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Monday, December 16, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC

By Derek Tyson

The dead period in recruiting is now upon us and official visits will shut down until after the holidays. College coaches have done all they can as far as in-home visits and setting up and hosting official visits until after the dead period is over. Here is a closer look at some of the important in-home and official visits that have taken place recently.

Most important in-home visits: There were also a few important in-home visits this past week. Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin did an in-home visit with ESPN 300 defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) on Thursday. The four-star cornerback is expected to make his decision soon between Vanderbilt, Michigan State and Northwestern.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer visited five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga/Liberty Co.) at his home on Sunday. This visit was extremely important considering the No. 12-ranked player in the country will announce his decision Monday afternoon. He is also considering Clemson and Alabama.

Florida running back commit Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central), who won a state title on Saturday afternoon, said after the game he was visited by Florida State, Miami and LSU coaches during the week. He also announced he is shutting down his recruitment until he announces his final decision at the Under Armour game. However, Cook said that he is starting to hear the same messages from college coaches, and that in-home visits might not be as important to him.

"They have been recruiting me heavy these last two weeks,” Cook said on Saturday. “I’m going to go ahead and shut my recruiting down until I announce my decision. You keep hearing the same thing from all the coaches. Sometimes you've got to recognize what’s real and what’s fake. That’s why I keep hearing the same thing, so I’m going to shut it down. I’m going to shut it down right now.”

ESPN 300 wide receiver Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach, Fla./Dwyer), who is also planning to make his decision between Ohio State, Miami and Alabama in the near future, said that in-home visits are nice, but added that that ultimately he will chose the school that he feels is the best place for him in his heart.

"They’re good once they are in there,” Dixon said of the in-home visits, "but I mean, once every one leaves it’s still in my heart where I want to go at the end of the day."

LSU head coach Les Miles and two assistant coaches had an in-home visit with linebacker Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) last Monday. Garrett has had the Tigers out in front for some time and he will announce his decision on Tuesday. He's also considering Ole Miss and Florida.

Most important official visits: The No. 1- and No. 15-ranked players in the country, Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine) and Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Academy), took official visits to Alabama this weekend.

Fournette has now visited the two schools, LSU and Alabama, that many consider to be his favorites over the last two weeks. The Alabama visit is significant considering it was his last official visit before Fournette announces his decision on Jan. 2 at the Under Armour All-America game in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Tabor, meanwhile, has Alabama in his top schools along with Maryland and Florida. The four-star defensive back visited Maryland in November and Florida last week and like Fournette, he will announce his decision at the UA game. By all accounts Tabor enjoyed his visit to Alabama. Crimson Tide commit Joshua Frazier also visited Alabama this weekend and tweeted out a picture of himself and Tabor hanging out.
Welcome to the Saban Show.

— L.Joshua Frazier (@JoshuaFrazier99) December 14, 2013
ESPN 300 defensive tackle Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin) visited Kentucky this weekend. The Wildcats have been trying to fend off Alabama and Notre Dame for this massive interior defensive lineman.
Just Now Leaving Lex !! Had A Great Time And S/o To The Coaches @UKCoachStoops @UKCoachBrown @CoachEliot @CoachBrumbaugh #BBN #UK
— Matt Elam (@FballIsLife69) December 15, 2013


Florida also had a big official visitor in ESPN 300 defensive tackle Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) this weekend. The Gators were thin along the interior of the defensive line this year and are hoping to add a player such as McDowell or Thomas Holley to add depth to their defensive front.

McDowell visited Alabama last week, and is planning to visit Florida State, LSU and Ohio State in January.