Another National Signing Day has come and gone. Players across the country signed there letters of intent and faxed them off to their new school. It can be seen as the unofficial start of the 2011 season.
So how did the SEC do? Well as you can imagine, the members of the SEC did quite well for themselves. Scout.com had the SEC as the number one ranked conference in the nation on signing day. The SEC brought in more 5, 4, and 3 star commits than any other conference according to the Scout’s ranking system.
Of course ranking systems vary between the three major scouting services of Scout, Rivals, and ESPN. All have their own ranking system and each have a different top 25 team ranking; however, each had 4 SEC teams in their respective Top Ten with Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, and LSU in varying orders.
So we know that the SEC was the best conference coming signing day, but how did the teams do this time around?
Class Rankings: Scout -1, Rivals -7, ESPN - 3
The BCS National Champs have brought in a class that all services regarded as a Top 10 class. The Tigers have lost a lot of talent from last years team, but this class should help fill the voids. It also may not be done yet. On offense they brought in offensive tackle Christian Westermanfrom from Arizona who is seen as one of the best offensive linemen in the country. They are also still in the running for offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio from Maryland. He is down to Auburn and Alabama. To help replace Cam Newton, they got Kiehl Frazier out of Arkansas who is rated as a top five quarterback in the country. On defense, they were able to pick up Gabe Wright, a defensive tackle from Georgia and safety Erique Florence out of Alabama.
Class Rankings: Scout - 6, Rivals - 5, ESPN - 6
This class is something coach Mark Richt needed badly. It is across the board seen as a Top 10 class in the county. With 18 commits from the state of Georgia, it is seen as a "Dream Team" class for the Bulldogs. The centerpiece being running back Isaiah Crowell who most have said was the best running back in the country. Defensive end Ray Drew, tight end Jay Rome, and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell are all products of Georgia. This class may be what Coach Richt needs to get Georgia back on track.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Class Rankings: Scout – 7, Rivals – 1, ESPN – 2
Ever since Nick Saban took over as the head coach at Alabama he has always had a solid recruiting class. This year is no different. He has brought in another talented group of playmakers. Alabama brought in some offensive weapons for the future. Bradley Sylve from Louisiana and Marvin Shinn from Alabama were some of the top ranked receivers in the country across all scouting services. Demetrius Hart from Florida was a top 10 ranked running back in the country. On the defensive side he brought in Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, a safety out of Florida, defensive end Xzavier Dickson from Georgia, and Trey DePriest an outside linebacker from Ohio.
Class Rankings: Scout - 9, Rivals - 6, ESPN - 10
The Tigers are seen as a Top 5 team next season. Right now they have eight starters returning on offense and 7 on defense. This class will add depth and even more talent to the roster for Les Miles. The centerpiece of this class is defensive tackle Anthony Johnson from Louisiana . He is considered by many to be the best defensive tackle in the country. The offense will get a boost from offensive tackle La’El Collins, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and running back Kenny Hilliard, all from Louisiana.
Class Rankings: Scout -11, Rivals - 12, ESPN - 13
Second year head coach Derek Dooley has brought in a solid for Tennessee this year. Perhaps one of the best he was able to bring in was wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett from Michigan. With one of the best young quarterbacks in the SEC in Tyler Bray, Arnett will be another weapon for Bray to work with. The defense picked up outside linebacker Curt Maggitt from Florida and A.J. Johnson from Georgia. This appears to be a balanced class that addresses needs on offense and defense.
South Carolina Gamecocks
Class Rankings: Scout - 13, Rivals - 20, ESPN - 24
The defending SEC East champions have brought in another Top 25 class and this class may not be done yet. The Gamecocks are still waiting to see if the player many consider to be the top player in the country, in state recruit Jadeveon Clowney, will commit to South Carolina. Many thought he was going to South Carolina, but he never sent in his letter of intent. If he does sign with the Gamecocks, he would add to the good defensive haul of defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles from Virginia, safety Kadetrix Marcus from Georgia, and Phillips Dukes from in state.
Class Rankings: Scout – 16, Rivals – 24, ESPN – 18
The Razorbacks were able to capitalize on their first BCS Bowl game with a Top 25 recruiting class. It appeared that Arkansas addressed the offensive side of the ball with this call as only 11 players were true defensive players. On the offensive side they brought in two of the top offensive line guards in the country with Mitch Smothers and Brey Cook, who are both in state recruits. They also added two tight ends in Demetrius Dean from Arkansas and Jervohnte Riles out of Alabama. Defensive end Lonnie Gosha from Florida should add depth to the defensive line. Tevin Mitchel, a cornerback from Texas, will add depth to the secondary.
Class Rankings: Scout - 21, Rivals - 14, ESPN - 12
Will Muschamp was able to come in as the new head coach of the Gators and still bring in what all services consider to be a Top 25 Class. The highlight of this class has to be what many believe to be the number one high school quarterback in the country in Jeff Driskel from Florida.. You have to believe that with a new staff, he will have a chance to come in and compete to be the starter. A lot of weapons were signed for him to work with. Wide receiver Ja’Juan Story and running back Mike Blakely both from Florida will bring even more depth to the roster. The defensive secondary got some help with Jabari Gorman and Marcus Roberson, both listed at safety and both in state recruits.
Class Rankings: Scout - 24, Rivals - 18, ESPN - 25
It looks like this class was used by Houston Nutt to add depth for the passing game in the future. They brought in wide receivers Tobias Singleton, Nickolas Brassell, and Donte Moncrief, all in state recruits. For the defense, inside linebacker C.J. Johnson from Mississippi and outside linebacker Serderius Bryant will bring depth to the linebacker unit.
Class Rankings: Scout- 32, Rivals - Not in top 50 (#11 SEC), ESPN- Not in Top 25 (was noted in outside Top 25 on signing day)
There were high expectations for Joker Phillips' first class as head coach. Although fans point out the losses of in state recruits, Lamar Dawson to Southern California and Jon Davis to Illinois, the Wildcats still brought in a decent class. They got help on the offensive line with Zach West and Darrian Miller, who are both in state players and James Elliot out of Florida. On defense, the Wildcats got a top rated safety in Glen Faulkner from Illinois. Outside linebacker Demarius Rancifer from Florida was also a solid pick up to help with a switch to the 3-4 defense that many believe will come next season.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Class Rankings: Scout - 43, Rivals - 42, ESPN - Not in Top 25
Dan Mullen has improved MSU's win-loss record since he has come to Starkville. At one time this class was seen as a Top 25 class, but not all the recruits were committed to the Bulldogs. There is still talent in the class to keep Mississippi State on the upswing. Wide receiver Joe Morrow, from in state, should help with the passing game and offensive tackle James Maiden, also in state, should add to the offensive line. For the defense, safety Darion Arrington and defensive tackle P.J. Jones are both in state recruits that can help improve a poor defense unit.
Class Rankings: Scout - 45, Rivals - Not in top 50 (#12 SEC), ESPN - Not listed in Top 25
Going into his first season at Vanderbilt, James Franklin has a lot of work to try and build up the Commodores football team. He got some help with this class. Lafonte Thourogood played quarterback in high school in Virginia. He is listed as an athlete, but may be given a shot to play QB in college. The secondary got help with the signing of safety Larry Franklin out of Florida and conerback Derek King, an in state recruit.
Honestly it is hard to tell just how great these classes will be right now. Many players coming in may be red shirted, some may play only spot minutes, while some may come in and contribute right away. One thing is known for sure, that with so many of the top high school players in the country coming into the SEC, it will continue to remain a dominant conference for years to come.
For more check out College Football Recruiting Rankings.
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