It really should come as no surprise to anyone, but Alabama has made its annual move toward the top of the 247Sports team recruiting rankings for the Class of 2014.
QB David Cornwell's commit helped push Alabama's class up the rankings.
After snagging quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North) and wide receiver Derek Kief (Cincinnati, Ohio/La Salle) during the weekend, Alabama now has the No. 3 class in the country for this cycle and is now No. 2 in the Southeastern Conference, behind Texas A&M, which currently has the nation’s top class.
Additionally, the two-time defending BCS National Champions (and winners of three of the last four) are far from finished this cycle. One look at the Tide’s Crystal Ball predictions page will tell you that as the nation’s top cornerback prospect and Bama legacy Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala.), top weak-side defensive end prospect Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga.) and others are predicted to ultimately sign with the Crimson Tide. Also, fast-rising center JC Hassenauer (St. Paul, Minn./East Ridge) could go public with a Bama pledge any day.
The class also could move up without Alabama gaining any additional commitments when 247Sports updates the Class of 2014 Top247 later today. Defensive tackle Johnny Dwight (Rochelle, Ga./Wilcox County) is expected to make a jump after 247Sports received a confirmed height measurement of 6-foot-2.5 (in socks) on the talented trenchman from south Georgia. Also, with 247Sports and other outlets updating rankings, the 247Composite, which is generated by the recruiting industry and exclusively used to calculate the official 247Sports team rankings, is sure to adjust as well.
The geographic diversity of Alabama’s classes have been impressive in recent cycles and 2014 is shaping up to be no different. Eight different states are represented among the 12 commitments for the Tide with the states of Alabama (three commits) and Georgia (three) leading the way.
Alabama’s coaching staff also is making its presence felt in the 247Sports recruiter rankings for the 2014 cycle as Kirby Smart (No. 5), Doug Nussmeir (No. 17) and Billy Napier (No. 29) all reside within the top 30 nationally.
Gamecocks on a tear for 2015
In the Class of 2014 team rankings, South Carolina ranks No. 13 in the SEC currently, but there perhaps has been no better start to the 2015 cycle than what the Gamecocks have done.
Five-star defensive end Shameik Blackshear (Bluffton, S.C.) made an early pledge to the in-state program and during the weekend, South Carolina got a pledge from Top247 defensive end Arden Key (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King). Three-star receiver Dexter Neal (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) committed to South Carolina on May 16 and was the first pledge for the 2015 cycle.
South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward has worked DeKalb County (Ga.) in the Atlanta area hard since arriving in Columbia in 2009 and it’s paying tremendous dividends of late in the form of Key and 2014 Top247 linebacker commit Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove). The Gamecocks also are in the lead for four-star cornerback Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King), Key’s teammate who will announce his decision July 1 at The Opening.
The Gamecocks are off to a hot start in 2015 with Arden Key and others.
Top of the states
It’s paramount for the programs in the SEC to sign the best prospects from within the states that contain conference programs. A look at the commitments and predictions for the 2014 cycle of the top overall prospects (according to 247Composite) in each of the SEC states shows that all of the top state prospects
Can Kentucky keep Matt Elam in state?
-Kentucky is sitting on the No. 7 class nationally and has 17 verbal commitments so far. The biggest (both figuratively and literally) fish left in-state for UK is defensive tackle Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./Hardin). The 6-foot-5, 360-pounder with elite athleticism wants to play in the SEC and the Wildcats are in a battle with Alabama for his services as things currently stand. His recruitment will very likely come down to staying close to home verses not doing so and he’s likely not going to announce until the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the earliest. Look for him to rise in the 247Sports prospect rankings in the near future.
-Safety Ben Edwards (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian) could be an early pledge to Auburn for the Class of 2015 if his glowing comments following his visit are any indication. His teammate, linebacker Jeffery Holland, also enjoyed his visit to AU and says he will be back. Holland currently is the top outside linebacker in the 2015 class and his uncle played basketball for AU.
-Texas A&M recently picked up its first Class of 2015 pledge when four-star tight end Jordan Davis (Houston, Texas/Clear Lake) committed to the Aggies. A second may be right around the corner as five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas) continues to be a heavy, heavy A&M lean. The Aggies continue to have the top 2014 class in the country.
-Summer recruiting at Mississippi State continues to go well as the Bulldogs snagged a potential sleeper in 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end Darrius Liggins from the shadows of the Ole Miss campus at Oxford High. The Bulldogs are up to 10 commits in the 2014 class with four coming since June 1.
-Defensive tackle Chris Williams (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) remains a strong lean to Ole Miss but Tennessee is still in the mix. It would be a surprise, though, if he didn’t commit to the Rebels in the near future.
-LSU’s out-of-state haul in the 2014 class could end up being just as impressive as its in-state. The Tigers still are at the top for five-star linebacker Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill.), five-star cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) and Top247 receiver Saeed Blacknall (Englishtown, N.J./Manalapan). In-state, though Robinson is definitely in question, the Tigers still have a good shot to sign the majority of the elite Louisiana talent this cycle.
-If you are Vanderbilt and you are looking for two prospects that could be shocking gets (outside of Nyles Morgan, who has the Commodores in the lead publicly), it’s Top247 cornerback Jalen Tabor and Top247 wide receiver Jamil Kamara from D.C. and Virginia, respectively. Vanderbilt is in better shape with those two than most think.
Nine of the top 15 coaches in the 247Sports Recruiter Rankings for the 2014 cycle are from the SEC, including Dameyune Craig of Auburn (No. 1), David Beaty and Clarence McKinney of Texas A&M (Nos. 2 and 4), Smart (No. 6) and Georgia’s Bryan McClendon (No. 8). ...Smart, McClendon and LSU running backs coach Frank Wilson could all end up battling for No. 1 overall if each can land the majority of their top targets between now and signing day. ....It should come as no surprise that Florida shot to the top of the list for No. 1 JUCO defensive tackle Abu Lamin of Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College. Lamin is a North Carolina native and the Gators recruit that state as well as anyone. Plus, a summer official visit to Gainesville has to impress. Lamin visits South Carolina officially this coming weekend and the Gamecocks will try to get back in good shape, but right now Crystal Ball is trending toward the Gators.