The aim of SEC Country’s SEC Recruiting Rewind is to bring you pertinent recruiting news across the conference. We’ll get you caught up to speed with the latest on commitments and de-commitments and everything in between.
Today’s need-to-know stories
1. Top-rated athlete knows of two schools in his final three
SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner reported on Monday that Mecole Hardman, Jr., a 5-star prospect from Elbert County High School (Elberton, Ga.), has arrived at a top three.
Following a recent visit to Alabama, Hardman, Jr., conceded the Crimson Tide were among that elite group. What about the other two? Hardman has been closely associated with UGA and Tennessee for some time now, and he hinted to Kirschner one of the two are in the mix. However, he declined to reveal which program that was.
Hardman is rated as the No. 1 athlete in the country.
2. Four-star RB Brian Robinson commits to Alabama
Brian Robinson, a 2017 four-star running back from Tuscaloosa, Ala., committed to Alabama on Tuesday, he announced through Twitter.
With his commitment, Alabama has now secured three running backs in the class of 2017 (Najee Harris and Cam Akers).
Robinson is rated as the No. 12 player in the state of Alabama and the nation’s No. 18 running back. He becomes Alabama’s eighth commit in next year’s class.
3. Florida athlete announces de-commitment from Kentucky
On Tuesday, Kentucky lost its only commitment in the class of 2018.
Jermaine Eskridge, a 4-star athlete from Tampa, Fla., announced his de-commitment from the Wildcats via Twitter.
Eskridge is considered one of the top prospects in the 2018 recruiting cycle and has already reported 23 offers. He originally committed to Kentucky in July.
“I would like to thank Coach Scott, Coach Dawson and the entire Kentucky staff for everything y’all have done for me,” Eskridge tweeted. “After speaking with my family, I have decided to de-commit from the University of Kentucky. As of today, November 10th, I have reopened my recruiting process. Thanks everybody for your support.”
4. Nation’s No. 3 player has two SEC schools up top
Dexter Lawrence, a 5-star defensive tackle from Wake Forest, N.C., set his commitment date for Dec. 14, according to 247Sports.com’s Ross Martin.
Martin reported Alabama, Florida, Clemson, N.C. State, UNC and Ohio State are in the mix.
According to his 247Sports.com’s Crystal Ball, Lawrence is projected to commit to Florida by 50 percent of recruiting analysts.
He took an official visit to Florida in September and Clemson this past weekend for the Florida State game. He has an official visit scheduled to Ohio State on Nov. 21.
5. Elite WR maintains his commitment to Auburn
On the heels of his visit to Florida on Saturday, Auburn commit Eli Stove told a reporter he was ‘75 percent’ committed to the Tigers.
But in an interview with SEC Country on Tuesday, the 4-star receiver from Niceville, Fla., didn’t confirm or deny his comment.
Instead, he chose to reaffirm his loyalty to Auburn.
“I talked to my parents about it and they told me to stick with my heart, so, yeah,” Stove told SEC Country. “I’m still in love with Auburn. I’m not going to de-commit or anything like that. I’ll probably see by the end of the year, signing day.”
Stove conceded that he’s keeping his options open, though he confirmed his short list is exclusive to Auburn and, coincidentally, Florida.
6. Alabama continues to stockpile elite RBs
With Brian Robinson’s (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) commitment on Monday, Alabama has solidified arguably the strongest running back class in next year’s recruiting cycle — and it isn’t even close.
Robinson, who joins fellow 2017 commits 5-star Najee Harris (Antioch, Calif.) and 4-star Cam Akers (Clinton, Miss.), propelled the Crimson Tide forward in the 247Sports.com’s recruiting team rankings with his pledge. Alabama’s projected point total — which determines the team’s overall ranking score — increased from 163.3 to 178.24, which allowed the Crimson Tide to leapfrog Miami for the No. 2 spot in next year’s recruiting rankings.
For the sake of comparison, no program ranked No. 10 or better has landed at least two four-star halfbacks in 2017. With Robinson, a 4-star recruit, the Crimson Tide now have three.
This kind of running back hoarding is reminiscent of another class. And by Alabama, no less.
7. Alontae Taylor talks skyrocketing recruitment
Alontae Taylor’s recruitment has taken off. It figures to skyrocket very soon.
The sophomore athlete from Coffey County Central (Manchester, Tenn.) committed to Vanderbilt in October over scholarship offers from Troy and Georgia Southern.
For a young man that wanted to play in the SEC, that was an easy decision. Now, with a scholarship offer from Tennessee, his eventual, final decision just got much tougher.
“It makes me think a lot. …Tennessee is a school that I’ve always liked a lot,” the 6-foot, 175-pound prospect said. “So it’s going to be one of those frustrating recruiting processes. I can see that now.”
8. Four-star LSU commit still looking
LSU has a commitment in hand from Dee Anderson.
Tennessee has a pending official visit from the four-star receiver. Nevertheless, both schools have plenty of work to do.
Both SEC teams will have to overcome family ties in order to land Anderson, a four-star receiver from DeSoto High School (DeSoto, Texas). The 6-foot-4, 177-pound wideout has three brothers who play for Boise State, where he’ll take an official visit this weekend.
“It would be real nice,” Anderson said of playing with his brothers. “But it doesn’t play a factor.”
That is easy to say now with more than two months before national signing day in February. Anderson committed to LSU in August, but he has yet to shut the door on other teams that are still trying to recruit him.
SEC Country’s Dave Hooker has more on Anderson’s recruitment here.
9. UGA, Ole Miss land big-time Georgia prospects
On Wednesday, two of Georgia’s top baseball prospects will take part in a signing day ceremony at Parkview High School (Lilburn, Ga.).
That would be Austin Biggar (catcher) and Will Ethridge (RHP, 1B), both of whom will be playing for SEC programs next season.
Biggar, Parkview’s RBI leader last season, will sign to play for UGA, while Ethridge will be headed to Oxford, Miss., to play for Ole Miss.
Last season, Biggar posted a .390 batting average with 11 homeruns and a team-leading 46 RBIs. Ethridge, on the other hand, posted a .316 average and nine RBIs, as most of his damage was done on the mound (13-0).