published Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Hits and misses from SEC teams

ALABAMA

Biggest catch: There was a time when going into Florida and snatching the state's top player was unheard of because of the trio of Florida, Florida State and Miami, but the Crimson Tide landed Orlando safety Hasean Clinton-Dix last April and never let go. Getting in-state linebacker Brent Calloway to switch back from Auburn didn't exactly hurt either.

One who got away: The Crimson Tide gave Georgia a lengthy run for Columbus tailback Isaiah Crowell, who ESPN.com rates as the No. 4 overall prospect. Crowell made his announcement Wednesday.

ARKANSAS

Biggest catch: The Razorbacks did very well within the state, and that includes landing Springdale offensive tackle Brey Cook. The 6-foot-7, 314-pounder is rated by Rivals.com among the top dozen nationally at his position.

One who got away: Losing quarterback Kiehl Frazier to Auburn and coordinator Gus Malzahn was expected, and it was countered by the Hogs signing Brandon Allen. The biggest miss was defensive tackle Mickey Johnson of Covington, La., who decided to stay home at LSU. Johnson visited Fayetteville, but beating out the Tigers was an admitted longshot.

AUBURN

Biggest catch: Christian Westerman, the nation's No. 3 tackle prospect, had been committed to Texas for most of 2010 but began to waver when the Longhorns underwent several staff changes following a 5-7 season. Westerman, who hails from Chandler, Ariz., was able to attend an Auburn practice before the BCS championship game.

One who got away: Ray Drew, the nation's No. 1 weakside defensive end from Thomasville, Ga., narrowed it down to Auburn and Georgia before going with the Bulldogs.

FLORIDA

Biggest catch: Jeff Driskel is the No. 1 pro-style quarterback nationally who stayed true to the Gators following the resignation of Urban Meyer and the hiring of Will Muschamp. Driskel already has enrolled and could be a factor this spring in what is expected to be a wide-open quarterback race under new coordinator Charlie Weis.

One who got away: Lake City is less than an hour up the road from Gainesville, but the Gators never were in it the past few months for defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, who signed Wednesday with Florida State.

KENTUCKY

Biggest catch: Glenn Faulkner is the nation's No. 8 safety prospect according to Rivals.com and the only four-star signee in the first full class for Joker Phillips.

One who got away: Lane Kiffin wasn't through beating Kentucky once he left Tennessee. Lamar Dawson of Danville, the state's top player and Rivals.com's No. 3 inside linebacker, decided to bolt the Bluegrass for Kiffin and Southern Cal.

LSU

Biggest catch: La'El Collins, the nation's No. 2 tackle out of Baton Rouge, made it easy for the Tigers by committing in September 2009, which was long before Les Miles bungled the final seconds at Ole Miss in '09 and then regained his stature by upsetting Alabama this past season.

One who got away: LSU got most of the in-state talent but let Thibodaux guard Greg Robinson leave the state for Auburn. Robinson is rated No. 2 nationally at his position.

OLE MISS

Biggest catch: C.J. Johnson, rated the Magnolia State's top player and the No. 2 inside linebacker nationally, began the year as a Mississippi State commitment but switched and then signed with the rival Rebels.

One who got away: The Rebels swept the state's top five players, so their biggest setback was the No. 6 player, Tupelo defensive tackle P.J. Jones, who signed with Mississippi State.

MISSISSIPPI STATE

Biggest catch: It's Jones of Tupelo nearly by default, as the rest of State's prized commitments jumped ship.

One who got away: Losing Johnson was the first of three big in-state blows, with receiver Nickolas Brassell and cornerback Jermaine Whitehead the next two. All three were former MSU commitments, with Brassell signing with Ole Miss and Whitehead with Auburn (as if the Bullies weren't mad enough about Cam Newton).

SOUTH CAROLINA

Biggest catch: The Gamecocks are holding out for the nation's best. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney of Rock Hill, S.C., will choose on Valentine's Day between South Carolina and Alabama, and the Gamecocks are believed to be his favorites. Until Clowney decides, Charleston offensive lineman Brandon Shell is the top catch.

One who got away: Clemson and South Carolina have gone toe-to-toe the past few months, with the Tigers winning out on in-state linebacker Lateek Townsend.

VANDERBILT

Biggest catch: Tiget end Dillon van der Wal committed to the Commodores late in the process over offers from Arizona State, Arkansas and Baylor.

One who got away: Defensive end Keith Heitzman from Ohio committed to Vanderbilt but then bolted after receiving a scholarship offer late last month from Michigan.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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