Matt Elam, Lache Seastrunk and More: Which Recruits Will The SEC Coaches Make A Final Pitch For?
The recruiting dead period refers to a three-week window from December 16 to January 4 wherein coaches are only allowed to call a player once a week. Visits to campus, officially or unofficially, are against the rules, as is visiting a player's high school. Things settle down.
Do coaches relax during the dead period? God, no. These men agonize over the jist of what they're going to say during their only chance at contact. How should they come across? What can they legally promise?
They're like Hugh Grant in [insert title of most recent romantic comedy].
I've put together a list of the ten players that I imagine the top SEC coaches will call during the recruiting dead period, and what I think they'll want to say. It's just a supposition, but I don't think I'm too far off.
Take a look.
Lane Kiffin Will Call...Five-Star S Ahmad Dixon
With Eric Berry's announcement that he will be leaving a year early for the NFL expected to come after the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Kiffin needs to lock down Tennessee's next great defensive back.
That could be five-star safety Ahmad Dixon, who committed to Baylor in May of this year, but has since softened his commitment, and "really enjoyed" his visit to Rocky Top.
Janzen Jackson, who you may remember as the innocent third wheel in the Great Pellet Gun Robbery of 2009, filled in ably at safety in his first year, so depth isn't a serious issue.
But according to Scout, Dixon is the most complete player at his position, and there's a chance he could start immediately just as Berry did three years ago.
Kiffin will call and try to lure Dixon away from his home state, promising the riches Berry will inevitably receive as the first safety taken overall (or better, considering DC Monte Kiffin is an ex-NFL man).
Landing Dixon would be another huge grab in an already defense-heavy class for the Vols.
Steve Spurrier Will Call...Five-Star RB Marcus Lattimore
Lattimore, a South Carolina prospect, is rumored to be leaning towards remaining in-state, but suitors from Penn State, Auburn, and the other three schools at the top of his list almost certainly besiege him daily.
A call from Steve Spurrier reminding Lattimore that he'll be joining Spurrier's most seasoned and explosive offense to date—in time for a wide open race in the SEC East, no less—could entice Lattimore to think twice about those last second visits to Georgia and Oregon that he has planned.
Mark Richt Will Call...Four-Star CB Nickell Robey
Cornerback Nickell Robey is already a soft verbal to Georgia, but losing Willie Martinez at defensive coordinator didn't do a lot to firm up that commitment. Scout's headline "The longer Georgia searches for coaches, the more Robey looks around..." says it all about the urgency of the situation.
Tennessee will be pursuing Robey with a vengeance after losing Eric Berry; losing another kid to Kiffin's Vols would be downright painful.
One call from Mark Richt reassuring Robey that a facilitative defensive coordinator hire is in the works would reassure the four-star cornerback that all is well between the hedges.
The Bulldogs were third to last in passing defense in the conference, so any help in the defensive backfield is welcome in Athens.
Bobby Petrino Will Call...Four-Star OT Damien Robinson
Arkansas' class has really underwhelmed up to this point, but the Razorbacks have a chance to shore up their standing and boost their offensive line if they can tear giant prospect Damien Robinson away from his suitors in Mississippi.
The Razorbacks have no immediate needs at OL, and it's not as though Robinson and Ryan Mallett will be peas in a pod for the next few years—if Mallett doesn't leave for the NFL this year, he almost certainly will after his junior season.
But since whoever will replace Mallett almost surely won't be up to his caliber, any extra time in the pocket will be much appreciated.
Petrino can call Robinson and rave about his immovability and strength, and promise he'll be the next big OT taken high in the NFL draft, since he knows a thing or two about how the professional business works.
Dan Mullen Will Call...Four-Star RB Matthew Wells
Mullen has already put together an outstanding recruiting class rich in in-state talent, but he could win a direct head-to-head battle with in-state rival Ole Miss if he lands four-star running back Matthew Wells.
Mullen needs to replace RB Anthony Dixon, who led the conference in yards per game. He already has another RB, Rajion Neal, signed. But with Wells, Mullen could approach the talent level he had at his disposal as an offensive coordinator at Florida, when teams had to choose between Percy Harvin, Jeffrey Demps, Chris Rainey and Tebow as their favorite poison.
Wells, an ATH to Rivals, is a tall, lanky prospect with great burst who could score touchdowns twenty different ways in Mullen's variegated offensive system.
One call from Mullen could remind Wells that the Bulldogs are on the rise in the SEC West, while the Rebels are stagnating and could regress now that Jevan Snead is considering leaving for the pros.
He's already a heavy MSU lean. A single call could lock it down for good and push the 'Dogs further up the ladder in the West.
Urban Meyer Will Call...Five-Star ATH Matt Elam
Matt Elam was already a shaky commitment to the Gators after Billy Gonzales and Charlie Strong left for LSU and Louisville, respectively.
Now, he's decommitted from the Gators and joined Florida State's outstanding defensive recruiting class.
If the Gators have any hope of getting him back, Meyer will need to get on the horn with the five-star safety/ATH.
There was talk he could fill in immediately for the departing Brandon James as a lethal punt and kick returner, and assist with the departure of Joe Haden and Ahmad Black in nickel packages.
Now, a scary depth chart situation has gotten even scarier as the Gators battle to remain at the forefront of recruiting. One call from Meyer could maybe make a difference.
Houston Nutt Will Call...DE Carlos Thompson
Houston Nutt's crew has sewn up commitments from two great defensive linemen, and could add a third if they convince four-star weakside DE Carlos Thompson to stay home and be like a DL Fab Three.
At the very least, the Rebels rep out over Thompson's other considerations (Baylor, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State).
One call from Nutt could remind Thompson about how high DE Greg Hardy will be going in this year's draft, and how well Michael Oher is doing for the Ravens in the NFL. Haven't Ole Miss' line coaches proved themselves over those other schools?
Nick Saban Will Call...Four-Star LB CJ Mosley
Mosley, a four-star outside linebacker, has narrowed his choices to Auburn and Alabama. And everybody knows how much delight Alabama fans get when they beat Auburn at anything.
Landing Mosley won't just help their Tiger schadenfreude—it will also shore up the Tide's expected losses in the front seven. If Rolando McClain leaves early, Alabama will be losing all three of their starters at linebacker.
A call from Nick Saban praising Mosley's great lateral speed and versatility will help land the four-star OLB and keep Alabama's rush defense indomitable. Unless he goes to Auburn. In that case, he's probably not that great of a player anyhow.
Gene Chizik Will Call...Five-Star JUCO QB Cameron Newton
The melodrama that is Cameron Newton's college career continues with the news that Newton's announcement, scheduled for this Thursday, has been postponed for unspecified reasons.
The Tigers fanbase has been feeling good about his commitment, but the longer it drags on, the more likely the announcement could be an unpleasant surprise in favor of Mississippi State or Oklahoma.
A call from Chizik (or OC Gus Malzahn) could get to the bottom of Newton's vacillation as well as remind him that not only is there room, but talent and time aplenty, for Newton to take advantage of in Jordan-Hare.
The Tigers are making huge strides at wide receiver (Trovon Reed, Jeremy Richardson) and running back (five-star RB Michael Dyer), and they could be downright scary once Malzahn's proven system gets a big boost in talent at the QB position as well.
Les Miles Will Call...Five-Star RB Lache Seastrunk
Since Joseph Addai, it's been a while since LSU has fielded a great running back (sorry, Jacob Hester; apologies, Charles Scott), and that's exactly what Lache Seastrunk could be for the Tigers.
His speed and burst have scouts drooling, and he could start immediately now that Scott has played his last game in the purple and yellow.
Les Miles could call Seastrunk and, in that evocative way he has, convince him that the LSU offensive machine is really just a bomb about to go off, strewing yards and points and touchdowns and limbs all over the vast landscape of the SEC.
Let 'er rip!