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SEC Recruiting Notebook: A New Trend… Stuffing Mailboxes

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxIt’s been established recently that many prospects prefer to communicate through text messaging and social media.

That’s why the NCAA is trying to figure out how to manage the way college coaches can interact with prospects.

But coaches haven’t forgotten their old school ways. We’ve recently seen schools use a “new” trend of mailing letters to recruits. A lot of letters.

Quarterback Drew Barker is the latest. The standout from Conner High School in Burlington, Ky., recently received 115 letters from Kentucky. The Wildcats wanted to make sure Barker knows he’s a priority in Lexington.

“I opened up the mailbox like I do every day, and they started falling out,” Barker told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ It was insane what it looked like in my mailbox. It was all crammed in there, and they had a bunch of rubber bands around them. It was pretty awesome and I was pretty shocked.”

Pretty awesome? Receiving 115 letters at one time might seem a little over the top to some people. But Barker’s not alone in feeling the love.

Athlete Stanton Truitt from Monroe, Ga., told ESPN RecruitingNation earlier this month he received 102 letters from Tennessee. Like Barker, Truitt saw it as a sign that he’s a wanted man.

“It was shocking and it shows me that they think highly of me and really love me,” Truitt told ESPN. “It makes me feel important to them and makes me want to work harder and keep doing what I have been doing.”

The mailbox-stuffing idea isn’t new. Alabama sent 2013 running back Alvin Kamara of Norcross, Ga., 105 letters in Feb. 2012. Kamara, for the record, did sign with the Crimson Tide a year later.

Will Kentucky, Tennessee and others have similar success in the future? Time will tell, but Barker admitted it helped Kentucky in its effort to land the U.S. Army All-American.

“People are wondering if recruits like that stuff,” Barker said. “I’d say if anybody got that amount of letters in the mail in one day, I think they’d definitely like it.”

Coaches will certainly take notice. And while they continue to post messages on twitter, coaches will likely send an assistant to the post office to grab an extra stack of Forever stamps.

 

Texas A&M leads the way

The Aggies continue to receive high praise on the recruiting trail. The latest comes from Sporting News.

Texas A&M, which has 10 commitments for the class of 2014, has the nation’s top class for next year, according to Sporting News. Brian McLaughlin wrote the following:

“The first program to reach double-digit commitments, the Aggies are getting it done as well as any program the past few years. The program has swagger. “What has become cool to me is all the hype surrounding College Station right now,” 4-star Texas A&M recruit Josh Walker told Sporting News recently. ” … I do think A&M has become sexier than Texas because of the fact that they’re the only SEC team in Texas and a lot of athlete want to play in the pre-NFL conference.”

Which school is second to Texas A&M in the Sporting News rankings? Texas.

There are four other SEC schools ranked in the Sporting News top 10: LSU (3), Florida (4), Tennessee (8), Alabama (9).

While the Crimson Tide might seem low, they only have three commitments for the 2014 class. Their standing will surely rise as their number of commitments does as well.

 

Another sleeping Tiger for LSU?

LSU’s commitment list grew to eight on Tuesday when Sharieff Rhaheed from Fort Pierce, Fla., gave his pledge to the Tigers.

He chose LSU over offers from such schools as Ole Miss, Tennessee, Louisville, North Carolina State and Penn State.

According to James Smith of the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, LSU might have found another diamond in the rough in Rhaheed. Smith wrote:

“Due to his current size, Rhaheed currently grades out best as a linebacker, but it is not out of the question that he could ultimately grow into a defensive end. That, combined with his tremendous first step and natural pass-rushing ability, could make him even more valuable. Nevertheless, if he doesn’t end up growing into a defensive end, LSU will have a big, athletic linebacker who it could use in multiple packages.”

Those are always useful.

 

Wiggins meets with Kentucky

Kentucky already has the nation’s top basketball class for 2013, which should help the Wildcats return to SEC title contention next season.

But what if Kentucky adds the nation’s top overall prospect to its already impressive list?

Wildcats coach John Calipari is trying. He met with forward Andrew Wiggins of Huntington (W.V.) Prep on Thursday.

“Cal just reiterated that he wants Andrew at Kentucky and to see if he had questions or concerns about anything,” Huntington coach Rob Fulford told SNY.tv. “Andrew did not have any.”

Wiggins is considering Kentucky, Florida State, Kansas and North Carolina. He hasn’t announced a date for his decision.

How big-time of a prospect is Wiggins? First, check out this video. You’ll see why Wiggins is already looking forward to playing against the NBA’s biggest stars.

“LeBron (James), Kevin Durant, Kobe (Bryant), Carmelo (Anthony),” Wiggins said during a recent softball-throwing interview when asked which players he’s excited to play against.

Will Kentucky really be able to lure Wiggins to Lexington when its 2013 class is already crowded? It seems doubtful. Then again, it’s John Calipari and recruiting. There are worse people to bet on.

 


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