Who Are the Top 2014 Targets SEC Football Teams Are After?

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterJanuary 22, 2014

Who Are the Top 2014 Targets SEC Football Teams Are After?

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    National signing day is two weeks away, and there's still plenty of intrigue left on the recruiting trail.

    While the recruiting calendar has been accelerated by the increased popularity of early enrollment and the desire of coaches to have prospects commit during nationally televised all-star games has decreased the uncertainty down the stretch, several key stars are being courted by SEC programs.

    Many of those stars will become major pieces of the classes in which they sign.

    Who are some of the top uncommitted targets remaining on the recruiting board that could land in the SEC? Our top prospects are in this slide show.


    *All recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.com.

DT Travonte Valentine

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    Dating back to Glenn Dorsey in the mid-2000s, LSU has made a habit of producing top-tier defensive tackle prospects. From Dorsey to Bennie Logan, Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson, the Tigers have found a bit of a niche as "DT U" for 4-3 tackles.

    Travonte Valentine may be the next in line.

    The 6'3", 338-pound monster is rated as a 4-star prospect and the 34th-best player in the country, and he is a heavy lean to join Les Miles in Baton Rouge.

    Miami is still in the mix and will get a shot at securing his services when he makes an official visit to Coral Gables the weekend before national signing day, but he will first officially visit LSU this weekend.

    He has the size to withstand the punishment in the trenches and will certainly play a role as a true freshman wherever he signs.

WR Malachi Dupre

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    LSU enjoyed an offensive renaissance last season, as first-year offensive coordinator Cam Cameron helped Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr. each go north of the 1,100-yard mark receiving.

    The bad news for the Tigers is that both star wide receivers left early for the NFL, but the good news is that help could be on the way in the form of Malachi Dupre.

    The 6'2", 187-pounder is a heavy lean to LSU, with Florida State, UCLA and Alabama very much in the rear-view mirror. The New Orleans native has the size and speed to create matchup problems in opposing secondaries right now, and he will certainly grow into his tall frame once he gets into a college strength and conditioning program.

    He already visited LSU and recently made the trip to Alabama, where he posted this photo on Twitter.

    Louisiana boys taking over #Bama pic.twitter.com/mErlc6a6yZ

    — Malachi Dupre (@MalachiDupre) January 20, 2014

    Dupre in crimson can't make LSU fans happy. He'll visit FSU and UCLA before national signing day, but it's likely he'll stay in-state and sign with the Tigers on Feb. 5.

DB Adoree' Jackson

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    Adoree' Jackson isn't from SEC country, but that doesn't mean he won't end up in SEC country to play his college football.

    The 5'9", 182-pounder from Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, Calif., has tremendous ball skills, speed to burn and can change direction on a dime.

    He's leaning towards staying in-state at USC but still has the attention of several SEC schools, including LSU, Tennessee and Florida—all of which sent coaches to visit him last week. Of the SEC schools in the mix, Florida is the most likely landing spot for Jackson in the SEC.

    He met with head coach Will Muschamp on Jan. 16, and if Muschamp can get him on campus for an official visit between now and national signing day, don't count out the possibility of the Gators springing a signing day upset.

DT Matt Elam

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    One of the hottest recruiting battles between SEC schools is between Alabama and....Kentucky?

    Yes, Kentucky is squarely in the mix for 6'5", 372-pound defensive tackle Matt Elam, a 5-star prospect from Elizabethtown who's the top prospect in the state of Kentucky.

    Elam visited Alabama over the weekend and isn't tipping his hand on which way he's leaning.

    UK's Class Of 2014 Is One To Remember !! #StoopsTroops #BBN

    — Matt Elam™6⃣9⃣ (@FballIsLife69) January 21, 2014

    Bama Class Will Finish Out Number One For Sure, Maybe Best Class Ever !! #RollTide #RTR

    — Matt Elam™6⃣9⃣ (@FballIsLife69) January 21, 2014

    Kentucky is still a slight favorite in the 247Sports.com crystal ball, but what's the one thing we know about Alabama's staff? It can close better than any staff in America.

    Elam is an instant-impact defensive tackle, especially at Kentucky where there isn't as much depth as there is at Alabama. This one could come down to what is more important, immediate playing time or playing for titles.

    He'll announce his decision on national signing day, according to the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal. Put me in the minority in the camp that Alabama will spring the "upset," even though Alabama closing strong in January isn't exactly an upset.

DE Lorenzo Carter

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    Lorenzo Carter is one of those defensive ends who can thrive in any system he's in. The 6'5", 232-pounder from Norcross, Ga., is a 5-star prospect and a player who can step in and contribute immediately as a pass-rusher and evolve into an every-down defensive lineman.

    Florida, LSU and Georgia are in the mix to secure his services out of the SEC, along with the ACC's Florida State Seminoles.

    He visited LSU last weekend, will travel to Florida State this weekend and finish up the recruiting season down the road in Athens, where new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt will get the last crack at selling him on the in-state Bulldogs.

    That will seal the deal for Georgia.

    Pruitt is the two-time defending recruiter of the year according to 247Sports.com, and his recruiting acumen, combined with that national championship ring he earned last season at Florida State, will be too much for Carter to ignore. 

    Wherever he goes, Carter will be a superstar.

LB Rashaan Evans

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    Auburn, Ala., is home to 5-star outside linebacker Rashaan Evans, but will it stay that way?

    The hometown Tigers are one of three finalists for Evans, along with intra-state rival Alabama and UCLA.

    The 6'3", 220-pounder is rated as the 11th-best player in the country, has incredible athleticism and football instincts and will make an impact wherever he signs.

    He knows Auburn, recently visited Alabama and will make an unofficial visit to L.A. on the final weekend of the recruiting season after receiving an in-home visit from Bruins head coach Jim Mora, according to Matt Scalici of AL.com.

    How did Jim Mora's visit with 5-star Rashaan Evans go? Apparently very well. Evans is now set to visit to UCLA http://t.co/DM06A3l3cX

    — Matt Scalici (@MattScalici) January 22, 2014

    That certainly won't sit well with fans of the two SEC contenders because it'll be hard not to fall in love with UCLA once he sets foot on that campus. Ultimately, expect Evans to stay closer to home—as in, right down the street—and sign with Auburn.

    His athleticism and the available playing time on defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson's side of the ball will be too attractive to ignore.

DB Marlon Humphrey

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    Marlon Humphrey is the top uncommitted player remaining in the 247Sports.com player rankings, and it's no surprise who his leader is—the Alabama Crimson Tide.

    The son of former Crimson Tide running back Bobby Humphrey has narrowed down his choices to Alabama and Florida State, but he will visit Mississippi State and UCLA before national signing day.

    Can one of those programs spring the upset? Nope.

    The 6'1", 175-pounder from Hoover High School just outside of Birmingham, Ala., has the speed and ability as a cover corner to play immediately at Alabama, and if we learned anything from the way Alabama closed the season, it's that it could use some help in the secondary.

    Do you see head coach Nick Saban letting Humphrey slip through his fingers during the final two weeks of the recruiting season? That would be one of the more shocking developments of the season.