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SEC Recruiting: An early look at 2017 prospects
1:58 | College Football
SEC Recruiting: An early look at 2017 prospects
Sunday May 1st, 2016

It’s been nearly four years since Dylan Moses became a household name among college football fans. Yet with the start of his senior high school season looming in the near future, the timeline for the conclusion of Moses’s recruitment can now be measured in months.

In an interview with SI.com last week, Moses said he probably will settle on a list of three schools in November and then make a verbal commitment in December before enrolling early at whichever school he chooses. Moses did not provide any details about planned visits to schools this spring or summer, saying that “I was really just planning on training this spring, getting through the summer and just getting ready for the season.”

Asked whether he knew of any schools that definitely would make the aforementioned list of three, Moses said, “That’s a long ways from now. Anything can change.”

And a lot has changed since a 14-year-old Moses was offered a scholarship by LSU in July 2012 after he reportedly recorded a time of 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash and a 34-inch vertical leap at a Tigers camp. Over the next year he picked up reported offers from other Power 5 heavyweights such as Alabama and Texas but elected to pledge to LSU in September 2013 as a freshman at University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge, La.

Moses also graced the cover of ESPN The Magazine that summer.

Moses’s interest in LSU was not in question at the time of his pledge. “I was kind of shocked when I first heard it—it was a dream come true,” Moses said after receiving the offer from the Tigers, according to ESPN. “I’ve always wanted to play for LSU since I was a kid, and now it’s coming true in front of my eyes.” But the timing of the pledge granted him ample time to look elsewhere before beginning his college career.

Moses formally exercised that opportunity in August when he announced his decommitment from LSU, in what he described in a message posted to his Twitter account as a “very tough decision.” There would be more bad news for the Tigers in their quest to reel in one of Louisiana’s best prospects in recent memory: That December Moses named perhaps LSU’s chief rival in the SEC West, Alabama, the leader in his recruitment.

Moses subsequently announced that he would leave Baton Rouge to finish his high school career in Bradenton, Fla., at IMG Academy, which is loaded with elite recruits and would enable him to graduate early.

Courtesy of Scout.com

In early April, after a series of unofficial visits, including to Texas, Moses announced a new list of his top five schools, in this order: The Longhorns, Alabama, UCLA and LSU (tied for third) and USC. Neither the list nor the order of it has changed since then, Moses told SI.com. He described what makes Texas his No. 1 as “really a connection I get with the coaches, you know? Especially Charlie Strong—he’s a great guy. The whole staff is great.”

Moses also explained that, in evaluating all of the schools recruiting him, a strong connection with coaches off the field is particularly important. “If I can be able to talk to you about personal problems and have a relationship with you and be able to just communicate,” Moses said.

As he approaches his senior season, Moses is considered one of the top players in the class of 2017. Scout.com rates him No. 2 overall, behind only Antioch (Calif.) High running back Najee Harris. Though he’s listed as an athlete by Scout.com, Moses projects as a linebacker at the next level but mentioned the possibility of schools installing a package of plays for him on the other side of the ball. Moses’s imposing blend of speed and power should allow him to thrive in any defensive scheme.

College football fans who have been keeping tabs on Moses may find it difficult to believe that the conclusion of his high school career is not that far away. For so long Moses has felt less like a highly regarded prospect than a transcendent being hovering on the periphery of teams’ recruiting plans. But in only a few months, he’ll close the door on a lengthy, high-profile saga and attempt to translate outsize hype into instant production.

• JOHNSON: Get to know No. 4 overall recruit Devon Hunter

Social media item of the week

LSU coach Les Miles is prepared for a new recruiting environment in which electronic communication is not regulated.

Three things to know

• Demetris Robertson finally made his college decision. The lone uncommitted five-star prospect in the class of 2016 announced on Sunday that he will attend Cal. The Savannah Christian (Ga.) Prep athlete picked the Golden Bears over Notre Dame and Georgia. “When I went there it felt like home,” Robertson said of Cal, according to The Telegraph in Macon, Ga. “I know I’ll be homesick a lot. But I know I’ll get over it. My mom is going to miss me a lot. She talks about that a lot. But I want to do the best thing for me and my family.” Robertson committed to Alabama in July ’14, but he elected to back off that pledge last April. Yet whereas most other prospects in the class of ’16 officially ended their recruitments in early February, Robertson allowed his recruitment to drag on well past National Signing Day. He subsequently took official visits to Alabama and Georgia, but instead of staying in-state and playing for the Bulldogs or one of their SEC rivals, Robertson chose a school located on the other side of the country.

• IMG Academy’s Joshua Kaindoh didn’t include Maryland in the list of top four schools he released earlier this month, but apparently the exclusion wasn’t an indication that he wasn’t interested in the Terrapins. The Baltimore native announced his verbal commitment to Maryland on Saturday. The No. 7 defensive end and No. 90 recruit overall in the class of 2017, Kaindoh is renowned for his size and explosiveness, and Scout.com describes him as a “freakish athlete.” Kaindoh’s pledge caps off an excellent month on the recruiting trail for the Terrapins, who also landed commitments in April from four-star quarterback Kasim Hill, four-star outside linebacker Ayinde Eley, four-star defensive tackle Cam Spence and four-star offensive tackle Jordan McNair. Now the Terrapins need to ensure those players stick to their pledges. In January they watched two of their top committed prospects in the class of ’16, linebacker Keandre Jones and quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., flip to Ohio State.

• Oklahoma’s run to the College Football Playoff last season gave the program a much-needed boost of momentum after a disappointing 2014 campaign. Last year's success is also helping the Sooners compile one of the nation’s top recruiting classes. Oklahoma added another highly regarded prospect to its ’17 haul last week, securing a verbal commitment from Trey Sermon. The four-star running back picked the Sooners over Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Oregon and Tennessee. Coach Bob Stoops has had plenty of success in Texas during this recruiting cycle, with five committed players hailing from the Lone Star State. But Oklahoma dipped into SEC country for Sermon, who attends Sprayberry High in Marietta, Ga. After finishing outside of the top 10 of Scout.com’s team recruiting rankings the last four years, including 20th in 2016, the Sooners currently rank second nationally with their ’17 class, behind only Ohio State. Oklahoma counts 12 commitments so far with an average star rating of 3.83.

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