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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Texas A&M Lands Legacy Cunningham

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxTexas A&M received good news Thursday when defensive end Qualen Cunningham from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz., committed to the Aggies.

Cunningham, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 22 defensive end by ESPN RecruitingNation, chose Texas A&M over offers from such schools as Oklahoma, Oregon, Southern California, UCLA and Washington.

Cunningham will follow in the footsteps of his father, Rick Cunningham, who played on the offensive line at Texas A&M from 1988-89. Qualen Cunningham told ESPN he was glad to go ahead and make a decision.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I had my list narrowed down to schools I felt comfortable with,” Cunningham said. “It just seemed like the best situation for me, individually, being able to play in the SEC. It’s a great school, and I’m really excited for it.”

Cunningham is the second 2014 defensive line prospect to commit to Texas A&M in the last week. Defensive end Myles Garrett committed to the Aggies last week. Texas A&M has a total of four defensive linemen committed to the 2014 class.

“I know the players that are going to be on the field are going to be the best players,” Cunningham said. “I just have to step up and compete, and at the end of the day, that’s all it’s about.”

Texas A&M’s 2014 class is quickly turning into one of the best in the nation. The Aggies’ class is ranked No. 7 in the country and fourth in the SEC by Rivals. Texas A&M’s 16 commitments is the fewest total of any school ranked in the top 10.

The news of Cunningham’s commitment was met with excitement by Texas A&M quarterback commit Kyle Allen. The fellow Arizona native has pushed publicly for Cunningham to commit to the Aggies. Allen tweeted:

“Q!!!! My boy you finally came to your senses ahah! Congrats man so happy for let’s ball out! #gigem”

Texas A&M added to its 2015 class earlier this week when defensive tackle Daylon Mack from Gladewater (Texas) High School committed to the Aggies.

Mack, whose offer list also includes LSU, Florida State, Miami, Oregon and Texas, is expected to be one of the highest-rated prospects in the 2015 class. He’s confident he will help Texas A&M as soon as he arrives in College Station.

“I really just feel like I can come in and help from day one,” Mack told Rivals. “I wouldn’t mind fighting for a starting job. I think I would win, too.”

It’s another in-state recruiting win for Texas A&M. All four of the Aggies’ 2015 commitments are from in-state prospects. Allen and Cunningham are the only two commitments in the 2014 class who live outside the state of Texas.


South Carolina lands a quarterback

Quarterback Michael Scarnecchia from Fleming High School in Orange Park, Fla., committed to South Carolina this week.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 3/28/2013

recruiting-headlines-gfx1. Plaquemine, Louisiana defensive lineman  Davon Godchaux has received offers from about 17 schools, including Florida and Vanderbilt.  He’s hoping for offers from Alabama and LSU.  ”LSU is a great program to be around, Godchaux tells  ”Alabama on the other hand, it’s about business. (Coach) Nick Saban and those guys, they win championships. They build and build championships every year, and it’s a great program to be in … I would like those offers to come, but if they don’t, it’s understandable.”

2. Hampton, Georgia linebacker DeMarquis Gates commits to Ole Miss.  Gates, considered a top 200 prospect by recruiting services, was a high teammate of 2013 Ole Miss signeee Arshad Jackson.

3. Rod Taylor is considered the top unsigned prospect in the state of Mississippi.  The Jackson, MS offensive lineman has attracted attention for years – Alabama offered him before his sophomore season.  Two of Taylor’s teammates have already committed to Ole Miss. Here’s how Taylor’s high school coach described him: “As big as he is, to be as agile as he is, you just don’t see many guys like that. You could see the natural ability when he came in as a freshman. He’s beyond his years. He needs to be a little bit more of a technician, but as far as raw natural ability, he’s exceptional.”

4. When defensive back Landon Collins committed to Alabama, it greatly disappointed his mother, who wanted him to stay in-state and go to LSU.  Now Collins has a brother who’s drawing attention from major programs around the country. Four-star defensive end Gerald Willis says his top choices right now are LSU, Texas A&M and Florida. Mom doesn’t want to go to Gainesville: “I don’t want him 10 hours away. Some of the things that I’ve talked about with the coaching staff, I just don’t think it favors my son.”

5. Arlington, Texas defensive end Myles Garrett has offers from several schools, including Alabama and Texas A&M.  He’s also drawing interest from LSU. Garrett will A&M’s “Friday Night Lights” scrimmage on April 5th. “It lets me know I’m doing good work on the field and in the weight room,” Garrett told ESPN. “I’m working hard and will keep working hard through next season — and after that.”

6. Elizabethtown, Kentucky defensive tackle Matt Elam is 6-foot-6, 350-pounds and one of the most prized recruits in the state.  He’s drawn offers from among others, Alabama and Kentucky.  He’s also drawn interest from Tennessee and Florida, his favorite team growing up.  Elam says he talks with Kentucky coach Mark Stoops every week and has been in Nick Saban’s office - “looks like a million dollars with all the wood on the walls.”

7. Here’s  a scouting report on LSU commitment Sharieff Rhaheed ”LSU may have found another diamond in the rough.”

8. Here’s a ranking of the five best offensive tackles 2014 prospects in state of Texas.

9. The Sporting News ranks the 2014 recruiting classes. No. 1 right now?  Texas A&M.

SEC Basketball

10. Madison Central High School (KY) guard Dominique Hawkins will reportedly sign with Kentucky Friday.  A former teammate of Hawkins tweeted the news today.  Hawkins led his team to a state basketball championship.

11. Huntington Prep star and Gatorade National Player of the Year Andrew Wiggins is reportedly meeting with Kentucky coach John Calipari today. USA Today writer on Wiggins: “What stands out most to me is that when he decides to go to the basket from 15 feet away or in transition when he gets a step, I have not seen anyone stop him. That will serve him well in the NCAA.”

12. Lee College guard Jamal Jones received an offer from Arkansas coach Mike Anderson last week.  Jones says his top five in no particular order are Arkansas, Texas A&M, TCU, Oregon and San Diego State. Jones signed with Ole Miss coming out of high school but was dismissed by coach Andy Kennedy for a violation of team rules

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