Chat with Chris Low
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's SEC blogger Chris Low will stop by to talk some college football.
Low joined ESPN.com in 2007 after 10 years with The (Nashville) Tennessean covering the University of Tennessee and SEC. The Rock Hill, S.C., native lives with his wife in Knoxville and has three sons.
Send your questions now and join Low Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chris Low (1:01 PM)
Happy post-signing day!
Matt Mcconnell (Atlanta)
Orlando Brown Jr was supposed to sign with the Vols but ended up with Oklahoma. Do you know what happened, I assume Butch reached the max number of scholarships and Brown was at the bottom.
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
Grades were an issue, although I think Tennessee would have still possibly signed him and then placed him in junior college if he didn't qualify. But, yes, the Vols were right up against it numbers-wise.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Best High School Football Player that Signed with a SEC School?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
My own rule is that we never know until a year or two later, but it's hard to go against RB Leonard Fournette, who signed with LSU. From watching his tape and talking to all the schools who recruited him, he looks to be an absolute stud.
You have to love South Carolina's class!!!
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
Gamecocks closed really strong, getting Wesley Green and Chris Lammons, both who can help at CB, and keeping DT Dexter Wideman in state and away from Florida State was big. What really stands out about this class for the Gamecocks is the athleticism they assembled on defense.
Which team, in your opinion, had the best day?
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
Alabama, although LSU was right behind. The Tide needed CBs and got two of the best. Cameron Robinson is their LT of the future.
Would you say that South Carolina had an underrated National Signing Day? They aren't making national headlines like Bama and Southern Cal, but they went 4-4 on Signing Day, and jumped 8 spots in the recruiting rankings!
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
I can assure the Head Ball Coach cares a lot more about where South Carolina is ranked on Jan. 5 than he is on Feb. 5. Three straight top 10 finishes in the polls speak for themselves.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
How funny is it that Auburn prematurely listed Rashaan Evans as officially going to Auburn, just before he announced he's going to Alabama (Hint: it's really funny).
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
A honest mistake. A lot of schools have those bios already made up on kids who are announcing at the last minute, and somebody forgot to make sure he wasn't on Auburn's list. Surprised it doesn't happen more.
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
How big was it for for Les Miles to close with such a strong class, after the debacle, and near meltdown, following the Under Armour disappointment, which was only by the Fournette commit. To finish with such a huge class. And how scary could their class have been if more guys stayed home?
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
You're never going to get them all, but the Tigers got the No. 1 RB, No. 1 WR, No. 1 OG, No. 2 S, No. 2 dual-purpose QB and No. 2 ILB. That's a gaudy list by any standard.
Sean (Dunk City)
Chris, your opinion, who did the best job filling needs with this years class?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
Dead heat between Alabama and LSU. The rich get richer.
How important was signing Lorenzo Carter for UGA?
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
Big on a couple fronts. For one, he's a pass-rusher, and the Dawgs need more of those guys who can finish and create negative plays. He's also one of the top two or three players in-state. One of the knocks on the Dawgs the last few years is that they haven't kept some of the top players in-state at home. Sometimes, that can get skewed. This year, of the top 6 players in state, according to ESPN's rankings, Georgia got three -- Lorenzo Carter, Nick Chubb and Malkom Parrish. But only five of the top 30 players in state signed with the Dawgs.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Are you buying the comments by some of the experts yesterday that Nick Saban has changed the type of player he's been recruiting after being exposed by the spread once again in the Sugar Bowl, which was preceded by the Auburn dismantling of his defense?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
I don't know if it's fair to say the Tide were exposed. Auburn put 30-plus up on just about everybody this year, and Oklahoma just had one of those games. That said, Saban is always going to adapt and evolve, and he told me last year that he would continue to recruit players that fit what Alabama is having to go against offensively, and you can bet that just about everybody will be incorporating more pace and spreading it out offensively over the next 2-3 years. Even Alabama will go to more of that on offense.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
On a scale of 1 to 10, how did Coach Bielema do with this class in terms of what you expected him to be able to do?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
A solid 7. Getting an offensive playmaker like JoJo Robinson on signing day was the kind of player they need more of on offense. He was also one of five players from Florida to sign with the Hogs, and it's going to be important for Arkansas to go down into Florida every year and get players like Collins, Kirkland and Robinson. Still might have come up short on defensive back help.
Chris (New Orleans)
Curious which non-ESPN 300 (Top 50) ranked players caught your eye where you thought "Good fit...could play better than the ranking might indicate"?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
A couple I would throw out there are: DT Blake McClain at South Carolina, LB Jakob Johnson at Tennessee, CB Emmanuel Moseley at Tennessee, CB Kendarius Webster at Ole Miss, DE Sione Teuhema at LSU, DT Cory Thomas at Miss. State, RB Aeris Williams at Miss. State, CB Cedric Collins at Texas A&M and QB Rafe Peavey at Arkansas.
Sean (College Station, TX)
How far will Vandy's program be setback after all that hard work and several top recruits followed Coach Franklin to Penn St?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
It's like losing an entire class in a lot of ways. For any coach to come in and only have three weeks to put together a class is impossible, especially in the SEC and especially at Vandy.
Matt (Oxford MS)
Can Ole Miss be a contender in the SEC next year and get some wins over teams like Alabama, LSU, Auburn, and Texas A&M?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
I still think 2015 is the season that Ole Miss makes its biggest move in the West. The Rebels were pretty close to being a 9- or 10-win team this year. Not being able to score in the red zone killed them against Missouri, and the TAMU and Miss. State games could have gone either way.
Dave (Austin TX)
Mizzou seems to go after a lot of 3 star talent that is either under rated or not that talented....what do you make of it?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
A lot of it probably goes back to the area where Mizzou does a lot of its recruiting, but I think you have to give big props to Gary Pinkel and his staff for the way they've evaluated players and then developed them. Case in point: E.J. Gaines, Michael Sam and L'Damian Washington weren't highly recruited players, but all three turned out to be outstanding in college.
South Carolina had a great finish. Still only #19 by some rankings. Looked better to me. Did they get everyone they need for 2014 and beyond?
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
I agree. I though the Gamecocks' close was terrific and that they would finish a little higher in the rankings. But, really, what's the difference in being No. 19 and being No. 12 at the end of the day?
Matt (Jasper, GA)
Do you think Hunter Atkinson projects to be a TE or a tackle for UGA?
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said he's a TE for now, especially with the lack of numbers there, but he could grow into an OT down the road.
Cameron Callen (Renton, WA)
Without Jonny Football, how does A&M's season look?
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
It's not just Manziel. Evans and Jake Matthews are also big losses, but Kevin Sumlin has had success with several different QBs and different types of QBs. The Aggies have to be better on defense next season (they can't be any worse), and there's some young talent on that team just waiting for its chance. I don't see the Aggies winning the West next year, but they will make some noise.
All this "Richt can't keep in state talent" is silly. They got a 5 star RB from south FL, top DT from NC, the top QB in SC. Gurley and Marshall are out of staters. Doesn't matter where they come from. Besides loads of talent comes from the Lagrange area which is 30 minutes from Auburn and 5 hours from Athens. Valdosta same thing... much closer to FSU than UGA. Georgia doesn't have a talent problem.
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
All good points. Sometimes the perceived top talent in the state goes elsewhere because the in-state school likes other players better. Typically, the Dawgs get most of the players they want from Georgia. They never get them all because that state is loaded with talent on an annual basis, but they get their share. Still, when Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Clemson and South Carolina are all so close by, they're going to come in and get really good players from Georgia as well.
David (Ludowici, Ga)
UGA is a national contender if..............................
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
If Mason plays with the confidence, poise and consistency the coaches think he will play with, the defense grows up, stays healthy and plays with more consistency and all the playmakers -- Gurley, Mitchell, Bennett -- stay healthy. Dawgs also have to get off to a good start and win those first two over Clemson and South Carolina. They're my pick to win the East. Not sure if they can get into the College Football Playoff, though.
What impact do you think Mark Stoops is having at Kentucky?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
Doing everything he can, and then some, on the recruiting trail. Cats signed six ESPN 300 players this year. They signed two last year. They didn't sign any in the 2010-12 class. Stoops still needs to stack another top class on top of this one next year, and then he'll at least have a chance to make a run in the East and get the Cats in position to win some games that count and go to bowl games.
Florida had the "best recruiting class ever" and didn't even get a SEC title game appearance. Are people counting the championships before they hatch at this point for Bama?
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
Top signing classes don't guarantee anything. You're right about Florida. That 2010 signing class was supposed to be one of the best in history, and the Gators haven't even gone to an SEC championship game in the last four years. But while signing top 5 and top 10 classes don't guarantee you anything, I do think it's exceedingly difficult to play for and win national championships unless you have at least two top 10ish classes in the preceding three or four years.
Jim (Grand Junction, CO)
Which team outside the SEC does best in recruiting in SEC territory? Nebraska got several recruits from the area this year. They landed only 1 or 2 or the top prizes but still did well in getting SEC area recruits, I thought.
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
Ohio State has had success coming into the south and getting top players. Clemson's in the ACC, but always does well in Florida and Georgia. Nebraska has had some success as well.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
The SEC is once again dominant in recruiting. Do you expect them to consistently participate in, and win the new playoff system, just like they did in the BCS era?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
My sense is that the SEC champion will be in the playoff every year and one of the favorites to win. The interesting thing will be how many times a second SEC team gets into the playoff. I would say it happens at least once every three years.
ANy new on Deondre Clark to LSU or Okla.?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
The latest is that he will likely announce for LSU on Monday. He apparently faxed his letter of intent to LSU, but didn't announce it since his school was closed because of snow.
How did Tennessee sign 35 players? And a top 5 class? They were 5-7 last year and have been irrelevant for some time.
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
I think they announced 32 signees. Several of those were already in school, so Tennessee had room in last year's class and counted some of those early enrollees against the 25 in last year's class. As for being a top 5 class, Butch Jones and his staff got off to an early start with several key in-state guys who were highly recruited, and those guys jumped onboard and became fierce recruiters themselves.
Come on Chris, who is your favorite SEC team?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
At some point, I've been accused of being a fan of or hating on just about every school in the SEC.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Did the Hogs do enough on the Oline in recruiting to help Alex Collins be a top 5 RB next year?
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
That was the aim, and they got four guys they like a lot, including a junior college OT. To me, though, becoming a better passing team will help Collins as much as anything.
Tracy (Greenville, SC)
No elite level QBs have been signed by the Ol' Ball Coach in the last three classes. Isn't this what is really preventing the Gamecocks from reaching Atlanta, and challenging for a national title? Connor Shaw was a good QB, but with limitations, and had trouble staying healthy. Why can't Spurrier find a signal caller that allows him to run a little more Fun N' Gun in Columbia and become more consistent, if not explosive in the passing game?
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
I'll end on this one. Connor Shaw a "good" quarterback? He was 27-5 as a starter and threw 24 TD passes and one interception this season. Ask Spurrier if he thinks Shaw was just a "good" quarterback. Spurrier has evolved. He wants to spread it out and run more of the zone read. That's what defenses hate having to go against. My guess is that South Carolina fans (everybody, really) will realize in the coming years just how good and how much of a winner Connor Shaw really was.
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
Hope everybody has a great rest of the week and weekend.