Croom picks up steam

Two SEC West football programs are off to hot starts on the recruiting trail. One of them is the defending national champ. The other is a real shocker.

Building on his recent NCAA title, LSU coach Les Miles has secured commitments from 10 players who grace the ESPN 150 Watch List posted at Surprisingly, Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom has gotten seven.

Whereas most SEC West teams are stocking their cupboards with homegrown talent, eight of LSU's 10 commitments from the ESPN Watch List are out-of-state recruits. They are defensive end Michael Brockers (Houston, Texas), running back Drayton Calhoun (Tucker, Ga.), linebacker Willie Ferrell (Tallahassee, Fla.), quarterback Chris Garrett (Tupelo, Miss.), linebacker Kevin Minter (Suwanee, Ga.), center Henry Orelus (Belle Glade, Fla.), running back Dexter Pratt (Navasota, Texas) and athlete Russell Shepard (Houston, Texas).

Mississippi State has secured out-of-state commitments from three players off the ESPN List – quarterback Josh Hollingsworth (Hamilton, Ala.), center Sam Watts (Conyer, Ga.) and defensive end Anthony Rogers (North Little Rock, Ark.).

Five of Auburn's seven Watch List commitments hail from the state of Alabama. The two exceptions are tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen (Marietta, Ga.) and running back Rodney Scott (Cross City, Fla.).

Alabama has just two players from the ESPN list committed thus far, and both are offensive tackles from the Peach State – Darius McKeller (Jonesboro, Ga.) and Kellen Williams (Snellville, Ga.).

Ole Miss has two commitments from the Watch List – one being an in-stater and the other being defensive end Mike Thomas of Mobile, Ala.

All four of Arkansas's committed players from the ESPN Watch List are homegrown products.

Here's a recap of the ESPN 150 Watch List players currently committed to SEC West schools:

LSU: Michael Brockers (6-6, 260 defensive end), Drayton Calhoun (6-0, 175 running back), Willie Ferrell (6-2, 222 inside linebacker), Joshua Downs (6-2, 267 guard), Chris Faulk (6-5, 295 offensive tackle), Janzen Jackson (6-1, 185 cornerback), Kevin Minter (6-0, 231 outside linebacker), Henry Orelus (6-2, 285 center), Dexter Pratt (6-2, 220 running back) and Russell Shepard (6-2, 183 athlete).

MISSISSIPPI STATE: Jonathan Banks (6-2, 175 athlete), Fletcher Cox (6-4, 235 defensive end), Josh Hollingsworth (6-0, 175 quarterback), Cameron Lawrence (6-2, 200 athlete), Chris Smith (6-1, 190 receiver), Anthony Rogers (6-5, 235 defensive end), Tyler Russell (6-4, 195 quarterback).

OLE MISS: Markell Lee (6-5, 250 defensive end), Mike Thomas (6-4, 240 defensive end).

ARKANSAS: Colby Berna (6-4, 275 guard), Will Secord (6-3, 210 quarterback), Turrell Williams (6-2, 210 running back), Darius Winston (6-0, 175 cornerback).

ALABAMA: A.J. McCarron (6-4, 180 quarterback), Darius McKeller (6-6, 280 offensive tackle).

AUBURN: Terrence Coleman (6-1, 245 defensive end), Raymond Cotton (6-4, 216 quarterback), Jonathan Evans (6-0, 205 outside linebacker), Harris Gaston (6-2, 210 outside linebacker), Brandon Heavens (5-10, 165 receiver), Jamontay Pilson (6-3, 260 defensive end), Rodney Scott (5-9, 185 running back).

Inside Tennessee Top Stories