Recruit watch: The highest-ranked linebackers still considering SEC schools

SEC linebacker targets Christopher Oats

When it comes to linebacker, most of the hay already is in the barn for SEC schools in the 2018 recruiting cycle.

Truthfully, most of the mystery is whether a handful of highly rated players follow through on their commitments. Three stud linebackers – Quay Walker (Alabama), J.J. Peterson (Tennessee) and Xavier Peters (Kentucky, has since flipped to Florida State) – are commitments, not signees, and the next 10 days will be big for them, the schools they are committed to and the schools still recruiting them.

Here is a look at the top five uncommitted linebackers still being targeted by SEC schools.

OLB Christopher Oats

The particulars: Oats (6 feet 4, 215 pounds) is a four-star prospect from Cincinnati Winton Woods
The skinny: Oats (pictured above) is among the top-25 outside linebackers in the country. Oats visited Kentucky on December 15 and UK remains in the hunt, though getting Oats out of Ohio may be tough. He is scheduled to take a visit to Ohio State on February 2, and Ohio State is the favorite. Hometown Cincinnati remains in the hunt, as well.

RELATED: Recruiting rankings: A look at how each SEC school has done over the past 5 years

OLB Kevontae’ Ruggs

The particulars: Ruggs (6-4, 210 pounds) is a three-star prospect from Montgomery (Ala.) Robert E. Lee
The skinny: Ruggs is among the top-35 outside linebackers in the country as well as a top-15 prospect in Alabama. His brother, Henry, is a wide receiver with Alabama, but Kevontae’ – whose nickname is “Bunny” – seems more likely to end up at Ole Miss or Florida Atlantic. He was scheduled to be in Oxford this weekend, and a trip to FAU is scheduled for next weekend.

OLB Caleb Kelly

The particulars: Kelly (6-3, 218 pounds) is a three-star prospect from Atlanta Hapeville Charter
The skinny: Kelly, from the same high school that produced LSU edge rusher Arden Key, is one of the top-45 outside linebackers nationally. He had 16 sacks as a senior. Kelly has three finalists: Ole Miss, California and Stanford. He visited Stanford during the season, was in Oxford on the weekend of January 19 and is visiting Cal this weekend.

OLB Jayden McDonald

The particulars: McDonald (6-2, 201 pounds) is a three-star prospect from Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett
The skinny: McDonald, who is from the Atlanta suburbs, is one of the top-50 outside linebackers nationally. He appears to be down to Ole Miss, Kansas State and Iowa. He visited K-State on January 19, visited Iowa this weekend and is scheduled to go to Ole Miss next weekend. He is a former Rutgers commitment who re-opened his recruitment early this month; he had been committed to the Scarlet Knights for six months.

RELATED: A look at some notable SEC recruiting busts during the 2000s

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