Monday, January 6, 2014
Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC
By Derek Tyson
College football recruiting is currently in a dead period, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a ton of recruiting news around the SEC. There were several commitments during the Under Armour and U.S. Army Bowl All-America games, including the top player in the country, Leonard Fournette, announcing his decision. There were also some decommitments and new, important offers were handed out. Here’s the latest news around the SEC.
SEC schools land big commitments: There was a flurry of commitments during and after the All-American games this weekend. SEC schools landed commitments from eight different players during the Under Armour All-America game and the U.S. Army Bowl. Here’s a closer look at who committed where. All eight players were ranked in the top 150 players of the ESPN 300.
RB Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine) -- Committed to LSU over Alabama and Texas.
DT Gerald WIllis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr) -- Committed to Florida over LSU and Alabama.
S Laurence “Hootie” Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) -- Committed to Alabama over LSU and Ole Miss.
ATH Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr) -- Committed to Texas A&M over LSU.
WR Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside) -- Committed to Texas A&M over Missouri, LSU, Oregon and Arkansas.
OL Brian Wallace (Saint Louis/Christian Brothers College HS) -- Committed to Arkansas over Alabama and Missouri.
S Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) -- Committed to LSU over Florida.
DB Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas) -- Committed to Alabama over LSU.
DE and South Carolina commit Dante Sawyer was impressive with three sacks in the Army game.
Top performances: All-American games don’t usually result in big statistical performances from players because they rotate in and out of the games. However, there were a few players from this weekend that stood out, including a trio of Texas A&M commits who had stellar performances.
DE Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett) -- South Carolina commit: Three sacks in Army game.
QB Sean White (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School) -- Auburn commit: White was 10-of-12 for 156 yards and two touchdowns and was named MVP of Under Armour Game.
QB Kyle Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) — Texas A&M commit: Completed 12-of-18 passes for 183 yards in Army game.
ATH Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr) — Texas A&M commit: Three receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.
DE Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/James Martin) — Texas A&M commit: Totaled six total tackles, including a sack and four tackles-for-loss.
Biggest decommits: In addition to all of the commitments during the all-star games, there were several decommitments as well. Some prospects backed off their pledges to SEC schools, while other prospects are now interested in SEC schools after opening up their recruitment.
ESPN 300 linebacker Zach Whitley (Houston/North Shore) decommitted from Alabama and flipped to UCLA on Saturday. Earlier in the week, running back Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central) switched his commitment from Florida to Florida State.
Amidst the rumors that Al Golden would leave Miami for Penn State, defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnat Catholic) decided to back off of his pledge to the Hurricanes. He will likely visit LSU on Jan. 17 and Kentucky on Jan. 24. Valentine has now decommitted from Louisville, Florida and now Miami during the process.
Three-star defensive tackle Jamiyus Pittman (Moultrie, Ga./Colquitt Co.) switched his commitment from Ole Miss to UCF on Saturday. The Rebels still have 27 commitments, including four ranked in the ESPN 300.
Biggest question: Will any team be able to take over Alabama's spot as the No. 1 recruiting class? At this point, it certainly doesn’t appear that way. LSU, it appeared, had the best chance of doing so, but Noil, Willis and Brown decided not to choose the Tigers this weekend, and that hurt LSU’s chances of landing the No. 1 class. Texas A&M, with the additions of Iheanacho and Noil, have closed the gap, but it appears that Alabama will finish with the No. 1 class unless it was to lose a handful of recruits.
Biggest answer: Florida will be able to replace Dalvin Cook. Losing their only running back commit was a big hit for the Gators, especially considering Cook is one of the top backs in the country. But head coach Will Muschamp acted quickly and offered ESPN 300 running backs Jeff Jones (Minneapolis, Minn./Washburn), who’s committed to Minnesota, and uncommitted running back Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C./Havelock). The Gators will have an uphill battle to climb, but Jones did schedule an official visit to Florida on Jan. 24.
In addition to Cook backing off his pledge, the Gators are concerned wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) could also make a late flip. Florida went on the offensive and offered Penn State wide receiver commit De’Andre Thompkins (Swansboro, N.C./Swansboro) and Notre Dame commit Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) over the weekend.