Recruiting news, notes and analysis from around the SEC.
Cameron Sims is set to announce his college choice on Saturday.
Ole Miss or Alabama for Sims?
This Saturday, Top247 wide receiver Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish) is set to announce his decision. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound wideout publicly lists a top five of Alabama, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Southern University, but most feel it is a battle between the Crimson Tide and the Rebels for his commitment.
Looking at the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, the first 11 submissions by recruiting experts were in favor of Alabama, but 10 of the next 14 are for Ole Miss. Sims has been a priority for the Ole Miss staff this summer, and the No. 7 wide receiver in the country visited twice in the last two months. If Ole Miss lands Sims, he would join Laquon Treadwell, the 247Composite No. 1 wideout prospect from last year’s class, to give the Rebels an impressive tandem for the future.
If Alabama reels in Sims, he would give the Tide another wideout from Louisiana (Raheem Falkins being the other), and likewise give Alabama a formidable duo alongside Robert Foster, the No. 1 wide receiver in the country for the 2013 class according to 247Sports.
While it is unclear just where Sims is on Alabama’s board, with five-star target Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) having committed to Florida and Top 247 target Saeed Blacknall (Englishtown, N.J./Manalapan) picking Rutgers, the uncommitted options for the back-to-back defending National Champions would seem to be dwindling somewhat. If Sims decides to go elsewhere, Alabama could still snag 247Composite five-star Malachi Dupre (New Orleans/John Curtis) from in-state LSU, or try to steal Top247 standout Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) from local favorite Miami.
Gators vault up rankings with big Monday
As we previewed in last week’s SEC Roundup, the University of Florida had a chance to win big along the recruiting trails, with four of their top targets all set to announce their decisions. A few days after landing three-star offensive lineman Nolan Kelleher (Wando, S.C./Wando), the Gators went three for three on Monday, adding five-star wideout Ermon Lane, Top247 cornerback Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation) and 247Composite four-star safety Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School). While Florida was edged out by Tennessee for top juco defensive lineman DaVonte Lambert (Waynesboro, Ga./Georgia Military College), the other additions were still enough to vault the Gators into the Top 15 classes in the country and No. 5 in the SEC.
Florida assistant coach Travaris Robinson recruits South Florida, and the Miami native was the recruiter of record for all three commitments. Those additions join an already impressive haul for the Gators’ defensive backs coach, who was already responsible for four other commitments, including five-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central). Robinson is now the atop the 247Sports recruiter rankings, an industry-exclusive feature powered by the industry-generated 247Composite. The chances for Robinson, in his third year at Florida, to be No. 1 come signing day likely depend on the decision of five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) and five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross). Robinson is a secondary recruiter for Jackson, and the No. 2 recruiter in the country, University of Georgia assistant Bryan McClendon, is the primary recruiter for Carter, who the Gators lead for at the moment.
Malachi Dupre is among the top in-state targets for LSU.
Will LSU clean up in state?
The Tigers got big news over the weekend when Top247 wide receiver Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe), the No. 9 prospect in Louisiana, decided to stay home and committed to LSU. His addition gives LSU commitments three of the top 10 prospects in the state and five of the top 15 prospects in Louisiana. The Pelican State might not get the national recognition of California, Florida or even Georgia, but the elite talent there is as good as it gets, especially in the 2014 class. Five of the top 30 prospects in the country are in the state, as well as 15 prospects among the Top 247 in the 247Composite. Sims, the No. 7 prospect in Louisiana, will likely leave the state without an offer from LSU, but the presence of Quinn, five-star Malachi Dupre and Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Carr), all considered LSU leans, provides some perspective on why that decision was made.
LSU is considered the team to beat for six of the other top 15 in Louisiana, linebacker Kenny Young (New Orleans/John Curtis), defensive tackle Garrald McDowell (Covington, La./Covington), defensive end Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La. /Plaquemine Senior), 247Composite five-star defensive lineman Gerald Willis (New Orleans/Edna Karr), 247Composite five-star safety Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) and five-star running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine) the No. 1 prospect in the 247Composite rankings.
That does not even include five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (Monroe, La./West Monroe), the No. 1 prospect in the country according to 247Sports. The Tigers are battling Alabama for his commitment, but if they are able to fend them off, as well as land the others listed above, LSU would have 14 of the top 15 prospects in-state, and would likely be considered for the No. 1 class in the 2014 recruiting cycle.
Even in a conference rife with talent like the SEC, true freshmen are going to have a big effect on the 2013 college football season. Of the 32 five-star prospects in the 2013 recruiting class, 20 signed with SEC programs. With the season just a few weeks away, few appear cast to play a bigger role than running back Alex Collins will for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
First-year head coach Bret Bielema looks to lean heavily on the running game, just as he did at his previous stop at Wisconsin. Sophomore Jonathan Williams has some similarities to the type of backs Bielema had with the Badgers, but he has never carried the ball more than nine times in a college game to date. With no established workhorse in the backfield, the opportunity is there for Collins, rated the No. 1 running back by 247Sports for the 2013 class, to seize hold of the job. Collins has been very impressive in fall practice, and he did not shy away from telling reporters at Arkansas media day that he hoped to get 20-plus carries per game. Compared somewhat to a smaller Todd Gurley/T.J. Yeldon, the expectations are high for the in-state prize of the 2013 recruiting class to help get Arkansas back on the National Map.
Speaking of impact freshmen, sources at Ole Miss say that Laquon Treadwell, the No. 1 wide receiver in the 2013 247Composite, is in line to start the season opener Aug. 29 at Vanderbilt. The No. 1 and No. 4 prospects in the 2013 247Composite, Robert Nkemdiche, will too before the end of the season, but it is not a certainty they will start in the first game.