Saturday is going to be a big, big day for several SEC teams. Not only for the sake of winning a game, but for the sake of recruiting, too.
Tons of prospective recruits will be attending either the Alabama-Ole Miss, Auburn-LSU or South Carolina-UGA game, and the outcome of each could have serious implications on the recruiting trail.
Needless to say, a win this weekend matters.
Now, let’s get you caught up with the latest SEC recruiting news and storylines.
Today’s need-to-know stories
1. Handful of nation’s top recruits predict outcome of Alabama-Ole Miss game
This may come as a shock, but several people will be watching Saturday’s game between No. 2 Alabama and No. 15 Ole Miss.
Sense the sarcasm?
So, too, will several prospective recruits. In fact, it’s been reported that over 60 will be in attendance for the SEC showdown. The AJC’s SECcountry.com reached out to several of them for their predictions of the game, and it was almost a split between the Tide and the Rebels.
(Note: We polled quite a few 5-stars, so you won’t want to miss this)
2. Tennessee continues to court 4-star DB
Tennessee legacy Nigel Warrior, the 4-star defensive back from Peachtree Ridge, says the Volunteers have impressed.
In an interview with the AJC’s SECcountry.com, Warrior says Tennessee has been doing a great job reeling him in. He also mentions UGA among his top schools, though many believe he’s a strong lean to the Volunteers. And for good reason.
Warrior’s father, Dale Carter, is a Tennessee great and former 13-year NFL veteran.
3. Mystery 4-star unofficially visited South Carolina
Marquez Callaway, one of Georgia’s biggest recruiting mysteries of the year, has been quiet throughout his entire recruitment process.
But the 4-star receiver has been surveying his options.
Over the weekend, Callaway unofficially visited South Carolina for its game against Kentucky, he confirmed to the AJC’s SECcountry.com.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder from Warner Robins High School told the AJC in a recent interview that South Carolina, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Mississippi State have recruited him the hardest as of late. How much interest he has in either program remains to be seen.
Callaway, who plays both receiver and cornerback, is rated as the No. 12 player in the state.
4. Tennessee adds commit No. 17
On Thursday, Tennessee added its 17th commitment to the class of 2016.
Cornerback Desmond Henderson of Dodge City junior college committed to the Volunteers just a day after receiving an offer. He is the second cornerback to commit to UT this year, joining 4-star Marquill Osborne.
5. South Carolina tops ACC program for new commitment
South Carolina’s woes on the offensive line this season have been noticeable. Fortunately for the Gamecocks, the cavalry is on the way.
On Thursday, 3-star offensive lineman Pete Leota committed to South Carolina over Virginia Tech. Leota last visited the Gamecocks on Sept. 12.
South Carolina has aggressively recruited offensive lineman for the class of 2016 and it’s paying dividends. Leota is the fourth commitment on the offensive line, joining 3-star Akeem Cooperwood, 3-star Will Putnam and 2-star Lloyd Cushenberry.
6. SEC fan tells 5-star he’ll name his kid after him
Recruiting can be weird. Like, really, really weird.
In an interview with the AJC’s SECcountry.com on Thursday, 5-star defensive back Deangelo Gibbs told our Jeff Sentell that a few fans have said they would name their kids after him if he committed to Tennessee.
Gibbs, who is regarded by some as the best player in 2017, has been a target for several SEC schools, most notably UGA, Alabama and Tennessee. Like Warrior, Gibbs, too, is a Peachtree Ridge standout.
He discusses a lingering ankle injury, his thoughts on Tennessee’s loss to Oklahoma and UGA’s contest versus Alabama later this year in this video interview with the AJC’s SECcountry.com.
7. Top 2017 LB is most impressed by Alabama visit
Breon Dixon, a 4-star linebacker from Peachtree Ridge, told the AJC’s SECcountry.com earlier this week that his visit to Alabama for last season’s Iron Bowl was his best so far.
“The city was so crazy afterwards, and ‘Bama had a big win,’” Dixon said. “It was just a lot better (than other visits).”
Dixon, who has secured offers from several SEC programs, discusses his recent trip to Tennessee and more in this video interview with Jeff Sentell.
8. Soundbites and storylines from around the SEC
FOX’s Tim Brando thinks Nick Saban will retire soon, join media … Eric Berry plays in his first regular-season home game since being diagnosed with cancer … Dak Prescott faces former high school backup … Gene Stallings rips Ole Miss, praises Alabama … Ole Miss linebacker sounds off on confederate flag, racism … Auburn’s five worst SEC losing streaks … Will Grier to start for Florida against Kentucky