Updating the top 5 uncommitted SEC targets
The final weekend of the 2016 recruiting cycle is upon us, so it’s time to hit the re-set button and update the top five uncommitted prospects with Southeastern Conference offers/attention.
1. Rashan Gary, DT, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic
Contenders: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Ole Miss, Michigan
National Rank: No. 1
The Skinny: Gary, who will announce his decision at 1 p.m. (ET) on SportsCenter on signing day, is thought to be Michigan-bound, but he’s visiting Clemson this weekend, so don’t count the Tigers out as he has family in nearby Anderson, S.C. Also, at different times during the process, Auburn, Ole Miss and Alabama have risen and fallen on his list, so you can’t count any of those programs completely out either. In reality, I see this as Michigan or Clemson (my prediction right now is the Wolverines) when all is said and done, but there are a lot of variables for this very deserving, coveted prospect.
2. Derrick Brown, DT, Buford (Ga.) Lanier
Contenders: Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee
National Rank: No. 9
The Skinny: For the longest time, the Bulldogs were the clear team to beat for Brown, but Auburn has been trending of late and you can’t rule out the Vols, who get an official visit this weekend from the five-star prospect. Despite information coming out that Brown’s top three are Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee, it’s not wise to rule out UGA here given the strength of the Bulldogs’ position throughout. This one will likely be one of the most talked-about decisions leading up to signing day given the late official to Knoxville and the three passionate fan bases involved. Oh and also, Brown is the top-ranked prospect in the Peach State, which is vital recruiting territory to Tennessee and Auburn. Landing him would be a huge victory and not just because he’s a great prospect.
3. Ben Davis, LB, Gordo (Ala.)
Contenders: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Notre Dame
National Rank: No. 10
The Skinny: Davis is an Alabama legacy from Gordo and as a big, athletic linebacker, he certainly fits what the Crimson Tide does on defense like a glove. It would be extremely surprising if he ended up anywhere but Tuscaloosa when all is said and done.
4. Mique Juarez, LB, Torrance (Calif.) North
Contenders: Alabama, Ole Miss, UCLA
National Rank: No. 11
The Skinny: This one is interesting because the Tide, Bruins and Rebels all have some degree of confidence heading into the final week of the cycle. Juarez had a great visit to Tuscaloosa and the feeling at Alabama is that they are right there high on his list. He visits Oxford this weekend so the Rebels have a chance to make a big final impression. UCLA, of course, has the proximity advantage and has felt confident about Juarez since the five-star prospect de-committed from USC. This is another one of those situations that has gotten extremely intriguing late. It’s basically going to come down to this: Is Juarez willing to leave the west coast and head south for college? That’s a question only he and his family can answer.
5. Mecole Hardman Jr., ATH, Elberton (Ga.) Elbert County
Contenders: Alabama, Georgia
National Rank: No. 13
The Skinny: Hardman released a top seven a couple of weeks back that did not include UGA and continues to say that the Crimson Tide is his leader. While you can’t discount that, there is a great deal of sentiment behind the scenes — all the way from Tuscaloosa to Hartwell, Ga. — that at the end of the day, he’s going to sign with the Bulldogs. That’s my prediction and I am sticking to it, though certainly if Bama can pull him it’s quite a win for the Tide.