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January 21, 2013

SEC dominates latest Rivals rankings; Onterio McCalebb (hamstring) will miss the Senior Bowl

AUBURN, Ala. – In the revised Rivals100 released Monday by Rivals.com, ranking the top college football recruits in the country, USC is setting the pace with an incredible 11 verbal commits in the top group.

Alabama, owner of three of the last four national championships, is next in line with eight pledges in Rivals’ top 100. SEC rivals Florida (seven verbals), LSU (six) and Auburn and Texas A&M (three each) also give the league a strong influx of talent.

In the national web site’s latest team rankings, Alabama has Rivals’ third-strongest recruiting class, trailing Florida and Notre Dame. Georgia is ninth and Auburn No. 19.

The Crimson Tide’s top-rated recruit is No. 11 Jonathan Allen, a defensive end named Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year. Nick Saban also has loaded up with six offensive skill players in the top 100.

Auburn’s hottest verbal commit is five-star defensive end Carl Lawson out of Alpharetta, Ga., checking in at No. 4 overall. The Tigers also have No. 93 quarterback Jeremy Johnson of Carver-Montgomery and No. 95 receiver Tony Stevens from Orlando.

Georgia’s lone verbal commit in the top 100 as of Monday is safety Tray Matthews out of Newnan, ranked No. 44 on the big board.

Sixteen of the top 100 remain uncommitted, highlighted by the country’s top prize in 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end Robert Nkemdiche out of Loganville, Ga. According to Rivals, Nkemdiche’s short list contains LSU, Ole Miss and Florida, though he has been offered by many other schools including Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Georgia Tech.

The No. 8 prospect, Derrick Green, is the country’s top available running back out of Richmond. Green told Rivals he will select from his final three of Auburn, Tennessee and Michigan on Saturday.

Undecided Auburn High School linebacker Reuben Foster, previously committed both to Alabama and Auburn, has dropped to No. 13 in the overall rankings. No. 14 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and No. 15 linebacker Matthew Thomas each have high interest in Alabama and Georgia among others.

No McCalebb Saturday: After he played sparingly in Saturday’s Raycom College Football All-Star Classic in Montgomery, former Auburn tailback Onterio McCalebb said he was healthy, just a little weary from traveling to the second of his three all-star events.

Turns out McCalebb was nursing a hamstring, which will keep him out of this Saturday’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., per a Senior Bowl representative.

Auburn’s other Senior Bowl invitee, tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, already knew he would not play as he continues his recovery from hip surgery. McCalebb and Lutzenkirchen are not surefire selections in April’s NFL Draft.

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