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SEC Spotlight: Storylines to follow as the late period approaches

With the dead period over, it’s time for the mad dash to National Signing Day to begin and no place is that rush crazier than in the SEC. With several programs looking to fill spots and a limited number of prospects available, there are plenty of noteworthy storylines to follow. Today we breakdown five we are watching.

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Quay Walker
Quay Walker (Chad Simmons)

Alabama has finished with the No. 1 class in the Team Recruiting Rankings six out of the last seven years, but a little less than a month away from National Signing Day, they sit at No. 8 in the rankings. With the Crimson Tide currently over 900 points behind Georgia for the top class, a big move to No. 1 looks out of the question, so how high will they climb? There will be some real movement in their class. Can they hold onto Quay Walker? Will they land one of the two elite Florida defensive backs on their board, Patrick Surtain Jr. or Tyson Campbell? Keeping five-star in-state wide receiver Justyn Ross at home would be a great start. Many of their top targets will take it all the way to Signing Day, so we won't know just where Alabama finishes this cycle until the dust settles Feb. 7, so this will be something to watch to the end. - Simmons


Jacob Copeland
Jacob Copeland (Nick Lucero/

The Vols have come out swinging in recruiting since Jeremy Pruitt officially took over as head coach. Now with duties at Alabama completed after a thrilling national title game, he can turn his full attention in helping Tennessee close strong in the 2018 class. After beating out Alabama to land a signature from four-star tight end Dominick Anderson in December, Pruitt is already off to a good start in January with commitment of four-star linebacker J.J. Peterson. Now he and the Vols are trying to flip four-star Alabama linebacker commit Quay Walker and are also in the mix to land four-star wide receiver Jacob Copeland and Rivals100 defensive back Olaijah Griffin. Can Pruitt and his staff of recruiters close with a bang? It will be fun to watch what they can do over the next month. - Wommack


Brenton Cox
Brenton Cox (Nick Lucero/

Alabama signed seven five-stars in 2017, the most ever in one recruiting class. Could Georgia pass that in 2018? As of now, Georgia has six five-stars in its 2018 class and that number could climb when the final rankings are released later this month. Four-star Georgia signee Brenton Cox is a candidate for a fifth star after his performance at the Under Armour All-America Game, so if he adds one, that would tie the Bulldogs with Alabama's class last year. Georgia has the No. 1 recruiting class this cycle and it only looks to get better between now and Feb. 7. Could they set the record with eight five-star signees? - Simmons


Conyis Miller
Conyis Miller (Coynis Miller (Photo by: Chad Simmons))

Heading into the Early Signing Period, Auburn had 20 commitments. Out of those 20, 15 signed, so should Auburn be worried? It appears that there is one prospect out of that group that is seriously considering another school. Arryn Siposs, a kicker from Australia and Kolbi Fuqua, a commitment who had an injury that lead to a gray shirt, are strong commitments. Four-star defensive tackle Coynis Miller plans to take visits between now and Signing Day, but Auburn is in a good spot. Richard Jibunor could take one more look at Florida and Tennessee, but the Tigers should feel good here. That leaves Rivals250 athlete Matthew Hill. He does not hide his feelings about Clemson and that is Auburn's competition. Both schools will host Hill on official visits this month and then he will decide if he wants to stay with Auburn or flip to Clemson. Auburn wants him on offense, Clemson wants him on defense. – Simmons


Patrick Surtain
Patrick Surtain (Nick Lucero/

Depending on who you ask, following the commitment of Rivals100 Kelvin “Fat” Joseph over the weekend, LSU has just three open spots remaining in the 2018 class. So which prospects will fill them? Well, the Tigers are swinging for some pretty big names. The school’s No.1 target is five-star defensive back Patrick Surtain and most think the Tigers are the team to beat. Also firmly in play is Rivals100 wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, a one-time Florida commit from The Boot who would help vault the Tigers' haul at the position to top in the SEC. Assuming those two are in, that leaves just one spot with several prospects still mentioning LSU as a possible landing spot. Will it be a quarterback like James Foster or another defensive back like Mario Goodrich? It will be interesting to see how LSU makes it work. - Wommack