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Thursday, January 26, 2012
How 2011 All-SEC team ranked as recruits

By Chris Low

One of the things I like to do every year leading up to national signing day is go back and look at where the players who made All-SEC that season ranked as high school recruits.

Occasionally, it’s stunning how few of the All-SEC players were hot-shot recruits. For instance, of the 11 defensive players who earned first-team, All-SEC honors in 2010 by the Associated Press, only two were ESPNU 150 recruits (ranked among the top 150 players nationally).

It’s a reminder that recruiting rankings are anything but foolproof.

However, the recruiting folks at ESPN batted a much higher percentage with the players on the 2011 All-SEC team.

Using the coaches’ selections this time, 10 of the 22 position players on offense and defense were ESPNU 150 selections coming out of high school.

In fact, both of the running backs -- Trent Richardson and Michael Dyer -- were rated as the No. 1 running back prospects in the country the years they graduated high school.

LSU’s Rueben Randle was the No. 1-rated receiver in 2009, while Arkansas receiver/return specialist Joe Adams was the No. 2-rated athlete in 2008.

So the evaluations by the ESPN recruiting team on the top skill players from this past season in the SEC were dead-on when they were coming out of high school.

It’s a little trickier with the guys up front.

Of the 10 offensive/defensive linemen named to the 2011 All-SEC team by the coaches, counting the tight end, only three were ESPNU 150 selections coming out of high school – Alabama center William Vlachos, Auburn defensive end Corey Lemonier and LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery.

LSU offensive tackle Alex Hurst and Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette weren’t ranked nationally or regionally as high school prospects.

Using ESPN’s recruiting rankings and the 2011 coaches’ All-SEC team, here’s a look back:

OFFENSE
DEFENSE