Fall Recruiting Preview - SEC (Pt. I)

Defending national champion Florida reloads with four Top 100 talents

Nov. 4, 2007

By Van Coleman

CSTV.com & Hoopmasters.com


Van Coleman

Van is one of the nation's premier recruiting experts.
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The SEC will have an excellent fall recruiting period with as many as seven schools that could crack our Top 25 classes and a couple more schools who will challenge for a spot among the nation's best if they can close strong.


The SEC has seen Florida jump out to an early lead with a potential top five class, but the pack has closed in on the Gators as Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Arkansas could be Top 25 squads with LSU and Kentucky challenging to join that group this fall.


With that in mind, here's Part I of our SEC fall recruiting preview:


Florida (Recruiting Log) has received five commitments headed by a duo of highly recruited inside talents in No. 17 rated 6-foot-9 Eloy Vargas from Plantation, Fla., American Heritage and No. 26 rated 6-foot-10 Kenneth Kadji of Bradenton, Fla., IMG Academy.  They could give the Gators a Horford-Noah type duo once they mature down the road. 


Joining them up front is a third Top 100 talent in skilled No. 86 rated 6-foot-9 Allan Chaney from New London, Conn., so depth inside won't be a problem in Gainesville. 


In the backcourt, their top signee is another Top 100 talent in No. 77 rated 6-foot-5 Ray Shipman from Miami, Fla., Pace, while sweet shooting 5-foot-8 combo Erving Walker of Middle Village, N.Y. Christ the King will team with him to add depth to the Gator guard spots.


The Gators could be done this fall, but they might find a place for No. 11 rated 7-foot-2 John Riek-Suas of Winchendon School.  If not, the Gators are certainly getting a head start on the junior class where they are among the leaders for No. 6 rated in-state scorer Kenny Boynton from Plantation, Fla., American Heritage, plus a number of the nation's top 2009 talents.


Alabama (Recruiting Log) has received three commitments this fall headed by a dynamic front court duo in No. 20 rated 6-foot-8 JaMychael Green from Montgomery, Ala., St. Jude and No. 40 rated 6-foot-6 Tony Mitchell of Swainsboro, Ga.  They have the potential to both one-day receive All-SEC talent status in Tuscaloosa. 


They will be joined by 6-foot-3 point guard Andrew Steele, younger brother of current Alabama star Ronald Steele, and he has tools to add depth right away.


The Crimson Tide could still add one more in the spring.


Up front, they are watching 6-foot-10 Bawa Maniru from Huntsville, Ala., Madison Academy, 6-foot-8 Eric McKinney of Redlands CC, Okla., 6-foot-9 Rashanti Harris of Columbus, Miss., New Hope, and 6-foot-7 Chris Hines from Southwestern Illinois CC. 


On the perimeter, being evaluated by the Tide are 6-foot-5 shooter Scottie Haralson from Jackson, Miss., Provine along with point guards 5-foot-10 Davarius Dunn from Monroe, La., Fair Park, 6-foot Dexter Ellington of Cuthbert, Ga., Randolph Clay, and 6-foot-2 combo Mykel Cleveland from Mobile, Ala., Williamson.


Mississippi State (Recruiting Log) has received three commitments headed by two of the top forwards in the class, No. 13 rated 6-foot-6 Scottie Hopson from Hopkinsville, Ky., University and No. 42 rated 6-foot-7 Romero Osby of Meridian, Miss., Northeast Lauderdale.  Hopson has NBA-athletic gifts and Osby is skilled and physical. 


In the backcourt, 6-foot-2 combo Demarquis Bost prepping at Chatham, Va., Hargrave will add immediate depth next fall. 


The Bulldogs could add an inside presence if the right one became available.  They have shown interest in a number of in-state talents like 6-foot-9 Rashanti Harris from Columbus, Miss., New Hope, 6-foot-8 Latavious Williams from Starkville, Miss., and 6-foot-8 Jeremy Newsom of Okolona, Miss.


Arkansas (Recruiting Log) has received four commitments led by No. 78 senior 6-foot-2 Courtney Fortson from Lenoir, N.C. Patterson School.  He is one tough, hard-nosed combo who finds ways to win and  recently had 30-plus versus perennial top team Mouth of Wilson, Va., Oak Hill Academy in a scrimmage. 


Teaming with Fortson to form a quality backcourt duo in Fayetteville is 6-foot-1 Terrance Joyner from Mendenhall, Miss., Genesis One. 


In the front court they added two athletic big men in 6-foot-9 Andre Clark, who has Top 100 potential, and 6-foot-9 Brandon Moore of New Orleans Holy Cross.  They can both play inside-out and add some real bounce on the baseline for the Razorbacks.


The `Hogs could sign one more this fall, and are looking to add perimeter firepower.


They are in the final three, along with Oklahoma State and Oral Roberts, for 6-foot combo Rotnei Clarke from Claremore, Okla., Verdigris High.  They also are watching Fortson's good friend in 6-foot-2 Varez Ward of Lenoir, N.C. Patterson School, as well as 6-foot-2 Jarvis Jones of Memphis, Tenn., Mitchell Road High, and two JUCO transfers in 6-foot-3 Jermaine Dixon of Tallahassee CC and Bobby Maze from Hutchinson CC in Kansas.


Up front, they have shown interest in one of the JUCO's best in 6-foot-7 Daniel Payne from Coffeyville CC, Kansas, 6-foot-5 Scottie Haralson from Jackson, Miss., Provine, 6-foot-5 Teondre Williams of Lawrenceville, Ga., Meadowcreek, 6-foot-3 Trey Blue of Wolfeboro, N.H. Brewster Academy, and 6-foot-4 Derwin Kitchen from Iowa Western CC.


Auburn (Recruiting Log) has received four commitments so far this fall headed by 6-foot-11 post man Johnnie Lett from Okaloosa-Walton, Fla.  He is one of the top JUCO big men in the class. 


Up front, he'll be joined by 6-foot-8 prep schooler Kenny Gabriel of Charlotte, N.C. United Faith Christian.


In the backcourt, Lett's teammate at Okaloosa-Walton CC in 6-foot-2 Tay Waller will team with 6-foot-2 point Frank Sullivan from Uniontown, Ala., Hatch to form a potential future Tiger backcourt. 


They are still looking at some possibilities for the spring and have shown interest in 6-foot-9 Curtis Brown of Garden City CC, 6-foot-9 Francis Aihe of Santa Fe CC, 6-foot-7 Wesley Witherspoon of Lilburn, Ga., Berkmar, 6-foot-7 Murphy Holloway of Irmo, S.C. Dutch Fork and 6-foot-7 Chris Hines of Southwestern Illinois CC.


LSU (Recruiting Log) has received three commitments headed by their most recent addition this past Friday in No. 39 rated J'Mison Morgan from Dallas South Oak Cliff.  He is a physical low block scorer and shot blocker who can add immediate help inside. 


Morgan is joined by another big man in skilled, face-up type 6-foot-10 Dennis Harris from Fayetteville, Ga., Mundy's Mill.  


On the wing, No. 92 rated 6-foot-7 Delwan Graham from Atlanta Riverwood will add immediate help to the Tigers' perimeter game.


They are looking to add one more front court talent this fall.


The Tigers have two fall targets, one who is visiting Baton Rouge this weekend in 6-foot-8 Storm Warren from Monroe Richwood.  He originally committed to Baylor, but has re-opened his recruiting and has the Tigers and Louisiana Tech as possible schools. 


The second target is 6-foot-7 Wesley Witherspoon from Lilburn, Ga., Berkmar.  He has visited Baton Rouge, but seems to be taking his time recruiting-wise. 


If they don't sign one of these two this fall, then they could look at 6-foot-9 Rashanti Harris from Columbus, Miss., New Hope or 6-foot-6 Travis Leslie from Decatur, Ga., Columbia as possibilities.



That completes Part I of our coverage of the SEC. We will continue our conference coverage Monday with Part II, headed by a solid start for Kentucky, right here at Generation Next.

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