As players become stars in the SEC, sometimes we forget that it wasn’t long ago they were high school recruits trying to choose a college.
Why would an ESPN 300 offensive lineman from Illinois choose LSU? What made a three-star safety committed to Central Florida change his mind the day before signing day? For this week’s player roundtable, we asked a handful of SEC players what made them choose their respective schools.
Eddie Jackson, DB, Alabama
"It was tough. One thing I can say about Alabama that they preached a lot on was legacy. Not just on-the-field things, coach [Nick] Saban really sold the in-the-classroom things and how you should be off the field and how you should act. So things like that really sold me and my parents, and we felt like Alabama was the best decision."
Ethan Pocic, OL, LSU
"I just loved the tradition, loved the great players that come through LSU, national championships, going to be a possible contender. I thought the SEC has the best rivalries out there. Of course, that’s up for debate. A lot of people like the Ohio State-Michigan [rivalry]. But I just feel like coming to LSU was the best decision I ever made, and I don’t look back on it. It was kind of one of those things where I woke up in the morning and was like, ‘I want to go to LSU, so I’m going to go to LSU.’ I committed that day."
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB, Tennessee
"For me personally, I realized the opportunity that was there. I realized that the program was so big, and there were so many opportunities, even outside of football -- the doors that can open, the people that you can meet. Personally, I wanted to stay in state to represent for my state. Growing up, I was always trying to represent for wherever I was at. I went to Northeast High School [in Clarksville, Tennessee]. We called our school the East. So I’m always talking about the East. I just felt like the best way to represent where I come from and the best way to represent who I am was to go to Tennessee. I’m a Titans fan. I’m a Grizzlies fan. I support anything Tennessee."
Dominick Sanders, DB, Georgia
"Being home. There’s nothing like being home. It came late. I got the offer from Georgia the day before signing day. I really didn’t think it was going to come. I was blessed to get it, and right when I got it, I said, ‘Hey mom, we’re going to Georgia.’ I had to be a man and tell the UCF coaches what I want in life and where I’m going to spend my next four years, but it was a pleasure to get that offer from Georgia."
Deatrich Wise, DL, Arkansas
"I was offered by five schools: Arizona, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Arkansas State and Arkansas. Of that group, it was Arkansas. But also because of the fan base and how strong it was. The hometown type of college town was great. The locker room was cool. I liked everything about Arkansas when I first got there, and I’m happy I chose it."