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Thursday, May 2, 2013
Signing offensive talent in the SEC

By Chris Low

As we explored earlier this week, Alabama has been as balanced offensively as anybody in the SEC over the last three years.

The Crimson Tide are the only team in the league during that span to rush for more than 8,000 yards and pass for more than 8,000 yards.

Of course, when you look back at who signed the most ESPN 150 prospects on offense from 2009-12, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Alabama has been so productive offensively.

The Crimson Tide signed an SEC-high 20 offensive players from 2009-12 who were ESPN 150 prospects (ranked among the top 150 prospects nationally).

But No. 2 on that list was Florida, and the Gators have finished 10th in the SEC or worse in total offense each of the last three years. They signed 19 ESPN 150 prospects on offense from 2009-12.

So it’s never as simple as merely counting up who gets the highest-ranked players coming out of high school. We're reminded of that every year.

In fact, over the last three years (2010-12), nobody in the SEC has signed more ESPN 150 prospects offensively than Auburn. The Tigers signed 15, which equals the number of offensive players Alabama signed in the ESPN 150 during that same span.

However, Auburn was last in the SEC in total offense last season and next to last in scoring offense. Several of the highly-ranked players the Tigers signed on offense from 2010-12 are no longer in the program, including running back Michael Dyer, offensive lineman Christian Westerman and receivers Antonio Goodwin and Shaun Kitchens.

Below are some of the highest-ranked offensive players coming out of high school from 2009-12 who will be on SEC rosters next fall. They’re categorized by year:
2012

Missouri’s Dorial Green-Beckham (No. 1 receiver), Georgia’s Keith Marshall (No. 2 running back), Florida’s D.J. Humphries (No. 1 offensive tackle), Alabama’s Chris Black (No. 2 receiver), South Carolina’s Shaq Roland (No. 5 receiver)

2011

Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio (No. 1 offensive tackle), LSU’s La’el Collins (No. 3 offensive tackle), Florida’s Jeff Driskel (No. 1 quarterback), Georgia’s Jay Rome (No. 1 tight end), Auburn’s Kiehl Frazer (No. 2 quarterback)

2010

Tennessee’s Ja’Wuan James (No. 2 offensive tackle), Florida’s Mack Brown (No. 4 running back), Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews (No. 7 offensive tackle)

2009

Georgia’s Aaron Murray (No. 3 quarterback), Florida’s Andre Debose (No. 2 receiver), Alabama’s AJ McCarron (No. 4 quarterback), Georgia’s Austin Long (No. 5 offensive tackle)

Below is a team-by-team breakdown by year of ESPN 150 offensive prospects signed by SEC schools. Other than Alabama, Auburn and Florida, only Georgia, LSU and Tennessee signed more than six total from 2009-12.

Here’s a look:

Alabama: 2012 – 4. 2011 – 7. 2010 – 4. 2009 – 5. Total – 20

Florida: 2012 – 4, 2011 – 4, 2010 – 6, 2009 – 5. Total – 19

Auburn: 2012 – 4. 2011 – 6. 2010 – 5. 2009 – 0. Total 15

Georgia: 2012 – 2. 2011 – 4. 2010 – 3. 2009 – 6. Total – 15

Tennessee: 2012 – 3. 2011 – 4. 2010 – 5. 2009 – 3. Total – 15

LSU: 2012 – 2. 2011 – 4. 2010 – 3. 2009 – 4. Total – 13

South Carolina: 2012 – 2. 2011 – 0. 2010 – 2. 2009 – 2. Total – 6

Texas A&M: 2012 – 3. 2011 – 0. 2010 – 2. 2009 – 1. Total -- 6

Arkansas: 2012 – 0. 2011 – 2. 2010 – 1. 2009 – 0. Total – 3

Ole Miss: 2012 – 0. 2011 – 1. 2010 – 0. 2009 – 2. Total – 3

Miss. State: 2012 – 0. 2011 – 0. 2010 – 1. 2009 – 2. Total – 3

Missouri: 2012 – 2. 2011 – 0. 2010 – 0. 2009 – 0. Total – 2

Kentucky: 2012 – 0. 2011 – 0. 2010 – 0. 2009 – 1. Total – 1

Vanderbilt: 2012 – 1. 2011 – 0. 2010 – 0. 2009 – 0. Total – 1