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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Lock Helps Missouri Bolster Offense

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxMissouri’s offense received a big lift this week when it received commitments from quarterback Drew Lock from Lee’s Summit (Mo.) High School and running back Natereace Strong from East St. Louis (Ill.) High School.

Lock, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 5 pro-style quarterback by Rivals, chose Missouri over Tennessee. Kentucky, Ole Miss, Michigan State, Ohio State and Texas also offered Lock a scholarship.

Lock said during a press conference Wednesday night that Missouri led throughout the recruiting process. His father, Andy Lock, played on the offensive line for the Tigers from 1986-89.

“I don’t feel like I could have played anywhere but Missouri because I feel like that’s where their heart lies, and that’s where my heart lies, too,” Drew Lock said. “(Lock’s father) did walk out into that stadium. To think that so many years later, I’m going to get the chance to actually do that, it’s surreal.”

Missouri’s recruiting on the offensive side of the ball is off to a strong start in the 2015 class.

The commitment from Strong, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 21 running back by Rivals, is the third running back commitment for the Tigers. He told Rivals he believes he will fit in nicely to Missouri’s offense.

“Their offense is a good offense – they are powerful and physical,” Strong said. “They put up numbers and I want to be in an offense that puts up numbers because that will help me get to the next level and that’s where I want to be.”

Lock plans to help Missouri put up those numbers. The Tigers’ recent quarterbacks, including Chase Daniel, James Franklin and Maty Mauk, have shown the ability to throw and run. Lock believes he can follow in that line.

“I would definitely say that my label is a pocket passer,” Lock said. “But I feel like I can bring so much more to the University of Missouri and the college level. I can get out and make plays if I need to, if the pocket breaks down. That’s something I take pride in.”

Lock has always taken pride in his family’s connection to Missouri. Andy Lock recalled a conversation he had with Drew about the future of the quarterback position at Missouri.

“Drew, would you be comfortable with somebody else quarterbacking the University of Missouri for three or four years, however long you get to play?” Andy remembered. “He goes, ‘Absolutely not.’ I said, ‘There you go. You just answered your own question.’

“That right there. He kind of went, ‘No, Dad, I’m not OK with that because I love that school and my family loves that school so, no, it would hurt me.’”

And Missouri is glad Lock will be there to help the Tigers.

 

Tennessee continues in-state run

Athlete Jauan Jennings gave Tennessee good news when he committed to the Vols on Monday.

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: A Roundup of Commitments

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxStephen Griffin couldn’t wait any longer to choose a school.

The defensive back from South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, N.C., committed to Tennessee on Thursday. He made the decision more quickly than he anticipated.

“I had talked about it earlier and I knew I was going to commit there,” Griffin told Volquest.com. “I planned on waiting until after the spring game but I guess I just couldn’t wait.”

Griffin, who once lived in Knoxville, is already looking forward to joining 2014 defensive back signees Todd Kelly Jr. and Emmanuel Moseley, who enrolled at Tennessee in January.

The Vols coaching staff convinced Griffin he will be able to fit in with Tennessee’s young secondary.

“They treated me like a priority and that they really wanted me there and I could see myself playing there because my friend Todd Kelly and I used to go to preschool together and I used to live in Knoxville,” Griffin said. “Then, I made a connection with Emmanuel Moseley, too. It just felt like home there and that it was the place for me. They seemed the most interested, too.”

Clemson’s another school that has shown interest in Griffin, whose father, Steve Griffin, played running back for the Tigers from 1982-86. But Griffin said he had limited contact with Clemson until word traveled that he had committed to Tennessee.

“I got a message from one of (Clemson’s) coaches (Thursday) and they said to call them,” Griffin told Volquest. “But, over the last several months I haven’t really been receiving much interest from them.

“I feel like I’m pretty solid as of now because if they heat up it would feel weird because I don’t understand why they weren’t doing it earlier.”

Griffin is the ninth prospect and first defensive back to commit to Tennessee’s class of 2015.

 

South Carolina gets one Bowman brother, loses another

Wide receiver Michael Bowman from Havelock (N.C.) High School gave South Carolina good news when he committed to the Gamecocks’ 2015 class on Thursday.

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Defensive Tackle Russell Headed To Auburn

Defensive tackle Dontavius Russell from Carrollton (Ga.) High School has committed to Auburn.

Russell wrote on Twitter: “If you really know me you would know that I will continue playing football at the University of……………………AUBURN!!!! #WDE”

Russell, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 13 defensive tackle by Rivals, decommitted from Georgia on Dec. 1.

Auburn has enjoyed a successful run on the recruiting trail in recent weeks. Defensive backs Kalvaraz Bessent and Stephen Roberts switched their commitments from Alabama to Auburn. Junior college defensive lineman DaVonte Lambert signed with Auburn last week after he originally committed to Tennessee.

Auburn has 21 commitments for the class of 2014.

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Tennessee Wins The Week

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxAlmost every decision by Tennessee’s first-year coaching staff has been made with recruiting in mind.

That includes their continuous use of the “brick by brick” slogan and last week’s debut of the “Smokey gray” uniforms against Georgia.

So far, it all seems to be paying off.

Tennessee received commitments this week from defensive end Derek Barnett from Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy and offensive lineman Dontavius Blair from Garden City (Kan.) Community College.

Blair, who chose Tennessee over Auburn and Texas A&M, is a key commitment for the Vols. They will likely have to replace the entire offensive line next season, which means Blair will be asked to help right away.

Barnett’s commitment is another example of Tennessee’s improved in-state recruiting. Three of the top four in-state prospects are committed to Tennessee, according to 247Sports.

It was coach Butch Jones and his staff who made the difference in Barnett’s decision.

“I love Coach Jones,” Barnett told Volquest.com. “Coach Jones, I feel like, is changing the program around and I trust him a lot and I think he’s a loyal coach and I really want to play for Coach Jones and no one else right now.

“I can’t explain it. I just have a good feeling he’s going to turn the program around and he’s doing that right now. I can’t explain it to you, but I just know.”

Wide receiver Josh Malone from Gallatin, Tenn., knew something was different about Tennessee when he visited Knoxville last weekend. Malone told Volquest he saw an improved game-day atmosphere at Neyland Stadium during his official visit.

“The difference is the atmosphere is a lot more … it’s just a better atmosphere and it wasn’t like going through the motions of just doing things,” Malone said. “They’re doing things the right way.”

Tennessee safety commitment Todd Kelly Jr. agreed. He attended the game during an unofficial visit.

“That game on Saturday speaks for itself,” Kelly told WNML Radio. “Even though we didn’t get the win, just the atmosphere was entirely different. I’ve never seen Neyland Stadium like that, basically in my life. It was just so loud. The fans were enthusiastic.”

Tennessee, which has 26 commitments for the 2014 class, is hoping to see more positive results from last weekend. Uncommitted defensive prospects Clifton Garrett, Dewayne Hendrix and Charles Mosley were all in attendance and expressed positive reactions to their trip to Knoxville.

Mosley, a lineman from Brighton (Tenn.) High School, named Tennessee his leader during the summer. He told Volquest this week he will likely wait to make a decision after he visits other schools, including Alabama, Auburn and Georgia.

Garrett, who has previously named LSU his leader, raved about his trip to Tennessee on social media while he was in Knoxville. The Vols will hope to continue that momentum when defensive coordinator John Jancek visits Garrett on Friday.

 

Tennessee hopes that trip will pay off for the Vols. Everything else seems to be working right now.

 

Stanley set to announce

Offensive lineman Donell Stanley from Latta (S.C.) High School will announce his decision on Friday afternoon at 1 ET.

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Jabo Lee Commits To Tennessee

Running back Jabo Lee from Dillon (S.C.) High School has switched his commitment from East Carolina to Tennessee, according to the Morning News Online.

Lee, who committed to East Carolina in April, was recently offered a scholarship by Tennessee running backs coach Jay Graham. Lee decided Tennessee would give him a better chance at having long-term football success.

“I feel it is a bigger chance for me to be successful and go pro if that is my calling,” Lee told the Morning News.

Lee is the first running back commitment in the 2013 class for Tennessee, which has missed on higher profile running backs such as Derrick Green (committed to Michigan), Derrick Henry (Alabama), Alvin Kamara (Alabama or Georgia) and Jordan Wilkins (Ole Miss).

Tennessee is still in the running for running back Johnathan Ford from New Hope (Ala.) High School. He will choose between the Vols and Auburn on Wednesday.

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Davin Bellamy No Longer Committed To FSU, Favors UGA

Defensive end/linebacker Davin Bellamy from Chamblee (Ga.) High School decommitted from Florida State on Tuesday night.

Bellamy plans to announce his final decision on Feb. 6. He’s considering Georgia, Tennessee and Oregon, which is expected to host Bellamy on an official visit this weekend.

“UGA is still my leader,” Bellamy told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “but one thing I must say is that Tennessee is right behind them … right behind them. I mean, it’s hand in hand. It’s tough right now.”

Bellamy is the second prospect this week to decommit from Florida State and turn his attention to the SEC. Offensive lineman Austin Golson from Prattville (Ala.) High School re-opened his recruitment on Monday and is strongly considering Ole Miss and Auburn.

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Woulard ‘Could Commit’ During Kentucky Visit

Former South Florida quarterback commitment Asiantii Woulard is scheduled to visit Kentucky on Jan. 11.

Woulard is prepared to commit to the Wildcats, according to his father.

“If he likes what he sees on his visit, I think he’ll be ready to commit to Kentucky,” Michael Woulard told VaughtsViews.com.

Asiantii Woulard, who attends Winter Park (Fla.) High School, has been impressed by new Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown. He joined head coach Mark Stoops after serving as Texas Tech’s offensive coordinator from 2010-12.

“We really liked the new offensive coordinator,” Michael Woulard said. “We looked at the Texas Tech offense a lot and knew (Asiantii) would like to run that offense. He is wanting to be more of a pro-style quarterback, but he’ll do whatever fits with the team.

“He has talked to Coach Brown several times and I have talked to coach Brown. We really like him.”

Woulard would join quarterback Reese Phillips from Signal Mountain (Tenn.) High School in the class of 2013. Phillips is scheduled to enroll in classes at Kentucky for the spring semester next week.

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Henry To Announce Friday

Running back Derrick Henry from Yulee (Fla.) High School has postponed his announcement by a day.

 

Henry will choose between Alabama and Tennessee. Alabama has been the favorite to land Henry since he decommitted from Georgia in June.

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Tennessee A Finalist For New Jersey Athlete

Athlete Nadir Barnwell from Piscataway (N.J.) High School has narrowed his list of school to two: Tennessee and Rutgers.

“I was thinking about making the announcement,” Barnwell told The Star-Ledger. “But I’ll probably do it within the month.”

Barnwell is ranked the nation’s No. 23 athlete by ESPN RecruitingNation.

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Tyquan Lewis Sets Announcement Date, Time

Defensive end Tyquan Lewis from Tarboro (N.C.) High School has decided when he’ll announce his college decision.

Lewis is considering LSU, North Carolina and Ohio State.

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