There's one thing you can say about the SEC when it comes to recruiting: the league is never short on drama.
There will be plenty of that between now and National Signing Day. Some SEC teams are in a numbers crunch, while others are scrambling to fill their classes.
Can the Florida Gators continue their furious five-star run? Will Nick Saban and Alabama close with a flurry for the third consecutive year?
Can Auburn hang on to Shon Coleman and win some key out of state battles? How will Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Vols do in their mad dash to the finish line?
These are just a handful of questions that will play out over the coming days.
Look for the Hogs to make a ton of noise over the next few days. There are a handful of prospects still on their board, particularly on the defensive front. The Razorbacks are in a big battle with Auburn for d-tackle Bryan Jones. Jones and teammate Alan Turner (athlete) both visited Razorback country last weekend. Arkansas is in another tussle with Illinois for defensive end Brandon Denmark. The Razorbacks are trying to flip defensive tackle Brandon Jackson away from Texas A&M, and he visited Arkansas last weekend. On the other side of the ball, Arkansas is also making a big push for five-star Auburn commitment Shon Coleman. In fact, he took a mid-week visit to Arkansas last week.
Certainly one of the big surprises this recruiting season has been Auburn. The Tigers have a top-five class with a chance to move up over the next few days. However, it's not going to be easy. The Tigers are right there with running back Marcus Lattimore, and they will fight South Carolina for his signature. Auburn is taking one last shot at Lattimore with an in-home visit this week. The Tigers are after two defensive tackles; they are trying to hold off Georgia for [db]Jeffrey Whitaker[/db] and beat Arkansas for Bryan Jones. Defensive end Corey Lemonier will choose on Signing Day between Auburn, FSU and Miami. The Tigers are also holding out hope that five-star receiver Markeith Ambles visits them rather than LSU this weekend. Of course, Auburn is trying to hold off all suitors for five-star offensive line commit Shon Coleman.
The Gators are in a serious numbers crunch. They have only a few spots remaining and a lot of high-quality talent within their grasp. Florida would love to close with another offensive tackle, and it appears they are now in the driver's seat for Tampa tackle Chaz Green. They would love to land two more receivers, and it appears that the Gators are the team to beat for Adrian Coxson. Linebacker is another area they would love to address, and they are in the hunt with two five-star prospects - Jordan Hicks and Christian Jones. Hicks will let the world know Friday whether it's Florida, Texas or Ohio State. The Gators are creeping closer and closer to Florida State in the battle for Jones.
Georgia hopes to close well at two positions of need - wide receiver and cornerback. The Dawgs' top targets at wideout are Adrian Coxson, Christian Green, Kadron Boone and Jordan Akins. Coxson is likely headed to Florida, while Green is likely a Seminole. What will Boone do? Hard to say. Looks like UGA could pull Akins. The cornerback position is completely up in the air right now. The Dawgs hope to bring Nickell Robey back into the fold and will visit with him later Thursday. If the Bulldogs do lose Robey, there could be a new name or two on the board that emerges at this position.
Eight of Kentucky's 21 commitments are from Georgia. There are two more the Wildcats would love to close with. First, there is [db]Mike Thornton[/db]. While it's expected that he will announce to Georgia next week, there are some that feel Kentucky has a real shot here - especially considering he has three teammates headed to Lexington. Penn State is also in the mix for this stout defensive line prospect. The other Georgia prospect is running back Rajaan Bennett. He visited Kentucky last week and will be in Knoxville to see Tennessee this weekend for his final visit. Bennett could end up a Wildcat before it's all said and done.
LSU and Les Miles would love to close with two more wide receivers. Kadron Boone is scheduled to make an official visit this weekend, and the Tigers are hoping five-star wideout Markeith Ambles will make his last official visit to Baton Rouge. There is also the possibility that Ambles could visit Auburn. No one will know until he shows up on one of those campuses this weekend. Right now it appears that USC is the team to beat for him, while Boone could end up at Georgia or Louisville. Another need area LSU wants to address is on the defensive line. LSU will play host to five-star defensive end J.R. Ferguson this weekend as well as Texas A&M commitment Brandon Jackson.
There are a few possibilities for the Bulldogs over the next few days. St. Petersburg, Fla., defensive end Tim Jackson will make his college announcement at Gibbs High School on Friday at 2 p.m. Jackson's three finalists are Mississippi State, North Carolina and Wake Forest. Running back Rajion Neal recently decommitted from Mississippi State. It's not out of the question that he could end up back in Starkville or possibly Knoxville, with Tennessee. No one really knows what offensive tackle Damien Robinson will do in the end but there's a sense that the Bulldogs have a real shot at landing him.
The Rebels scored big this week when they landed one of the region's top defensive line recruits, Carlos Thompson. Ole Miss hopes to land in-state wide receiver Vincent Sanders on National Signing Day; Sanders will visit Florida State this weekend. While the Seminoles are a serious player for Sanders, it is believed he will stay home. The Rebels want to address the cornerback position, and there's some good ones that they have a chance to land. Junior College standout Dequan Menzie should pick between Ole Miss and Alabama. Florida standout Tony Grimes is down to Ole Miss, Michigan and Maryland. A surprise visitor to the Ole Miss campus this weekend could be California safety Dietrich Riley. The Rebels are recruiting him as a running back and are hoping he makes a trip to Oxford. If not, Riley will be at USC.
The Gamecocks have a chance to close really well, but it won't be easy. They have been in a tussle with Auburn for the nation's top running back, Marcus Lattimore. Steve Spurrier and his staff will get the last crack at this five-star talent with the final in-home visit on Saturday. They are also fighting Clemson for in-state linebacker Justin Parker. The Gamecocks beat out USF for Bradenton, Fla., star receiver Ace Sanders on Thursday. Also, don't be surprised if the Gamecocks turn Vandy commitment [db]Sharrod Golightly[/db]. This Georgia safety will visit Columbia this weekend. Also visiting South Carolina will be defensive tackle Todd Chandler from Miami. He is leaning to Louisville at this time.
One of the most intriguing teams to follow over the next six days is Tennessee. Why? Because they are all over the place. The Vols are still on big-name prospects like wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers, linebacker Christian Jones and cornerback Nickell Robey. The Vols are hoping to get into the mix with any and all of them. Then, they are also on some prospects that are new names to many - like offensive linemen Dalvin Glass and Seth Reedy and linebackers John Propst and Raiques Crump. Tennessee could close with a big name or two, but there will also be a handful of lesser-known players that fill need areas on the line of scrimmage and at linebacker. Two very good Georgia running backs to keep an eye on are Rajaan Bennett and Rajion Neal. The Vols could pull one, and Neal is the more likely one to watch here. He was previously committed to Mississippi State.
Vanderbilt would love to close with another running back prospect. Rajaan Bennett is a possibility, but the more likely candidate is James Potts from Delray Beach, Fla. Potts, a Buffalo commitment, visited Vandy last weekend. Bennett was a visitor to Nashville last weekend as well. Speaking of visitors, Vandy commitment [db]Sharrod Golightly[/db] will visit South Carolina this coming weekend.