Posted on: February 2, 2011 3:19 pm

Cyrus Kouandjio to delay signing?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We may want to hold off on that talk about how Auburn has signed the best offensive line class in the history of offensive line classes. Despite his nationally televised announcement this afternoon that he would be attending Auburn, Cyrus Kouandjio has yet to sign his letter of intent and is not officially a member of any college program just yet.

According to several reports out of various Alabama-based recruiting media, Kouandjio is likely to follow in the path of 2010 No. 1 tackle Seantrel Henderson and delay his signing by a few days to re-evaluate his decision. Obviously, this isn't good news for the Tigers, who would rather have Kouandjio firmly in their corner rather than expressing such obvious doubts, especially -- double, triple especially -- when the other option is Alabama and Nick Saban.

Kouandjio's comments about his "heart" being with Auburn in the face of maybe other concerns pointing towards the Tide will be an unfortunate echo for Tiger fans after Brent Calloway, another prospect who initially spurned the Tide for Auburn despite obvious Alabama interest, ultimately chose today to head to Tuscaloosa.

How big an impact will Kouandjio's decision have? According to Maxpreps writer Jon Buzby , his signature would vault Alabama from No. 3 to No. 1 in the Maxpreps team rankings, while dropping Auburn from 4th to 8th.

Both teams will be able to say they have extremely impressive classes regardless. But they won't be quite as impressive without the nation's most highly sought-after offensive line recruit.

More Recruiting Coverage can be found here at CBSSports.com

Posted on: February 2, 2011 2:12 pm

More good news for Auburn with Wright

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A very good Signing Day for Auburn -- assuming that Cyrus Kouandjio does indeed stick with his public announcement this afternoon and signs his LOI, which he has yet to do at 2:15 p.m. EST -- got even better with the decision of top defensive tackle Gabe Wright, who chose to play for the Tigers.

Wright clearly has high expectations for himself, wearing an Auburn cap with "Nick who?" emblazoned across the back--a reference, he said, to Nick Fairley and the shoes he's hoping to fill. But he'll have a chance to live up to the talk, checking in at a powerful 6'4, 285 pounds and boasting offers from much of the SEC; his final decision came down to the Tigers and Tennessee.

Defensive tackle was an area of top priority for Auburn, as they say goodbye to Fairley and two other rotation seniors that anchored the Tiger run defense. Wright, Delaware sleeper Angelo Blackson, and Mobile (Ala.)'s JaBrian Niles will all have a chance at immediate playing time. Auburn's class is impressive-looking just in terms of total commitments and overall talent; that it's filling needs is the cherry on top.

More Recruiting Coverage can be found here at CBSSports.com
Posted on: February 2, 2011 1:49 pm

Isaiah Crowell joins Georgia "Dream Team"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Maybe the most important member of the Georgia "Dream Team" has officially joined up, as running back Isaiah Crowell has announced -- while holding a live bulldog puppy -- that he will be a Bulldog.

Why the most important? Because with all due respect to Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, Georgia showed a desperate need this past season for an explosive, game-changing tailback to take the pressure off of Aaron Murray and the Dawg passing game, and Crowell has the potential to be that tailback. True freshmen like Marcus Lattimore, Michael Dyer, and Trent Richardson have all made substantial impacts at running back in the SEC in recent years, and Crowell -- the No. 55 player in the country according to Tom Lemming -- has the opportunity to follow in their footsteps.

The Columbus-based Crowell completes a massive in-state sweep for Georgia, adding him to a collection that already includes five-star defensive end Ray Drew, blue-chip receiver Malcolm Mitchell, and dynamic tight end Jay Rome. Most of those recruiting wins came at the expense of Alabama and Nick Saban --showing how much determination Mark Richt and his staff showed down the stretch on the recruiting trail.

And thanks to players like Crowell, this "Dream Team" class -- now seventh and climbing in the Maxpreps team recruiting rankings -- should reward that effort with immediate dividends.

More Recruiting Coverage can be found here at CBSSports.com
Posted on: February 2, 2011 12:31 pm

Georgia nabs another top recruit in Kent Turene

Posted by Adam Jacobi

If the Georgia Bulldogs underwhelmed on the field in 2010 -- and they most certainly did, finishing 6-7 with a bowl loss to UCF -- you'd never know it by the Bulldogs' recruiting class, which is currently in MaxPreps' Top 10 and just got better with the addition of linebacker Kent Turene.

In a rare miss for Lane Kiffin and USC -- who have been absolutely solid today -- Turene decommitted from the Trojans in January and opened up his recruiting to several programs, including Georgia. USC stayed in the hunt, though, and Turene narrowed his choices to USC and Georgia before making his decision today.

While both schools' classes would still be Top-10 caliber without Turene's services, this is still a big recruiting win for the Bulldogs as they strengthen their defensive front seven. Turene can play inside or out for Georgia, and he might even benefit from a move to defensive end to make the most of his explosive athleticism.

More Signing Day coverage is here at CBS. 

Posted on: February 2, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 1:15 pm

Cyrus Kouandjio pulls stunner, picks Auburn

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Cyrus Kouandjio, the nation's No. 3 overall recruit and top offensive tackle, said that his brother Arie Kouandjio -- a redshirt freshman at Alabama -- told him to follow his heart when it came to choosing where to sign today.

There's a lot of Crimson Tide fans out there wishing Arie had offered different advice, because Cyrus's heart has led him to choose the Tide's archrivals at Auburn. At 6'7" and 290 pounds , with an SEC -ready frame and top-grade upper- and lower-body strength, Kouandjio comes as ready-built for a college tackle spot as any prospect in the country.

Kouandjio had been considered an Alabama lean from the moment Arie committed last spring, but took an official visit to Auburn last weekend and came away impressed enough to turn next year's Iron Bowl into a family rivalry game on the field as well as in the stands.
With Kouandjio in place, Auburn will welcome not only the hands-down best offensive line class in the nation for 2011, but one of the best in recent memory. Joining Kouandjio will be No. 3 offensive tackle Christian Westerman , No. 16 guard Thomas O'Reilly , and highly-regarded center Reese Dismukes. The Tigers boasted arguably the nation's best offensive line this season, and if their success on the recruiting trail is any indication, they could boast the same honor again in the near future.

More Signing Day coverage   is here   at CBS.

Posted on: February 2, 2011 10:26 am
Edited on: February 2, 2011 10:28 am

Nickolas Brassell stays home at Ole Miss

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Mississippi high school powerhouse South Panola has sent more than its fair share of talent onto SEC schools in recent years, and today they've sent another blue-chipper on his way to in-state Ole Miss: top wide receiver Nickolas Brassell, who chose the Rebels today over offers from Alabama and Mississippi State (where Brassell had been previously committed)

Brassell is Maxpreps' No. 81 player overall and Tom Lemming's No. 11 wide receiver, a 6'1" 176-pound target who combines top-notch agility with solid hands and body positioining.

Between Brassell and newly-signed fellow receiver Tobias Singleton, a major prospect in his own right, the Rebels have received a big boost to their receiving corps. Houston Nutt was unable to get much consistency out of his passing game this past season, but with weapons like Brassell and Singleton in place, there should be substantial improvement over the next few seasons.

More Signing Day coverage is here  at CBS.
Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:25 am
Edited on: February 2, 2011 9:33 am

S Erique Florence chooses Auburn

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As quickly as Auburn's future secondary took a blow with the loss of Marcus Roberson, they've made back up the ground -- and then some -- with the addition of one of the nation's top safety prospects, Erique Florence.

Maxpreps' No. 5 safety prospect , the 6'2", 200-pound Florence has been believed to be a heavy Auburn lean for quite some time and made it official with an announcement at his Valley (Ala.) High School, some 30 minutes from Auburn. Florence is one of the nation's biggest hitters, with prototypical safety speed and size. Though he may need a quick adjustment period after playing quarterback for the Rams, the departure of safeties Aairon Savage and Zac Etheridge mean Florence should push for immediate playing time in Auburn's defensive backfield.

Florence considered USC, but in the end, the hometown Tigers were too tough to turn down. "I couldn't pick something I liked over something I loved," he said.

Florence's decision solidifies Auburn's standing as one of the strongest classes in the SEC and the country. Though the Jeoffrey Pagan decision has bumped their archrivals at Alabama one spot ahead of the Tigers in the Maxpreps' team rankings , no one at Auburn is going to complain with Florence safely in the fold.

More Signing Day coverage is here  at CBS.

Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:12 am
Edited on: February 2, 2011 9:27 am

DE Jeoffrey Pagan to Alabama

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The first of what looks like several Signing Day battles between Georgia and Alabama has gone to the Tide.

Asheville (N.C.) defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan has announced he will sign with Alabama, spurning the Dawgs and dozens of other offers. The Maxpreps No. 4 defensive end and No. 36 player in the country, the 6'4", 250-pound Pagan boasts impressive speed for an athlete of his size and is expected to become an explosive pass rusher at the next level. Though Pagan only began playing defense in 2009 and by most accounts need more polish when it comes to technique and leverage, he possesses one of the highet upsides in his class.

Alabama has churned out several terrifying ends in their 3-4 defense under Nick Saban, and it won't be a surprise at all if Pagan joins that group. Saban has been arguably the nation's best closer over the past few years, and Pagan's decision shows that nothing has changed on Signing Day 2011.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com