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Three-Point Stance: Demarcus Riddick, stocks up, Florida battles

Demarcus Riddick
Demarcus Riddick (Nick Lucero/

Rivals national recruiting analyst John Garcia Jr. shares his thoughts on a three-way SEC recruiting battle for elite linebacker Demarcus Riddick, a few players from the South who are seeing their stock rising and whether Florida's Power Five schools can keep their elite in-state talent home.

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1. Will it be the champs or Iron Bowl rivals for Demarcus Riddick?


From the moment Demarus Riddick committed to Georgia over in-state programs Alabama and Auburn in November many in the state felt like it was going to be a sticking point between the three programs. More than eight months later, not only were those knee-jerk reactionary folks right but Riddick has become one of the most praised defensive recruits in the process, making his final decision that much more compelling.

Rivals' No. 2 linebacker in the 2024 class, Riddick has set his final college call for July 26 to once and for all finalize the process between the three SEC programs and move forward with his senior season at Clanton (Ala.) Chilton County High School. And the buzz around the expected selection has been building for both challengers to Georgia. Once news of a final decision day came in most in the recruiting world began expecting a flip somewhere other than Georgia right away, thanks to precedent. Recruits typically don't call for a press conference to stick to the school they picked last year.

Naturally, many pro-Alabama notes began to flood recruiting desks relative to Riddick's impending decision. The Crimson Tide remain the favorite, but in the last week or so Auburn's continued push for him seems to have been well received, as Rivals began hearing there is growing confidence from Hugh Freeze's staff when it comes to July 26. We'll stick with Nick Saban and company about a week out, but Auburn is making this flip attempt that much more interesting.





2. Stocks that are up Down South. 

Trever Jackson
Trever Jackson

The end of the offseason camp and combine circuit always influences the next batch of rankings at Rivals, where plenty of work remains ahead of an August release. But some prospects are due for obvious bumps even before the intense meetings take place. These improved impressions typically come in person, like with Elite 11 breakout quarterback prospect Trever Jackson, but sometimes a verbal commitment and circling back on offseason progress can do the trick.

Micahi Danzy is a big back with true track speed who blends his talents together incredibly well on Friday nights, as well as in the spring. The Florida State commitment has been on the four-star bubble for some time, but that should no longer be the case come August.

New Alabama commitment Jameer Grimsley was recruited at wide receiver and defensive back, depending on the program, and continues to flash at each spot in every setting. With elite length and ball skills, he'll be another no-brainer blue-chip bump.

Artavius Jones flashes some basketball skill at over 300 pounds, carrying the weight well into his senior season. With a now verified 6-foot-4 frame and even better wingspan, that athleticism is the next step toward the Miami pledge's own move from three to four stars.


3. Sunshine State programs battling to land in-state talent. 

David Stone
David Stone (Nick Lucero/

Of the highest-ranked 2024 recruits in the state of Florida to have come to a public decision by July 20, 14 have elected to commit to out-of-state programs thus far. Georgia, Ohio State and Texas - all programs leading their current conferences in the team recruiting rankings - have multiple additions already from this list. At the very top, however, just three of the top eight overall recruits in Florida have made their college decisions, so the push to keep that elite batch home continues. But can the state powers be more than hats on the table for the best available?

Defensive tackle David Stone (No. 2 in Florida) has long been considered an Oklahoma lean despite both Miami and Florida pushing. Defensive back Zaquan Patterson (No. 4) has both Miami and Florida State high on his list, but he's about to make return trips to Michigan and Auburn to potentially round out his offseason visit schedule. Charles Lester (No. 6) has been considered a strong Florida State lean, but Colorado and Deion Sanders have been able to harness some buzz with the cornerback recruit. Offensive linemen Jordan Season and Eddy Pierre-Louis (Nos. 7, 8) have in-state options but potentially more traction outside of the state at the moment, though neither recruitment is expected to end anytime soon.

It's never been a secret in the Sunshine State - keep the talent home and stability will follow. All four Power Five programs within the state are recruiting well, but perception will be dealt via the results at the very top of the state rankings, where out-of-state programs have simply been better.