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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Race Is On For Fournette

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxLeonard Fournette looks like an SEC football player.

That’s why the 6-foot-1, 225-pound running back from St. Augustine High School in New Orleans has offers from schools throughout the country, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida State, Michigan and Texas.

Hometown folks will try to convince Fournette to choose in-state LSU. The Tigers have made a strong push for Fournette, who’s already visited the Baton Rouge campus.

But Fournette can take his time with the recruiting process if he so desires. His next trip will be to Alabama, which has also offered a scholarship to St. Augustine defensive back Jermaine Roberts. He’ll accompany Fournette to Alabama this weekend.

“I am looking for somewhere that I feel at home at and that I am comfortable with, Fournette told 247Sports this week. “I want a school with a good atmosphere and good people. I will just know when the feeling is right.”

Fournette, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 1 running back 247Sports, seems like a good fit at Alabama. The Crimson Tide has made it a habit to recruit highly-touted running backs (Trent Richardson, T.J. Yeldon, now Derrick Henry) and immediately turn them into stars in the SEC.

Of course, Alabama signed not only Henry at the running back position last month but Tyren Jones, Alvin Kamara and Altee Tenpenny. And highly-touted running back Bo Scarbrough from Tuscaloosa, Ala., has already committed to Alabama’s 2014 class.

LSU will certainly mention that to Fournette, although he’s yet to hint at a fear of competition. And LSU typically has its own crowded backfield, more so than Alabama at times.

Don’t be surprised to see Fournette take his time with his recruitment.

“I haven’t even started to narrow things down,” he said.

And why should he? Unless he decides to stay close to home and commit to LSU, Fournette has plenty of top offers to consider with more on the way.

The best fit for Fournette might be a pro-style offense that relies on more than one running back. Alabama and LSU aren’t the only SEC schools that offer that option. Here’s a portion of ESPN RecruitingNation‘s evaluation of Fournette:

“Fournette is a  college ready back with excellent measurables. He runs hard and seems to get stronger with more carries. He’s very impressive from a physical standpoint and defines the term “load back.”

Fournette has already started to load up on offers. More attention will follow.


More size is on the way

One reason Alabama’s defense has been so successful in recent years is it’s play at the nose tackle position. And Alabama is always in search of the next Terrence Cody and Jesse Williams.

There appears to be plenty of options in the 2014 class.

Alabama has already offered scholarships to several well-built defensive tackles, including Matt Elam (6-6, 350) from Elizabethton, Ky., Josh Frazier (6-3, 324) from Springdale, Ark., and Charles Mosley (6-5, 350) from Brighton, Tenn.

Mosley, who also has offers from Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss and Tennessee, told this week he favors Alabama.

“Alabama is my leader and I like everything about Alabama, but I will see other schools and compare everything,” he said.

Meanwhile, Alabama will continue to recruit others at the defensive tackle position. The Crimson Tide could soon push for a commitment, which might lead to competition for a scholarship.

As one national media member said to me this week, “Why wouldn’t you go ahead and commit?”

It’s a fair question. And it wouldn’t be surprising if someone does in the near future.


Texas A&M buzz continues

It’s obviously early, but Texas A&M is off to a hot start in its recruitment for the 2014 class.

The Aggies have the top-ranked class with 10 commitments, according to 247Sports. No. 2? Rival Texas, which has eight pledges.

There’s plenty of excitement surrounding Texas A&M, partly because of the attention given to Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel but also thanks to the hard work and success of head coach Kevin Sumlin.

Cornerback Cedric Collins from Skyline High School in Dallas was the first prospect to commit to Texas A&M’s 2014 class in August. He’s shown no second thoughts since he made his decision.

“The excitement around A&M right now is well deserved for the year we had,” Collins told Sporting News. “The win over Alabama was just the beginning. The goal is not just to win the SEC, but a (national) championship, and Johnny winning the Heisman was just a great way to start with our first year in the SEC. And as for the state of Texas, the Aggies are taking over.”

That last part is far from proven at this point, but it’s clear Texas A&M has loosened Texas’ grip on the state. And prospects are aware that Texas A&M is the only school in Texas that offers an opportunity to play in the SEC.

Texas A&M linebacker commitment Josh Walker from Gilmer (Texas) High School believes that SEC presence gives the Aggies an advantage.

“In my opinion, 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 athletes want to play in the pre-NFL conference.”

Don’t be surprised if more prospects follow Walker’s lead.


Missouri POY chooses Kansas State

If Missouri plans to have more success in the SEC, it will have to secure its top in-state talent.

That plan took a hit this week when Blue Springs, Mo., running back Dalvin Warmack committed to Kansas State over Missouri.

The Tigers suffered a disappointing blow on signing day when running back Ezekiel Elliott from St. Louis decided to sign with Ohio State instead of Missouri. He was the top-rated prospect in the state of Missouri in the 2013 class.

Missouri has some catching up to do in recruiting. While the Tigers’ 2013 class would have looked solid in the Big 12, it was ranked near the bottom in the SEC (We ranked Missouri’s class last in the SEC).

Warmack, who was named the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior, would be a nice fit in Missouri’s offense. There’s plenty of time for Missouri to convince Warmack to change his mind.

That would be a change for the good for Missouri.



Warmack is 5'9", MU, Toledo & K-State were not the only ones who were going to offer him, MU did offer him as a RB not a DB. Warmack still had several junior day visits and was hearing from several other schools including schools from the SEC. He is not a small RB, look at Hubert who is 5'7" and is good, look at the NFL combine most of the RB's were under 5'10" with the exception of about 3-4 of them. Whatever you do there is always going to be someone who tries to knock you down, people should get facts before they state their opinions!


John, your comment on Mizzou not getting Warmack goes to the weakness with the overall  rating system.  Mizzou recruited Abbington a 4 star running back, but missed on Elliott another 4 star running back this year.   Warmack selected K-State because they recruited him as a rb, while Mizzou recruited him as a db.  Warmack is 5.8 185 and Mizzou is moving away from the small running back(Abbington is 6.2 215) & Markel Smith a commit for next year at rb is 6.2 220).    What Mizzou did learn is that in the SEC the bigger back has a better chance than the smaller back that can run wild in the Big12 due to the lack of defensive tackles in the league(not a dt in Big12 is expected to go in top 3-4 rounds in draft).   In addition Mizzou has two 5.8 185-190 rbs on the squad(Hansborough a Soph, & Josey a Jr.).   You are correct in stating that Mizzou needs to shore up the borders, but this does not apply to this kid. 


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