Five-stars on the edge headline the trench group for the Green roster, as each of the top three defensive end prospects on Scout.com will play on the same squad. Lorenzo Carter, the lone undeclared of the dynamic trio and highest-ranked, will compete with Alabama commitment Da’Shawn Hand (No. 2) and Miami commitment Chad Thomas (No. 3) all week in an effort to hold the top spot. Carter has a bevy of suitors to choose from, seemingly focusing his efforts on Georgia, LSU, Alabama, and Florida of late. Four-stars Garrald McDowell, who committed to Ole Miss on December 20, and Notre Dame pledge Andrew Trimbetti round out the edge group.
On the interior, a trio of four-star, top 10 defensive tackle talents will balance out the line. Georgia commitment Lamont Gaillard, Scout’s No. 3 defensive tackle, will be joined by No. 6 Bryan Mone and No. 10 Dontavius Russell. Mone is a Notre Dame commitment and Russell backed off of his UGA pledge within the last month. The Peach State committed to Auburn Friday afternoon. The Tigers' incredible season put them into a good position to land Russell.
The Big Ten will be well-represented at linebacker ,with commitments from three of the five second-level defenders on the roster.
Raekwon McMillan (Ohio State), Michael Ferns (Michigan) and one-time Penn State commitment Jared Wangler are on the list. Wangler flipped his commitment to Michigan in August, soon after the Wolverines offered the legacy. Another legacy will join him during the week in Dillon Bates . The son of former Tennessee Volunteer and Dallas Cowboy Bill Bates is also headed to Knoxville for the next four years.
Edwin Freeman, still likely to select either Texas or Texas A&M, is known for his play in space though his recruitment and status as the sole uncommitted linebacker will be the bigger story this week.
McMillan, Freeman, Ferns and Bates are four-stars on Scout, while Wangler has the chance to up his three-star status during the week.
If the stacked defensive line, led by three elite pass-rushers, isn’t the top unit on the defense, the secondary is. It, too, has three five-stars to its name heading into the event.
Tony Brown is not only the top cornerback in the country on Scout, but he’s the top defensive prospect overall, sitting as the No. 3 prospect in America. The Texan is likely to announce at this game, which could bring good news for favorite LSU or top contenders Alabama or Texas A&M after the practice week. Fellow five-star Lone Star State standout Jamal Adams is also set to announce during Thursday’s game, and he, too, has LSU high on the list. America’s No. 2 safety prospect is also considering Florida and Ole Miss down the stretch. Jabrill Peppers isn’t in that boat, re-affirming his longtime commitment to Michigan of late after thinking of taking additional visits. The versatile athlete is the top prospect in the East region and No. 4 overall on Scout.
The trio of five-stars are joined by Nick Watkins, Arrion Springs and J.C. Jackson at cornerback. Each is a four-star, already committed to a national program, with Watkins headed to Notre Dame, Springs to Oregon and Jackson to Florida. Jackson is considering other in-state schools, but he’ll play with fellow Gator pledge Quincy Wilson during the week. The safety prospect maintains that he is versatile enough to play cornerback, something he shares with the other safeties on the roster. Alabama commitment Ronnie Clark played multiple positions on each side of the ball this fall, and he performed well as a safety earlier this month at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game. The roster is rounded out by former Crimson Tide commitment Laurence Jones, who backed off of his oral pledge earlier this month. LSU and Ole Miss, along with the Crimson Tide, are still in the running for his signature at this time.