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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Harris Closes In On Decision

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxThe nation’s top uncommitted quarterback prospect is close to making his decision.

Brandon Harris from Parkway High School in Bossier City, La., will announce his college decision on Thursday. Harris, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 2 dual-threat quarterback by 247Sports, is considering Auburn, LSU and Ohio State.

Auburn and LSU are both looking for their first quarterback in the 2014 class. Ohio State has already received a commitment from quarterback Stephen Collier from Leeburg, Ga.

Harris insisted to ESPN RecruitingNation that Collier’s commitment to Ohio State doesn’t rule out the Buckeyes.

“I am not afraid of competition,” Harris said. “Last year, LSU took two great quarterbacks in Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings. Auburn took a quarterback (Jeremy Johnson) who went to the Elite 11 finals. I would have to compete with them and I’m not afraid to do that. To me, that’s what makes you better.”

There aren’t many quarterbacks in the 2014 class better than Harris. ESPN’s scouting report on Harris reads in part:

“Harris is a guy who grows on you the more you watch him. An athletic passer who is considered a dual-threat, but is a thrower first. A shotgun player in a spread set that really suits his talents. This is a nice prospect with developmental upside to blossom at the next level.”

The sales pitch from Auburn and Ohio State has been similar: both schools have coaches (Gus Malzahn at Auburn, Urban Meyer at Ohio State) who have a proven track record preparing quarterbacks. LSU is pitching itself as the in-state school that’s a “top 10 program every year,” according to Harris.

It’s unknown which way Auburn or LSU would go if it misses out on Harris.

Auburn has shown an increased level of interest in Sean White from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. White, who earned Elite 11 MVP honors last week in Beaverton, Ore., visited Auburn on Thursday. He’s optimistic an offer could arrive soon.

“They said they were really, really impressed with me,” White told Rivals. “They’re going to talk about it over the next few days and it’s very likely I could get an offer. They hope I liked it out here and it was a great visit.”

White said he received an offer from Arizona and has seen interest from South Carolina, North Carolina and Notre Dame. Tennessee and Wisconsin have also made contact with White.

But the focus this week will be on Harris. We’ll find out his decision on Thursday.

 

Georgia prepares for Dawg Night

Georgia will have several highly-touted prospects on campus Friday night for its Dawg Night camp.

Some of the top prospects expected to attend include defensive linemen Lorenzo Carter and Elisha Shaw, defensive backs Cortez McDowell and Kenderius Webster and linebacker Raekwon McMillan.

In-state prospects Carter (from Norcross) and McMillan (from Hinesville, Ga.) have both shown a strong interest in Florida. Carter recently named Florida his leader ahead of Alabama and Georgia and McMillan visited Gainesville twice last month.

McMillan has chosen not to name a leader, instead consistently naming a top five.

“No order: Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Clemson,” McMillan told Rivals.

Still, Georgia knows this weekend is an opportunity to either make up ground or solidify its position with prospects.

Wide receiver Shakenneth Williams from Rutland High School in Macon, Ga., could be a prospect to watch at Dawg Night. He earned a scholarship offer at Georgia’s camp in June and told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he could commit to the Bulldogs this weekend.

“That right there … that is what I’m so excited about,” Williams told the AJC. “I could commit but I could not. Right now, I really don’t know. It’s something I’m thinking about, but I’m not sure.”

Williams has continued to show strong interest in Vanderbilt, which was the first school to make an offer. That’s caused a “special bond” with the Commodores, according to Williams.

Georgia has 12 commitments for the 2014 class. It’s hoping that number grows during the weekend.

 

Vanderbilt lands big commitment

That’s very literally the case. The Commodores received a commitment on Wednesday from defensive tackle Michael Sawyers (6-2, 307) from Ensworth High School in Nashville, Tenn.

“It was about education,” Sawyers told the Tennessean. “Vanderbilt offers a good education and when you see what Coach (James) Franklin and his staff have done on the field that makes it a very attractive place.”

There have been questions about the perception of Vanderbilt following the dismissal of four players amid a sex crimes investigation. The school has remained quiet on the subject, which has led to criticism of Franklin, who will surely be asked about the subject at next week’s SEC media days in Hoover, Ala.

The commitment by Sawyers will help Vanderbilt on the recruiting trail as it deals with criticism and negative headlines. His pledge followed a commitment from athlete Trent Sherfield of Danville (Ill.) High School. He committed to Vanderbilt on July 4, less than a week after the four players were dismissed.

This is the first time Franklin has had to deal with true negativity on the recruiting trail, other than answering questions about Vanderbilt’s on-field struggles historically.

Franklin needs to address the issue next week in Hoover, at least to quiet the talk that he’s avoiding the topic.

Remember, Franklin is quick to speak to the media any time he has something to promote. He’s even made it a habit of calling a sports-talk radio show when he hears the hosts discussing another SEC school. The media is happy to talk to him now.

 

Robinson is the new No. 1

Offensive lineman Cameron Robinson is the No. 1 ranked prospect in the country in the newly released 247Sports rankings.

Robinson, who attends West Monroe (La.) High School, received the ranking bump after a dominant performance at The Opening in Beaverton.

 

This breakdown from 247Sports explains some of the major moves inside their Top 247.

Kyle Allen from Scottsdale, Ariz., is now the nation’s top-ranked quarterback. The Texas A&M commitment is the only quarterback prospect with the highest possible five-star rating from 247Sports.

“Allen is tall, has a great arm, is cerebral and while he’s a great high school quarterback currently, he still has a ceiling,” 247Sports National Recruiting Director JC Shurburtt wrote.

The highest-rated SEC commitment is running back Dalvin Cook, who’s committed to Florida. He’s the nation’s No. 20 overall prospect, according to 247Sports.

 


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