With college football’s regular season winding down, it’s time to turn up the heat as the top high school football recruits in the nation begin to make commitments all over the map. Nowhere is that more pronounced than the NFL factory that we know as the Southeastern Conference.
Churning out professional talent at an unmatched clip, the SEC is a hub for the top players in the country. Despite one team continuing to dominate the recruiting cycle, the rest of the conference is slowly closing the gap — There are ELEVEN of the 14 SEC schools with recruiting classes for the 2019 season inside the 25 best classes according to 247Sports.
With the SEC Championship looming, here are the recruiting dominos you may have missed:
Alabama Flips LB Away From A&M
Four-star inside linebacker Christian Harris committed to play for the Aggies back in August, but he announced on November 28 that he was changing his mind to play for head coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide next season.
The ninth-ranked linebacker in the nation has led University Lab High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to a 12-0 record and will play St. Thomas More in the Division II Louisiana State Championship Game on December 7. A big senior year flipped Harris away from A&M, and he is yet another elite player to add to the new “Linebacker U” in Tuscaloosa.
Tennessee Lands Elite 2020 QB
One of the Volunteers’ top targets of the 2020 class is four-star quarterback Harrison Bailey out of Marietta, Georgia. Tennessee and head coach Jeremy Pruitt needed to add a major offensive piece for the future, and they got just that with this commitment.
The third-ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation in his class and is likely to improve his stock to become a five-star prospect as a senior. This year, Bailey threw for 2,809 yards and 29 touchdowns for the Marietta Blue Devils. Expect to hear a lot more from this kid next season.
Record-Breaking RB Commits to Mississippi State
North Jackson running back Lee Witherspoon may just be a three-star prospect, but the 22nd commitment in Joe Moorhead’s 2019 class is anything but an unknown commodity coming out of Alabama.
Witherspoon broke the state record with an insane 59 touchdowns as a senior to go along with 3,414 all-purpose yards in 2018. The Chiefs’ only loss came in the Alabama state playoffs, so Witherspoon will be bringing a hungry attitude to a power-running football program awaiting him in Starkville.
‘Bama Grabs Commitments from Three Blue-Chip 2020 Prospects
If one Alabama recruiting update wasn’t enough, here are three more commitments for the Crimson Tide’s top-ranked 2020 class to really get your blood flowing:
— Chris Braswell, Baltimore, MD: Five-star DE is rated as the 19th-overall prospect in the country
— Javon Baker, Fairburn, GA: Four-star WR is a top-25 pass catcher in 2020
— Roydell Williams, Hueytown, AL: Four-star RB ranks as the 10th-best player in Alabama
Four-Star RB Chooses Gators
Also holding an offer from Alabama, running back Nay’Quan Wright committed to Dan Mullen’s Florida for the 2019 season as the Gators’ ninth four-star commitment. Coming out of Opa Locka, Florida, this one is a testament to Mullen’s in-state reputation slowly growing in the Panhandle.
Wright should have led Miami Carol City to an 11-1 record with their only loss coming in the state playoffs, but the school was forced to forfeit their first two wins late in the season for using ineligible players. It seems like Wright is ready to play now, and the all-purpose back fits Florida’s style brilliantly. He’ll be a treat to watch for the next few seasons.
Kelly Bryant’s Decision Still Holds Biggest Question Mark
Regardless of where the chess pieces start, the most important move will be the impending decision from former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant. With six schools still in play, including Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi State and Auburn, his commitment could swing the balance of power very quickly for the 2019 season when he makes his announcement on December 4.
UPDATE: Kelly Bryant announced he will play the 2019 season as a member of the Missouri Tigers.
The NCAA’s early signing period starts on December 19, so expect a lot more recruits to make announcements before that date arrives.
This is all going to get a lot more fun.