SEC: Roquan Smith

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

November, 18, 2014
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As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. Florida head coach Will Muschamp announced he will step down from his position at the end of the season, there were key visits and new offers over the weekend. Here's a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.

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Florida head coach Will Muschamp will step down at the end of this season, the school announced Sunday, just one day after Florida fell to 5-4 with a 23-20 overtime loss to South Carolina.

The Gators' struggles on the field over the past two seasons have started to affect their recruiting. Florida has only nine commits in the 2015 class, a number that ranks last in the SEC. Florida also recently lost commitments from two ESPN 300 linebackers, Adonis Thomas and Jerome Baker.

Several recruits weighed in on the Muschamp news shortly after it was reported.


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SEC's top recruiting visits 

November, 14, 2014
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The Mississippi State at Alabama game looks to be loaded with big-time visitors. Georgia is also expecting several ESPN 300 prospects for its game against Auburn and Florida is hoping continue its momentum against South Carolina in front of several recruits. Here’s a closer look at some of the top visitors in the SEC this weekend.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 28, 2014
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As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. There were a few big commitments, key visits and new offers over the weekend. Here’s a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the SEC.


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SEC's top recruiting visits 

October, 24, 2014
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There are again some big games around the SEC this weekend. The Ole Miss at LSU game looks to be loaded with big-time visitors. Tennessee is sure to bring in several high-profile recruits for its game against rival Alabama and Auburn is hoping to reel in a few top prospects for its game against South Carolina. Here’s a closer look at some of the top visitors in the SEC this weekend.

Alabama at Tennessee


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 7, 2014
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As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss, Kentucky and Auburn impressed several recruits with their big wins on Saturday and there were a few new offers in the SEC over the weekend. Here’s a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.


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Best of the visits: SEC

October, 5, 2014
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From the Ole Miss win over Alabama to Kentucky’s big come-from-behind win over South Carolina, there were some incredible games around the SEC over the weekend. Several prospects attended the games, while others watched on television and used social media as a platform to share their experiences. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts from the weekend around the SEC:

Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson took a visit to Ole Miss for its huge 23-17 win over Alabama. Jefferson tweeted out a few different photos of his experience in Oxford, Mississippi. Florida, Alabama and Florida State seemed to have been the favorites for Jefferson, but Ole Miss certainly helped its chances of landing the talented pass rusher.

 
The nation’s No. 2-ranked outside linebacker, Roquan Smith, also visited Ole Miss this weekend. The four-star athlete tweeted out a picture of himself on the sidelines at the game. Ole Miss has made a big run at the talented prospect.

 
ESPN 300 wide receiver Ryan Newsome took a photo of Katy Perry, who was also on the sidelines for the Rebels' big win.

 
Auburn hosted several key visitors for its big 41-7 win over LSU on Saturday. ESPN 300 linebacker Jeffery Holland was on hand and tweeted out a few different photos and videos of his experience, including one of himself alongside five-star defensive tackle Trenton Thompson.

 
Despite losing 10-9 to Florida on Saturday, Tennessee still had some big visitors on campus. ESPN 300 defensive end Ricky DeBerry tweeted out a photo of the field at Tennessee and recent defensive tackle commit Shy Tuttle tweeted out a photo of himself and a friend.

 
Kentucky had a thrilling come-from-behind victory over South Carolina on Saturday night, and several recruits were in attendance. Three-star defensive end Kengera Daniel tweeted a photo of himself along with Kentucky true freshman Kendall Randolph.

 
The No. 1-ranked running back in the ESPN 300, Damien Harris, has been to Kentucky numerous times over the last several months. He was once again in Lexington for Saturday's game. What seemed like a long shot for Kentucky is now seeming like a real possibility of landing this elite athlete.

 
Mississippi State safety commit Jamal Peters was impressed with how well the Bulldogs played against Texas A&M on Saturday. After the thrilling win, it was announced that ESPN’s "College Gameday" would be in Starkville next Saturday for Mississippi State’s game against SEC West opponent Auburn.

 

SEC's top recruiting visits 

October, 3, 2014
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There are once again some big games around the Southeastern Conference this weekend. The Alabama at Ole Miss game looks to be loaded with big-time visitors. Auburn will also host some key targets as it faces SEC West rival LSU. Mississippi State will hope to build on its momentum with a big game against Texas A&M this weekend. Here's a closer look at some of the top visitors in the SEC this weekend.


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When Ole Miss hosts Alabama on Saturday afternoon, the game will feature the Rebels' uptempo spread offense and the Crimson Tide's traditional power running game with a lot of play-action passing mixed in.

While a vast majority of teams in the SEC have been focused on defending the new and innovative uptempo offenses that have spread like a wildfire throughout the conference, Ole Miss has quietly been building its defense to stand up to the more physical teams of the SEC West. The transformation is working; the Rebels are No. 4 in the country in total defense, yielding just 248 yards per game.

In two full seasons of recruiting, Rebels coach Hugh Freeze has led Ole Miss to the No. 5 recruiting class and the No. 17 recruiting class. Ole Miss currently has the No. 24 class in the country. But with several ESPN 300 members remaining on the recruiting board that number is sure to increase.

Prior to Freeze’s arrival in Oxford, Mississippi, the Rebels didn’t have a top 20 recruiting class in any year since ESPN started doing recruiting rankings back in 2006.


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Best of the visits: SEC

September, 14, 2014
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There were some great games around the SEC over the weekend. Several prospects attended games and used social media as a platform to share their experiences. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts:

The No. 2-ranked inside linebacker in the country, Roquan Smith, visited South Carolina for its 38-35 victory over Georgia. The Under Armour All-American tweeted out a picture of his family in Williams-Brice Stadium. Georgia is one of Smith’s favorite schools, while South Carolina has fallen behind. A big win against the Bulldogs could have given the Gamecocks a boost.



Former Florida defensive back commit Marcus Lewis is still considering Kentucky and Florida. The four-star prospect might not have attended the game, but Lewis was definitely watching on TV. The ESPN 300 prospect tweeted out his thoughts on how Kentucky looked.



David Womack tweeted a picture of his son, Matt Womack, an LSU commit, with Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Womack has been committed to LSU since July, but it appears the Alabama offer could give this three-star offensive lineman something to think about.



Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson, despite suffering a shoulder injury Friday night, visited Florida for the third consecutive week. In this photo he tweeted out, Jefferson is in the Florida locker room holding a “Chucky” doll. The doll, which is usually taken through the Gator Walk prior to the game, is a recent Florida defensive tradition started by New England Patriots defensive tackle and former Florida player Dominique Easley and passed down to defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.



ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Brandon McIlwain poses with his mom for a photo in front of Williams-Brice Stadium. McIlwain has narrowed down his choices to South Carolina, Duke, Florida, Auburn, Penn State and Virginia Tech. The strong-armed quarterback is one of the top signal-callers in the country for 2016.



Miami running back commit Dexter Williams visited Florida for its thrilling 36-30 victory over Kentucky. Despite his commitment to the Hurricanes, the Gators have continued to pursue Williams. Williams tweeted about his time in Gainesville.



2017 OL prospect Jack Anderson, who already holds offers from Arizona State, New Mexico, Texas Tech and UAB, visited Texas A&M for its 38-10 victory over Rice on Saturday night.

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

September, 2, 2014
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There were several key SEC games over the weekend and plenty of recruiting news to go along with them. From Texas A&M’s impressive victory over South Carolina to Georgia’s dominating second half performance against Clemson, recruits from all over the country had a chance to finally see teams they are considering in action. Here is a closer look at some of the top recruiting news around the SEC.

Texas A&M catches the attention of top recruits

Even though Texas A&M has put together a tremendous recruiting class this year, many expected it to be a down year on the field for the Aggies. After all A&M lost three first-round draft picks including Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Much to the delight of the Aggie faithful, Texas A&M dominated SEC East opponent South Carolina last Thursday evening.


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Recruiting changing in up-tempo era 

August, 25, 2014
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The SEC, a league that is known for its hard-nose, physical style of play is slowly transforming into a spread-offense, up-tempo league. It's a change that hasn't happened overnight and teams like Alabama, LSU, Georgia, with their pro-style offenses, will always have their imprint on the toughest league in all of college football.

With fast-paced offenses such as Auburn, Missouri, Ole Miss and Texas A&M having much success over the last few years, it's forcing defenses to change their philosophy on who they recruit to defend against these spread attacks.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pound middle linebackers are dwindling and replacing them are hybrid linebackers that can rush the passer and run sideline-to-sideline. There are 23 outside linebackers committed to SEC schools currently, all but one, Darrell Williams, weigh less than 220 pounds. There are only four inside linebackers committed to SEC schools.

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Bulldogs gaining recruiting momentum 

August, 19, 2014
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In a six day period, the Georgia Bulldogs were able to land the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the country, Trenton Thompson, flip Alabama commitment Jonathan Ledbetter and land the No. 129-ranked player in the ESPN 300, Jayson Stanley.

The impressive stretch of commitments is just what the Bulldogs needed heading into the season.

The SEC is known for having dominant defensive lines over the past several years and Georgia has had their fair share of NFL-caliber players along the defensive front, but new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is now making his mark -- on the recruiting front at least.

Ledbetter, an Under Armour All-American, had been committed to Alabama since January, but decided to switch his commitment to the Bulldogs to be closer to home and to play with his older brother Jason who just recently joined Georgia as a tight end.



"I was thinking about the switch for a while," Ledbetter said. "I just wanted to be sure that I could accomplish everything I plan on doing at UGA. Throughout the whole process they were one of my leaders. The program is phenomenal and the people there are great. Also, education is crucial to me so knowing I could receive a top-notch education and also play SEC football was a big factor.

"As many people know, my brother also attends UGA now and I decided that I couldn't pass up on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with my brother in college. The class was also gaining a lot of momentum so I felt like it was the perfect time to go public with my decision. It took a lot of praying and long talks with my family but I decided at the end of the day, all you have in this world is your family and having the ability to stay close to home, play football and get an education is something that cannot be passed up."

Thompson and Ledbetter join two other ESPN 300 defensive ends Natrez Patrick and Chauncey Rivers, and three-star defensive tackle Quincy Vasser.

Throw in five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter and the No. 4-ranked defensive tackle from the 2014 class, Lamont Gaillard, and the Bulldogs are accumulating a tremendous amount of talent that Georgia fans hope will wreak havoc on SEC quarterbacks over the next several years.

As for Stanley, he becomes the third wide receiver commit, fourth if athlete Terry Godwin plays on the offensive side of the ball. The other receiver commits include four-star pass-catchers Michael Chigbu and Shaquery Wilson. At 6-foot-2 and 205-pounds, Stanley is the biggest of all of Georgia’s receiver commitments and could become a formidable target in the red zone for the Bulldogs.


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When looking at the teams in most need of a strong season on the field, the Florida Gators are at the top of the list. After grabbing the momentum in the state following a 11-2 season in 2012, the Gators quickly lost that momentum with a 4-8 campaign last season.

On the recruiting front, the Gators have some of the nation's best early leans who will be looking to see what happens on the field in 2014.

Here are five questions the Gators face on the recruiting front headed into July.


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Every year it seems there is a battle within a battle in SEC recruiting. It's a game of one-upmanship in which schools look to get the most attention with new and creative ways to sell their program.

A couple of years ago, Alabama overloaded the mailbox of running back Alvin Kamara with 105 letters in one day. It worked, as today Kamara is on the Crimson Tide roster. Such success often results in copycat maneuvers, as Tennessee followed suit a year ago with athlete Stanton Tuitt (who ultimately chose to sign with Auburn).

SEC recruiters have shown that there is little they won't do. From singing karaoke to sending pictures, photoshopped images, puzzles and more. This is serious business.

Now Georgia has hit on the latest in a long line of eye-catching recruiting pitches. The Bulldogs have sent hand-drawn portraits to prospects with a personal note from coach Mark Richt included. There was speculation Richt had drawn the pictures, but safety Rashad Roundtree was told by Georgia coaches that somebody working in the Dawgs’ football office had drawn the portraits. Four-star linebacker Roquan Smith was told the same thing.

“It was really cool,” said Roundtree, who has Georgia among his leaders and also has scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Ohio State, South Carolina and others. “Only a few people got them. A lot of other mail is just stats and posters, but it’s nice to see something different. It made me feel one-of-a-kind.”

Smith, who has offers from more than 20-plus schools and lists Georgia among his leaders, said the portrait was the “most creative thing” he’s received in the mail and speaks volumes to how important he is to the Dawgs.

“To have them take their time to have somebody do that for me was great,” he said. “I loved it. It shows they take time out for their recruits.”

In the dog-eat-dog world of recruiting in the SEC, schools jockey to differentiate themselves when communicating with prospects. Most elite recruits receive around 50 letters a day from schools all over the country, but Georgia has done something that has caught the attention of recruits and separate itself from the other schools.

One rival SEC assistant coach said he wished he thought of the portraits and immediately sent his recruiting staff to come up with something “better.”

Have a look:


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