Southeast Region: Summer Sizzlers

Several prospects in the class of 2009 decided to focus the attention on their senior year and elected to announce a decision before the 2008 season.'s publishers and recruiting analysts in the Southeast region gave an overview of just how successful recruiting has been for their school since June.

Alabama Crimson Tide: Total commitments 13, Summer Commitments 8
Kirk McNair,

Trent Richardson
"The University of Alabama is coming off the No. 1 recruiting class in the country in 2008 with high expectations for the class of 2009," McNair explained.

"The Tide jump started the summer months with three commitments in June: four-star running back Trent Richardson from Pensacola-Escambia, three-star defensive tackle Quinton Dial from Pinson-Clay-Chalkville and three-star fullback Mike Marrow from Toledo-Central Catholic, Ohio."

"We turn to our Scout experts when looking for evaluations of prospects, and Scott Kennedy praises the Sunshine State commitment Trent Richardson.

"An extremely hard runner. Richardson fights for every last inch when he has the ball in his hands," Kennedy said. "He is extremely hard to knock off his feet and breaks tackles well with his balance. He sees the hole and attacks the second level of defenders punishing smaller linebackers and defensive backs."

"Alabama landed five commitments in July after waiting over a month for the next prospect to step up to the plate to pull the trigger," McNair continued.

Rod Woodson
"Two commitments came the same day (7-22) when Gerald West, three-star cornerback from Faith Academy in Mobile and William Ming, four-star defensive end from Athens, Ala., both came on board."

"Rod Woodson, four-star safety from Olive Branch, Miss., followed a few days later with his announcement. Woodson is one of the best from the Magnolia State, and Croom and Nutt would have preferred keeping him home."

"Alabama added the last two commitments (7-29) in Anthony Orr, three-star defensive tackle from Sparkman and Anthony Steen, three-star offfensive guard from Clarksdale-Lee Academy, Miss."

"Coach Nick Saban is relentless in his recruiting efforts, and it is very possible he reels in all of the in-state five-star prospects: Nico Johnson, Dre Kirkpatrick and Kendall Kelly. Adding to a class which will escalate Alabama, once again, as one of the elite classes for 2009.

Arkansas Razorbacks: Total Commitments, 11, Summer Commitments 6
Dudley Dawson,

David Gordon
"Arkansas heads into the football season with 11 commitments, including recent pledges in August from offensive linemen Alvin Bailey (6-5, 300) of Broken Arrow, Okla., Travis Swanson (6-5, 288) of Kingwood, Texas and a re-commit from 2008 signee Anthony Oden (6-8, 295), who is now at Hargrave Military Academy," Dawson said.

"Those three were among six commitments that the Razorbacks have landed since July with Tulsa (Okla.) East Central cornerback David Gordon (6-1, 180) as well as Texas prep linebackers Ross Rasner (6-1, 200) of Waco Reicher and linebacker Austin Moss (6-3, 210) of Rockwall Heath."

Austin Moss
"The Razorbacks have done extremely well in Texas having gotten earlier commitments from quarterback Will Secord (6-2, 212) of Frisco Wakeland and defensive end Ryan Calender (6-8, 220) of Caddo Mills to go along with in-state products such as offensive lineman Colby Berna (6-4, 275) and running back Turell Williams (6-2, 215) of West Helena."

"The Razorbacks are expected to sign their full allotment of 25 scholarships meaning they have 14 other spots to fill."

Auburn Tigers: Total Commitments 21, Summer Commitments 12
Mark Murphy,

Jonathan Evans
"It's been a busy summer recruiting season for the Auburn Tigers, who have been loading up with camp standouts who became early commitments for the 2009 signee class. With 21 verbals, the Tigers don't have much room for more prospects, but are expected to add several more linemen to Tommy Tuberville's signee class," Murphy stated.

"The June rush began early in the month as Blount High standout Jonathan Evans decided to follow his older brother to Auburn. Chris Evans, who is a senior this season for the Tigers, was one of the major reasons why the 2007 Auburn defense was ranked in the Top 10 nationally and is a returning starter as a senior in 2008. Jonathan, like his brother, is a smart and productive player for Blount, a school in Prichard that has sent many good players to Auburn over the years."

"The Tigers picked up three verbal commitments on the same day in June from prospects who stood out at an AU two-day camp. The group includes speedster Travante Stallworth from Leesville, La., High and tailback LaDarius Perkins from St. Joseph's High in Greenville, Miss."

"Stallworth is a quarterback in high school, but was impressive as a receiver at the Auburn camp. Perkins outperformed a variety of highly rated prospects at the camp and committed soon after getting an offer from the Tigers."

"The other verbal commitment that day came from big, physical offensive tackle prospect Andre Harris from Lovejoy, Ga., High, the same school that sent the Tigers two potential starters for the 2008 team--offensive guard Byron Isom and wideout Mario Fannin."

"The commitment parade continued with commitments the following two days. Speedy wideout LaVoyd James from Mobile's Williamson High has the kind of speed and athleticism that new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin is looking to bring to the team."

"Another camp standout, Aaron Moore from Centennial High in Frisco, Tex., is a player who could line up at a variety of positions, but Auburn wants him as an offensive lineman."

"Peach County High in Fort Valley, Ga., the high school that sent the Tigers potential 2008 starter Chris Slaughter who is a wide receiver, is sending Auburn another skill player with speed. Reggie Taylor got offered by the Tigers after a strong camp performance at AU, and the defensive back didn't wait long to say yes."

Brandon Jacobs

"One of the most impressive campers at any position at Auburn this summer was running back Brandon Jacobs from Parkview High in Lilburn, Ga., the school that sent the Tigers projected 2008 starting tailback, Brad Lester. Jacobs is a big back with speed and good moves who is the nephew of 1980s Auburn star and NFL All-Pro performer Steve Wallace."

"The Tigers have had success with some under the radar type of recruits in the past and are hoping they hit the jackpot with the addition of a defensive end with the speed of a cornerback, the position that St. Clair County High star Dee Ford played defensive back before outgrowing it last season. At 6-3 1/2, 205 he is expected to cause big problems for opponents this fall with his sub 4.5 speed."

"Another athletic recruit committed in July when Jamie Collins from Franklin High in Meadville, Miss., decided on the Tigers. He is expected to be a linebacker in college."

"The next commitment also came from the Magnolia State when David Conner from the powerhouse South Panola High in Batesville, Miss., program picked Auburn. A prospect who could be a defensive back or a linebacker, he is known as a big-play man for his high school team."

"A lot of plays were made last season at Garden City Community College in Kansas by Auburn commitment Cameron Kenney. A standout wide receiver who is originally from Dacula, Ga., he is also a dangerous kick and punt returner. He also punts, kicks off and kicks field goals. He was All-Jayhawk Conference at wide receiver last season as a freshman and the league's special teams player of the year. He is expected to report to Auburn next summer as a junior with three years to play two seasons."

Florida Gators: Total Commitments: 9, Summer Commitments 4
Jason Higdon,

Arthur Fontaine
"The Gators currently have nine verbal commitements for the 2009 recruiting class. Seven offensive players and two defensive players make up the current class," Higdon stated.

"So far the Gators have landed quarterback Jordan Reed, New London, (CT); tight end Desmond Parks, Greer, (SC); offensive lineman Jonotthan Harrison, Groveland, (FL); South Lake High School offensive linemen Nick Alajajian Naples (FL); wide receiver Nu'keese Richardson, Pahokee (FL); running back Mike Gillislee, Deland, (FL), offensive guard Jon Halapio, Saint Petersburg (FL); defensive tackle Gary Brown, Quincy (FL) Gadsden Technical Institute; and cornerback Greg Reid from Valdosta, (GA) Lowndes High School."

"The Gators will look to land around 20 players in this year's class, in my opinion, and have many players still left on the board. Jamaal Berry, Trent Richardson, Jarvis Jones, Marlon Brown, Andre Debose, Jon Bostic, Ray Ray Armstrong, Dyron Dye, Trent Richardson, Antwan Lowery, Denard Robinson, Josh Robinson and Xavier Nixon."

"I would look for a couple surprise visits between now and the next 30 days from some of the nation's top talent. With seven offensive players already making the pledge to the Gators look for Florida to start landing some of the top defensive players they are seeking."

"Arguably with the state's top three offensive linemen on board as well as the state's top wide receiver things are going according to plan down in Gainesville with the season right around the corner."

Georgia Bulldogs: Total Commitments: 13, Summer Commitments: 2
Dean Legge,

Jordan Love
"There are only so many spots to go around for Georgia's 2009 recruiting class, and by the time the summer rolled around 11 spots had already been secured with commitments," Legge stated.

"Still, Virginia's Jordan Love and Massachusetts' Arthur Fontaine committed to Georgia after the Fourth of July, which is a traditionally slow recruiting time for the Dawgs. The duo adds to the out-of-state flair for the Bulldogs – four of the last five commitments for Georgia have not been from the Peach State."

"Love will line up as a defensive back for the Dawgs even though he plays running back at his high school, too. Fontaine, who committed to Georgia earlier last week, will play tight end in Athens."

"Georgia has room for only a handful more commitments, and they have identified their targets. From all indications, however, Georgia will have to wait on the decision of many of the top remaining ball players until the winter."

LSU Tigers: Total Commitments 17, Summer Commitments 6
Sonny Shipp,

Stavion Lowe
"The summer was good for LSU as the Tigers added six commitments since the end of May and really shored up the line on both sides of the ball," Shipp explained.

"Les Miles picked up Louisiana's top offensive guard in Carneal Ainsworth and then added one of the top linemen in Texas in Stavion Lowe. To top things off, the Tigers went into Alabama to get one of the state's top sleepers in Josh Williford."

Chris Davenport
"Things really got going with the July camp when the nation's second ranked defensive tackle, Chris Davenport, gave his verbal pledge. The five-star prospect chose LSU over the likes of USC, Alabama, Florida State and many others keeping the Tigers' tradition of signing blue-chip defensive linemen alive and well."

"Good special teams play is vital if you're going to play for championships, and LSU went out and got one of the top punters in the country in Derek Helton."

" four-star receiver Kenny Bell gave the Tigers 17 commitments when he put an end to the process on August 4th giving LSU its first receiver for the 2009 class."

"It will be interesting to see how the class finishes up because there are a limited number of spots remaining and three are several big fish the Tigers are in on."

Ole Miss Rebels: Total Commitments 7, Summer Commitments 3
Yancy Porter,

"This summer has been a period of transition for the Rebel staff," Porter stated. "The majority of the staff members came over from Arkansas, and the Razorbacks did not recruit the state of Mississippi much during the Nutt era. The translation is that they are trying to build as many relationships with the players and coaches from the Magnolia State and also are reaching out to areas they recruited while at Arkansas."

Gabriel Hunter
"Inside the borders, they have been able to land arguably Mississippi' top offensive lineman in Emmanuel McCray, the QB with the most offers in Clayton Moore, and one of the top overall players in the state in DE Markell Lee."

"The state of Tennessee has always been fruitful for Ole Miss, and the Rebels have already landed two of their top players in RB/Ath Gabriel Hunter and LB DeMarcus Knight. Gabriel is considered Memphis' top overall prospect, and DeMarcus is the top rated linebacker in the Volunteer State."

"The Rebels recently dipped into another state that was heavily recruited while Nutt was at Arkansas to land S Dele Junaid. The Sugarland (TX) native marked Ole Miss' 7th public commitment. We expect Ole Miss to sign a class anywhere from 25 – 28 players."

Mississippi State Bulldogs: Total Commitments 18, Summer Commitments 10
Steve Robertson, Gene'

"The Dog Days of summer were once again kind to the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. Following an eight win season that included a victory in the Liberty Bowl, Sylvester Croom and his staff shot out of the gates and gobbled up a lot of the state's top in-state talent before the first day of fall practice," Robertson said.

Josh Boyd
"Ten of the Mississippi's top 20 prospects have already pledged their allegiance to Mississippi State. A good portion of those commitments came in July and August."

"July 1st brought a commitment by the state's top defensive tackle, Josh Boyd. The state's top linebacker, Deonate Skinner, joined teammate WR Pat Patterson, and the state's top fullback prospect, William Shumpert, as a trio of commitments on July 12th."

"The Bulldogs slipped across enemy lines and nabbed a commitment from Oxford, Mississippi native Montez Phillips. Phillips plays quarterback at Lafayette County High School, but he will make the move out wide to play receiver on the college level."

"A pair of first team Junior College All-Americans followed when defensive end Pernell McPhee and linebacker Chris White elected to spend their college days in Starkville. McPhee recorded 19 sacks which was good for second in all of the NJCAA in 2007. White was the man in the middle of the Mississippi Gulf Coast defense in last year's National Championship season. Both are expected to provide instant relief at need positions next fall."

Montrell Conner
"Offensive lineman Gabriel Jackson's commitment closed out the month of July. The talented offensive lineman chose the Bulldogs over offers from Auburn, LSU as well as in-state foes Ole Miss and Southern Miss."

"The most recent commitment for Sylvester Croom and his staff was perhaps one of the most eagerly anticipated of the class. Louisiana standout Montrell Conner elected to spend his college career following in the footsteps of Jerious Norwood and Anthony Dixon at Mississippi State. The talented running back reported close to 30 scholarship offers."

"MSU currently has 18 commitments towards the 2009 signing class, but three grey shirts from the 2008 class will likely carry over and bring the Bulldogs today to 21. With just four scholarship spots remaining, Mississippi State is not expected to sign more than five or six more prospects. The majority of those spots should be filled by even more in-state prospects."

South Carolina Gamecocks: Total Commitments 14, Summer Commitments 12
Doug Jolley,

Damario Jeffery
"South Carolina's 2009 recruiting class started out slow, with only two commitments as of June 6th, but the next day started a summer wave of momentum that saw the Gamecocks' commitments swell to 14 on August 8th, when Chaun Gresham switched his commitment from Georgia Tech to USC."

Aldrick Fordham
"The Gamecocks received commitments from two of the top players in their home state this summer: Columbia High's Damario Jeffery, ranked the No. 10 ranked weakside linebacker in the country by; and Aldrick Fordham, the No. 14 defensive end prospect nationally. Other in-state commitments this summer include wide receiver Charles Holmes and safety Jimmy Legree."

"Gresham is a Peach State native from Winder, Georgia, and joined fellow Georgia products Demario Bennett and DeAngelo Smith, two receivers who both committed while at South Carolina's prospect camp on July 18."

"Steve Spurrier and his staff continue to mine prospects in his old Florida haunts, reeling in three Sunshine State gems: strongside linebacker Matt Coffee out of Ft. Walton Beach, safety Corey Addison from Jacksonville, and safety Brent Singleton out of Plantation."

"USC's consensus Top 10 class in 2007 was laden with some of North Carolina's best players, and the final two players plucked thus far in their 2009 summer harvest came from north of the state line: safety Quin Smith from Lenoir and offensive guard Nick Allison from Asheville."

Tennessee Volunteers: Total Commitments 17, Summer Commitments 13
Jeffery Stewart,

"No one is expecting daily downpours entering the so-called "dog days of summer" but the Vols are getting a flood of commitments, and like that ancient mariner/shipbuilder of Old Testament renown, Phillip Fulmer is piping his prized prodigies aboard the Big Orange ark two-by-two," Stewart said.

Nigel Mitchell-Thornton
"Over two months, Tennessee has gained two commitments in one 24-hour period five times. That's unusual for the middle of January leading up to national signing day, but it's unheard of at UT during Fulmer's 16 seasons."

"The latest twosome to come aboard were linebackers Nigel Mitchell-Thornton, of Stone Mountain, Ga., and D.T. Shackleford of Decatur, Ala., who both pledged to the Vols on Aug. 1, to bring UT's total to 17 commitments."

"Oddly the Vols only had four commitments on June 11 from JeRon Stokes, Dominique Allen, Damien Thigpin and Toney Williams."

"In June the Vols made excellent use of their camps to get good prospects to visit and in some cases tryout. Rhea County offensive lineman Kevin Revis committed to UT on June 12th after a day at camp. Two days later Aubrey Phillips and Nyshier Oliver both announced for Tennessee after attending camp on campus."

Josh Nunes
"After another two-day break the Volunteers gained commitments from JerQuari Schofield and Jarvis Giles. Two days later they earned a commitment from Midlothian, Texas, quarterback Bryce Petty. He was joined six days later by Upland Calif., signal caller Josh Nunes."

"It took another 15 days for the Vols to increase their total to a baker's dozen, as Antonio Foster of Valdosta, Ga., and cornerback D.J. Hunter of Middleton, Ohio, opted for Tennessee."

"On July 26 the Vols picked up two more prospects with Nashville David Lipscomb wideout Zach Rogers and JUCO defensive tackle Edwin Herbert, of City College of San Francisco, Calif., joining the rapidly growing gridiron group."

"Last year at this time Tennessee had four commitments en route to a 2008 class that totaled 18. In 2006 at this same point the Vols had nine commitments. In 2005 that number was only five. The sixth commitment didn't come until Nov. 1. The Vols are expected to sign approximately 25 prospects in the Class of 2009."

Vanderbilt Commodores: Total Commitments, 10, Summer Commitments 9
Don Yates,

"Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson and his staff have been busy recruiting all summer, conducting several camps and running a passing tournament," Yates stated. "That hard work has paid dividends as the Commodores have landed nine solid commitments since May."

"In May the commitment of Chattanooga (McCallie HS) safety Jay Fullam, who was selected the most valuable player in the Tennessee high school state championship game, set of a flurry of summer verbals to the Nashville school."

Darrius McMullin
"In early June two Floridians, offensive lineman Justin Cabbagestalk (Armwood HS) and running back Eric Samuels (Umatilla HS), were next to announce their intentions to head north."

"Later in June Vandy received a big boost to the future well being of their defensive line when Hoover, Alabama's (Spain Park HS) Darrius McMullin revealed he would wear the Black and Gold in college. McMullin chose the Commodores over Kentucky, Ole Miss and Central Florida."

Mason Johnston
"The Vandy staff then reached into the Peach State to pick up its next verbal, Norcross, Ga. (Greater Atlanta Christian School) linebacker Blake Southerland. Vandy struck gold again in Florida when Bolles High School tight end Mason Johnston picked Vandy over the likes of Arkansas, Michigan State and Illinois."

"Soon after Johnston's commitment, the Commodores picked up a pair of Alabamians as Birmingham linebacker Walker May (Briarwood Christian HS) and running back Zach Stacey (Bibb County HS) picked Vandy. Stacey had over 2,000 combined rushing and receiving yards as a junior."

"Chamblee (Ga.) High School running back Warren Norman picked Vandy over Iowa State and Georgia Tech, and quarterback Charlie Goro (Park Ridge, Ill.), pledged last weekend to cap off a fruitful summer."

"What's next for Vanderbilt in recruiting? It's believed the Commodores have just four to six remaining scholarships to give. The Vandy staff have their eyes on several including hometown offensive linemen Wesley Johnson who recently stated the Commodores have a slight edge over Auburn."

A special thanks to all publishers and recruiting analysts who participated in the overview of commitments for the class of 2009.


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