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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Recruits Will Be Watching Alabama-Texas A&M

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxFans and media members won’t be the only people watching Alabama play Texas A&M in College Station on Saturday.

The much-hyped matchup will have the attention of many top recruits, some of whom are considering both Alabama and Texas A&M.

The headline visitor to Texas A&M this weekend will be running back Leonard Fournette from St. Augustine High School in New Orleans. Fournette has shown strong interest in Alabama, LSU, Florida State, Michigan and Southern California.

Texas A&M hopes the upcoming weekend will help the Aggies make up ground with Fournette, whose father told 247Sports last month Alabama had made a strong impression on his son.

“Alabama is the school that recruits him the hardest,” Leonard Fournette II said. “They are on him non-stop. (Running backs) coach (Burton) Burns, being a St. Augustine high school alumnus, wants him as much as anyone.”

There will be several other top prospects on campus this weekend that Texas A&M hopes to impress. The list of visitors this weekend is expected to include safety Jamal Adams from Lewisville, Texas, offensive lineman Dontavius Blair from Garden City (Kan.) Community College, defensive end Myles Garrett from Arlington, Texas and wide receiver Speedy Noil and defensive lineman Gerald Willis III from Edna Kerr High School in New Orleans.

Texas A&M will also have quarterback commitment Kyle Allen in College Station this weekend helping the Aggies recruit undecided prospects. Allen has been active on social media trying to influence prospects to consider Texas A&M.

Noil is one player Allen will be sure to spend time with this weekend. LSU is considered the favorite to land Noil by many analysts, which means this weekend will be critical as Texas A&M tries to make up ground.

Willis’ interest in the Aggies could potentially affect Noil’s opinion as well. Willis has Texas A&M in his top three with Florida and LSU. His father, Gerald Willis II, will accompany his son to College Station this weekend.

“I am excited to finally see first hand what my son sees,” Willis II said. “He has A&M in his top three for a reason and I will get to see why.”

ESPN RecruitingNation writer Gerry Hamilton believes recruits attending the Alabama-Texas A&M will be impressed by what they see this weekend.

“The atmosphere is going to be off the charts, even for a school that has a tremendous home field advantage and the ability to impact recruits through sheer gameday atmosphere. I fully expect nothing but rave reviews by all prospects in attendance. Obviously, a win by the Aggies would be huge for their continued momentum, but this is one of those games that win or lose prospects will walk away extremely impressed with Texas A&M.”

Texas A&M sure hopes so. The Aggies 2014 class is off to a great start with 14 commitments. A strong showing this weekend against the nation’s top team would certainly help Texas A&M as it battles for some of the nation’s top prospects.


Florida looks to go big

Ben Knox could see the writing on the wall.

The offensive lineman from Deland (Fla.) High School announced his decommitment from Florida this week after he had been committed to the Gators since February.

Knox told ESPN it was because of Florida’s apparent lack of interest.

“At this very moment, I’m decommitting,” he said. “Reason why because I haven’t heard from them in over a month.”

Florida seems to have turned its focus to offensive linemen David Sharpe from Jacksonville, Fla., and Jordan Sims from Birmingham, Ala. Both prospects are more highly rated than Knox, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 19 offensive tackle by ESPN.

Florida is planning to have a big recruiting weekend on Sept. 21 when the Gators play host to Tennessee. Florida is expecting to host several top prospects, including defensive end Lorenzo Carter from Norcross, Ga., linebacker Clifton Garrett from Joliet, Ill., and running back Joe Mixon from Oakley, Calif.

Carter told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Alabama, Florida and Georgia should be considered his “group leader.” The Florida trip will be his first official visit.

“I’m excited,” said Carter, who’s taken multiple unofficial visit to Florida. “I’m just ready to get it rolling.”


Tennessee adds to defensive backfield

Tennessee received its 25th commitment for the 2014 class this week from cornerback Emmanuel Moseley from Dudley High School in Greensboro, N.C.

Moseley decided to commit after he received a scholarship offer from the Vols earlier this week. Moseley told it was a camp performance during the summer that influenced Tennessee’s coaches to make an offer.

“I ran a good 40-yard dash so all the coaches came over there and they all had their timers, and even the head coach (Butch Jones) with his timer came over there,” Moseley said. “They looked at each other and (linebackers) coach (Tommy) Thigpen gave me the thumbs up like I did pretty good.”

Moseley had previously committed to Charlotte, which has a 2-0 record in its inaugural season as a football team. The 49ers are playing as an independent in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Moseley said he didn’t hesitate to commit to Tennessee once he received an offer.

“It’s crazy. It’s unbelievable,” Moseley said. “It hasn’t even kicked in yet.”


What will be the Yahoo fallout?

Prospects considering Alabama, Mississippi State and Tennessee have certainly heard about the allegations made in this week’s Yahoo Sports report.

How might that affect recruiting? It’s a little early to tell, but those schools can certainly expect to battle some negative recruiting.

Coaches at rival schools will be quick to point out the story to prospects who are committed to those schools or still considering them.

That doesn’t mean these schools will face NCAA penalties that will hurt them in the future. But the possibility could be enough to cause recruits to show concern and look at other options.

Mississippi State and Tennessee are both on probation. That fact will be passed along to recruits, especially with Tennessee being off to such a strong start in the 2014 class. Opponents will use anything they can to slow down that momentum.

As for Alabama, it’s hard to believe anything can slow the Crimson Tide down on the recruiting trail. But schools will try, Rivals analyst Kynon Codrington wrote.

“Right now, Alabama is just facing allegations and the NCAA process usually moves pretty slowly in its investigations. However, you can bet schools in the SEC will use it against the ‘Tide – that is just the nature of the business. My first inclination would be LSU would try to take advantage, but head coach Les Miles is facing questions of his own.”




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