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Thursday, October 10, 2013
SEC recruiting storylines: Oct. 10

By Gerry Hamilton

Taking a look back at the week that was in SEC recruiting and looking ahead to future visits as teams build toward signing day:

Banner week for Tennessee

While Tennessee couldn’t pull out a victory over Georgia Saturday, the Vols had more success in the minds of prospects. The Volunteers have picked up a pair of commitments since Saturday, and both are significant. Defensive end Derek Barnett (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy), the No. 298 player in the ESPN 300, helps fill a serious need on the defensive front. Junior college offensive tackle Dontavius Blair (Anniston, Ala./Garden City Community College) has the ability to be an impact player at a key position that will be hit by graduation. The 6-foot-7, 307-pound Blair was a huge recruiting win over SEC programs Auburn and Texas A&M. The Vols look like a lead-pipe cinch to sign a top-10 class at this point.

D-day for Berrios

Four-star wide receiver and Under Armour All-America Braxton Berrios (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road) will announce his decision on noon Saturday. The final five fighting for the talented slot receiver’s signature are Miami (Fla.), South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Oregon. The Hurricanes have been considered the favorite for weeks, but Tennessee certainly made an impression over the weekend.

Bulldogs win out for playmaker

Mississippi State made a jump from No. 33 to 29 in the RecruitingNation class rankings with a pair of commitments in the last week. Wide receiver Jesse Jackson (Petal, Miss./Petal High), who is No. 3 overall in the ESPN 300, was a key in-state victory for the Bulldogs, and at a need position. The Under Armour All-America selection picked Mississippi State over Auburn, Ole Miss and others.

Big weekend on The Grove

Ole Miss is a team to watch this week. The Rebels are at No. 14 in the rankings and have a big official visit weekend on the horizon with the chance to ascend. LSU commit Deondre Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass High), junior college offensive tackle Avery Gennesy (Scooba, Miss./East Mississippi Community College), No. 64 Nyles Morgan (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee), Alabama commit and No. 98 Shaun Dion Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala./Carver) and No. 201 and current commit C.J. Hampton (Meridian, Miss./Meridian) will all be in Oxford on official visits this weekend for the Rebels' game against Texas A&M.

Good news on the way?

Five-star defensive end Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/James Martin) is set to announce his decision Oct. 19, the day Texas A&M hosts Auburn. With a decision coming in a week and an official visit not scheduled to Alabama until Nov. 8, this one is clearly looking good for the Aggies. Close-to-home TCU is working hard to pull an upset.

ESPN 300 DE tweets a top six

No. 168-ranked Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy) tweeted his top six on Wednesday, in no order. The top six for the defensive end are Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Auburn, Clemson and South Carolina. Auburn is considered the favorite over Clemson and Notre Dame entering the official visit process.

Friday decision for ESPN 300 guard

ESPN 300 offensive guard prospect Donell Stanley (Latta, S.C./Latta), ranked No. 197, will be announcing his decision between South Carolina, North Carolina, Clemson and Alabama, with a decision expected to come from South Carolina or North Carolina. The Gamecocks are considered the heavy favorite to land the 6-foot-4, 325-pound high school tackle, who project as a guard in college.

Georgia vs. Florida for No. 2 OT

David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence), the nation's No. 2 offensive tackle and No. 15 overall prospect, made an unofficial visit to Florida last weekend for the Gators' victory over Arkansas. After a pair of unofficial visits to Georgia for the Bulldogs' wins over South Carolina and LSU, Georgia had seemingly gained much of the momentum in Sharpe's recruitment. After a very good visit to Gainesville, this recruitment is shaping up as a key battle between a pair of rivals, with programs such as North Carolina, USC and Clemson fighting hard to stay in the mix and get the athletic tackle prospect on campus.