Most important commit in each SEC class
We’re a day away from the big one and it’s time to spotlight one prospect from each SEC class who is considered the most crucial to the class.
In many cases the selected prospects are determined by need or importance of the position to the team’s success.
And with many prospects yet to announce, things could change Wednesday as a new commit/signee could become the centerpiece of the class.
Alabama – Jerry Jeudy, WR, 5-star: With the departure of ArDarius Stewart to the NFL Draft, there’s a spot for one of the top wide receiving prospects in the nation to take. Could Jeudy join Calvin Ridley and Amari Cooper as the Tider’s next hot freshman wide receiver from South Florida?
Arkansas – Melvin Johnson, DT, 3-star JUCO: The Razorbacks are losing four senior linemen in their two-deep, so while Johnson isn’t the highest-rated player in their class, he is another big body on the defensive line who has playing experience and will be expected to provide depth.
Auburn – Calvin Ashley, OT, 5-star: The Tigers will have an opening at right tackle and a senior at left tackle so Ashley could get on the field quickly. This is a big recruiting win for the Tigers, who took Ashley’s commitment a year and a half ago and kept it despite many rumors of a flip.
Florida – Marco Wilson, CB, 4-star: Surprisingly the Gators have struggled to keep cornerbacks in this class, but Wilson is solid and he’s a lot like his older brother Quincy Wilson as both have been trained by their father, former Miami Hurricanes and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Chad Wilson.
Georgia – Isaiah Wilson, OT, 5-star: The Bulldogs staff went all the way to Brooklyn, N.Y., to snatch this massive tackle prospect from an expected commitment to Michigan. One of the things Kirby Smart wanted to do at Georgia was get bigger along the lines. Well, Wilson is about 6-foot-7 and 350 pounds.
Kentucky – Joshua Paschal, DE, 4-star: Kentucky’s offense turned the corner in 2016, but the Wildcats still need to get more athletic on defense and Paschal is the type of prospect who can come in and find an early role as a pass rusher.
LSU – Lowell Narcisse, QB, 4-star: LSU’s offense is still trying to fix its quarterback problem and the 6-2, 225-pound Narcisse is expected to be part of the solution. If he’s recovered enough from his ACL injury to practice in the spring he’ll be one of the players to watch.
Mississippi State – Keytaon Thompson, QB, 4-star: The Bulldogs are set at the quarterback position for the immediate future with Nick Fitzgerald, but Thompson will provide depth and a long-term succession plan at the position.
Missouri – Walter Palmore, DT, 3-star JUCO: The Tigers desperately needed interior defensive linemen and Palmore is one who could come in and get on the two-deep immediately. Palmore, who committed to Missouri on Monday, has two years to play two so he’ll be asked to perform right away.
Ole Miss – Breon Dixon, ILB, 4-star: Dixon committed to Georgia but flipped to Ole Miss, where the need for linebackers is high. Dixon enrolled on Jan. 23, meaning he’ll be fighting for a spot on the two-deep during spring practice.
South Carolina – OrTre Smith, WR, 4-star: It looks like the Gamecocks found their quarterback in Jake Bentley, and Smith joins Deebo Samuel, Bryan Edwards and tight end Hayden Hurst as a nice group of pass catchers to help Bentley raise his game to another level.
Tennessee – Maliek Gray, S, 4-star: The Volunteers’ staff had to hold on to Gray and keep him from taking a visit to Florida State. Now they should reap benefits of this athletic safety who covers space and has ball skills like a shut-down cornerback.
Texas A&M – Kellen Mond, QB, 4-star: With Trevor Knight out of eligibility, Mond will be part of an open competition that will include senior Jake Hubenak and redshirt freshman Nick Starkel. Mond (6-2, 201) has the physical talent and spent the last season at IMG Academy to get a head start on his preparation for this spring.
Vanderbilt – Bryce Bailey, OT, 3-star: There’s little depth behind projected 2017 starters Devin Cochran and Justin Skule, so Bailey could be the rare Vanderbilt true freshman who is called into action if the unit suffers a rash of injuries.