National Signing Day preview: SEC
National Signing Day is right around the corner and no conference takes the hoopla leading up to the yearly event more seriously than the SEC. Here's a preview of what to expect over the next eight days.
FIVE BIG RECRUITMENTS
Despite being committed to Oklahoma for several months, Phillips has become a prospect of intrigue for SEC recruiting fans. Both Florida and LSU have turned up the heat in the past month. The Gators' advances were rebuffed, but LSU worked hard enough to get Phillips on campus this past weekend for an unofficial visit. According to all accounts, things went well and Phillips is now mulling his options. Both Tigers and Sooners fans have their reasons to feel optimistic, but both will continue to wait while until the newly minted five-star makes a final decision.
The amount of conflicting information coming out of South Georgia regarding Solomon is the stuff legendary recruitments are made of. From Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh riding go-karts with Solomon’s little sister to message board rumors about grocery store cake orders, every fan base has its own take on how it will go down. What we do know is that Solomon is done taking official visits and Georgia didn’t receive one, making Alabama and Michigan appear like the favorites. But anything could happen and there will likely be more twists and turns before he announces a decision.
The prospect better known as “Phil” narrowed his choices down to LSU and Alabama about a month ago and has kept a low profile while taking official visits to both schools over the past two weekends. He’s scheduled to take a visit to TCU this weekend, but the Horned Frogs have a ton of ground to make up if they hope to change his mind. In the end, expect Mathis to stay close to home.
Ray represents the opportunity for a massive Signing Day surprise. Most people that have paid attention to Rivals100 defensive end’s recruitment are convinced he’ll choose Alabama. There’s little reason to argue with that line of thinking, but a curveball from Ray would carry some serious shock value. Tennessee, Florida and Ole Miss are Ray’s other main options, but beating out the Tide seems nearly impossible. Then again, stranger things have happened on Signing Day.
Slaton once seemed like a heavy Michigan lean, but those days, it seems, are long over. As Signing Day approaches, Florida seems to be emerging as the team to beat for Slaton. The Gators are being pushed by Georgia, not Michigan, and will need to hold off an SEC foe to secure his letter of intent.
TEAM THAT WILL SURPRISE: LSU
The Tigers have a tenacious recruiter as head coach in Ed Ogeron and he’s been racking up the miles chasing some of the nation’s top players. If LSU can flip Philips away from Oklahoma and land Mathis as well as prospects like four-star safety Todd Harris, it will be considered a strong enough finish. But add in the nation’s No. 2 overall player Marvin Wilson, who the Tigers are very much in play with, and in-state Rivals100 wide receiver Devonta Smith, and Mardi Gras will start a few weeks early in the Bayou.
TEAM THAT WILL DISAPPOINT: FLORIDA
Florida may well land Slaton and close the cycle strongly on other fronts. The only problem is that the expectation are high for a blue-blood program that is currently getting out-recruited in its own state.
These days, the truly top level talent in Florida is electing to leave the state or head to Tallahassee, which bothers Florida fans to no end. There is plenty of talent in UF’s 2017 haul. It’s just that finishing with anything less than a top five class won’t make anyone in Gainesville happy.
CONFERENCE CHAMP: ALABAMA
Well, this probably won’t be all that close.
Alabama’s current run on the field and on the recruiting trail are correlated. Its SEC dominance shows no sign of relenting anytime soon and neither does the momentum it has built on the recruiting front. As things stand now, the Tide have seven five-stars in the fold. The 13 four-star commitments the program currently holds adds depth to class that was assembled thanks to the program’s on-field reputation.
Georgia appears headed for a top-five class and should be the SEC runner-up unless LSU nips it at the wire.