Biggest SEC vs. Big Ten Recruiting Battles in Class of 2015

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IMay 19, 2014

Biggest SEC vs. Big Ten Recruiting Battles in Class of 2015

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    The SEC and Big Ten are two of the best conferences in college football. Both leagues are packed with powerhouse schools who win a lot of games.

    The SEC and Big Ten have several of the top recruiting programs in the nation, and they tend to bump heads somewhat frequently on the recruiting trail. As the 2015 recruiting cycle moves along, several recruiting battles are emerging between schools from both conferences.

    A 5-star quarterback digs Tennessee and Ohio State, while the Buckeyes are trying to beat out Texas A&M for a stud receiver. Alabama is trying to take a 5-star linebacker from the clutches of Iowa.

     

    All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' Composite Rankings.
    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

James Lockhart, DE

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    Credit: 247Sports

    At 6'3" and 245 pounds, James Lockhart is a solid 4-star defensive end who can also play inside on passing downs. The Texas native has the strength to set the edge, plus he's capable of anchoring and shedding with power.

    Lockhart, who also likes Baylor, is the subject of an Ohio State versus Texas A&M battle, per 247Sports. The Aggies are going to have to work hard to keep Lockhart inside the Lone Star State, because he's wanted in Columbus. 

Isaiah Prince, OT

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Isaiah Prince is a 4-star offensive lineman with a high ceiling. The Maryland native is a good athlete who is 6'6" and 275 pounds, and he also has adequate strength to execute blocks in the running game.

    Playing in the Big Ten appeals to Prince, as he has Maryland, Ohio State and Penn State among his top schools. However, Florida is trying to get him to come to Gainesville to block in the SEC, according to 247Sports

Alex Ofodile, WR

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Hailing from Missouri, Alex Ofodile is among the top players in the Midwest. The 4-star receiver has sneaky speed and quickness when running his routes, plus his ball skills are more than impressive.

    Ofodile, who is 6'3" and 185 pounds, should be a productive receiver in college. While Missouri is considered the favorite by 247Sports, Ofodile recently told Justin Rowland of CatsIllustrated.com (subscription required) that he also likes Kentucky and Michigan State. 

Kahlil McKenzie, DT

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Originally from Wisconsin, Kahlil McKenzie now terrorizes offenses in California. The 6'4", 309-pound defensive tackle is a powerful player who also has great short-area quickness.

    McKenzie also is capable of playing defensive end in a 3-4 alignment. A few others are thick in the mix, but Tennessee and Wisconsin are among the 4-star defensive tackle's top schools, says Edward Lewis of BruinSportsReport.com (subscription required)

Jerome Baker, ATH

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Although he could be a fantastic running back, 4-star athlete Jerome Baker will likely play linebacker in college. At 6'1" and 205 pounds, the Ohio native has ideal range and quickness to impact the game from the flanks on defense.

    Baker has the speed to run with tight ends and running backs in coverage, and he can slip blocks with quickness to help stop the run. Tennessee, Florida and Ohio State are his favorites, according to 247Sports

Jeffery Holland, LB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    At 6'2" and 230 pounds, Jeffery Holland is the type of defensive player many colleges covet. The 4-star outside linebacker can run like a deer, plus he can rush the passer off the edge.

    Holland, who hails from Florida, has a ton of schools after him. He mentioned several powerhouses to Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com (subscription required), but keep an eye on Florida, Auburn and Ohio State. 

    Whichever school signs Holland will land a player who will be a star one day. 

Damien Harris, RB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    A former Michigan commitment, 5-star running back Damien Harris will be looking around this spring and summer. The Kentucky native has a thick frame at 5'11" and 205 pounds, but he's more of a speed-back.

    Harris is at his best as a one-cut runner who can slash through creases from the backfield. While Michigan is still in the mix, 247Sports also lists Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Kentucky as his main suitors.

Justin Hilliard, LB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    From Cincinnati, Justin Hilliard is a 5-star linebacker with terrific quickness and athleticism. The 6'2" and 230-pounder fits best on the outside, where his speed and range can be used to attack offenses.

    Iowa and Michigan are among his standouts, but Alabama is also in thick in the mix, says 247Sports. Outside of the SEC and Big Ten, keep an eye on Notre Dame and Oklahoma with Hilliard. 

Terry Beckner Jr., DE

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    Credit: 247Sports

    At 6'4" and 293 pounds, 5-star defensive end Terry Beckner Jr. appears to be on track to grow into a defensive tackle. The East St. Louis native has solid strength, plus he displays above-average athleticism in the trenches.

    Beckner took a trip to Missouri earlier this spring, according to Tim Sullivan of TheWolverine.com (subscription required). The Tigers have a good chance to land him, while Ohio State and Michigan are expected to receive visits from Beckner in the future. 

    Beckner told the following to Sullivan on May 19:

    "I'll go to camp June 1 at Ohio State. I'm excited to get there."

Torrance Gibson, QB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Among the top offensive recruits in the country, many schools want Torrance Gibson. The 5-star, dual-threat quarterback has the potential to be a player who can take over games.

    Gibson, who is 6'4" and 200 pounds, hails from Florida. His accuracy is still developing, but he possesses good arm strength and ideal mobility.

    Auburn is in the race, while Tennessee and Ohio State are the co-favorites, says 247Sports.

Christian Kirk, WR

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Christian Kirk is a 5-star receiver who could be the best pure offensive football player in this class. The 5'11", 197-pounder is a clone of Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin.

    From Arizona, Kirk has exceptional speed and quickness to skate around the field. He can play on the perimeter, in the slot and in the offensive backfield. Kirk also has the ability to make big plays by returning kicks and punts.

    Texas A&M and Ohio State are his top schools, according to 247Sports

     

    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.