Print and Go Back SEC [Print without images]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
ESPN 300: Top SEC targets

By Gerry Hamilton

With Wednesday’s release of the 2015 ESPN 300, here is a look at five top targets for the top conference in college football.

Trenton Thompson
Top-ranked prospect Trenton Thompson will get plenty of attention from SEC teams.
DT Trenton Thompson
6-foot-4, 310 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 1

The SEC continues to be the most likely landing spot for the nation's top-ranked prospect.

The home state Georgia Bulldogs are the longtime favorite, but they are receiving stiff competition from the university closest to home, Florida State, as well as Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Clemson. Thompson has made multiple visits to Athens with his mother, but that can also be said for Florida State. Visits to Alabama and Auburn in recent weeks and months have made an impact as well.

OT Martez Ivey
6-6, 275
ESPN 300 rank: 2

Florida is the favorite for Ivey, and he is a must-get recruit for Gators. The nation’s No. 1-ranked offensive tackle also has SEC programs such as Alabama and Auburn high on his list, as the conference continues to fend off hard-charging Florida State to keep him in the SEC. South Carolina is another SEC program under consideration, but that is a long shot. At the end of the day, this one looks good for the SEC.

CB Kevin Toliver II
6-2, 185
ESPN 300 rank: 3

Toliver has been a commitment to LSU since November 2012. While the tall, physical five-star corner is a good bet to ink with an SEC school, LSU has competition from within the conference from Auburn and Florida, with the Tigers an official visit possibility. Should a program outside the SEC pull the unthinkable upset, Virginia Tech is the best bet with UCLA and Ohio State also trying to make a run.

DE Byron Cowart
6-3, 255
ESPN 300 rank: 5

Five-star Cowart may make this an SEC grudge match. Which power program will win out? Some expect the Gators to be the pick, but both Alabama and Auburn are in the mix. Arkansas and LSU, from within the conference, are also trying hard, but both are on the outside looking in. If a program from outside the conference is to pull the upset, it would likely be Florida State or Oregon. While the Ducks have Cowart’s attention, he will likely to stay closer to home.

ATH Torrance Gibson
6-4, 200
ESPN 300 rank: 8

One of the more interesting recruitments of the 2015 cycle is five-star Gibson. He intends to play quarterback at the next level, which factors heavily into his recruitment. If the SEC is to win this blue-chip battle, it will likely be Tennessee or Auburn, as both are doing the best job of selling quarterback possibilities. Other SEC programs such as LSU and Florida may have a tougher argument. Outside the SEC, Ohio State has emerged as a serious contender and could be the team to beat. Miami, Oklahoma and Clemson are others that have a shot to pull the upset and take Gibson away from the SEC.