5 best SEC-area recruits who got away
The SEC doesn’t get every great recruit. It doesn’t even get every great recruit from SEC states.
Here are five recent standouts who put the “S-E-C” is escape.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Watson starred at Gainesville (Ga.) High, at the top of a triangle with Atlanta 60 miles southwest, Athens just 45 miles southeast.
He was the No. 1-rated dual-threat quarterback in the 2014 class, a four-star prospect ranked No. 41 overall.
He committed to Clemson midway through his sophomore year, but that hardly stopped the overtures.
His “secret visit” to Auburn gave those Tigers hope, but he stayed true to Dabo Swinney.
A Heisman finalist in 2015, he led Clemson to within one touchdown of a national championship.
Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
Ramsey was a five-star standout from suburban Nashville, Tenn. He was ranked the No. 2 cornerback in the 2013 class, behind Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III.
Ramsey committed to Southern Cal — and Lane Kiffin — early in the process, but at one point most analysts thought Florida would win his signature. Instead, he signed with Florida State and was a key piece on the Seminoles’ 2013 national championship team.
Ramsey turned his back on his home state — but he probably got some high-fives from Volunteers fans after he left Kiffin hanging on signing day.
Ramsey and Hargreaves both entered the NFL Draft and are competing again to see which one is selected first. Both are regarded early first-round picks.
Nelson Agholor, ATH, USC
Agholor was a five-star speedster, the No. 3-ranked athlete in the 2012 class out of Tampa, Fla.
He choose Kiffin and the Trojans over Florida (and Florida State).
Much like his game, Agholor sped through the college ranks, needing just three years to establish himself as ready for the NFL.
The Philadelphia Eagles selected Agholor with the 20th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Bosa dominated at south Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, earning a four-star grade. He was rated the No. 4 defensive end in the 2013 class, and No. 37 prospect overall.
He had offers from Alabama and Florida but chose Urban Meyer and Ohio State. He anchored the Buckeyes’ drive to the 2014 national championship and is projected as an early first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
McMillan was a five-star prospect and No. 1-rated inside linebacker prospect in the 2014 class.
He starred at Hinesville, Ga., 40 miles southwest of Savannah. Alabama, Auburn and homestate Georgia were among his finalists.
“I don’t want to say too much about the SEC, because I may say something,” McMillan told Cleveland.com in a 2015 story about tricks some teams used to recruit him. “I’m from SEC country where everything is SEC, that they won six national championships in a row or something like that.
“But seeing our conference build and improve upon what we did last year. It’s great to see. … Everybody was pressuring me to go (to Alabama). And I didn’t want to do what everyone wanted me to do. I wanted to be different.”
He was second-team All-Big Ten for the Buckeyes this past season.