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Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Critical positions in SEC recruiting

By Derek Tyson

Each year college coaches prioritize their recruiting needs. Whether it's offensive or defensive linemen or skilled positions, there always seems to be an area that needs more attention than others. Here's a closer look at the most important position for each SEC team in recruiting this year.

Cameron Robinson
Five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson is scheduled to make his decision Wednesday.
Most important position: Offensive tackle
Who they have: Dominick Jackson (San Mateo, Calif./College of San Mateo)
Who they want: Clearly five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson is the most important recruit left on Alabama's board, and that includes Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine), the No. 1-ranked player in the country. Robinson will make his decision on Wednesday, and it appears Alabama might have a slight advantage. Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./Saint John Bosco) is another target that is high on Alabama. He could play guard or tackle on the next level.

Most important position: Defensive line
Who they have: Bijhon Jackson (El Dorado, Ark./El Dorado) and Armon Watts (St. Louis, Mo./Christian Brothers College High)
Who they want: Arkansas, under Brett Belima, already has started to build a strong offensive line and now the defensive front has become a priority. ESPN 300 defensive tackle Jackson and the three-star DT Watts are big additions to the Razorbacks' class, and Arkansas is still looking to add another defensive lineman such as ESPN 300 tackle Joshua Frazier (Springdale, Ark./Har Ber).

Most important position: Running back
Who they have: Racean "Roc" Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford) and Kamryn Pettway (Prattville, Ala./Prattville)
Who they want: The Tigers are in need of depth at the running back position, and the versatile Thomas might have been the top running back target for Auburn. Thomas is smaller and quicker, while Pettway (6-feet, 220 pounds) is a bigger, more physical back. It appears the Tigers have met their need at the position.

Most important position: Defensive line
Who they have: Khairi Clark (Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade-Madona),  Justus Reed (Clearwater, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic), Taven Bryan (Casper, Wyo./Natrona)
Who they want: The Gators have built some depth at most positions, but they still need to add players along the defensive front. ESPN 300 DE Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) might be the top D-line prospect remaining for the Gators. Another DE, Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) is another top target, and he is down to Florida, Alabama and Michigan. Defensive tackles Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) and Gerald Willis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr) are other key targets.

Most important position: Linebacker
Who they have: Detric Dukes (Tucker, Ga./Tucker)
Who they want: Georgia has recruited well over the last several years, and there isn't many areas that need considerable health. The Bulldogs, however, have only one linebacker commit, but there are several other key targets that are highly considering Georgia. Inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty Co.) and outside linebackers Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) and Keyon Brown (Wakulla, Fla./Hardee Co.) appear to be the top targets along with Carter, who could play outside linebacker in Georgia's defense.

Most important position: Wide receiver
Who they have: Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield), Garrett Johnson (Winter Park, Fla./West Orange), T.V. Williams (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) and Blake Bone (Woodruff, S.C./Woodruff)
Who they want: New head coach Mark Stoops has made it clear he wants more production from his wide outs. Despite having four wide receiver commits, the Wildcats still are targeting receivers such as ESPN 300 members Moral Stephens and Josh Malone. Stephens said Friday he plans to officially visit the Wildcats at some point this season.

Most important position: Running back
Who they have: Sione Palelei (Gonzales, La./East Ascension)
Who they want: Jeremy Hill and Kenny Hilliard both potentially could leave early after this season, which would leave Terrance Magee as the only scholarship running back after this year. The Tigers have a commitment from three-star back Palalei, but it's obvious the biggest recruit for the Tigers this year is Fournette, the No. 1-ranked player in the country. His downhill running style would fit nicely in the LSU offense.

Mississippi State
Most important position: Defensive line
Who they have: Darrius Liggins and  Braxton Hoyett. Outside linebacker commits Gerri Green and Deshon Cooper also could play defensive end.
Who they want: Mississippi State picked up a commitment from Hoyett over the weekend and received more good news recently as three-star defensive tackle Cory Thomas named MSU in his top three, along with Florida and Tennessee. The Bulldogs also need help on the offensive line and have three offensive line commits, including two from junior college players -- Norman Price and Jocquell Johnson.

Most important position: Offensive line
Who they have: Zach Hudson (Tampa, Fla./Sickles), Paul Adams (Nashville, Tenn./Christ Presbyterian), Sam Bailey (Lamar, Mo./Lamar), Michael Fairchild (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) and Kevin Pendleton (Lee Summit, Mo./Lee Summit West)
Who they want: The SEC is a line of scrimmage league, and with six commitments already the Tigers might have met their needs along the offensive line. Despite his commitment to Ole Miss, the Tigers still are targeting offensive tackle Andy Bauer (St. Louis, Mo./De Smet Jesuit).

Ole Miss
Most important position: Linebacker
Who they have: Ronald Walker (Jackson, Miss./Callaway), Victor Evans (Dallas/Skyline), Alvin Moore (Bassfield, Miss./Bassfield)
Who they want: With three linebackers committed, the Rebels might take only one or two more at the position. They are in a battle with Vanderbilt for ESPN 300 linebacker Nyles Morgan (Crete, Ill./Crete Monet), and Clifton Garrett (Plainsville, Ill./Plainsville South) is also considering the Rebels.  Ole Miss also needs help in the secondary but has three defensive back commits.

South Carolina
Most important position: Wide receiver
Who they have: Shaquille Davidson (Gaffney, S.C./Gaffney) and ATH Terry Googer (College Park, Ga./Woodward)
Who they want: Though limited on scholarship numbers this year, the wide receiver position is a priority for the Gamecocks -- especially after signing no receivers in the 2013 recruiting cycle. Four-star wide receiver Braxton Berrios (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road) appears to be the biggest remaining target for the Gamecocks.

Most important position: Linebacker
Who they have: Dillon Bates (Ponte Vedra, Fla./Ponte Vedra), Gavin Bryant (Jackson, Ala./Jackson), Kevin Mouhon (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), Jerome Dews (Tampa, Fla./Plant) and Chris Weatherd (Carrollton, Texas/Trinity Valley CC)
Who they want: With five linebacker commits, including Bates, Bryant and Mouhon from the ESPN 300, Tennessee has done very well in recruiting a position of need. Tennessee is at 24 commitments and likely is done recruiting linebackers.

Texas A&M
Most important position: Offensive line
Who they have: Koda Martin (Manvel, Texas/Manvel), Kealvin Davis (Garland, Texas/Lakeview Centennial), Zachary Ledwik (La Grange, Texas/La Grange)
Who they want: The Aggies will be losing Jake Matthews after this year, and Cedric Ogbuehi will be draft eligible if he decides to forgo his senior season. Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South) and Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) appear to be the top remaining targets for the Aggies, but they are also looking at  junior college players such as Dontavius Blair (Anniston, Ala./Garden City CC).

Most important position: Defensive back
Who they have: Kyle Gibson (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), Bryce Lewis (Lilburn, Ga./Parkview), Emmanuel Smith (Murfreesboro, Tenn./Oakland), Trent Sherfield (Danville, Ill./Danville) and Tre Herndon (Ooltewah, Tenn./East Hamilton)
Who they want: Vanderbilt has put together a very nice defensive back group, and with five commitments -- including  ESPN 300 safety Gibson -- Vanderbilt is close to being done in the secondary. Safety Amani Oruwariye (Tampa, Fla./Gaither) is likely the top remaining defensive back target for the Commodores.