could change at any time. There are a good collection of commits coming to the game as well.

Lee getting close

ESPN 300 linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) cut his list down to Cal, Louisville, Missouri and Virginia Tech on Wednesday night. He will be announcing his decision on Nov. 8, and has already taken an official visit out to Cal and will be out to see Virginia Tech this weekend.

The No. 242 ranked prospect had Northwestern and Penn State in his top list, so those two schools are now obviously out of the running.

It’s still a bit of a mystery as to where he will end up, since Lee has kept everything close to the vest. He is keeping everyone in suspense and taking it down to the wire right up to his announcement date.

London has a top five and a timeline

Running back Madre London (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) is a highly coveted senior among Big Ten teams. With limited options remaining, plenty of teams are hoping to land the three-star back.

On Wednesday, London tweeted that his top five is Nebraska, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Pitt and that he will be making his final decision in two weeks.

The Spartans might have the edge here, but it could go either way since he has taken a few visits recently to various programs.

At 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, he would be a great fit for most programs, so landing this Florida athlete will be a big deal for whichever program gets his commitment.

Michigan coaches on the road


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

October, 21, 2013
10/21/13
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Plenty of news and notes on the recruiting trail from the Big Ten Conference this weekend. Here is a look at some of the biggest news, performances and questions for the future.

Biggest commitment:

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Big 12 recruiting mailbag

October, 11, 2013
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This week’s Big 12 recruiting mailbag focuses on Baylor’s offensive success, Kansas’ progress in recruiting, the status of an ESPN Junior 300 player and more. We encourage all to send questions each week, either via Twitter to @DamonSayles or @ESPNWilkerson or by email at dsaylesespn@gmail.com or wilkerson.espn@gmail.com.

From @InTheNameOfBU: Do you see Baylor sustaining their success in offense for quite a while? If so, why? #AskBig12

As long as head coach Art Briles, offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery and passing game coordinator/offensive recruiting coordinator Kendal Briles stick around, Baylor shouldn’t have any problems offensively. It’s really scary to think that Wofford -- and not a school like West Virginia -- has held Baylor to its lowest point total -- 69. The Bears have all kinds of offensive weapons now with quarterback Bryce Petty, running backs Lache Seastrunk and Shock Linwood and receivers Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese, and if they sign committed ESPN 300 players in receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) and athlete Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau), expect more of the same in the next couple of years.

From @Roberrttthom: How much do you think the early offer for 2015 DT Marquise Overton helps OK State's chances to land him?

In speaking with Overton, I know that he’s very appreciative of the Oklahoma State offer. However, I can’t say that it’s his absolute favorite right now. Reason being, he truly doesn’t has a favorite right now. The ESPN Junior 300 defensive tackle has additional offers from Baylor, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Oregon State and others, and all schools are in the running. Overton did say that he really likes Oklahoma State. The team is playing well right now, and it’s close to his home in Jenks, Okla. Keep an eye on how the 6-foot-1, 301-pound tackle gauges his schools of interest.

From @cr93ia: Any update on the buzz post Rhoads’ postgame press conference and just in general? #AskBig12

If you’re the Texas Longhorns, you’re not listening; you’re celebrating a win. If you’re pro-Paul Rhoads, you’re probably still a little upset about what happened last week. There’s nothing that can be done now, but Rhoads will have his Cyclones amped up for Saturday’s game against Texas Tech. Recruiting-wise, a few players are still eyeing every move Iowa State makes. The Cyclones have offered players like ESPN 300 defensive end Dewayne Hendrix (O’Fallon, Ill./O’Fallon), ESPN 300 outside linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central), four-star outside linebacker Nile Sykes (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) and four-star running back Corey Avery (Dallas/Carter), and they’re hoping to land at least one of these targets.

From @ttoulouse94: Any word on #KU making progress with WR or O-line prospects?

Recruiting with Kansas can be seen in two ways: Either a recruit will give the program the side eye for its subpar play, or a recruit will look at the subpar play as an opportunity to see immediate playing time. The Jayhawks are hoping to land three-star athlete Darious Crawley (Houston/Cypress Ridge), who can play receiver at the next level. As for the offensive line, Kansas will be looking in the junior college ranks for right-now type of players. Juco linemen Avery Gennesy (Southaven, Miss./East Mississippi Community College), Luke Hayes (El Dorado, Kan./Butler Community College) and David Hedelin (San Francisco/City College of San Francisco) all have Kansas offers.

From @KookanHere: #askbig12 Will Dana Holgorsen be the head coach of WVU next season?

West Virginia is 3-3 on the season. Just because the Mountaineers were rolled by Baylor doesn’t mean Holgorsen’s job is in jeopardy. Baylor has put up huge points against everybody. Holgorsen will be back next season to coach his new recruits in receivers Lamar Parker (Miami/Booker T. Washington), Jake McCrary (Miami/Coral Reef) and outside linebacker Davonte James (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) -- all ESPN 300 prospects. If Holgorsen is lucky, he also will be coaching ESPN 300 athlete Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa), who is strongly considering the Mountaineers.

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