Biggest SEC vs. Pac-12 Football Recruiting Battles in Class of 2015

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IMay 27, 2014

Biggest SEC vs. Pac-12 Football Recruiting Battles in Class of 2015

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    Credit: 247Sports

    The SEC and Pac-12 both boast programs that can recruit nationally such as USC, Alabama, Stanford, Florida, Oregon and Texas A&M, among others.

    That means the two powerful conferences bump heads on the recruiting trail from time to time, and several big recruiting battles are shaping up between schools from the leagues. A 5-star defensive end from Florida is thinking of playing in Eugene, while College Station could be calling the name of a 4-star running back from California.

    Plus, a stud defensive tackle may be thinking of playing at the same school as his father and uncle.

Malik Lovette, RB

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    Malik Lovette is a speedy running back from California who can embarrass defenders. He displays terrific quickness and elusiveness with the ball, plus his speed makes him dangerous in the open field.

    At 5'11" and 180 pounds, Lovette is not going to routinely challenge defenders with strength and power. However, his quick feet and awesome agility help him dance around them to continue his path to the end zone.

    Notre Dame is involved, but USC and Texas A&M are key schools for the 4-star prospect, according to 247Sports.

Kahlil McKenzie, DT

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    An elite 4-star defensive tackle, Kahlil McKenzie is originally from the Midwest. However, he currently plays in California for national powerhouse De La Salle.

    At 6'4" and 309 pounds, McKenzie uses a combination of strength and subtle quickness to do what he wants in the trenches. He has a powerful anchor to disrupt running plays, plus he displays a solid surge to finish on quarterbacks when he gets free as a pass-rusher.

    He is the son of Reggie McKenzie and the nephew of Raleigh McKenzie, who both starred at Tennessee. The Vols are thick in the mix, along with USC, Alabama, Arizona, Florida and Oregon, says 247Sports.

John Houston, LB

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    At 6'3'" and 211 pounds, John Houston is a 5-star linebacker who gets the job done with speed and athleticism. It also helps that he has quick ball-location skills.

    Houston has the toughness to work through offensive linemen to get to ball-carriers, but he usually eludes bigger bodies in pursuit. He has the hips and agility of a safety, which help him make plays in coverage.

    USC, Alabama and UCLA are his top schools, according to 247Sports. The Trojans look good right now, but that could change with one impressive trip to Tuscaloosa.

Kyler Murray, QB

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    From Texas, 5-star quarterback Kyler Murray will not be missed by opposing defenses when he's gone after this fall. The little general is a 5'11", 170-pounder who can do damage with his arm and legs.

    Murray works with good mechanics in the pocket, plus he has solid vision and awareness. He does a good job of finding passing lanes, and he has the mobility and athleticism to be used as a runner.

    Oregon and Texas A&M are his top suitors, per 247Sports. Murray will announce his decision on the afternoon of May 28, according to 247Sports.

Byron Cowart, DE

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    While he can certainly become a star at defensive end, Byron Cowart could develop into an even better defensive tackle down the line.

    The Florida native is 6'4" and 250 pounds, and he has good quickness and strength. Cowart does a good job of reading blocking schemes, plus he has the ability to close on the ball in a flash. He can bull-rush or convert speed to power to get to the quarterback.

    Cowart is looking hard at Oregon and Florida, according to 247Sports.

    He told the following to A.J. Jacobson of Duck Sports Authority (subscription required) on May 12:

    Being able to go out there to Oregon; NIKE headquarters, Phil Knight. Then from an academic standpoint with me wanting to do Sports Broadcasting, the reasons are endless. If you play at Oregon, the fact they are associated with NIKE, there are so many connections out there it is ridiculous.


    All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' composite rankings. Player evaluations are based on review of tape at, Rivals and 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.