Today is the official commencement of the early signing period for the top college football prospects in the country. Teams can now look forward to several of the top high school players officially declaring and joining their schools. For the SEC, some big names have already committed for next year. ESPN’s top-ranked recruit, QB Justin Fields, has already chosen to play for the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia has also landed three other top-30 recruits, while the powerhouse that is Alabama has only landed one (29 – Xavier Williams, athlete). However, that can all change starting today, so here are five big names to look forward to, as well as where they’re from, they’re rank in the ESPN 300 and the SEC schools in the hunt for them:
4 – Eyabi Anoma, DE, Maryland; Alabama Crimson Tide
The 6’6” Anoma has visited three schools, but the only SEC one on that list is Alabama. He has offers from others, such as Florida, Georgia and Ole Miss; however, none of them seem like they have a legitimate chance. The Tide will be competing for his services with the hometown Maryland Terrapins and the Michigan Wolverines, the other two schools he has visited. Unless location plays into it, it’s hard to see him picking Maryland, which means Anoma will have to choose whether he wants to play for Nick Saban or Jim Harbaugh, both of whom send plenty of kids to the NFL.
5 – K.J. Henry, DE, North Carolina; Georgia Bulldogs, South Carolina Gamecocks
Henry, standing at 6’6”, has visited four schools: the two SEC teams given above, in addition to the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Clemson Bulldogs. It’s fairly clear location is going to play into this young man’s decision; what’s unclear is whether or not the College Football Playoff picture will. If he wants a dominant program that has success, then Georgia or Clemson is going to be his likely choice. If he wants to be the face of a program by the end of his Freshman year, it’ll come down to VT or So. Car. There isn’t a bad school on that list, but it may be better for his development if he chooses one of the two schools in the Playoff (especially Clemson, who look like they’ve got 4 future NFL defensive lineman on their roster).
7 – Micah Parsons, DE, Pennsylvania; Georgia Bulldogs
Parsons is a 6’3” D-End who has visited 5 schools. Along with Georgia, he has gone to Nebraska(?), Ohio State, Penn State and Oklahoma to figure out where he wants to spend his college football career. The Pennsylvania bias may help the Nittany Lions, but their inability to make the Playoff won’t. The same goes for OSU, although they’ll be aided by their penchant for producing top-notch defensive linemen (Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington, etc.) Oklahoma and Georgia both have the Playoff status going for them, while Nebraska has bright young coach Scott Frost coming in to take over the program. There are a lot of factors that play into where this young man may go, and I’m curious to see which matters the most to him.
19 – Cade Mays, OT, Tennessee; Georgia Bulldogs
Mays, a massive human being at 6’6”, 327 LBs, has also gone and seen Clemson and Ohio State over the past couple of months. Clearly, he’s not afraid to leave his home state and go to the school that’s the best fit for him, it just depends on what that school is. All are well-coached, upper echelon college football schools that would give him an opportunity to start and excel, as well as improve his chances at being drafted one day. Frankly, I have no clue what his inclination is going to be – he may be the biggest wildcard recruit so far.
45 – Anthony Cook, CB, Texas; LSU Tigers
Cook, a top-ten corner, has visited LSU, Ohio State and his home team, the Texas Longhorns. While LSU has been fortunate enough to get a visit from this young man, I’m inclined to believe they may be third on his list. If he wants to go somewhere that sends great DBs to the NFL, OSU is the clear choice, as they’re recently sent Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, Gareon Conley and Eli Apple, and are about to send Denzel Ward and possibly others. If it’s location, Texas should be the choice, especially now that they’re being coached by Tom Herman. Perhaps the legacies left behind by Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, as well as the success of Tredavious White, will sway his decision to the Tigers, but to me, they just don’t seem like a logical choice.
All stats and info courtesy ESPN.
Cover photo courtesy sportslogos.net.