SEC Recruiting Rewind: Commits react to Steve Spurrier’s departure
The aim of SECCountry.com’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 decommitments and everything in between.
Today’s need-to-know stories
1. Top recruiting storylines following Steve Spurrier’s retirement
- Gamecocks commit on Steve Spurrier: ‘It was all surprising to us’ — Will Putnam provided the AJC’s SECCountry.com with an in-depth look at how he and fellow South Carolina commits reacted to the news of Spurrier’s retirement. He spoke with interim head coach Shawn Elliott Sunday evening and says the recruiting class rallied around one another. The 3-star offensive lineman from North Carolina said he will keep up relations with other teams, including Miami and N.C. State, in case things fall through.
- Four-star quarterback reaffirms his loyalty to South Carolina — Brandon Mcllwain has been committed to the Gamecocks as long as any other recruit. On Tuesday, the 4-star quarterback from Newton, Penn., took to Twitter to express his loyalty to the program. The move should certainly serve as a confidence booster for his fellow recruits and other Gamecocks targets.
- Spurrier’s resignation further clouds situation for 3-star defensive back — Of course, with the good comes the bad. Marlon Character, a 3-star safety from Grady High School (Atlanta), spoke with the AJC’s SECCountry.com Tuesday and acknowledged the recent coaching change will have a profound impact on his recruitment. Character has been on the edge for some time. Two weeks ago, he admitted that he didn’t have a close relationship with co-defensive coordinator Jon Hoke, and it would appear that his status with Auburn is growing stronger. Keep an eye on this situation, as it’s very possible he decommits and heads West.
- South Carolina lands first commitment post-Spurrier — Darius Whitfield, a 3-star defensive tackle from Mobile, Ala., doesn’t appear to be worried about the coaching situation in Columbia, S.C., as he announced his commitment to the Gamecocks on the heels of Spurrier’s retirement. He brings the program’s recruiting class total back to 16 with his decision.
- Four-star outside linebacker P.J. Blue decommits from South Carolina — Upon hearing the news of Spurrier’s sudden retirement, P.J. Blue, one of the program’s highest-rated commits, wavered on his engagement. He became the first recruit to decommit in the wake of Spurrier’s departure, and he may not be the last.
- Commits react to news of Spurrier’s retirement — We compiled a list of reactions from several of the program’s commits, and it’s safe to say many were taken aback by the news. Some showed their support, including Tre Jackson (Baton Rouge, La.) and Kelvin Harmon (Palmyra, N.J.), while others offered no comment. Check out the running list here.
2. Five-star Auburn commit explains why he sports Alabama gear
Marlon Davidson caught some heat over the weekend when he was spotted on Twitter sporting full Alabama attire. On Tuesday, we caught up with the 5-star defensive end from Greenville, Ala., and he offered up his explanation.
“It’s nothing to freak out about,” Davidson told the AJC’s SECCountry.com. “It was just a day that I was coming up here to be dressed up as your favorite teacher. One of my teachers always has on something Alabama — either some Alabama shoes, shirt, shorts, anything. That’s why I did it — to come here and dress like him. We took pictures before school and put them on the teacher’s wall, so to me, it wasn’t a big deal. I’m still committed to Auburn.”
But this should be a cause for concern. Two weeks ago, Davidson claimed he was “75 percent committed” to the Tigers. Interestingly enough, his brother, Kenneth Carter, serves on Auburn’s support staff.
3. Top Louisiana linebacker receives special message from LSU upon committing to the Tigers
Michael Divinity, a 4-star linebacker from Louisiana, committed to the Tigers earlier this week and received a special message in return from Leonard Fournette.
“It was a blessing just to sit there and speak with him,” Divinity said. “He’s very outspoken and a great guy. He gave me great words. He was like ‘it’s going to be hard to transfer from high school to college. You’re going to have to work hard. You’re going to have to study and focus and he said when you first get here, you’re going to hit the ground running.’ I thanked him for the advice.”
Divinity goes in-depth on which schools LSU beat out and which prospects he’ll be recruiting to the program here.
4. Four-star QB has two SEC programs in mind
Keytaon Thompson named two SEC schools that are on his mind right now.
Thompson, a 2017 4-star dual-threat quarterback from Landry-Walker High School, told the AJC’s SECCountry.com that Mississippi State and LSU are two of the schools he is strongly considering.
5. Soundbites and storylines from around the SEC
Several key players to return for Ole Miss against Memphis … Smoothie King in Louisiana takes jab at Will Grier … Where Spurrier ranks among the SEC’s all-time greats … Tennessee running back released from hospital after practice injury … South Carolina holds first practice post-Spurrier … Florida defensive tackle says Leonard Fournette is nothing ‘we can’t stop’