10 Class of 2018 prospects every SEC fan should know
There appears to be a bumper crop of top-shelf offensive linemen in Georgia for the Class of 2018. The home-state Bulldogs look to have a strong lean for at least the top two, but they have company.
If that comes to fruition, Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman and Kirby Smart should have their offensive line depth chart set for years.
Pittman was credited with building momentum late in the 2017 class with 5-star offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson from Brookyn, N.Y. and D’Marcus Hayes, who was ranked among the best junior college offensive tackles in the country. Overall, Georgia recently signed four offensive tackles and two guards.
Offensive linemen aren’t the only coveted prospects in the upcoming class. Here are 10 prospects who are already on the coaching staffs’ radar, and will soon be on the minds of fans:
Xavier Thomas, DE, Florence, S.C.: This will likely come down to a Palmetto State showdown for the top-ranked strong-side defensive end and best player in this class from South Carolina. Thomas is a 5-star recruit and the No. 2 prospect in 2018 in America. Clemson, South Carolina and Florida State are among the favorites to land Thomas, who will play next season at IMG Academy.
Patrick Surtain, Jr., DB, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: Surtain, No. 6 overall, is the best cornerback and player overall in Florida in this class. He looks to be ticketed for Baton Rouge. Florida State is also in the mix with Alabama, Clemson and Florida. He’s the son of the long-time NFL defensive back by the same name.
Jamaree Salyer, OG, Atlanta: The 6-3.5 and 327-pound 5-star has 28 offers. Though Georgia is considered in the lead, Alabama is in the mix along with Clemson, Ohio State and Michigan State. He’s considered the first or second most-important target for Georgia. Salyer is ranked the second-best prospect in Georgia by 247 Sports behind pro-style QB Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville, who is committed to Clemson.
Zamir White, RB, Laurinburg, N.C.: White, No. 3 overall, is another 5-star and the top-ranked player from North Carolina. White, who is 5-11, 195 pounds, is popular across the SEC, but Georgia is believed to be at the top of the list with Clemson and North Carolina, according to 247Sports.com’s crystal ball projections. Alabama, Auburn and Ohio State are also among the favorites out of at least 25 offers. He’s ranked the top running back in this class.
Terrace Marshall, WR, Bossier City, La.: This looks to be a battle between LSU and Texas A&M for the top-rated player in Louisiana and the third-best receiver in this class. The 6-4, 190 pound 5-star plays at the high school, Parkway, that reportedly banned Alabama from the campus because of its recruitment of Brandon Harris.
Jackson Carman, OT, Fairfield, Ohio: The top offensive tackle recruit in this class, Carman looks to be a lock to the Buckeyes, but Alabama is still in the mix with Clemson, Michigan State and Southern Cal. Carman is the top-ranked player in Ohio, and in his six recruiting classes, Urban Meyer has missed Ohio’s top player just once (Tommy Kraemer, Notre Dame, in 2016).
Trey Hill, OG, Warner Robins, Ga.: Hill is the No. 2 offensive guard and No. 5 player in Georgia. Clemson and Florida State are also in the mix for the 4-star. Hill, like Salyer, is expected to play center or guard in college.
Cade Mays, OT, Knoxville, Tenn.: For the second consecutive year, the Vols have a commit from the top player in the state who happens to be an offensive lineman. Mays’ father played for the Vols in the early 1990s when Johnny Majors and Phil Fulmer coached the program. Kevin Mays, the father, was a senior captain and the only Vol to be named All-SEC in 1994. He was on the offensive line when Peyton Manning was named SEC Freshman of the Year. The younger Mays, listed at 6-5.5 and 311 pounds, is a 5-star prospect who committed as a rising sophomore.
Greg Emerson, DE, Jackson, Tenn.: Emerson is the No. 2 prospect in Tennessee in this class and the No. 2 strong-side defensive end in the class. He has 19 offers, and appears to be a strong lean to the Vols, but also has interest in Alabama and Ohio State.
Max Wray, OT, Franklin, Tenn.: The first commit in the 2018 class for Georgia, Wray is the sixth-best offensive tackle in this class, and the third-best player in Tennessee. Wray has added about 20 pounds since he committed, and he’s now listed at 6-6, 287 pounds. While he grows into that frame on the college level, he picked up at least five other offers from SEC schools because of his quick feet and long arms. The 4-star prospect has 16 offers, and Texas is considered the next closest to land him.