Monday, February 3, 2014
Biggest flips: SEC
By Gerry Hamilton
As expected, with the plethora of commitments followed by decommitments and second and third verbal pledges, it's no surprise that the hotly contested Southeast and SEC feature a number of impactful flips in 2014.
No. 11 prospect Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy): Tabor committed to Arizona in a surprise move during the Under Armour All-America Game, but he flipped to Florida shortly after. This was a huge for the Gators considering that DBs Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson declared early for the NFL draft. Tabor is already on campus, so the flip was huge for coach Will Muschamp. The flip also helped offset the sting of explosive running back Dalvin Cook flipping to rival Florida State just days before at the Under Armour All-America Game practices.
No. 48 Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley High): Miller's flip from Florida to Alabama was a huge get for Nick Saban and his staff. The long-limbed and rangy outside linebacker has the ability to bring a much-needed edge pass-rush ability to the Crimson Tide. And he can play in space and cover in the spread college game. Alabama held off a strong pursuit by Georgia in December and January.
Thomas Holley's flip from Penn State to Florida is a huge addition to the Gators' defensive front.
No. 51 Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln High): The Gators show up again after flipping ESPN 300 defensive tackle Holley from Penn State after the departure of Bill O’Brien, and especially lead recruiter Larry Johnson (left for Ohio State). The Buckeyes and Holley had parted ways previously, and Florida has a strong relationship with Holley. This was a key flip for Muschamp, who has many departures on the defensive front after the 2013 season.
No. 62 Stephen Roberts (Opelika, Al./Opelika High): Auburn had one of the most magical and stunning turnaround seasons in recent memory, and with its run to the SEC championship and national title game came an opportunity on the recruiting trail. One of the many key gets during the season was the flip of ESPN 300 cornerback Roberts. He's somewhat of a local product and is a physical corner who has the ability to tackle, which defensive backs coach Melvin Smith demands from his players. The versatile defensive back flipped from rival Alabama before the Tigers' dramatic Iron Bowl victory.
No. 90 Markell Pack (Purvis, Ms./Purvis High): Ole Miss has made a point of keeping the best at home, and the flip of Pack from Florida State is considered a huge recruiting win for coach Hugh Freeze -- and the state. The Seminoles had the momentum, and ace recruiter Tim Brewster had a prior relationship with him from his time at Mississippi State. But Ole Miss was able to flip the talented playmaking receiver from Florida State. With the loss of Donte Moncrief to the NFL, the flip of Pack is more meaningful.
Signing day special flip: When talking about flips in the Southeast, the list begins with No. 79 J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee High). The former Florida State commit and current Gators pledge has been visiting Miami since the Hurricanes knocked off the Gators last fall. Jackson could become the first prospect to commit to each of the big three in the same cycle if a flip to the Hurricanes occurs.