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Which Alabama player in 2018 draft class has potential for best NFL career?

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A-Day and spring practice are behind us, but there are still plenty of questions to answer about Alabama football. The players are away from the team to focus on finishing classes, recovering and personal development before summer workouts begin. Here we’ll take a look at a question each day. Check out our archives here.

Which Alabama player in the 2018 draft class has the potential to have the best NFL career?

No disrespect to any of the other guys, but it’s Minkah Fitzpatrick all the way here.

Fitzpatrick seems to have the lowest bust potential of any player of the Nick Saban era in Tuscaloosa.

He’s the type of player who’ll change an organization both on and off the field from Day 1. He’s extremely talented and will be a great ambassador for any NFL franchise.

And there’s not really anything he can’t do on a football field.

Fitzpatrick won the Jim Thorpe and Chuck Bednarik awards in 2017. The Old Bridge, N.J., native ends his career as the Alabama career leader in interception returns for touchdowns with 4, including a school-record 2 in one game against Texas A&M in 2015. He finished last season as the Tide’s fourth-leading tackler with 60 stops and added 8 tackles for loss (-31 yards), 1.5 sacks (-15 yards), 8 pass breakups, 3 quarterback hurries, 1 interception, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.

He’s going to make an NFL team very proud each and every Sunday for the duration of his career.

For more answers to prior Questions of the Day, we have you covered.

The post Which Alabama player in 2018 draft class has potential for best NFL career? appeared first on SEC Country.

Marq Burnett – SEC Country

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Pledge from 5-star DE gives South Carolina top-10 class; 2020 RB visits

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Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.

#SpursUp

Five-star defensive end and 2019 prospect Zacch Pickens committed to the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday.

Pickens picked South Carolina over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and more.

What it means

With Pickens’ pledge, the Gamecocks’ 2019 haul is now ranked No. 7 nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings.

The T.L. Hanna High School (Anderson, S.C.) standout is the No. 14 overall prospect and No. 1 player in South Carolina in his class.

The Gamecocks now have commitments from the top-2 prospects in the Palmetto State, Pickens and 4-star wide receiver and Rock Hill native Jamario Holley.

Stopping by

Class of 2020 running back Trenton Simpson took an unofficial visit to see the Gamecocks on Saturday, according to SportsTalkSC’s Phil Kornblut.

“It was awesome, I got to see the facilities and hang with Coach [Bobby Bentley],” Simpson told Kornblut.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound running back from Charlotte, N.C., lists offers from South Carolina, Charlotte, Colorado State and North Carolina.

Alcohol update

Could alcohol sales find their way to Williams-Brice Stadium? It’s a topic that will be discussed at the SEC’s spring meetings, according to The Post and Courier’s David Cloninger.

“But as the annual SEC spring meetings approach — coaches, athletic directors and executives are due in Destin, Fla., Monday for a weeklong session — changing that rule is likely to come up,” Cloninger writes. “LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M have been on record saying they’d like to see a change in the policy, and if the SEC does so — like going to a Big 12 model where the school makes the decision — perhaps USC takes that chance.”

The only alcohol currently allowed in Williams-Brice Stadium, Colonial Life Arena and Founders Park is in private suites and non-general public areas.

Offer added

Three-star quarterback and 2020 prospect Luke Doty received an offer from Auburn last week.

The Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High School quarterback is one of the Gamecocks’ in-state targets.

“It’s always, I’m their guy and they’re going to come after me hard, because I’m an in-state guy,” Doty said. “[South Carolina quarterback coach Dan Werner] said that I’m at the top of the list right now, and we’re looking to keep it that way.”

247Sports has Doty tabbed as the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback for 2020.

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Chiming in

Four-star QB and South Carolina commit Ryan Hilinski shared his thoughts on the Gamecocks’ newest pledge on Friday night.

Hilinski, the No. 165 overall prospect for 2019, has been committed to South Carolina since April 4.

That’s a wrap

The South Carolina softball team’s season came to an end on Saturday when the Gamecocks dropped Game 2 of the Tempe Super Regional, 5-2, to No. 8-seeded Arizona State.

South Carolina fell to the Sun Devils, 5-2, in Game 1 on Friday night.

The Gamecocks finish the season with a 49-17 record, including the program’s second-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament Super Regionals.

Craving more Chicken & Waffles? Get your fix with previous versions here.

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Daniel Sweeney – SEC Country

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Florida recruiting class takes big hit with Matt Corral de-commitment

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Florida Gators football is the No. 1 topic in Good Morning, Gators every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across the Gators sports world. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Florida football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Matt Corral flips commitment

The focal point of Florida’s recruiting class is no longer there. Four-star quarterback Matt Corral announced Thursday that he has flipped his commitment from the Gators to Ole Miss. Corral was scheduled to visit Florida this weekend, but the Rebels had an in-home visit with him Thursday and landed his pledge.

In other Florida football news

Volleyball playing for a national title

The No. 2 seed Gators volleyball team defeated Stanford 3-2 in the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo., and advanced to its second finals in program history and first since 2003. Florida will play fifth-seeded Nebraska on Saturday, with first serve set for 9 p.m. ET. Should the Gators win, coach Mary Wise would become the first female coach to win the NCAA Division I volleyball championship.

Let’s keep talking

Want to keep the conversation going? Hop over to our free Florida message board. Sign up now and join the discussion here.

What they’re saying on Twitter

Defensive back Chauncey Gardner:

Quarterback Jake Allen:

Wide receiver target Jacob Copeland:

Miss a previous edition of Good Morning, Gators? Get caught up here.

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Jordan McPherson – SEC Country

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Mississippi’s finest: MSU, Ole Miss have battle on their hands for rich 2019 in-state recruiting class

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The states where SEC schools reside are home to some of the best recruiting grounds in the country, headlined by the prospect-rich likes of Texas, Florida and Georgia. Usually, we don’t include Mississippi in that conversation, but next year will mark a major exception.

Ole Miss and Mississippi State have some serious in-state talent at their disposal in the Class of 2019. For only the second time since 2011, the Magnolia State will have nine recruits with at least a 4-star rating, including a pair of 5-star prospects, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. And, as coaches slowly begin shifting their focus to the 2019 class, the number of blue-chip recruits could be even higher by next spring.

Headlining the class are 5-star outside linebacker Nakobe Dean (Horn Lake) and 5-star defensive end Nathan Pickering. They already have offers from at least six schools each, including Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and 247Sports has both ranked top-5 nationally at their respective positions.

Rounding out the list of Mississippi blue-chippers are defensive end Charles Moore, running back Jerrion Ealy, receiver Dannis Jackson, defensive end Byron Young, tackle Brandon Cunningham, athlete Diwun Black and athlete Brandon Turnage, an Oxford native. Georgia, LSU, Louisville and Tennessee have all offered Turnage.

The Rebels and Bulldogs have gotten an early crack at recruiting this elite top 10. But a big question looms: How stiff will the competition be in 2019?

When it comes to keeping top talent at home, the past couple recruiting cycles haven’t been so kind to the in-state powers.

In 2017, four of the top-12 ranked recruits signed with out-of-state programs; 4-stars Nigel Knott, Raekwon Davis and Scott Lashley all landed at Alabama. Then in 2017, five of the top 8 recruits left Mississippi, including the state’s No. 1 prospect Cam Akers (Florida State). No more than two of the state’s top-10 recruits left the state in any of the previous six classes (2010-15).

For Ole Miss and Mississippi State, it’s a somewhat troubling trend, albeit one that can be partly attributed to the NCAA’s months-long investigation of the Rebels’ football program. Coach Hugh Freeze went so far as to characterize his 2017 signing class, ranked No. 12 in the SEC, as a “penalty.”

MSU finds itself in a much better position. The Bulldogs signed 5-star Jeffery Simmons in 2016, and added local stars Willie Gay and Kyrin Hill this offseason. They’ve also cleaned up at the JUCO level while making forays into Georgia, Louisiana and Texas for their quarterbacks — Nick Fitzgerald, Keytaon Thompson and 2018 commit Jalen Mayden, respectively.

With Ole Miss still mired in murky waters, will coach Dan Mullen’s staff be able to take advantage? LSU, Alabama, Louisville and even Tennessee have swiped recruits from Mississippi in recent years.

Conversely, will Freeze keep his job and find the closure he seeks from the NCAA? And if so, can he get the Rebels recruiting at an elite level again?

Time will tell, but one thing’s for sure: the Magnolia State will host some fierce recruiting battles in 2019.

The post Mississippi’s finest: MSU, Ole Miss have battle on their hands for rich 2019 in-state recruiting class appeared first on SEC Country.

Alec Shirkey – SEC Country

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What to make of Alabama bringing in QB from 2018 class

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A-Day and spring practice are behind us, but there are still plenty of questions to answer about Alabama football. The players are away from the team to focus on finishing classes, recovering and personal development before summer workouts begin. Here we’ll take a look at a question each day. Check out our archives here.

What do you make of Alabama football adding a quarterback in the 2018 class?

In case you missed it late last week, Alabama football added a quarterback to its 2018 class when Layne Hatcher de-committed from Arkansas State to join the Crimson Tide.

If you’re looking at this from Hatcher’s standpoint, this is an easy decision. If Alabama wants you, chances are you’re going to there.

For Alabama, this makes sense on a few levels depending on how you want to read into it.

The biggest key for Alabama is having an insurance policy in case someone gets hurt or decides to transfer.

No matter how talented each is in their own right, Alabama still only had three scholarship quarterbacks prior to Hatcher joining the team.

Jalen Hurts is a junior, Tua Tagovailoa is a sophomore and Mac Jones is a redshirt freshman.

Hurts has shown the ability to lead Alabama through the grind of a season and make it to back-to-back National Championship Games.

Tagovailoa played a wonderful half of football, but no one knows if he can lead Alabama through a 12-game regular season and an SEC gauntlet. There’s also the curious case of his left hand injury and whether he can remain setback-free.

Jones showed flashes during the A-Day spring game, but he has no game experience.

For more answers to prior Questions of the Day, we have you covered.

The post What to make of Alabama bringing in QB from 2018 class appeared first on SEC Country.

Marq Burnett – SEC Country

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South Carolina’s top 20 recruiting class; priorities for Gamecocks in spring practice

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Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.

Ranking the classes

For seventh consecutive year, the South Carolina Gamecocks signed a top 25 recruiting class.

South Carolina’s latest haul comes in at No. 19 overall in 247Sports’ football recruiting composite team rankings — boosted by their two most recent signees, 4-star defensive tackle Rick Sandidge and 4-star offensive tackle Dylan Wonnum.

Among the SEC, the Gamecocks’ 2018 class is ranked No. 7 overall and No. 3 in the SEC East.

Back on field

What’s on South Carolina coach Will Muschamp’s to-do list for spring practice? Developing depth on the offensive and defensive lines is among the coach’s chief concerns.

“We’ve got to continue to improve on both lines of scrimmage, being able to run the ball when we need to, be able to stop the run on defense and that goes back to toughness,” Muschamp said, “And I think we’ve improved tremendously from Year 1 to Year 2. I think we’ve got to take another step in Year 3.”

The Gamecocks open spring practice on Feb. 28, with the annual Garnet & Black spring game set for March 31.

In the mix

South Carolina could be in the running for Rice graduate transfer safety J.T. Ibe.

“[Muschamp and Travaris Robinson] said they need some experience in the secondary,” Ibe said.

Ibe had 121 tackles and 11 pass breakups in three seasons at Rice.

The 6-foot, 200-pound safety already boasts offers from Georgia Tech, Indiana and Iowa State.

One to watch

Jefferson (Ga.) High School standout Garmon Randolph is among those Class of 2019 tight ends on South Carolina’s radar for the next recruiting cycle.

The 3-star prospect has already visited Columbia twice, with future trips planned to see Clemson and N.C. State.

Randolph is rated as the No. 13 overall tight end for 2019, per the 247Sports composite.

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Stopping by

New South Carolina quarterbacks coach Dan Werner recently visited with Greenville (S.C.) High School quarterback Davis Beville.

“He really liked what he saw on my film and wanted to visit with me in person,” Beville said. “I enjoyed meeting him and think he is a really good addition to Coach Muschamp’s staff.”

Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Campbell have offered the  6-6, 200-pound signal caller.

Off-the-field honor

Senior outside linebacker/defensive end Bryson Allen-Williams was named vice chair of the SEC Football Leadership Council on Thursday, according to a release from the athletic department.

This is the Atlanta native’s second consecutive year on the council.

Allen-Williams redshirted in 2017 after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against Kentucky in Week 3. The Atlanta native has 135, 15 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 35 games at South Carolina.

Back on track

After falling to No. 1 UConn and No. 2 Mississippi State in the last week, the No. 7-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team was back to its winning ways on Thursday night, topping the Alabama Crimson Tide, 79-66.

The win halted South Carolina’s two-game losing skid and moved the team to 19-5 overall and 8-3 in the SEC.

The Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena on Sunday when they host the Florida Gators.

Craving more Chicken & Waffles? Get your fix with previous versions here.

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Daniel Sweeney – SEC Country

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Watch Nick Saban’s National Signing Day news conference as Alabama addresses needs with 2018 class

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The moral of Nick Saban’s National Signing Day news conference was simple: you win some, and you lose some.

After seven straight years of signing the nation’s top class, Alabama finished outside of the top five with the 2018 group being ranked No. 6 by ESPN and No. 7 nationally by 247Sports.

“You can’t look at a puppy dog and look at his feet and know how big he’s going to be one day,” Saban said.

To be fair, you actually can sometimes tell how big a puppy is going to be by looking at its paws, but that was Saban’s way of saying that no matter how highly touted a prospect is or isn’t right now, they’ll still need time to develop.

Alabama’s class features 20 players, with five signing on Wednesday. Alabama will have five early enrollees.

Overall, Alabama’s class featured two 5-star prospects in defensive end/outside linebacker Eyabi Anoma and cornerback Patrick Surtain, Jr.

Surtain Jr., the No. 1 cornerback in the country, was the lone big fish of the day. At 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, Surtain Jr. has the potential and pedigree to step into a depleted secondary and contribute from Day One.

His father, Patrick Surtain Sr., spent 11 years in the NFL as a defensive back, making the Pro-Bowl three times.

A late addition to the class on Wednesday, 4-star wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is an electric playmaker who is quick and runs well after the catch. Saban called him an outstanding young man.

The other three signees on Wednesday were linebacker Jaylen Moody (Conway, S.C.), tight end Michael Parker (Huntsville, Ala.) and defensive back Eddie Smith (Slidell, La.). Both Moody and Smith are considered late bloomers at their positions. With Alabama missing out on some of its targets, Parker avoided a grey shirt.

Watch Nick Saban’s news conference below:

December signees

  • Stephon Wynn Jr., 4-star DT (Bradenton, Fla.)
  • Jordan Davis, 4-star Jack LB (Memphis, Tenn.)
  • Jalyn Armour-Davis, 4-star CB (Mobile, Ala.)
  • Emil Ekiyor, 4-star C (Indianapolis)
  • Eyabi Anoma, 5-star Jack LB (Baltimore)
  • Josh Jobe, 4-star CB (Miami) — signing on Wednesday
  • Jerome Ford, 3-star RB (Seffner, Fla.) — signing on Wednesday
  • Cameron Latu, 4-star Jack LB (Salt Lake City)
  • Xavier Williams, 4-star WR (Hollywood, Fla.)
  • Christian Barmore, 4-star DT (Philadelphia)
  • Tommy Brown, 4-star OT (Santa Ana, Calif.)
  • Saivion Smith, 4-star CB (Perkinston, Miss.)
  • Slade Bolden, 3-star ATH (West Monroe, La.)
  • Skyler Delong, 3-star P (Nation Ford, S.C.)
  • Jarez Parks, 4-star OLB (Originally a member of 2017 class)

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Marq Burnett – SEC Country

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Secondary was, is and will continue to be big priority for Alabama recruiting class

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When it comes to the 2018 University of Alabama football team there’s one position group that clearly stands out as a concern — the secondary.

The Crimson Tide could potentially return no starters. That’s not just among the four players in the base defense, but the two that regularly play in the nickel and dime packages, as well.

It’s a huge amount of turnover, which Nick Saban is hoping to offset with this latest recruiting class.

“We’re probably going to lose five, maybe more, so we would like to replace that many guys,” he said. “Whether that’s going to be possible or not, I don’t know. I know that we’re recruiting several other guys who are very good players that may be able to contribute to it.”

Specifically, cornerbacks Anthony Averett and Levi Wallace are both seniors, as are nickel- and dime-package players Tony Brown and Hootie Jones. Junior strong safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is probably going pro and junior free safety Ronnie Harrison is obviously considering it.

Combined, they’ve played in 231 games with 123 starts.

As for who might have the best shot at replacing them, sophomore cornerback Trevon Diggs started the season opener against Florida State, but it was Wallace who established himself during that game. At safety, sophomore Deionte Thompson will likely have a role during the College Football Playoff in Jones’ absence after he suffered a knee injury against Auburn.

Thompson’s played in all 12 games this season, with 18 tackles and 1 interception.

“We have a lot of confidence in Deionte,” Saban said. “He’s really improved a lot throughout the course of the year in terms of his knowledge and experience and understanding of what’s expected of him. He has really good range. We need him to play well for us and we certainly feel like he’s capable of doing that.”

There is also Jared Mayden, Xavier McKinney, Daniel Wright, Shyheim Carter and Keaton Anderson, plus Nigel Knott is on the recovery path from having a knee injury.

Alabama is also feeling good about this week’s addition, Saivion Smith, a junior college transfer who initially played at LSU. Not only did he come in looking ready to step in, but Saban singled him out for praise on Wednesday: “We can see with our own eyes that he’s going to be a good player.”

“He just has to learn the system, obviously,” Averett said.

Having played 10 games at LSU, the former 5-star recruit could have as much experience as anyone else in the secondary when Alabama opens next season against Louisville in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 1.

“I think anytime you get a guy that’s played in major college football games before, probably knows a little more about what it takes, probably has a little more maturity, I think that’s always probably a positive for a guy in terms of his readiness to come in and play,” Saban said. “We’re excited he’s here and excited to have the opportunity to work with him even in this time, which is a little more difficult now that we’re working on an opponent, but he’s still out there getting reps and we’re still trying to coach him and teach him what he needs to know to make a contribution.”

Alabama also landed highly rated cornerbacks Jalyn Armour-Davis and Josh Jobe on Wednesday, but lost a commitment when Nadab Joseph signed with Georgia.

“Jalyn-Armour Davis is a really skilled guy,” Saban said. “Josh Jobe was one of the target guys we’ve had all year long. Like I said, there are still other guys out there that we think are very good that could help us in the secondary as well.”

Adding a couple more defensive backs will remain a priority as Alabama moves forward toward the regular signing day in February, with eight overall spots remaining in the class (although that, too, can fluctuate depending on early departures for the NFL and transfers).

According to the 247Sports composite rating, four of the top 10 defensive backs in this cycle are still unsigned: cornerbacks Patrick Surtain Jr., Isaac Taylor-Stuart and Tyson Campbell, and safety Kelvin Joseph. Alabama is in the mix for each, but not considered the favorite for any.

In other words, the coaching staff has its work cut out.

“There are still other guys out there that we think are very good that could help us in the secondary,” Saban said.

The post Secondary was, is and will continue to be big priority for Alabama recruiting class appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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Kentucky basketball recruiting: Predicting the Wildcats’ 2018 signing class

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — The 2017-18 season hasn’t even started and there’s already buzz about Kentucky basketball fielding another “super team” for 2018-19. That’s because the Wildcats don’t have many obvious one-and-dones on the current roster, and they’re in great shape with a few elite recruits in the Class of 2018.

John Calipari likely won’t sign a huge class, numbers-wise, but he should end up with three or four stars who’ll turbo-charge expectations for next season. Who will those stars be? SEC Country spent the spring and summer tracking Kentucky’s top 2018 targets, traveling to Indianapolis, Colorado Springs and all over South Carolina to keep our finger on the pulse of the program.

No we’re ready to make our first predictions for who the Wildcats will sign.

Best guess: point guard Immanuel Quickley, power forward Simi Shittu and at least one (maybe two) of the nation’s top three small forwards — Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish — plus a wildcard whose name has not yet emerged in connection with Kentucky.

Taking that a little further, we’ll list 11 prospects of interest in descending order of our confidence the Cats will sign them:

PG Immanuel Quickley (6-3, 175)

Scout.com’s No. 3 point guard and No. 9 overall prospect has talked openly about Kentucky as his favorite — even before starting for John Calipari’s Under-19 USA Basketball team at the FIBA World Cup this summer. He’ll take official visits to UK, Kansas, Maryland and Miami in September, but it would be a massive upset if he doesn’t ultimately choose the Wildcats.

Confidence he signs: 99.9 percent

SF Zion Williamson (6-7, 230)

Scout.com’s No. 2 small forward and No. 4 overall prospect got Kentucky fans’ hopes up in July when he started talking about a desire to play with Quickley in college. Then 247Sports recruiting insider Andrew Slater let some air out of that balloon by changing his prediction to Kansas for Williamson, which he explained to SEC Country. But the hunch here is that the Quickley relationship, combined with Calipari prioritizing him and the Cats’ reputation as a one-and-done factory, could be enough to fend off the Jayhawks.

Confidence he signs: 70 percent

PF Simi Shittu (6-8, 210)

Scout.com’s No. 2 power forward and No. 10 overall prospect doesn’t even have a scholarship offer from Kentucky. So why the confidence in him ultimately picking the Cats? Calipari recently cranked up his interest in Shittu, reaching out to his AAU and high school coaches — and the prospect directly — and flying to Canada late last month to get a closer look. Shittu’s high school coach said when Kentucky calls “it’s like a notch in a kid’s belt. It’s like, ‘I’ve arrived.’ ” Shittu also comes from the same AAU program as former UK star Jamal Murray, and that program’s director told us, “We know what Cal has done with Canadians.”

Confidence he signs: 60 percent

SF R.J. Barrett (6-6, 180)

Scout.com’s No. 1 small forward and No. 2 overall prospect has been mighty quiet about his recruitment, and SEC Country has gotten conflicting intel about his and his family’s interest in Barrett being part of a star-studded ensemble versus going somewhere to be more of “the man.” But if he welcomes the challenge of sharing the spotlight with other elite players, Kentucky makes the most sense. Barrett told us in the spring that he’s friends with fellow Canadian Shittu and Murray, who raved about his experience at UK. Barrett’s AAU coach told us the day he officially reclassified from 2019 to 2018 that “Kentucky has the cache to make it very attractive in terms of preparing for that next level.”

Confidence he signs: 50 percent

SF Cam Reddish (6-8, 195)

Scout.com’s No. 3 small forward and No. 5 overall prospect was Duke’s to lose before he spent three weeks with Calipari and started for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup. The Blue Devils are still in great position, but Reddish told us his extended summer trip with Kentucky’s coach certainly made up ground. In fact, on a phone call with SEC Country from Egypt, he declared that Duke is “absolutely not” his leader.

Confidence he signs: 50 percent

PG Quentin Grimes (6-4, 175)

Scout.com’s No. 4 point guard and No. 12 overall prospect told SEC Country last month that while it’s probably fair to call Kansas his leader, he wouldn’t count out Kentucky just because of Quickley. He considers himself more of a combo guard, able to play on or off the ball, and talked about Calipari’s reputation for playing multiple talented guards together. The Wildcats have continued to pursue him, and if anyone can pry him from the Jayhawks, it’s Kentucky.

Confidence he signs: 35 percent

C Bol Bol (7-1, 225)

Scout.com’s No. 1 center and No. 3 overall prospect appeared to be forming a nice bond with Calipari during Team USA training camp in June — but then he got cut from the team. That clearly bothered Bol and might’ve been a major blow to the Wildcats’ chances of landing him. The shot-blocking, 3-point-swishing son of Manute Bol, who recently moved from Kansas to California to finish his high school career, seems to be leaning more toward programs such as Arizona and USC these days.

Confidence he signs: 25 percent

PG Darius Garland (6-1, 170)

Scout.com’s No. 2 point guard and No. 8 overall prospect got a sort of surprising Kentucky offer after Peach Jam in July. He’d said this spring that the Wildcats weren’t showing much interest and that made perfect sense to him because of Quickley. But Calipari can never have enough good guards and has played three in the same backcourt before. Still, Duke seems like the frontrunner here with Vanderbilt also in the mix. Of note: several 2018 stars seem eager to play with Garland, and that might be a big part of UK’s increasing interest in him.

Confidence he signs: 15 percent

SG Romeo Langford (6-5, 191)

Scout.com’s No. 1 shooting guard and No. 6 overall prospect plays his high school ball in New Albany, Ind., about a 90-minute drive from Kentucky’s campus. And like Quickley and Reddish, he spent three weeks with Calipari and Team USA. But back problems severely limited his playing time and there is no indication he formed a tight bond with UK’s coach on the trip. Even if he says otherwise publicly, all our intel points to the Wildcats fading in his recruitment, with home-state Indiana and nearby Louisville in the best position to land him.

Confidence he signs: 10 percent

PF Marvin Bagley (6-10, 190)

Scout.com’s No. 1 power forward and No. 1 overall prospect could still reclassify to 2017 and play college basketball this season, in which case he is almost certainly not coming to Kentucky. Even if he stays in the 2018 class, the Wildcats seem like a long shot. He visited Duke immediately after Peach Jam, then visited Southern California, Arizona and UCLA. There’s not a Kentucky visit scheduled. If he doesn’t pick the Blue Devils, Bagley likely stays on the West Coast.

Confidence he signs: 10 percent

SF Louis King (6-8, 195)

Scout.com’s No. 6 small forward and No. 21 overall prospect did everything he could to earn a scholarship offer from Kentucky this summer. He played well off the bench for Calipari’s Team USA in Egypt, then dropped 41 points in front of Calipari in an AAU game last month. He has basically begged for an offer and hasn’t got one, which would seem to indicate the Cats like their chances in the small-forward pool of Williamson, Barrett and Reddish. If Kentucky eventually jumps in here, that changes things, but for now it seems like King will have to look elsewhere.

Confidence he signs: 5 percent

The post Kentucky basketball recruiting: Predicting the Wildcats’ 2018 signing class appeared first on SEC Country.

Kyle Tucker – SEC Country