published Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Signing day across the SEC

ALABAMA

• Big Catch: The Crimson Tide went into multiple states to collect elite talent, whether it was quarterback David Cornwell from Oklahoma or tackle Cameron Robinson from Louisiana, but the topper came Wednesday when Alabama stayed within its borders to snag linebacker Rashaan Evans of Auburn High School.

• One Who Got Away: Mobile has been a fertile location for Nick Saban in recent years, but Saint Paul's Episcopal linebacker Tre Williams, the nation's No. 23 overall prospect, committed early to Auburn and signed with the Tigers.

ARKANSAS

• Big Catch: Arkansas was able to keep El Dorado's Bijhon Jackson, ESPN's No. 6 defensive tackle nationally, away from out-of-state suitors.

• One Who Got Away: Defensive end Solomon Thomas of Coppell, Texas, is rated the No. 37 overall prospect by Rivals.com and had the Razorbacks in his top three before signing with Stanford. At his signing ceremony Wednesday, Thomas pulled out a miniature tree.

AUBURN

• Big Catch: Offensive lineman Braden Smith of Olathe, Kan., was thought to be choosing either Texas A&M or TCU, where his older sister competes in track, but he wound up leaving the region for Auburn. Smith is a top-50 national prospect.

• One Who Got Away: About half an hour after Smith announced his signing with the Tigers, Evans stunned them by inking with Alabama. This is the second straight year the Tide have signed an elite linebacker prospect out of Auburn High, with Reuben Foster doing it last February.

FLORIDA

• Big Catch: Treon Harris, the nation's No. 3 dual-threat quarterback according to Rivals.com, had been committed to Florida State but signed Wednesday with the Gators.

• One Who Got Away: Running back Dalvin Cook of Miami Central High is a top-20 overall prospect according to Rivals.com but flipped from Florida to Florida State in late December.

KENTUCKY

• Big Catch: Defensive tackle Matt Elam of Elizabethtown, Ky, is a five-star prospect and committed last Thursday to the Wildcats over Alabama, something you don't see every day in college football recruiting.

• One Who Got Away: This was such a banner year in Lexington that there was really no one who got away. Kentucky made a late push for Tampa athlete prospect T.J. Harrell, who was considering rival Louisville, but Harrell wound up signing with Michigan State.

LSU

• Big Catch: It was a loaded year in Louisiana and LSU by no means swept the state, but the Tigers did land Leonard Fournette, the nation's No. 1 tailback, and Malachi Dupre, the nation's No. 1 receiver. Dupre made the Tigers wait until Wednesday's announcement on ESPNU.

• One Who Got Away: The most notable in-state departure was Cameron Robinson to Alabama, with defensive tackle Gerald Willis III opting for Florida and receiver Speedy Noil to Texas A&M.

OLE MISS

• Big Catch: C.J. Hampton, rated the No. 8 safety by ESPN, committed to the Rebels in June 2012 and stayed true despite visits this past autumn to Alabama and Florida State.

• One Who Got Away: Outside linebacker Gerri Green signed with Mississippi State after considering both of the Magnolia State rivals.

MISSISSIPPI STATE

• Big Catch: Gerri Green is rated among the nation's 25 best athlete prospects by 247Sports.com and is projected to play outside linebacker for the Bulldogs. He picked MSU over scholarship offers from Ole Miss, Auburn and Arkansas.

• One Who Got Away: The Bulldogs got a late commitment from Holmes Community College cornerback Tee Shepherd, a former Notre Dame signee who had offers this time around from Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Southern Cal, but Shepherd pulled a Wednesday stunner by signing with Ole Miss.

MISSOURI

• Big Catch: The Tigers landed Andy Bauer of St. Louis, who is the nation's No. 8 tackle according to ESPN. Bauer is Missouri's only prep signee ranked among the top-10 nationally by ESPN at his position.

• One Who Got Away: Missouri missed out on another St. Louis tackle, Brian Wallace, who ESPN rates No. 9 at his position. Wallace committed and signed with Arkansas.

SOUTH CAROLINA

• Big Catch: The Gamecocks went into Georgia and snagged Dante Sawyer, the nation's No. 9 defensive end according to ESPN. Bryson Allen-Williams, the nation's No. 10 outside linebacker, took late trips to Alabama and Georgia before honoring his pledge,

• One Who Got Away: The Palmetto State's top prospect, linebacker Christian Miller from Columbia, signed with Alabama. ESPN has Miller pegged as the nation's No. 1 outside linebacker.

TEXAS A&M

• Big Catch: He may not make everyone forget about Johnny Manziel overnight, but Kyle Allen of Arizona is rated by ESPN and Rivals.com as the nation's No. 1 pro-style quarterback and could be starting for the Aggies by late August.

• One Who Got Away: Jamal Adams, ESPN's No. 2 safety prospect out of Hebron, Texas, visited College Station but ultimately decided on LSU.

VANDERBILT

• Big Catch: Emmanuel Smith of Murfreesboro Oakland is a four-star safety prospect who remained loyal to the Commodores following James Franklin's departure to Vanderbilt.

• One Who Got Away: The Commodores lost 11 commitments as a result of Franklin leaving, with seven winding up at Penn State. Also leaving was K.J. Carta-Samuels, the younger brother of Commodores starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, who committed and signed with Washington.

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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