College Football Recruiting: SEC West Impact Signees of 2008

Luke ACorrespondent IMay 29, 2008

Recruiting has become such a large market, with people always trying to find the next play maker.

Here is a look at incoming recruits that should make an immediate impact, as well as sleeper prospects that might not be getting the hype.


Immediate: Raven Gray

Ht: 6-foot-4 Wt: 260 lbs

The No. 4-ranked junior college transer by, this was an easy selection for the Tigers. Raven Gray is a freakish DE that brings both power and speed to the end position. He was an impressive recruit out of high school, but only added skill while at Copiah-Lincoln C.C. 

Look for Auburn to use Gray as an immediate impact player on the D-Line. He could also move to LB in a 3-4 look.

Sleeper: Christian Thompson

Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt:195 lbs

Rivals lists this safety as the No. 60 safety in the country. That is hard for me to see. Christian is a perfect fit in the Auburn scheme with speed and aggressiveness. He will improve quickly and has great ability to make tackles in the open field. 

Look for Thompson to learn early from Paul Rhodes and work his way into the Auburn rotation.


Immediate: Julio Jones

Ht: 6-foot-4 Wt:215 lbs

The No. 1 wide receiver by—another no brainer! With the loss of DJ Hall, Keith Brown, and Matt Caddell, Alabama will be wide open at wide receiver.  Too bad that wouldn't have mattered anyway.

Julio Jones is the most talented wide receiver to come to Alabama in a long time, possibly the best ever out of high school.  Jones will bring an immediate physical presence with a 40" vertical leap, along with the 6-foot-4 inch frame.  He should be seeing the field August 30th against Clemson no doubt.

Sleeper: Don'ta Hightower

Ht: 6-foot-3 Wt:248 lbs

The No. 15 ILB according to, Hightower again comes in at a position that has an opening for the Crimson Tide. With the lack of depth and the unknown presence of Prince Hall, Hightower could be an early entry into the rotation. 

In high school this athlete ran back kickoffs and punts, as well as playing RB. He will be a much needed athlete added to the LB corps. Could be a great addition to Rolando McClain.


Immediate: De'Anthony Curtis

Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 209 lbs

The No. 6 running back,—With the departure of the dynamic duo McFadden and Jones, Curtis looks to add a spark for Petrino.  Curtis is an explosive back that also brings power to his runs. He will be a great weapon for Petrino to use in his balanced attack. 

Much like Michael Bush at Louisville, watch for Petrino to use Curtis as a weapon in the passing game as well.

Sleeper: Cruz Williams

Ht: 6-foot-4 Wt:206 lbs

The No. 59 wide receiver from, Williams fell behind the shadow of Jarius Wright in this class, but Williams brings size and speed to a receiving corps that needs it. With the departure of Marcus Monk, Arkansas needs another physical force on the outside receiver. 

Williams is a very versatile receiver with great hands. Look for Williams to bring depth at WR early and establish himself further into his career with the Hogs.

Ole Miss:

Immediate: Enrique Davis

Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 220 lbs

No. 1 prep school player, Another hard pick (not really). Davis was one of the top backs in the 2007 class, signing with Auburn.  Davis went to Hargrave Prep, and then signed with Ole Miss after the coaching changes at Auburn.

Either way, the Rebels get one of the best running backs in the country either year. He is like a Ronnie Brown with great speed and incredible size for that speed. He will automatically make the transition from Green-Ellis leaving a little easier. 

The Rebels should expect production from Davis all year.

Sleeper: Patrick Trahan

Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 230 lbs

Ranked as the No. 46 junior college player in the country, Trahan will not disappoint Ole Miss fans. This linebacker was an incredible talent while at Auburn for his freshman year.  After junior college, he signed with the Rebels and will bring speed and aggressiveness to the defense. 

Youth at the linebacker position will allow Trahan to make an instant impact in the rotation for the Rebels.

Mississippi State:

Immediate: Charles Mitchell

Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 190 lbs

The No. 10 safety from, Mitchell is an explosive athlete that brings the wood when he arrives to the ball. Grades might have slowed this prospect's recruitment down, but there is no doubt he is one of the best defensive backs in the 2008 class. 

After an impressive performance at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game, Mitchell showed he is ready to take his game to the next level. With a talented Derek Peques returning, look for Mitchell to fill in roles at safety. 

Sleeper: Templeton Hardy

Ht: 6-foot-4 Wt: 295 lbs

No. 11 defensive tackle,—Hardy is an impressive specimen for just coming out of high school. With the possibility of moving to offensive line, Hardy will provide depth for the Bulldogs wherever he plays. With the move in mind it might take Hardy a little longer to move into an impact role, but when there he should be a good one.


Immediate: Patrick Johnson

Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt:193 lbs

No. 1 cornerback,—With probably the steal of the 2008 class, LSU was able to pull Johnson out of the state of Florida. An early commitment to Miami was later dropped as Johnson opened things up. LSU fans are happy with that , because Johnson could be one of the best corners to come out of high school in the past few years. 

With the rare ability to shut down wide receivers one-on-one, Johnson will allow the LSU defense to be comfortable blitzing and leaving him on an island.  Johnson also steps up and plays the run well, which is a lost art with some cornerbacks. 

Look for Johnson to get an early look in nickel and dime packages, moving to a staring role quickly.

Sleeper: Chase Clement

Ht: 6-foot-5 Wt: 241 lbs:

The No. 7 strongside defensive end according to, Clement is by no means a "sleeper." But with such a strong class he is normally left out of conversations, which is a mistake. 

This prospect brings everything you are looking for in a DE to the table—speed, size, athleticism, and smarts.  Clement will be a perfect fit in the physical defense that LSU prides itself on. Look for Clement to continue to add size and work his way into the rotation for the Tigers. The sick thing is he could also be an incredible tight end.

There are obviously many more recruits that could make an impact for teams in the West, but this is just a highlight of a few.


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