Handicapping the SEC Favorites for No. 1 JUCO RB Akeem Judd
The offers from the SEC are piling up for the No. 1 ranked JUCO running back, Akeem Judd (Georgia Military College), as Auburn and Tennessee recently have extended offers joining Ole Miss in the pursuit of the 6’0’’, 219-pound runner.
Judd is anticipating making a decision in late August and judging from the comments he made to Ryan Callahan of GoVols247, it’s going to be one of his SEC suitors.
“Not to downgrade any other conference, but it’s just the best conference to watch football,” Judd said. “Everybody tunes in when the SEC teams are playing, and there’s just something about it. And I’ve got the opportunity to play at an SEC school, so I’m going to make the best of it.”
Ole Miss will have the chance to make a great first impression when he visits the Oxford campus on Jun. 1 where his size would be a welcome addition to the Rebels backfield. Judd would be a nice complement to smaller tailbacks like incoming freshmen Kailo Moore, Mark Dodson, Jr. and Eugene Brazley who are below 195 pounds.
I think he would be a perfect fit in the Ole Miss backfield should he elect to commit to Ole Miss, but how would he fit at his other top options like Auburn and Tennessee?
Tennessee is hosting Judd Jun. 21 and the Vols already have a commitment from five-star running back Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn. Beech), but another runner would be beneficiary considering the shaky status of Marlin Lane. The fact that he is a JUCO transfer has to be appealing to Butch Jones as Daniel Lewis of Nooga.com wrote: “That would give UT a chance for more instant help in 2014 and would spread out the years of eligibility left for the incoming prospects.” Tennessee needs depth at the position and a two-pronged attack of Hurd and Judd would be sorely needed in Knoxville even if their skill-set is awfully similar.
Auburn and Judd are still attempting to arrange a visit after he received his offer from the Tigers on May. 19. He hoped to make the trip the weekend after his trek to Ole Miss, but that has fallen through and he hopes to make it there “sometime soon” according to Bryan Matthews of Auburn Undercover.
Judd would be a threat in Gus Malzahn’s no-huddle, hurry-up offense, and their track record of sending running backs to the NFL is appealing. Auburn has also shown a proclivity for JUCO transfers, signing six from the JUCO ranks in the 2013 class, including running back Cameron Artis-Payne who was a star at the Tigers’ spring game.
Judd fits well at each these SEC programs, and it appears that he has strong relationships with each of the coaching staffs recruiting him. His decision will come down to which school and coaching staff fit him the best. Judd maintains he doesn’t have any favorites until after he takes his visits, but if I were to handicap the race, I’d rank the favorites to sign him as Ole Miss, Tennessee and then Auburn.