SEC Spotlight: Must-have 2019 prospect for each program
In the SEC, some schools are off to fast starts recruiting the 2019 class, while others have yet to get the commitment ball moving. We take a look around the conference to see who is the must-have prospect for each program in this cycle.
It’s a great year for high-end talent in the state of Arkansas and Wilkins is part of that top group. The tall, athletic offensive lineman would fit perfectly into the new offense in Fayetteville and could be one of the crown jewels in the 2019 class of new coach Chad Morris. Programs from all over the country are recruiting Wilkins, who said he plans to make a commitment in May, so it figures to be quite the battle to keep him home. But if Arkansas can do it, adding a left tackle is a great way to continue the rebuilding efforts for Morris and company.
Alabama missed out on the No. 1 prospect in its home state in 2018 when wide receiver Justyn Ross signed with Clemson, so keeping Webb is extremely important. Under Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide have won big and it has a lot to do with their dominance in the trenches. Webb is one of the top offensive linemen in the country and he has been a top target for Alabama for over a year. They will have to battle Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee and some others, but Tide will go hard for the No. 1 prospect in their state.
Offensive line is a huge need in this class for Auburn, especially at offensive tackle. The Tigers were in on some big names late in the 2018 cycle, but missed on those guys making the tackle position that much more important in 2019. Kight got an offer from the Tigers last spring and he was back on the Plains in the fall. He knows he is a high priority for Auburn and his position is one of need.
The one-time Florida commit backed off his pledge after the coaching change in Gainesville and is now exploring options from all over the country. But make no mistake, the Gators are still very much on his mind. Florida did a nice job salvaging the 2018 recruiting class after Dan Mullen was hired and while the Gators have two wide receivers committed in the 2019 class already, neither are as highly thought of as Dunmore. Getting him back could also open the door to several other prospects in South Florida, where Dunmore is well thought of by other elite recruits.
The position is quarterback, but there is not one name that can be listed here. Many may think to themselves, Georgia is fine at quarterback with Jake Fromm and Justin Fields, but that is all the Bulldogs have on scholarship at this position. Jefferson is one to watch. He was recently in Athens, but the Bulldogs have cast a wide net at this position because they don’t need to sign just one, but two quarterbacks in this class. John Plumlee is another one to watch and there will likely be new offers extended in the coming months.
It’s a good year for talent in the Bluegrass State, with several four-star prospects that the Wildcats are already pursuing. But Hudson fits the mold of the type of lineman the Wildcats are looking for and after having success landing former in-state five-star Landon Young, the blueprint is already in place for UK. Hudson is being chased by Notre Dame, Louisville, Ohio State and others, so keeping him close to home and stealing him away from some major programs would be considered a win on several fronts.
Many prospects today call LSU ‘DBU’ because of the amount of defensive backs the Tigers have produced in the past decade. So, with the No. 1 prospect in the Boot State being a defensive back, Stingley has to be their ‘must-have’ for this 2019 class. He is a true five-star cornerback that every school covets. LSU had him on their commitment list after his freshman year, but he re-opened his recruitment in the spring of his sophomore year. Many expect him to go back to the purple and gold when all is said and done.
The state of Mississippi is loaded in 2019, so you could name a number of prospects here, but why look any further than the No. 1 prospect in the state. Dean is fresh off a visit to Georgia, he visited Alabama recently and he is definitely looking at some schools outside his state, so this will not be easy for Ole Miss. Dean is a star on and off the field and he could go into Oxford and make an impact day one. He is feeling the love from the Rebel staff and he is a priority for them.
There is a big need for Mississippi State all along the defensive front, so you could pick from a list of guys. Russell is a rush end that the Bulldog fans need to pay close attention to. He was named the MVP for his position at the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp presented by adidas in Mobile (Ala.) and he grew up a big Bulldog fan, so that is playing in their favor. He is going to look at Ole Miss, Tennessee is a school on his list and he has mentioned Florida as well, but with the need in Starkville, and him growing up a fan, this could be a perfect match when all is said and done.
With Drew Lock getting toward the end of his career at Missouri, quarterback is key for the Tigers moving, but in-state offensive tackle Buford looks to be a real priority right now. He has visited Columbia three times, twice within the last month and the Tigers look to be in a good spot. He is a top 10 prospect in the state and he has some big SEC offers, but it looks to be a Missouri-Oklahoma battle at this stage.
The Gamecocks have shown a pretty nice track record of developing defensive linemen in the Will Muschamp era but have yet to land a player of Pickens' high school acclaim. That could change in 2019 and the school is pulling out all the stops in their pursuit. Pickens has already been to campus multiple times and many believe the Gamecocks are the team to beat in his recruitment. After missing out on the top player in the state last year, South Carolina would love to land the top player in this year’s class.
The new staff in Knoxville is still feeling out the class of 2019 and decided best where to spend its efforts around the country. But make no mistake, Washington is a player that the Vols could badly use in the 2019 class. A lockdown cornerback, Washington exploded onto the recruiting scene with an excellent junior season, drawing offers from all over the country. Ohio State and Oklahoma are among the programs trying to raid the Volunteer State to land Washington and the Vols will need to hold them off in order to land the state’s top player in the 2019 class.
Texas is flush with talent at the wide receiver position in the class of 2019 and the Aggies have their sights set on five-star prospect Henderson. The one-time Oklahoma and Oregon commit is still flirting with the Sooners and others, but the Aggies seem to make the most sense, especially with the proximity to home and his potential fit in the new offense. After seeing Texas clean up on elite in-state recruits in the class of 2018, Texas A&M fans are eager to see what Jimbo Fisher and his staff can do in 2019. Landing Henderson would be a great way to get his first full class in College Station started the right way.
The Commodores recruit nationally in order to fill their needs and fit their academic profile, but a player who does both is right in their backyard in Mitchell. The disruptive defensive tackle has schools from all over the country battling to get him on campus but he’s said multiple times the Commodores will be a factor in his recruitment. With Alabama, Stanford, Tennessee and many others in the mix it’s not going to be easy for Derek Mason and company, but after landing several in-state prospects last year, Vanderbilt needs to keep the momentum rolling and Mitchell would do just that.