The South is renowned for many things. Its cuisine, music and, of course, football are among the best you’ll find in the nation.
Names are uniquely Southern, as well, and the SEC’s 2017 recruiting class is replete with plenty of great monikers this side of Tennessee alum Jim Bob Cooter.
There are plenty of recruit names that conjure up the image of a proper Southern gentleman. Any surname with a “III” tacked to the right of it tends to work quite well in Southern rubric.
Georgia’s incoming secondary tandem of S Richard LeCounte III or CB William Poole III fit the bill. Although, P Pressley Harvin III of Georgia Tech might have a little more Southern flare. So, too, does RB Larry Rountree III of Missouri.
LSU loses DE Davon Godchaux to the NFL Draft but gains a Stephen Guidry, so the bayou remains in perfect equilibrium. Mississippi State also has an incoming freshman named Guidry in safety Landon, for what it’s worth.
The conference will add a Dixon when ILB Breon Dixon reports to Ole Miss. But it’ll miss out, however, on ILB Ben and OT Emani, the top-rated players with the surname Mason, whom opted to remain north of the line that bears their name by signing with Michigan. Although there’s still a 50-50 chance that WR Kymbotric Mason of Macon, Mississippi’s Noxubee County High School chooses to attend Mississippi State.
Otherwise, the only recruit in the Class of 2017 with the last name Macon — ILB Patrick Macon of Millington, Tenn. — has committed to Oregon State after a stint at Arizona Western College.
The SEC loses a classic Southern moniker with Rhett Lashlee eschewing his offensive coordinator job at Auburn for the same role at Connecticut. While WR Beau Corrales got away from Vanderbilt in lieu of the North Carolina Tar Heels.
And, naturally, the 2017 recruiting class will welcome its share of Peytons. All told there are 11 Peytons joining the collegiate ranks next fall. None of them, however, in the SEC. Which is tragic when you consider the top-ranked namesake is Peyton Mansell — a slightly skewed version of two of the SEC’s most polarizing quarterbacks in the last two decades. Mansell of Belton, Texas, opted for Iowa.
Prior to 2012, when the first wave of babies named after Peyton Manning would enter college, there were only five players in college football history with the same first name as the former Tennessee quarterback — including Arkansas alum Peyton Hillis.
Perhaps this year’s No. 1 recruit can have the same cultural impact on future generations. If so, look for a slew of Najees (RB Harris, Alabama) when the Class of 2035 inks its letters of intent.