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June 27, 2002
Recruiting is important in the SEC. In fact, it's almost as important as the regular season for many rabid fans. So it's no surprise to see two SEC teams already starting to rack up Rivals100 talent. Those teams, you might ask? Look no further than LSU and UGA.
When the first Rivals100 was released on Monday, LSU was the only team to have three top 100 players already committed to them.
The Tigers scored very early in the process by landing one of the best running backs in the Southeast in Lafayette (La.) Acadiana standout Alley Broussard. Broussard is a player that should push for five-star consideration throughout his senior season.
On film, he's one of the toughest runners in the nation and is extremely durable between the tackles - which is perfect for what LSU does in its offense.
"LSU is all about football," Broussard, who has become deemed "The Wrecking Ram" by TigerBait.com fans, said. "When you walk on that campus, you can tell they're serious about every aspect of the football program. I think I'm going to be a good fit into what they do, too."
Broussard finished his junior season as an all-state selection after rushing for 2,676 yards on 250 carries with 32 touchdowns.
Broussard already has a good set of linemen set to block for him in the future. The Tigers secured commitments from Jerry Sevin of River Ridge, La., and Will Arnold (right) of Centerville (Miss.) Academy. Both players are national top 100 picks with Arnold considered one of the top three players in the state of Mississippi and Sevin ranked as one of the nation's best center prospects.
Arnold, who is 6-foot-5 and 325 pounds, is a mountain of a man and is adept almost equally at pass and run blocking. Sevin, who comes in at 6-3 and 296 pounds, is known as one of the nation's best maulers - meaning when he hits you, you know it.
Trying not to be outdone at this point are the Georgia Bulldogs with two commitments from members of the Rivals100.
The Dawgs struck the biggest blow early in the state of Georgia when they secured a commitment from Dacula, Ga., standout linebacker Desmond Williams.
The 6-foot-2, 238-pound Williams is a perfect inside linebacker type with 4.65-second speed in the 40-yard dash to get to the outside and tackle ball carriers.
Williams had 173 total tackles (70 solo), 20 tackles for loss, three sacks and four fumble recoveries as a junior. A three-year starter, he was named first team Class AAAAA all-state last season.
"The Southeastern Conferences is the best," he said. "Every week you have a tough game, and I like that. I definitely want to compete against the best and that conference has some of the best players every year."
And he'll get his shot at Georgia.
"It's always been Georgia," he said. "I pretty much knew that was the right place for me."
UGA then followed Williams' early commitment up with what be the nation's biggest commitment to date.
With UGA wanting to land solid cover corners in this class, Georgia secured a commitment from Kennesaw (Ga.) Harrison five-star corner Paul Oliver earlier this week.
Oliver is rated as the top player in Georgia for the Class of 2003 and he's simply amazing on film with his ability to close on the ball and use his athletic ability and 6-0, 185-pound frame to make plays.
"I would love to play both ways like Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson," Oliver told UGASports.com.
"But at first I'll just be a cornerback and return punts. Maybe when I'm there a few years, they'll let me play some offense."
Oliver's commitment at this point, is a soft one, despite him saying he's 100 percent committed. He wants to take other official visits to Florida State, Texas, North Carolina and maybe Tennessee.
Florida is the other SEC team that has hit pay dirt with a top 100 commitment. The Gators landed 6-foot-4, 195-pound quarterback Justin Midgett early on in the process.
North Carolina in the ACC is also off to a solid start, grabbing two Rivals100 commitments early in the process.
Quarterback Chris Leak gets all of the attention in North Carolina, but the Heels might have landed a commitment from what might be the real top player in the state.
Mike Mason of Rocky Mount, N.C., is simply amazing on film and pledged his commitment to UNC over Florida, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Stanford, Virginia and East Carolina.
The Tar Heels landed a huge early commitment from Marcus Hands, a 6-5, 255-pound strongside defensive end from Wilmington (N.C.) Laney. Hands also had amazing offers from Nebraska, N.C. State, Penn State, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Washington, Colorado and Wisconsin have also secured pledges from Rivals100 players. UDub landed talented receiver Craig Chambers of Mill Creek (Wash.) Jackson, CU picked up offensive lineman Brian Daniels (6-4, 280) of Denver Mullen, and Wisconsin has secured a pledge from Justin Ostrowski (6-5, 255) of Portage, Wis.
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