- Gerry Hamilton, ESPN Staff Writer
For the fourth straight week, there is very little change in RecruitingNation's class rankings. Thirteen of the 14 SEC teams are ranked in the top 40, including nine of the top 16, and top-ranked Alabama is holding a big lead over any and all pursuers.
Trending up: The Georgia Bulldogs are in position to move up in the next few weeks. Thursday, ESPN 300 No. 210 Keyon Brown (Wauchula, Fla./Hardee County) will announce his decision with Georgia being the heavy favorite. Georgia is also the favorite for No. 115 overall Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King High) following his decommitment from South Carolina over the weekend. And the Bulldogs are in a good position with No. 15 overall David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence School), as the 6-foot-6, 288-pound offensive tackle will be on campus again in Athens this weekend for the showdown with LSU. No. 99 Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) will be officially visiting this weekend before officially visiting Tennessee on Oct. 5.
Trending down: For South Carolina, it could only be a momentary shift after the decommitment of Green. While Green, along with teammate and ESPN Junior 300 No. 46 overall Arden Key (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) backing off their verbal pledge was a body blow, good news could be coming the Gamecocks’ way in late October when ESPN 300 No. 176 overall Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C./Havelock) announces his decision. South Carolina -- along with Miami, Tennessee and Oregon -- is also in the running for four-star wide receiver Braxton Berrios (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road). His announcement is set for Oct. 12. Defensive end Dante Sawyer (Suwannee, Ga./North Gwinnett), who is ranked No. 40 overall, is strongly considering the Gamecocks. However, a smaller class size will likely keep South Carolina from rising much more.
One to watch: Ole Miss currently sits at No. 14 in the class rankings, and the Rebels’ class could swing in the coming months. Alabama continues to heavily pursue Rebels commitments Rod Taylor (Jackson, Miss./Callaway) and C.J. Hampton (Meridian, Miss./Meridian), with Hampton having an even chance to flip to the Crimson Tide. On the other hand, Ole Miss is also in position to build on the momentum from the 2013 class and its strong start to the season. ESPN 300 No. 25 Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), No. 59 Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./South Plainfield), No. 64 Nyles Morgan (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee), No. 82 Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker), No. 93 Jesse Jackson (Petal, Miss./Petal), No. 98 and Alabama commitment Shaun Dion Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala./Carver), No. 109 Garrald McDowell (Covington, La./Covington) and No. 216 Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La./Plaquemine Senior) are all expected to take official visits to Oxford.
Bold prediction: The SEC will sign at least 65 of the top 150 prospects in the ESPN 300. This will establish a new record after the SEC programs signed 59 of the top 150 in 2013 and 54 in the 2012 class. The SEC will also sign at least half of the top 20-ranked prospects in the ESPN 300 after inking nine in 2013.
2hEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf