Power Ranking Top 25 SEC Targets on 2014 College Football Recruiting Trail
SEC recruiting is the subject of intense scrutiny and coverage. The talent in the conference gets better every season, as teams send assistant coaches all over the country looking to recruit the best possible players.
We're in the evaluation period, so the 2014 recruiting class already is starting to take shape. The camps and combine circuit is off to a great start, so information about recruits and their college preferences is starting to become more available. For this list, we are going to rank the best recruits who are realistic targets for SEC teams.
I stress the realistic part because players like Andrew Brown and Raekwon McMillan have been left of this list because, at this point, it appears they will not be signing with an SEC school. However, we still have a great list of 25 prospects.
25. Dillon Bates, LB
Bates is one of the better LB prospects in the country and comes from an NFL pedigree, as his father Bill played for the Dallas Cowboys. From Florida, Bates is 6'3" and weighs close to 215 pounds.
He's a tough customer who shows good read-and-react ability vs. the run. Bates has solid short-area quickness to get to ball-carriers inside the box and plays strong at the point of attack.
Keep your eye on Tennessee.
24. Denzel Ware, OLB/DE
The SEC is known for its defense and pass rushing, so it's not shocking Ware is a hot commodity on the conference's recruiting trail. He's from Alabama and has a 6'3", 220-pound frame.
Ware, who was once committed to Kentucky, can play with his hand down or stand up as a 3-4 OLB. He could possibly fit well as a "buck" LB for Florida.
23. Jamal Adams, DB
If Adams, who is from Texas, comes into the SEC, it'll be more than likely be at Texas A&M. The 6'0", 200-pound safety has great range, size and speed.
He can cover a lot of ground by getting off the hashes quickly, has the undercut ability to jump passing lanes and is a solid tackler. He should be a starter in college.
22. Tre' Williams, LB
One of the best players in talent-rich Alabama this year, Williams is a tremendous LB prospect. He's 6'2", weighs more than 220 pounds and can get sideline to sideline in solid fashion.
He has good instincts, can process information quickly and has the athleticism to play the pass. Williams likely will play for either Alabama or Auburn.
21. Kentavius Street, DE
A big and strong DE prospect, Street is from North Carolina and is great strong-side DE prospect. The 6'3", 265-pounder probably could grow into a DT in college.
Street is strong at the point of attack, sets the edge with ease and can anchor vs. OLs as well as TEs. He isn't the best pass-rusher, but he can squeeze the pocket with a strong fight to pressure.
Look for Georgia to be his pick.
20. Tyler Lutua, TE
Lutua could wind up at USC, or he could sign with Notre Dame. However, Alabama could also be a major player for him and don't count out the other SEC powers.
He's a 6'4", 230-pound TE from California with good hands and solid play speed. I think Lutua has the toughness to be a factor as a blocker and could wind up a complete seam player.
19. Malachi Dupre, WR
Louisiana is a top-level hotbed for football recruits. Dupre is continuing that trend, as the 6'3", 187-pound WR is one of the top players in the country.
Dupre has great hands and can run very well. His length allows him to snatch balls outside his frame, and he catches in crowds well. The more reps he gets, the better he becomes. He'll probably head to LSU.
18. Gerald Willis, DL
Some may view Willis is a DE prospect. He has solid snap quickness and has shown he can play on the edges.
However. this is a strong 6'3", 261-pound guy who has great power, so I feel he'll eventually become a DT. Willis is from Louisiana and has what it takes to be a big boy in the trenches of the SEC. LSU could be a good fit for him.
17. Racean Thomas, RB
Thomas is one of the better RBs in this year's class. The Alabama product is 5'11", 202 pounds, and shows the needed quickness, play speed and strength to be an every-down RB in college.
Thomas runs hard, can slash downhill and also is QB friendly in the passing game. He flashes some elusiveness and shows solid vision with the ball.
He'll probably play in the SEC. I'd look to Auburn as a potential fit.
16. Jalen Tabor, CB
Tabor isn't from SEC country, but the Washington, D.C., prospect could head south for college. Right now, if things shake out right, he could be covering WRs for Florida.
Tabor is a tall cover man at 6'1" and has good ball skills, awareness and loose hips. He can mirror receivers at the line after a good press and has the speed to cover downfield.
15. Laurence Jones, S
Another Louisiana prospect, Jones is a big safety who isn't just a box player. Sure, the 6'2", 208-pounder can slide down to fill alleys versus the run and make big hits.
However, Jones also has range and can cover TEs as well. He's going to be a productive player in college, the kind who should be able to stay on the field for all three downs.
I'd be a bit surprised if he signed somewhere other than LSU.
14. Ermon Lane, WR
A Florida product, Lane is a 6'3", 193-pound receiver with good skills. He shows solid release quickness off the line, can eat up some cushion and his hands are terrific.
Lane catches in crowds and can go up and high-point balls versus any DB in this year's class. He has several offers, but since this is an SEC piece, I would say keep an eye on Alabama and Florida.
13. Lamont Gaillard, DT
Gaillard is rising steadily up my board and growing on me. He's 6'4", 300 pounds and has great upper-body strength.
What also is neat about Gaillard is that the North Carolina native has good snap quickness for a big man and can shoot inside gaps with ease. He can play DT in a 4-3 or end in a 3-4.
SEC schools that I think Gaillard could sign with include Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
12. Myles Garrett, DE
Garrett is another player who is coming up the rankings. He's from Texas and has an impressive-looking 6'5", 247-pound frame.
He's a chiseled man who not only looks the part, as he can crash off the edge quickly and uses his length well. He can fight pressure with quickness, has strength in his game and can play the strong or weak side.
I think he'll play in the SEC at Texas A&M.
11. David Cornwell, QB
Cornwell is from Oklahoma, but he could end up at Alabama, Auburn or Tennessee if he chooses an SEC school. He's a big QB at 6'5", 230 pounds and has an excellent arm.
Cornwell won't wow you with mobility, running ability or athleticism, but his arm will. Most big and strong-armed QBs lack accuracy and are power pitchers.
Cornwell bucks that trend with touch and great ball-placement skills.
10. David Sharpe, OT
Perhaps the biggest riser we've had in this 2014 class, Sharpe has rocketed up the board. He's from Jacksonville and could be another D.J. Humphries.
Sharpe plays at 6'7", 280 pounds and is an athletic blocker. He has LT movement skills, set quickness and knee bend. He shows good strength and can easily get up to the second level on LBs.
Sharpe needs to work on his technique, but he has a high ceiling. He could join Humphries in Gainesville.
9. Speedy Noil, WR/ATH
Noil is a dual-threat QB for his Louisiana high school team, but WR is probably going to be his college position. He reminds me of Russell Shepard in high school.
Noil is 5'11", weighs 176 pounds and is electric with the ball in his hands. He shows great instincts to find open areas on the move, quickness and the long speed to get to the house.
He could be a utility player like Stefon Diggs. I think Florida, LSU and or even Texas A&M could have the inside track on him as far as SEC schools go.
8. Solomon Thomas, DE
Thomas could easily end up at Texas, but 247Sports shows Alabama and Arkansas as two SEC schools who are in on him. He's from Texas and has a 6'3", 251-pound frame.
He can press blocks on the edge, anchor down and make stops versus direct runs. Thomas can convert some speed to power as a rusher and should become a solid player in college, wherever he goes.
7. Marlon Humphrey, CB
Humphrey is expected to go to Alabama. However, don't count out the Florida or perhaps the Mississippi schools.
His father played for the Crimson Tide and is one of the best high school coaches in the state. Marlon is a 6'1" CB with tremendous anticipation skills and instincts. He compares to Dee Milliner in some ways.
He fits best in zone and off-man schemes and has solid ball skills.
6. Tony Brown, CB
Another great CB prospect, Brown is a little bit different than Humphrey. The Texan is more of a press guy who loves to roll up on WRs at the line and use his upper-body strength to jam.
Brown is 6'0", 185 pounds and has good speed, instincts and supports the run well. He also could become a safety before he leaves college.
Potential SEC fits for him are LSU, Texas A&M and Alabama.
5. Lorenzo Carter, DE
One of the best DE prospects in this year's class, Carter is from Georgia and has jaw-dropping athleticism. This is 6'6" guy who weighs 230 pounds and has remarkable range at the DE position.
Carter is long, quick, fast and strong. He reminds me of a high school version of Jason Pierre-Paul. I think he'll come down to Alabama vs. Georgia.
4. Cameron Robinson, OT
Left tackles are always in demand, and when you can get one that stands 6'6", weighs 330 pounds and has the knee bend and agility Robinson does, you must covet him.
From Louisiana, Robinson can beat rushers to the deep post, out-set them and just shadow people in space. He can slide to cut off inside moves and has good strength in his punch.
He shows great production as a run-blocker and could be ready to play early in his career.
3. Sony Michel, RB
Michel is Florida's top player. He's 5'11", 205 pounds, and has great vision along with the quickness to get to the through holes and the agility to elude defenders in tight spaces.
He's instinctive and has the speed to reel off long runs. Michel flashes some power and also can be a lethal weapon in the passing game. I have a feeling that Georgia will be his pick.
2. Da'Shawn Hand, DE
I doubt that Hand will sign with an SEC team, as Michigan and Virginia Tech seem to be top two schools on his list. However, keep an eye on South Carolina and, of course, Alabama.
He's from Virginia, stands 6'5" and weighs 250 pounds. Hand has great explosiveness at the snap and is pretty strong at the point of attack.
He's ready to play now.
1. Leonard Fournette, RB
Fournette is the best player in the country, and he's not an average No. 1 prospect. He's a 6'1", 232-pound RB with great speed, power, agility, hands and instincts.
He lacks many weaknesses and is ready to carry the football in the SEC right now. Fournette's decision is going to come down to LSU or Alabama. He could wind up at either school.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.
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