SEC Recruiting Team Rankings
By Matthew Osborne
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SEC teams once again made a major splash in recruiting this season bringing the top talent from across the nation into the league.
#1: Alabama Crimson Tide
Total Commits: 26
If there is one team in the nation that could have survived a down year in the recruiting process, it would have been Alabama. However, with the momentum that Nick Saban has generated in Tuscaloosa, it should come as no surprise that the Crimson Tide can stake claim to arguably the top recruiting class in the nation this year. Alabama’s signees had the highest average star rating amongst SEC teams, and the Crimson Tide did a tremendous job of addressing their greatest areas of need, including signing the nation’s top placekicker, Adam Griffith.
Top Commit: S Landon Collins
#2: Florida Gators
Total Commits: 23
The Gators may have experienced their fair share of struggles on the field in 2011, but Florida proved that it can still get the job done on the recruiting trail. Will Muschamp stated that he wanted to make improvements along the lines, and he accomplished that by signing 14 linemen yesterday. While there is certainly no shortage of speed in this class, the major theme for the Gators will be the beef that they added in the trenches.
Top Commit: OT D.J. Humphries
#3: Georgia Bulldogs
Total Commits: 19
What the Bulldogs lack in quantity, they more than made up for in quality. Despite signing just 19 prospects yesterday, the Bulldogs added a handful of players who will have an opportunity to see the field next season. Georgia added numerous defensive stalwarts who will help crank up the pass rush during their careers, as well as a pair of elite running backs who should see plenty of action in 2012. The Bulldogs also finished very strong in recruiting, adding CB Sheldon Dawson, DE Josh Dawson and OLB Josh-Harvey Clemons in the last three days.
Top Commit: OT John Theus
#4: Auburn Tigers
Total Commits: 19
The Tigers added five new members to their recruiting class yesterday, putting a nice finishing touch on yet another successful recruiting class. In particular, Auburn did an exceptional job of improving their talent-level on the offensive line. While Avery Young is the only real headliner of this class, it is a recruiting class that is very solid from top to bottom. There aren’t any real weak players in this class.
Top Commit: OT Avery Young
#5: LSU Tigers
Total Commits: 23
The Tigers probably weren’t in desperate need of talent on the defensive side of the ball judging by last season’s performance, but that didn’t stop Les Miles from loading up on that side of the ball once again. LSU landed a bevy of high-profile outside linebackers who will have a chance to compete for early playing time. This class is not quite as good as some of LSU’s previous classes, but there is still plenty of talent to be found here.
Top Commit: OLB Kwon Alexander
#6: South Carolina Gamecocks
Total Commits: 25
Although the Gamecocks did not manage to sign the top prospect in the country again this year, they did sign the top prospect in the Palmetto State for the fourth year in a row. South Carolina has become a team to be reckoned with in recruiting and it showed yet again this year. The Gamecocks signed a class that helped bring in talent at all positions. A few of the offensive skill players should contribute, and possibly even start as true freshman.
Top Commit: WR Shaq Roland
#7: Texas A&M Aggies
Total Commits: Signing Day got off to a rough start for the Aggies, but they rebounded with a couple of key additions a little later in the day that helped them reel in a solid 2012 class. Defensive end was a big position of need for A&M this year, and they addressed that need by signing five defensive ends. The Aggies were able to sign a few dynamic skill players who should help ease A&M’s transition into the conference.
Top Commit: RB Trey Williams
#8: Tennessee Volunteers
Total Commits: 21
Other than junior college WR Cordarrelle Patterson, the Vols didn’t land any real high-profile players this year. What Tennessee did do, however, is fill their class with quality recruits who will have a chance to contribute in a few years. The Vols would have loved to land an elite recruiting class like the one they did last year, but their 2012 recruiting class is certainly no slouch.
Top Commit: WR Cordarrelle Patterson
#9: Missouri Tigers
Total Commits: 18
If nothing else, the Tigers can hang their hat on the fact that they just signed the nation’s top prospect, WR Dorial Green-Beckham. Missouri did not have room to take a large class this year, so they wanted to make all of their scholarships count. While the Tigers would have liked to fare better with their remaining 17 scholarships, Green-Beckham’s commitment gives Missouri the assurance that they will have the most talented wide receiver in the conference next season.
Top Commit: WR Dorial Green-Beckham
#10: Mississippi State Bulldogs
Total Commits: 28
The Bulldogs signed a large class this year, but there is no doubt that the biggest impact that this class will make will be on the defensive line, where Mississippi State signed a pair of five-star prospects. Dan Mullen did reach on a few prospects who were overlooked by the majority of FBS schools, but there are plenty of players amongst the 28 signees who will go on to have productive careers.
Top Commit: DT Quay Evans
#11: Arkansas Razorbacks
Total Commits: 24
While the Razorbacks finished with another top 25 recruiting class this year, Bobby Petrino would have liked to fare a little better considering that his team finished ranked in the top five this past season. Arkansas missed on the majority of their top recruits, although they are bringing in a class that should help sure up some issues on the defensive front seven. Despite missing on Dorial Green-Beckham, they landed four wide receivers who will vie for early playing time.
Top Commit: RB Jonathan Williams
#12: Vanderbilt Commodores
Total Commits: 22
Although this class ranks just 12th in these rankings, this is arguably the best recruiting class in Vanderbilt history. James Franklin did a tremendous job of convincing a multitude of top prospects that the Commodores can become relevant in the SEC on a consistent basis. The Commodores ultimately missed out on DE Josh Dawson and RB Wes Brown, but this class has set a solid foundation for Vanderbilt to build upon.
Top Commit: RB Brian Kimbrow
#13: Ole Miss Rebels
Total Commits: 17
Hugh Freeze has been put in a difficult position in Oxford and he will have to work diligently to climb his way out of the hole in which he currently resides. The Rebels signed a small class this year, but their class also lacked firepower. Other than five-star DE Channing Ward, there are no players that can be singled out as impact players at the collegiate level. Nearly a third of Ole Miss’ prospects were two-star players, which is never a good thing for an SEC program.
Top Commit: DE Channing Ward
#14: Kentucky Wildcats
Total Commits: 29
The Wildcats actually received a pair of quality commitments yesterday, but that did not save the recruiting class as a whole. While this Kentucky class isn’t exactly awful, they are the only SEC team that did not land a single four or five star recruit. If nothing else, Kentucky can feel good about the fact that they signed over 20 three-star recruits who will add a tremendous amount of depth to their program.
Top Commit: DT Thomas Chapman