It seems like every game in the SEC is significant.
But this weekend, in particular, will have a profound impact on the recruiting trail for several powerhouse programs. Of course, I’m speaking to the Alabama-UGA and Florida-Ole Miss matchups. Both games may be short of parking spaces, but neither will be devoid of talent when it comes to which recruits will be in attendance for these marquee games.
(UGA-Alabama will see the No. 1 athlete, tight end, offensive lineman and receiver in attendance, and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.)
Speaking of No. 1 prospects, we have an exceptionally rare amount of news concerning some of the top players in the country. Let’s not waste anymore time.
Today’s need-to-know stories
1. Nation’s No. 1 ILB is firm on four of his five official visits
Ben Davis will formally announce his official visits sometime next week, but the coveted inside linebacker from Gordo, Ala., told the AJC’s SECCountry.com that he’s for certain where he’ll be going on four of his five allotted trips.
The No. 1 inside linebacker in the country will take official visits to Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Florida State sometime this fall. His fifth and final visit, however, will either be to USC or UGA.
This is significant news for all schools involved, particularly for Auburn, LSU and FSU, if they’re going to have any shot at supplanting Alabama, a school that’s been closely associated with Davis throughout his recruitment. However, I think UGA and USC are on the backburner.
2. Ole Miss, Alabama out in front for 4-star QB
A few weeks ago, Jake Fromm said Ole Miss, Alabama and South Carolina were neck-and-neck. That is no longer the case.
In a recent conversation with the AJC’s SECCountry.com, the 4-star quarterback from Houston County (Ga.) said Ole Miss and Alabama are now at the forefront of his recruitment and he can envision playing for either program.
Earlier this month, Fromm said he would embrace the quarterback competition at Alabama and Ole Miss. Of course, the Rebels have already secured a commitment from Shea Patterson, a 5-star from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), and Alabama has freshman Blake Barnett in the fold. Clearly, neither appear to be a factor in Fromm’s decision.
3. Top-rated prospect in 2017 will not attend UGA-Alabama on Saturday
Earlier in the week, the AJC’s SECCountry.com first reported that Dylan Moses, the No. 1 player in the class of 2017, would be in attendance for UGA’s home game against Alabama. But there has been a recent change in events.
The 5-star linebacker confirmed to SECCountry.com that he will not make the trek from Baton Rouge, La., to Athens, Ga., this weekend. However, he said he will take an unofficial visit sometime later this fall though nothing has been confirmed.
Regardless if Moses attends or not, Saturday’s game between Alabama and UGA will not be devoid of star power.
4. No. 1 OLB pegs Florida his leader, credits team’s resolve in win over Tennessee
Florida’s win against Tennessee last Saturday is already paying dividends on the recruiting trail.
Shortly after the win, 4-star defensive end Antonneous Clayton pegged the Gators his sole leader a day after announcing his top six. And now, Florida is the frontrunner for the No. 1 outside linebacker in the country.
Lyndell Wilson, a 5-star from Montgomery, Ala., told the AJC’s SECCountry.com that Florida’s resolve in its win over Tennessee only solidified his feelings about the program. According to Wilson, the win “showed what type of team they are.”
Now, this is considerably big news for the Gators given that the program is relatively thin at the linebacker position and hasn’t secured a commitment from one in next year’s class. Now, we are a long ways away from National Signing Day, but the arrow is pointing up for Florida. It also helps that Wilson’s best friend, Jeawon Taylor, is a Florida commit as well.
5. South Carolina lands commitment No. 16
Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks have endured some tough times in the early part of the season, but the program remains active on the recruiting trail.
On Thursday, South Carolina landed its 16th commitment in next year’s class when Kelvin Harmon, a 3-star receiver, pledged to the program during a high school ceremony.
The Palmyra, N.J., native is the third receiver to commit to the Gamecocks in 2016.
6. The No. 2 recruit in the country sets a commitment date
Greg Little, the No. 2 overall player in the country, has set a firm commitment date.
The 6-foot-5, 305-pound tackle from Allen, Texas, will announce his decision on Nov. 4.
That leaves Little with 35 days to fit in his four remaining official visits. His first of the fall was Auburn last weekend, and he’ll be in attendance for the UGA-Alabama game on Saturday. His remaining three official visits will be to LSU, Ole Miss and Alabama, though he has yet to schedule dates.
7. Ole Miss commit predicts 57-10 win over Florida
Naturally, we polled a few targets and commits from both Florida and Ole Miss on who they thought would win and why. Of the handful recruits, several sided with the Rebels, including Chandler Tuitt, who committed to the program earlier this year.
The 3-star offensive lineman from Sandy Creek High School (Ga.) didn’t mince his words.
“I might have to say 57-10, Ole Miss. It’s going to be 26 to 0 at halftime. And I think Ole Miss will pass the ball 75 percent of the game and I think they’re only going to drop two passes. The Ole Miss defense is going to have at least one pick-six.”
8. 5-star PF Wenyen Gabriel commits to UK
Kentucky continues to separate itself from the have-nots.
5-star forward Wenyen Gabriel committed to Kentucky on Thursday after paying a visit to Lexington this past weekend, according to Scout.com’s Evan Daniels.
Gabriel is a 6-foot-9 power forward out of Wilbraham, Mass. According to 247Sports.com, he is the No. 16 player in the class of 2016, and the No. 4 power forward. He was also strongly considering Duke and Maryland.
9. Soundbites and storylines from around the SEC
Nick Saban helped prospects cut corners on NFL Wonderlic Test … Florida invites famous rapper to the Swamp on Saturday … Three South Carolina starters confirmed out for game against Missouri … Auburn extends partnership with Under Armour … Is Ole Miss overlooking Florida?