SoCon Recruiting Class Rankings
By Russell V.
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Ranking the nine recruiting classes in the Southern Conference.
Two stars: 1
Top recruits: DB Nick Ward, DE Boston Bryant, WR Dakota Hopper
The Terriers have brought in one of their biggest classes in quite some time and the biggest in the conference. This year’s class is highlighted by the Brenton Bersin-like Dakota Hopper, DE Boston Bryant (who had 105 tackles and 859 rushing yards to go with 12 touchdowns during his senior season) and DB Nick Ward.
Two stars: 2
Top recruits: OL Dakota DeYent, DB Adrian Williams DB Asunji Maddox Jr.
The Phoenix were able to gain a major piece for the future in OL Dakota DeYent and, with the addition of DBs Adrian Williams and Asunji Maddox Jr. – who is said to have a 30 inch vertical – have further solidified the conference’s top pass defense from a year ago. WR Demetri Allison looks like he could be a sleeper for Elon.
7. The Citadel
Two stars: 2
Top recruits: WR Jorian Jordan, LB Tevin Floyd, RB DeAndre Schoultz
The Bulldogs went big this year in more ways than one. The highlight of their class could be their wide receivers, who measure in at 6’0, 6’2, 6’4 and 6’4 and include Jorian Jordan (947 yards, 12 TDs in senior season). If the Bulldogs are able to find a passing game to compliment their ground attack with these new recruits, watch out.
6. Western Carolina
Two stars: 5
Top recruits: DL Andrew Mayton, DB Fred Payne, RB Garry Lewis
After his second go round with recruiting, Coach Mark Speir has yet another solid class under his belt in Cullowhee. Led by DL Andrew Mayton – North Carolina’s sack leader in 2012 with 23.5 – the Catamounts continue to build toward the future, which looks brighter by the day. Also, is there any more appropriate name for a defensive back than Payne? I’m looking at you Fred.
Three stars: 1
Two stars: 6
Top recruits: LB Justin Cooper, DB Sam Pettway, OL Connor Rafferty
Coach Pat Sullivan called his 2013 class the “most balanced class we've had since we've been at Samford,” and it is not much of an exaggeration. The Bulldogs were able to get depth on the offensive line and some talent at defensive line and linebacker, led by Justin Cooper, a transfer from Texas Tech.
Three stars: 1
Two stars: 7
Top recruits: DT Taylor Reynolds, RB Derrick Craine, OL Jacob Revis
Coach Huesman welcomes a class that includes eight all-state selections, led by DT Taylor Reynolds, who was listed as one of the top defensive linemen in Alabama. QB Alejandro Bennifield could be the unsung hero of this group and the Mocs’ QB of the future, while RB Derrick Craine totaled 2,105 yards and 23 TDs during his senior campaign.
Three stars: 1
Two stars: 9
Top recruits: OL Aaron Black, DE James Elliott, LB Nic McBride
After giving up nearly 400 yards of offense per game last season, the Paladins made a strong effort to improve their D, and it shows – 13 of their 17 recruits will be lining up on the defensive side of the ball. With DE James Elliott and DL Jordan Hawkins, the Paladins could have a D-line to fear in a few years.
2. Georgia Southern
Three stars: 3
Two stars: 3
Top recruits: DT Jay Ellison, DL Larry Matthews, RB Keshun Hill
At Georgia Southern, they do not rebuild – they reload. The Eagles lose Brent Russell? They sign Jay Ellison, an All-State DT and Area Defensive Player of the Year. In fact, this year’s recruiting class includes four former Player of the Year award winners, most of which come at the running back position. Can you say loaded?
1. Appalachian State
Three stars: 6
Two stars: 10
Top recruits: DB Anthony Covington, LB Nathaniel Norwood, QB Taylor Lamb
Coach Satterfield has put together one of the most impressive recruiting classes Appalachian State has seen in some time, as all of the 16 new players were given at least a two-star rating by Rivals.com. Former coach Jerry Moore called last year’s class “the best recruiting class in years.” This year’s class could challenge that title. And in case you were wondering, yes, QB Taylor Lamb is the son of former Furman quarterback and coach Bobby Lamb.