Most notable recruits who flipped from the SEC to other conferences
It’s been a busy year for prospects flipping from SEC programs to non-SEC programs, maybe one of the busiest on record. Two blue-chip quarterbacks, Hunter Johnson and Tate Martell were committed to Tennessee and Texas A&M, respectively, before flipping out of the conference.
Johnson went from Volunteer orange to Clemson orange and Martell’s high-profile flip from Texas A&M to Ohio State got an Aggies coach riled up on Twitter.
— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) January 25, 2017
Last weekend the highest-rated player in South Carolina’s class, 4-star cornerback Hamsah Nasirildeen, flipped to Florida State. Last month Georgia lost 4-star running back Toneil Carter to Texas right before the dead period; Carter signed and enrolled at Texas last week.
There’s usually a lot of movement within the conference as prospects constantly flip from one conference school to the next. And on many occasions a prospect will flip into the conference, but rarely do they leave voluntarily.
And there’s a big difference between a flip and a “dump.”
Nasirildeen flipped. South Carolina still wants him as part of their class and he left on his own. A prospect that “flips” from … let’s say Tennessee to Iowa State was probably pushed out of the Tennessee class since those two programs tend to recruit a different caliber of player.
So with all that out of the way let’s look at a few notable (within a decade) flips … and as always feel free to make a contribution with the flips that affected you personally.
Greg Reid from Florida to FSU (Class of 2009): As the final weeks before signing day Reid’s commitment to Florida was kind of soft and he was particularly looking at FSU and Georgia. The 5-star prospect ended up choosing FSU and was one of the first big commits for Jimbo Fisher in the waning moments of his “head-coach-in-waiting” period at Florida State. Reid turned out to be a solid contributor for the Seminoles for three years before being dismissed from the team after a violation of rules before his season year in 2012.
Keenan Allen from Alabama to Cal (Class of 2010): Allen, a 5-star athlete out of Greensboro, N.C., was a long time verbal commitment to Alabama before rumors started spreading in the hours leading up to signing day. By the time of his 8 a.m. announcement on signing day morning, he wasn’t even considered a Tide commit by some recruiting services even though he never public decommitted until he decided to put on a Cal hat instead of an Alabama hat.
Everyone seems to have a side to what happened, but Nick Saban said that the deciding factor was Allen’s desire to be in the same program as his brother, Zach Maynard, and Alabama didn’t have room for both. Luckily Saban didn’t let this one disappointment keep him from recruiting more 5-star prospects and successfully signing a lot of them.
Torshiro Davis from LSU to Texas (Class of 2012): The flip of this linebacker/defensive end prospect out of Shreveport, La., infuriated some LSU fans. Davis doubled down on his move by telling a television reporter that players didn’t seem happy at LSU and said morale in the locker room was poor.
Now mind you this is right after LSU imploded in a 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game and the fallout from that wasn’t pretty (LSU fans never forgave Les Miles for it), so that could have been what Davis was referring to.
As a player Davis was a spot starter over four years at Texas and never emerged into the blue-chip player he was projected to be.
Trace McSorely from Vanderbilt to Penn State (Class of 2014): McSorely, like four other prospects, followed James Franklin from Nashville to State College. Given Vanderbilt’s struggles at the quarterback position, this flip probably stunted the program’s growth during the Derek Mason era more than the others.
McSorely had a breakout season as a redshirt sophomore with the Nittany Lions, throwing for over 3,500 yards and 29 touchdowns and setting several single-season school records while leading Penn State to the Big Ten championship. McSorley was the MVP after setting game records with 384 yards and four touchdowns.
Varshaun Nixon from Texas A&M to TCU (Class of 2014): Nixon flipped during the final weekend before signing day, choosing the Big 12 program over the Aggies after committing to Texas A&M during his sophomore season.
Nixon’s flip left Texas A&M without a running back in its 2014 class. That impacted that season, but the Aggies recovered with 1,000-yard seasons from Tra Carson and Trayveon Williams in the past two seasons.
Nixon was a candidate for a breakout season with the Horned Frogs after a productive 2015 season at running back and wide receiver but he missed the 2016 season with an injury.