SEC National Signing Day Primer

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The SEC is so fertile with high school talent, it is almost sickening. Four different SEC schools currently have more five-star commitments than the Big 12 has as a conference. The success on the field may not have netted a national championship the past couple of seasons for the SEC, but the conference continues to be a leader in the recruiting game.

Alabama is playing on a different playing field when it comes to recruiting despite some changes on the coaching staff this offseason. Regardless, the Crimson Tide are well on their way to another recruiting national championship. SEC West rivals LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn are putting together great classes as well, but they tend to get overlooked by Alabama’s efforts. In the east, Tennessee continues to be a program on the rise with a very impressive class being put together brick by brick. Georgia continues to do well, as you might expect.

Current Rivals SEC Team Rankings (as of February 1, 2015)

1. Alabama

2. Tennessee

3. Georgia

4. texas A&M

5. LSU

6. Auburn

7. South Carolina

8. Mississippi State

9. Arkansas

10. Ole Miss

11. Missouri

12. Kentucky

13. Vanderbilt

14. Florida

The Top Recruit

DT Kahill McKenzie (Concord, CA): Tennessee

For the moment, no SEC school has landed a bigger commitment in the Class of 2015 as Tennessee with Kahill McKenzie… literally. McKenzie is the nation’s sixth-ranked player and measures in at 6′ 4″ and 340 pounds to be the top defensive tackle in the country. He is the prized recruit for Butch Jones at Tennessee, where the Vols have come on very strong in this recruiting cycle.

Recruiting Battle To Watch

Auburn and Florida are going down to the wire for the number one recruit in the nation, defensive end Byron Cowart of Seffner, Florida. The top player in the nation according to Rivals has visited both schools in the past month, and no others. Although Alabama could be in the mix, as well as Florida State or Clemson and Georgia, the decision is highly expected to be between Auburn and Florida. Florida could really use a boost in the recruiting rankings with Jim McElwain getting a late start on the process, but former Gators head coach Will Mushcamp is now at Auburn as defensive coordinator and that could be a big factor.

Florida has nowhere to go but up

The pains on the field experienced by Florida the last few years have been a drain on recruiting in this recruiting cycle. A coaching change can have a negative impact on the situation as well, and the extended uncertainty over the status of Muschamp as head coach at Gainesville did not help the cause. In steps McElwain, a former Nick Saban assistant with a solid knowledge of how to recruit in the SEC. Like Michigan in the Big Ten, McElwain and his staff in Gainesville are allowed a free pass in the Class of 2015, but dramatic improvements must be made starting in 2016 with a  full recruiting calendar. The Gators will not be on the bottom of the SEC recruiting rankings for very long.

Four-star 2019 corner tweets transfer from Arkansas

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For the second time today, there’s some Arkansas personnel news on which to touch.

Monday, Chad Morris confirmed that linebacker D’Vone McClure left the team to deal with family responsibilities.  Later that same day, teammate Devin Bush took to Twitter to announce that, “[a]fter speaking with my parents and coaches, I’ve made the decision to officially enter the transfer portal.”

A four-star member of the Razorbacks’ 2019 recruiting class, Bush was rated as the No. 28 corner in the country and the No. 13 player at any position in the state of Louisiana.  The New Orleans native was the highest-rated defensive signee in Arkansas’ class this year.

Because he played in just four games this year, Bush will be able to take a redshirt for his true freshman season.

WR Weston Bridges is fourth Michigan State player to enter portal

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In the offseason, Weston Bridges changed positions.  Midway through the 2019 season, it appears Bridges is now set to change schools.

On his personal Twitter account Monday afternoon, Bridges indicated that he has decided to take his leave of Michigan State and transfer to an undetermined elsewhere.  It has subsequently been confirmed that the wide receiver is headed into the NCAA transfer database.

A three-star member of the Spartans’ 2017 recruiting class, Bridges was rated as the No. 31 running back in the country and the No. 24 player at any position in the state of Ohio.  During the spring this year, Bridges moved from running back to receiver.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Bridges carried the ball 16 times for 53 yards last season.  He was suspended for a late-September game because of unspecified violations of team rules.

Bridges is the fourth MSU football player to enter the portal since the 2019 season kicked off, joining linebacker Brandon Bouyer-Randle (HERE) as well as a pair of running backs in Connor Heyward (HERE) and La’Darius Jefferson (HERE).

Louisville’s season-opening QB starter to undergo year-ending surgery

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Jawon Pass began the 2019 season as Louisville’s starter under center.  After a couple of weeks of uncertainty, the redshirt junior will end it on the sidelines.

Pass suffered what turned out to be diagnosed as a case of turf toe in the season-opening loss to Notre Dame.  It wasn’t severe enough, however, to keep the starting quarterback out of the Week 2 win over Eastern Kentucky.

The past four games, though, Pass has been sidelined because of the injury.  Tuesday, it was confirmed by the football program that, as some have speculated, Pass will undergo surgery and, as a result, miss the remainder of the 2019 season.

With Pass sidelined, Malik Cunningham had started all four games in his place.  The redshirt sophomore, though, has been dealing with his own injuries, including a knee issue, that at least temporarily knocked him out of a pair of games.

True freshman Evan Conley replaced Cunningham both times, and was even named as the ACC’s Quarterback and Rookie of the Week for his performance in the upset of Wake Forest this past weekend.

For the season, Cunningham has completed 44-of-66 passes (66.7 percent) for 820 yards, seven touchdowns, one interception.  Conley is at a 64.9 completion percentage on his 37 attempts, throwing for 422 yards, four touchdowns and a pick.  Cunningham is the Cardinals third-leading rusher with 226 yards, while Conley is fifth with 84.

As of today, head coach Scott Satterfield has not named a starter for this weekend’s game against No. 3 Clemson.

USC’s leading rusher set for knee surgery

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Vavae Malepeai tolerated the pain as long as he could, until he couldn’t.

A knee injury sidelined Malepeai for most of USC’s summer camp.  Even as he had played — and played well — in all six games, the issue lingered on into the regular season; this weekend, the pause button was hit on Malepeai’s year as Clay Helton confirmed that the running back will undergo surgery to repair the damage to his knee.

No timetable for a return was given.

“Vavae is a warrior,” the head coach said according to the Los Angeles Times. “[He was] dealing with a sore knee and really fighting through it for his team. It’s just gotten to the point where it’s gotten too sore, so we’re going to go ahead and take care of it now.”

Malepeai’s 406 yards rushing and four touchdowns currently lead the Trojans.

With Malepeai out for the foreseeable future, Markese Stepp and Stephen Carr will see their opportunities in the running game increase.  Stepp is second on the team with 241 yards rushing, Carr third at 233.  Both players have a pair of touchdowns each on the ground.