SEC Spotlight: Biggest decommitments of the 2023 cycle
More than 20 prospects have already decommitted from SEC schools this recruiting cycle and historically there will be many others before signing day. Today, we start a weeklong series looking at the most impactful ones so far:
STING FACTOR: RJ Jones' decommitment from Cal
Bravion Rogers' decommitment from Texas A&M
After finishing with the No. 1 class in 2022, the Aggies have had a spate of important decommtiments so far this cycle with none bigger than Rogers, who is currently ranked as the sixth-best cornerback in the class but could finish higher. The La Grange, Texas standout is incredibly athletic and smooth, he makes plays on the ball all the time and he plays with an aggressive, confident nature that would fit in the Aggies’ defense. LSU looks like the main contender now to land Rogers but Texas A&M, Texas and other regional programs aren’t out of it.
Eli Holstein's decommitment from Texas A&M
Holstein’s decommitment and subsequent pledge to Alabama is important especially because Texas A&M continues to search for a quarterback in this recruiting class. If the Aggies flip five-star Malachi Nelson from USC then losing Holstein could be a distant memory but that has not happened yet. The four-star Holstein has put up big numbers in games and has a lot of talent but this summer he was not one of the top performers at the Elite 11.
Omarion Miller's decommitment from LSU
LSU has the fifth-best class in the country and an outstanding receiver group with four-stars Shelton Sampson, Jalen Brown and Khai Prean leading the way along with Kyle Parker so the Tigers should be A-OK in that department. But keeping Miller home would have been huge as well and it might be a tad worrisome that Nebraska assistant coach Mickey Joseph has significant pull in the state of Louisiana but LSU can’t win them all. The four-star receiver from Vivian (La.) North Caddo should make a big impact with the Huskers but LSU is going to be loaded at receiver as well.
RyQueze McElderry's flip from Georgia to Alabama
McElderry committed to Georgia in November and it became a bigger deal this offseason because the Anniston, Ala., four-star interior offensive lineman dominated at big national events. He’s all of 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, moves well and has as much power as almost anybody in this class. But there were always people that felt once Alabama really started to put the recruiting pressure on that McElderry would flip. He eventually did on July 4 as the Crimson Tide battled their SEC foe for one of the best linemen in the country.
Raymond Cottrell's flip from Florida to Georgia
A lifelong Florida fan who was thrilled when he landed his Florida offer, the four-star receiver from The Panhandle flipped to Georgia in November and has stuck with the Bulldogs. Maybe a lot of that had to do with the Gators having no traction under former coach Dan Mullen last season but the Bulldogs are always recruiting and got the four-star receiver who had nearly 1,000 yards receiving in his junior season to flip. It’s a big one because Cottrell can play and could have had a major impact in Gainesville.
Kayin Lee's decommitment from Georgia
Both Georgia and especially Ohio State have elite-level defensive back classes. Lee’s decision to not play for the Bulldogs and to commit to the Buckeyes isn’t going to be a backbreaker for coach Kirby Smart and his club but it definitely benefits Ohio State in a big way. The four-star from Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove picked Ohio State over Nebraska and others this summer and coach Ryan Day’s club might have the best secondary class in the country. It is definitely something to watch, too, as the Buckeyes have gotten into the Southeast for high-end players before and Lee is just another example.
Treyaun Webb's decommitment from Georgia and Oklahoma
After committing to Florida in early July, even Webb admitted his recruitment was a crazy one. An early pledge to Georgia did not last. Then the four-star jumped on board with Oklahoma but when coach Lincoln Riley left for USC, the Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian four-star all-purpose back reopened his recruitment with others. Webb has family ties to Florida, the coaching staff made him a top priority and when QB Marcus Stokes flipped from Penn State to Florida, the Gators were in prime position to land Webb as well.
Mac Markway's decommitment from Florida
About a month after Florida hired coach Billy Napier, Markway backed off his pledge to the Gators and a few months later stayed in the SEC with a pledge to LSU. The St. Louis (Mo.) De Smet standout would have been a nice addition in Gainesville because he’s a big-bodied tight end who can catch and block but the Gators should be fine with pass-catchers. This summer, Florida loaded up with speed, size and in-state standouts by landing pledges from Tyree Patterson, Eugene Wilson, Aidan Mizell and Andy Jean, a former Miami commit.
Elliot Washington's flip from Alabama to Penn State
Alabama will certainly survive without Washington in its recruiting class as while he’s a talented and versatile defensive back, having commitments from Caleb Downs, Jahlil Hurley and Tony Mitchell is really impressive and forms one of the best trios this recruiting cycle. Where this gets even more interesting is if Washington’s decision to flip to Penn State impacts Venice, Fla., teammate Damon Wilson, a high four-star defensive end. Alabama has been a front-runner for Wilson but does that slow down if Washington won’t join him in Tuscaloosa? Probably not.
Jatavius Shivers' decommitment from Vanderbilt
Across the board, Vanderbilt needs help to keep pace with SEC opponents and losing someone as talented as Shivers does hurt especially since he flipped to another conference foe in South Carolina. The Commodores have dealt with a handful of de-commitments so far in Shivers, QB Reese Mooney (Liberty), TE Julien Randolph (North Carolina) and DB Kevis Thomas. Credit due to Vanderbilt’s staff for identifying talented, under-loved recruits early like Shivers but now the Commodores have to hold onto those players when higher-profile programs come calling.