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SEC Recruiting Notebook: LSU Lands Its Quarterback

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxLSU received a commitment from quarterback Brandon Harris from Parkway High School in Bossier City, La., on Thursday.

Harris chose the Tigers over Auburn and Ohio State. Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas A&M were other schools to show strong interest in Harris.

He told ESPN RecruitingNation that a trip to LSU on May 26 helped give the Tigers an early advantage.

“It was just a different vibe,” said Harris, LSU’s 14th commitment for the 2014 class. “When I went to Alabama, Ohio State and all these other places, I didn’t feel that same vibe.”

There was also the in-state draw. Harris said that gave LSU several advantages, including the opportunity for his family to see him play.

“Louisiana, I feel like, produces the best athletes every year,” he said. “To get the opportunity to play with the greatest athletes and go into the Louisiana Hall of Fame one day, I knew I didn’t want to go into the Alabama Hall of Fame, I knew I didn’t want to go into the Ohio State Hall of Fame.

“I knew I wanted to go into the Louisiana Hall of Fame. Why not play for a school where you’re from, the biggest in-state school in the state of Louisiana?”

Harris, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 2 dual-threat quarterback by ESPN, plans to graduate high school in December and enroll at LSU in the spring. With senior Zach Mettenberger leaving after the season, Harris will compete for playing time with Stephen Rivers, Anthony Jennings and Hayden Rettig for the starting position.

“By me getting the opportunity to graduate in December and enroll early and go through spring practice, I get a great shot at trying to compete and start as a freshman,” Harris said.


Tennessee’s class keeps growing

Three prospects committed to Tennessee this week, the latest coming from offensive lineman Ray Raulerson from Plant High School in Tampa, Fla.

Raulerson chose the Vols over a list of offers that includes Auburn, Kentucky, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Nebraska and Oklahoma State.

Raulerson joined junior college wide receiver Eric Lauderdale and safety Cortez McDowell in pledging to Tennessee this week, giving the Vols 21 commitments for the 2014 class. They can currently sign up to 29 prospects in the class.

Raulerson said his relationship with Tennessee’s coaching staff helped him make his decision.

“I just love the coaching staff and they make my feel comfortable,” Raulerson told “Coach Jones showed me how much he cares about me. He had prior arrangements with game 7 of the NBA Finals and he had mixed emotions about missing my visit. That told me a lot.”

Tennessee is hoping to add to its class this weekend. Several top targets, including defensive end Derek Barnett, wide receiver Dominique Booth and defensive backs Elliot and Evan Berry (Eric Berry’s younger brothers) and Rashaan Gaulden are expected to visit Knoxville this weekend.

Booth could be the next domino to fall, according to one report.


The commitment from Raulerson is an important one for Tennessee. The Vols have received pledges from three offensive linemen, including Orlando Brown Jr. and Coleman Thomas.

It’s a key position considering the Vols could lose up to four starters on the offensive line following the upcoming season.


Florida still Carter’s favorite

Defensive end Lorenzo Carter from Norcross (Ga.) told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he plans to narrow his list of schools to six by the end of the summer.

Any school that makes the list will still be trying to catch Florida, which became Carter’s leader after he visited Gainesville last month.

“I’m just comfortable with the Gators,” he said. “We had a great visit there. I talk to coach (Will) Muschamp all the time.”

Alabama and Georgia are two schools sure to join Florida on Carter’s final list of six. LSU, Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame and Oregon are other candidates, along with Auburn.

Florida was able to hold onto Carter’s No. 1 ranking despite his visit to Georgia’s Dawg Night event last week. Still, Carter maintains the visit to Athens was positive for the Bulldogs.

“It was a great opportunity for me to get up there and just spend time with the coaches,” Carter said. “I got a chance to hang out with a few players. It was just fun.”


Bielema not so down on the SEC

SEC fans weren’t too happy with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema’s comments about the SEC in January 2012. That’s when he was still the head coach at Wisconsin.

“We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC — in any way, shape or form,” Bielema said at the time. “There’s a common thread in this league. Every time we walk into a coaches meeting in the offseason, there’s a mutual sign of respect.”

Bielema actually had respect for the SEC, too. He just couldn’t say it while he was coaching in the Big Ten.

“When you’re in another league, you really can’t brag on another league,” Bielema said Wednesday at SEC media days. “I was a closet SEC fan.”

And now Bielema is competing in the SEC for some of the nation’s top recruits. He’s embraced twitter and shown a fun personality to try to help sell the Arkansas program.

Bielema will continue to sell the program to South Florida. He recruited the area well during his time at Wisconsin and turned heads when he signed running back Alex Collins and offensive lineman Denver Kirkland from the area in February.

Bielema appears to be off to a good start showing he can recruit in the SEC. But he still has a lot of work to do.

Arkansas has seven commitments for the 2014 class, the most recent coming Thursday from cornerback Kweishi Brown from Grossmont Community College in Al Cajon, Calif.




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