SEC Breakdown: Top commits, top targets, commit predictions
The SEC tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to recruiting cycles compared to other conferences, so we thought we would take a look at where the teams are currently ranked for 2018 and which prospects might be the next join the fold.
Most notable: DB Kelvin Joseph
Top target: WR Terrace Marshall, Jr.
Next likely to commit: TE Glenn Beal
The Tigers have loaded up already in 2018, highlighted by a month of February that saw five 2018 prospects commit. That group was led by in-state defensive tackle Davin Cotton, a bit of a mystery man but someone the Tigers hold in very high regard. Several of the state of Louisiana’s top prospects are still undecided and as usual LSU will look to build their class off of the Bayou State’s best. Marshall is at the top of that list and someone to keep an eye on into the summer.
2. TEXAS A&M
Most notable: OL Luke Matthews
Top target: WR Jalen Preston
Next likely to commit: DE Max Wright
The Aggies got to work early building their class and Matthews, of the famous Matthews football family, was a great place to start. In fact, the two highest ranking commitments in the class are both offensive linemen and the trenches are clearly a point of emphasis for the school in this class. Also worth noting is the commitment of quarterback Cade Fortin, the lone out-of-state commitment to date. Going forward locking up Wright and Preston could be the start of an impressive cycle for Texas A&M.
Most notable: WR Xavier Williams
Top target: WR Justyn Ross
Next likely to commit: DB Myles Mason
It is not normal to look on the team rankings and see Alabama outside the top 10, so don't expect it to stay that way. The Crimson Tide are off to somewhat of a slow start with three commits, but they are recruiting nationally, their three commits are from three different states, and they may not have any five-stars yet, but they will. Expect Alabama to be back in the top five by the summer.
Most notable: OT Cade Mays
Top target: DE Greg Emerson
Next likely to commit: TE Jacob Warren
The Vols have just two commits, but both are ranked in the Rivals250, helping vault them to No. 4 overall in the conference. Starting with Mays, a legacy and a five-star offensive lineman, is great and adding in-state athlete Alontae Taylor early was also important. During the Butch Jones era, the best classes have been filled with in-state talent and this year the state of Tennessee has plenty of notable names. Keeping them close to home will be important.
Most notable: WR Marvin Alexander
Top target: OL Jerome Carvin
Next likely to commit: LB Xavier Peters
As has been the case in the case in recent years, the Wildcats continue to cast a wide net in recruiting, having landing four commitments from prospects in three different states. Alexander, a Florida native, is highest-ranked, but Kentucky fans are equally as excited about Georgia-based quarterback Jarren Williams. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound dual-threat is still being chased by several programs, but appears solid to the Wildcats. Kentucky is also after several highly-ranked prospects, including Carvin, and is expected to host several for visits over the next few months.
Most notable: OT Max Wray
Top target: RB Zamir White
Next likely to commit: OL Deontrey Hill
Georgia signed 18 out of its home state in 2017, but the Dawgs won't go that high this year. They are targeting more outside their state, so the level of success they have when Signing Day 2018 rolls around will depend on who they can pull from outside of Georgia.
Most notable: QB Joey Gatewood
Top target: DB Jaylin Armour-Davis
Next likely to commit: OL Jalil Irvin
Auburn is looking to land some of the best in-state, then hit Florida and Georgia hard in 2018. The Tigers have two commits at this point, both from the Sunshine State and they will add more. Keep an eye on Auburn inside the state of Georgia this cycle. Gus Malzahn's program is in a good spot for numerous Peach State prospects early.
Most notable: DB Divaad Wilson
Top target: DB Tyreke Johnson
Next likely to commit: LB Caleb Johnson
The Gators had a strong finish to the 2017 cycle but have yet to really get things rolling in 2018. Wilson is a good early start and the Gators are hoping to pull more prospects out of talent-rich South Florida this cycle. As is the case with most classes, things don’t really get started until a quarterback joins the fold and Penn State commitment Justin Fields appears to be the school’s top target at the position. Another quarterback to watch is four-star Orlando-area prospect Joe Milton, who doesn’t have an offer yet but might nab one soon.
9. MISSISSIPPI STATE
Most notable: WR Malik Heath
Top target: ATH Gerry Bohanon
Next likely to commit: DL Deuntra Hyman
Like usual, Mississippi State has targeted some junior college prospects and the program already has two on its commitment list. The Bulldogs are not done there yet. They hope to capitalize on the off-the-field issues in Oxford (Miss.) and get the top in-state prospects to sign with them. Dan Mullen's program is off to a good start with all five of its commits coming from Mississippi high schools.
Most notable: LB Bumper Pool
Top target: CB LaDarrius Bishop
Next likely to commit: TE Luke Ford
Arkansas picked up two 2018 commitments in 2016 and both could be four-stars before all is said and done. The Hogs are in on numerous top prospects in Florida, they are working Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas hard too. The Razorbacks will likely keep the best at home when all is said and done and add some key pieces from outside their state in the 2018 class.
Most notable: QB Allan Walters
Top target: ATH Miles Jones
Next likely to commit: DE Nicholas Fulwider
Last year at this time the Commodores were still months away from getting their first commitment, so already having Walters in the fold is a good start. Later this month, the school is likely to host several of its top targets, including Jones and Fulwider. If those visits go according to plan, the commitment list should grow even larger by the time April rolls around.
12. SOUTH CAROLINA
Most notable: ATH Darius Rush
Top target: DE Xavier Thomas
Next likely to commit: OL Hank Manos
The Gamecocks built their 2017 class off of in-state talent and that’s likely to be the case again in 2018. The problem thus far seems to be the amount of prospects taking a measured approach to their recruitment at the time being. While Thomas is on the minds of South Carolina fans now, the big name that is getting closer to a commitment is athlete Dakereon Joyner. He’s viewed as a quarterback by the Gamecocks and is set to announce in June. If South Carolina land his commitment, it could trigger a domino effect among the school’s top targets.
Most notable: WR Harry Ballard III
Top target: DT Trevor Trout
Next likely to commit: WR Cameron Brown
The Tigers circled back around to land Ballard for a second time, after he initially committed as a member of the 2016 class. Regardless, it’s still a good start and hopefully can help the school build some momentum with other prospects like Brown. The state of Missouri in 2018 shows a lot of talent, led by Trout, a prospect who is being recruiting by schools from all over the country. If the Tigers can lock down the borders and land at least two of the four four-star players in the state, it will be a successful 2018 cycle.
14. OLE MISS
Top target: DL Jeffery Johnson
Next likely to commit: DB Jaylon Reed
The Rebels are waiting for the first prospect to pop in the 2018 class. It will happen, and it will likely happen this spring. Ole Miss has offers out all over the country, but they should do most of their damage in their home state of Mississippi, Georgia and Texas when we look back on this class in February.