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Tuesday, July 19, 2011
SEC recruiting scorecard

By Edward Aschoff

With preseason practice right around the corner, it's time to take a look at how teams are doing when it comes to the future of their programs. It's only July, and a lot of things can/will change in recruiting, but it's always fun to see where teams stand at certain times of the year.

Currently, Alabama and Florida are having the most success in the SEC recruiting world. According to the national team rankings, Alabama ranks third (14 commitments, five ESPNU 150 members) and Florida sits at No. 5 (15/6). That should come as no surprise because both teams have been near the top of the league in recruiting over the last few years. And even though Urban Meyer is gone, new Florida coach Will Muschamp has been on a recruiting roll. His deep ties to southern high school programs stem from before his time as Texas' defensive coordinator and he seems to have not burned any bridges along the way.

The surprise of not only the conference but the nation is Vanderbilt. New coach James Franklin is in line to be salesman of the year with the success he's had at landing prospects. The Commodores are currently ranked 22nd in the team rankings and have 12 verbal commitments.

The SEC has seven total teams ranked in the national rankings. The others are LSU (No. 10), Auburn (No. 13), Georgia (No. 16) and South Carolina (No. 25).

Florida leads the SEC with six ESPNU 150 members.

All of this information comes from ESPN.com's recruiting page:

ALABAMA

2012 verbal commitments: 14

Spotlight: Safety Eddie Williams of Panama, City, Fla., comes in at No. 1 on ESPN.com's safety board and is ranked as the fifth-best prospect overall. Williams is one of the top pure athletes in the 2012 class and could be a force at either safety or linebacker. He possesses the speed and instincts to stay at safety, but at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, he has the potential to grow and the flexibility to move down into the box in college if needed.

ESPNU 150 members: 5 (S Eddie Williams of Panama City, Fla.; OT Brandon Greene of Ellenwood, Ga.; LB Dillon Lee of Buford, Ga.; LB Reggie Ragland of Madison, Ala.; LB Tyler Hayes of Thomasville, Ala.)

ARKANSAS

2012 verbal commitments: 10

Spotlight: Offensive guard Jeremy Ward of Pottsville, Ark., is one of the more athletic offensive linemen around. He projects as a guard at the next level, but he is also versatile enough to be a talented tackle. At 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, he is very balanced and flexible on the line, but still maintains a lot of power coming off the ground. He is currently Arkansas' only four-star prospect.

ESPNU 150 members: None

AUBURN

2012 verbal commitments: 11

Spotlight: Athlete Ricardo Louis of Miami Beach, Fla., is the complete package. He plays both quarterback and wide receiver and is most dangerous when he's asked to run and find open space. Louis is an elusive runner who has great vision and change-of-direction skill. He is rated as the No. 3 athlete and 33rd-best prospect overall.

ESPNU 150 members: 4 (ATH Ricardo Louis of Panama City, Fla.; ATH Ricky Parks of Hogansville, Ga.; CB Joshua Holsey of Fairburn, Ga.; RB T.J. Yeldon of Daphne, Ala.)

FLORIDA

2012 verbal commitments: 15

Spotlight: Running back Matt Jones of Seffner, Fla., is a power back who could flourish in Florida's new pro-style offense. He might be built more like a linebacker and there are concerns that he could run more upright at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, but there is no question that he is an extremely talented athlete. He rushed for 1,447 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior.

ESPNU 150 members: 6 (OT Jessamen Dunker of Boynton Beach, Fla.; TE Colin Thompson of Warminster, Pa.; WR Latroy Pittman of Citra, Fla.; OT/DT Omari Phillips of Venice, Fla.; CB Brian Poole of Bradenton, Fla.; LB Lorenzo Phillips of Patterson, La.)

GEORGIA

2012 verbal commitments: 11

Spotlight: Offensive tackle John Theus of Jacksonville, Fla., was a huge addition for the Bulldogs. Offensive line depth is a glaring problem and Theus is expected to contribute right away when he gets on campus. He wasn't planning to commit to the Bulldogs last week, but having his brother, Nathan, already in Athens was comforting. He is the sixth-best offensive tackle in the country.

ESPNU 150 members: 2 (OT John Theus of Jacksonville, Fla.; DT Jonathan Taylor of Millen, Ga.)

KENTUCKY

2012 verbal commitments: 13

Spotlight: Quarterback Patrick Towles of Fort Thomas, Ky., hasn't received a ton of publicity, but he is a talented dual-threat quarterback. He isn't easy to bring down at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and also has a very strong arm to work with. Towles threw for 2,471 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior.

ESPNU 150 members: None

LSU

2012 verbal commitments: 15

Spotlight: Wide receiver Avery Johnson of Pompano, Fla., is the younger brother of former LSU star Patrick Peterson and comes in as the No. 5 receiver in the country. Some are comparing him to A.J. Green and he has been praised for his hands skill. Johnson is also very athletic and should add to his 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame. He caught 55 passes for 705 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior.

ESPNU 150 members: 3 (WR Avery Johnson of Pompano Beach, Fla.; DE Torshiro Davis of Shreveport, La.; LB Ronnie Feist of Edgard, La.)

MISSISSIPPI STATE

2012 verbal commitments: 9

Spotlight: Safety Quadry Antoine of Belle Chasse, La., plays all over the field. He's a superb athlete and isn't afraid to get physical. He sometimes has a linebacker's mentality out on the field, but he covers a lot of ground with his speed. Antoine registered 65 tackles, forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble as a junior.

ESPNU 150 members: None

OLE MISS

2012 verbal commitments: 8

Spotlight: Defensive tackle Isaac Gross of Batesville, Miss., is another bullish defensive lineman the Rebels' staff has picked up. He can not only plug holes in the running game but should be disruptive on pass plays as well. Gross ranks as the No. 4 defensive tackle and recorded 75 tackles and 10 sacks as a junior.

ESPNU 150 members: 1 (DT Isaac Gross of Batesville, Miss.)

SOUTH CAROLINA

2012 verbal commitments: 15

Spotlight: Athlete Shaq Roland of Lexington, S.C., could play either wide receiver or safety in college. He even has the speed and elusiveness to be a factor in the return game. He's another one of those pure athletes who plays all over the field and is a basketball star as well. Roland caught 58 passes for 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior. He also rushed for 684 yards and 10 scores. He tossed six touchdowns and returned two of his three interceptions for scores.

ESPNU 150 members: 2 (ATH Shaq Roland of Lexington, S.C.; OT Brock Stadnik of Greensboro, N.C.)

TENNESSEE

2012 verbal commitments: 4

Spotlight: Wide receiver Drae Bowles of Jackson, Tenn., is the top commitment for the Vols' coaching staff. He's not only a highly touted receiver prospect but he can also play multiple positions on the field as well. As a junior, he grabbed 58 passes for 1,102 yards, registered 57 tackles, five sacks, three interceptions and scored 14 total touchdowns.

ESPNU 150 members: 1 (WR Drae Bowles of Jackson,Tenn.)

VANDERBILT

2012 verbal commitments: 12

Spotlight: Athlete Brian Kimbrow of Memphis, Tenn., had offers from all over, but he decided on the Commodores. Vanderbilt is getting a dynamic player, who is not only an exciting running back but has the ability to play all around the field. Kimbrow totaled 1,700 rushing yards last season and had 18 touchdowns. He also returned two kickoffs for scores and recorded two interceptions.

ESPNU 150 members: None