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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Alabama Flexes Its Muscle

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxAlabama’s future became even brighter this week.

That won’t excite many fans outside Tuscaloosa, Ala., but it’s true. The Crimson Tide landed a commitment on Wednesday from West Monroe, La., offensive lineman Cameron Robinson, who’s rated the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle by Rivals.com.

Alabama’s 2014 class, which holds 20 commitments, ranks No. 1 in the Rivals national team rankings. Tennessee, Florida State, Miami and Ohio State follow the Crimson Tide.

Robinson gave credit to Alabama coach Nick Saban and his staff for being the difference in choosing the Crimson Tide over LSU.

“I just developed a really strong relationship with them,” Robinson said of Alabama’s coaches on ESPNU. “That’s what I truly just based my decision off and how comfortable I felt when I was there.”

Robinson should already feel comfortable with some of his future teammates. Wide receiver Cameron Sims from Monroe, La., committed to Alabama last week and promised to help the Crimson Tide land Robinson.

He admitted the commitment of Sims was a big factor in his decision to commit to Alabama.

“That was real big, me and him going all the way back to third grade,” Robinson said. “It’s just like my little brother. It was extremely influential on my decision.”

Sims said the commitment of Robinson will only make Alabama’s class stronger.

“After he told me I said, ‘Okay, we’re going to do some damage at Bama,’” Sims told Rivals.

It’s hard to argue with Sims. Alabama already looks like it might have the strongest class in the nation with the potential to get even better. As ESPN RecruitingNation‘s Jeremy Crabtree points out, the Crimson Tide is taking advantage of momentum on the recruiting trail.

“What’s even scarier is that the Tide aren’t even close to being finished,” Crabtree wrote. “There are nine uncommitted five-star prospects left on the board, and Alabama is expected to get at least an official visit from eight of those players.”

That list includes running back Leonard Fournette from New Orleans, cornerback Marlon Humphrey from Hoover, Ala., and linebacker Raekwon McMillan from Hinesville, Ga.

Alabama is also recruiting defensive back Laurence “Hootie” Jones, another prospect from Monroe. Sims believes he and Robinson will be influential in Jones’ decision.

“We call ourselves ‘The Big 3′ and we’re going to try and recruit Hootie to Bama with us,” Sims told Rivals.

Just add him to the list.

 

Big names to watch at Georgia-South Carolina 

There will be plenty of talent in attendance on Saturday in Athens, Ga., when Georgia plays host to South Carolina.

The highest-profile player might be defensive end Lorenzo Carter from Norcross (Ga.) High School. Carter, who’s ranked the No. 1 prospect in the state of Georgia by Rivals, has a top three of Alabama, Florida and Georgia, with Florida State and others trying to make up ground.

“Alabama, Georgia and Florida are the big three for me,” Carter said last month. “I think everybody else really has a chance but they have ground to make up.”

Carter will likely hear a strong sales pitch from several Georgia commitments who are expected to be in Athens this weekend. That list includes defensive tackle Kendall Baker, running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and quarterback Jacob Park. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an updated list of prospects expected to attend the game.

Here are some other uncommitted prospects expected to attend the Georgia-South Carolina game.

DE Rashaan Evans  - Auburn (Ala.) HS
Evans, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 5 outside linebacker by Rivals, is considering Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and UCLA.

OL David Sharpe – Providence School in Jacksonville, Fla.
Rivals ranks him the No. 30 offensive tackle in the nation. Sharpe recently said Florida, Georgia and Clemson are recruiting him the hardest.

WR Juwann Winfree – Dwight Morrow HS in Englewood, N.J.
The nation’s No. 43 wide receiver according to Rivals is also considering Vanderbilt, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina State and Pittsburgh.

 

Stoops: ‘We feel very good about the commitments’

Kentucky fans weren’t feeling too good Saturday when they watched the Wildcats open the season with a 35-26 loss to Western Kentucky.

Kentucky entered the season with some momentum following a successful offseason of recruiting. The Wildcats have 24 commitments in the 2014 class, good for No. 7 in the Rivals team rankings.

But none of those prospects have signed with Kentucky, which has caused skeptics to predict a run of decommitments if the Wildcats continue to struggle on the field this season.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops isn’t as worried. He said this week he and his staff will continue to work to make sure the group of commitments feel comfortable with the Wildcats.

“The only thing we do is build strong relationships with the players we have committed and continue to recruit other players that we are recruiting,” Stoops said. “We’ll continue to battle all the way till signing day on quite a few prospects. … We feel very good about the commitments and the relationship we have with these commitments.”

The players committed to Kentucky should be fully aware of the Wildcats’ limitations on the field. That’s one reason many of them have given a pledge to Kentucky – they believe they will have a chance to play immediately.

Stoops said the prospects who have committed to Kentucky know they’re needed to help turn the program around.

“We need more talent, and we’ve got to continue to work,” he said. “But these recruits are not afraid of that. I think they’re excited to get on campus and make a difference.”

 

McLaughlin: LSU will have strongest finish in recruiting

LSU fans are pulling for Brian McLaughlin’s prediction to come true.

The recruiting writer for Saturday Down South predicted this week LSU will have the nation’s strongest finish in the 2014 recruiting class. McLaughlin wrote in part:

“The Tigers are going to be loaded when it is all said and done, and will challenge Alabama for the nation’s top class—even considering the Tigers at least temporarily lost in-state stud lineman Cameron Robinson to the Crimson Tide on Wednesday.

The loss of Robinson won’t matter—the Tigers will still make the loudest splash in the final five months before national signing day.”

LSU is off to a fine start with its 2014 class. It’s only ranked No. 19 in the nation by Rivals, but that’s largely because the Tigers only have 14 commitments.

Along with Fournette, who’s ranked the No. 1 running back in the country by Rivals, LSU is in a strong position with highly-touted prospects such as cornerback Tony Brown from Beaumont, Texas, linebacker Clifton Garrett from Plainfield, Ill., and receivers Malachi Dupre and Speedy Noil from New Orleans.

LSU wide receiver commitment Trey Quinn told SDS he believes coach Les Miles deserves the most credit for the Tigers’ strong position in recruiting.

“I think where it all starts is coach Miles and the staff do a great job of recruiting, and that’s along with all the talent in the state of Louisiana year in and year out, giving them an easier job,” Quinn said. “When great coaching combines with great football players, it causes you to be a tough team to beat when it comes game day.”

 


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