SEC spotlight: Ranking teams on 2018 QB recruiting
With the first opportunity for colleges to sign high school prospects rapidly approaching (Dec. 19), most of the schools in the SEC already have their quarterback commit in the 2018 class. But with a big fish like five-star quarterback Justin Fields still out there, other programs are holding out hope they can reel him in. Today we rank the SEC schools based on the strength of their quarterback recruiting in 2018 and look at where the schools without a quarterback commit are likely to turn by the time Signing Day rolls around.
The situation: The Vols have not one but two four-star quarterbacks on their 2018 commitment list, which puts them atop the QB rankings in the SEC, at least until Justin Fields makes his decision. Tennessee had to beat out several major programs to land Martinez, who recently said he remains solidly committed to the Vols. Penix committed to Tennessee over offers from Oregon and several others, and has kept a low profile on the recruiting trail since committing earlier this year.
Commitment: Matt Corral
The situation: The Gators were involved with several high-profile quarterbacks in the 2018 cycle, but missed out on Trevor Lawrence and then Justin Fields. But they were left with anything but a consolation prize when they picked up a commitment from former USC commit Corral, who was also being courted by Georgia. Corrall has one of the best arms in the class and is off to a great start to his senior season. Given the Gators' instability at the position in recent years, landing an out-of-state talent such as Corral is quite a coup.
Commitment: Joey Gatewood
The Situation: Auburn is still actively recruiting five-star Justin Fields, like many, but the Tigers appear to be just fine taking only one quarterback in this class. Gatewood is a dual-threat quarterback who has really improved as a passer and he will be one to watch on the Plains in the future.
4. SOUTH CAROLINA
Quarterback commit: Dakereon Joyner
The situation: Ranked as an athlete by Rivals.com, Joyner committed to the Gamecocks earlier this summer over several programs, including Oregon and Clemson. Several schools, such as the Tigers, wanted him to play wide receiver but the Gamecocks see Joyner as their quarterback of the future. Joyner’s commitment to South Carolina has been rock solid since the summer and it’s expected to stay that way until National Signing Day.
Quarterback commit: Jarren Williams
The situation: Kentucky fans have already been on quite a roller-coaster ride with Williams during the recruiting process, being one of the first programs to offer and quickly landing his commitment last year, only to see him de-commit in the spring of 2017. But after a quick look around, Williams jumped right back in the fold with the ‘Cats and is viewed as a solid commit despite a recent visit to Alabama. Hanging onto Williams will be a nice win on the recruiting trail for Kentucky, especially considering his stock has risen quite a bit since the coaches identified him following his sophomore season.
6. MISSISSIPPI STATE
Commitment: Jalen Mayden
The situation: Dan Mullen has a good reputation at developing quarterbacks and his commitment for 2018 is Mayden. The southpaw out of Texas committed to the Bulldogs in May and he is the No. 13 dual-threat quarterback on Rivals.com.
Commitment: Allan Walters
The Situation: Walters committed to the Commodores in late 2016 and despite continuing to add offers from schools from all over the country, he hasn’t wavered one bit on his pledge. Walters is a pro-style quarterback but he also has the ability to extend plays in the pocket and because of his size can also absorb hits. Vanderbilt continues to take a national approach in recruiting and landing the New Jersey native was a big recruiting win for the ‘Dores.
Commitment: James Foster
The Situation: Foster is a dual-threat quarterback out of Alabama that committed to Missouri in April. There is still some chatter that Foster is looking around, so the Tigers could continue to recruit others at this position.
Commitment: Connor Noland
The Situation: Arkansas appears to be set at quarterback this cycle. Noland committed to Razorbacks more than 14 months ago and he is as strong with his commitment as they come these days.
10. TEXAS A&M
Commitment: Cade Fortin
The Situation: Fortin, a Georgia native, has been committed to the Aggies for more than a year and appears to be set on playing his college ball in College Station. He is a raw prospect who is likely out for the rest of his senior season after suffering an injury in late August. Given the fact that the Aggies signed two quarterbacks in 2017 and have a highly ranked 2018 commit in Grant Gunnell, Fortin is a nice out-of-state grab.
Top target: Emory Jones
The situation: Alabama is searching hard for its quarterback of the 2018 class and it has yet to land one. It had numerous targets on campus over the weekend, including Justin Fields (official visit), Emory Jones (Ohio State commit) and Jarren Williams (Kentucky commit). Fields is drawing the most attention, but keep an eye on Jones; he seems to be the top target for the Crimson Tide.
Top target: Justin Fields
The situation: Georgia has put all other quarterback recruiting on hold until Fields makes his decision. There is no doubt about it, Fields is Georgia’s top, and you could say only target right now. The Bulldogs seem to have a little momentum here.
The situation: Much like the other teams without a quarterback in the class, the Tigers are hinging their hopes on an outside shot with Fields, who officially visited the first week of the season. At that time it looked as if LSU might claw its way into the race but with the way the Tigers have played in recent weeks it's hard to see Fields landing in Baton Rouge. Beyond Fields, TCU commit Justin Rogers is still very high on the board, but spurned the Tigers to commit to the Horned Frogs earlier this year. Many think LSU still has a chance to land Rogers and it will be interesting to see if he takes an official visit later this fall.
14. OLE MISS
Top target: Gerry Bohanan
The situation: It is hard to know what is really going to happen at any position right now at Ole Miss. There will be a new head coach and the NCAA sanctions are not final, so there is still a lot to be worked out between now and Signing Day 2018. As of now, it does look like the Rebels are likely to sign one quarterback in this class.