SEC: 2010 recruiting wrap

Recruiting rewind: Alabama

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
6:17
PM ET
Alabama Crimson Tide

The class

Recruits: 29 (27 high school players, 10 who enrolled early, and two junior college players, one enrolled early).

Top prospects: The Crimson Tide were second to Florida in the SEC with nine ESPNU 150 prospects. DeMarcus Milliner is the No. 2 cornerback prospect in the country, and he’s already on campus. Phillip Sims is the No. 1 quarterback, and he’s also enrolled in school. Alfy Hill and Adrian Hubbard are two of the top 6 defensive end prospects in the country, and Chad Lindsay is the top offensive guard prospect nationally.

Sleepers: The Crimson Tide offered 330-pound defensive tackle Brandon Ivory late, stealing him away from Memphis. Ivory figures to play the same role as Terrence Cody at nose guard. Jalston Fowler is another guy to watch. He was a running back in high school, but already weighing 230 pounds, may grow into a fullback or tight end at Alabama.

Needs met: Alabama lost three starters in the secondary, which makes junior college signee DeQuan Menzie and Milliner key additions. Both will compete for starting jobs at cornerback and possibly the star position, Alabama’s version of the nickel. Typical of a Nick Saban class, Alabama loaded up on defensive linemen. There are six in this class. The Crimson Tide also picked up both a kicker and punter. Where they fell a little short was at receiver. Julio Jones is likely gone to the NFL after next season. That’s where losing Keenan Allen hurts.

Analysis: Keep in mind that three of the 29 players listed are “grayshirts” from last year who enrolled early. The fact that 11 players are already on campus puts them ahead of the game with the added benefit of spring practice. This is three straight top 3 classes now for Saban, who has recruiting down to a science. He’s built a great recruiting program at Alabama much the same way he did at LSU. Saban is never going to come up short in the secondary, so it’s not surprising to see this class include two of the top four cornerback prospects in the country in John Fulton and Milliner as well as Menzie, one of the top junior college defensive backs in the country. It’s difficult to predict a second straight national title for the Tide, but you can bet that they’re going to be competing for titles every year with this kind of talent flowing in on an annual basis.

Scouts Inc. grade: A

What Nick Saban said:

  • "Because of the situation, we had to recruit more by need in this recruiting class than ever before. We feel good about the way things worked out for us and the guys we got."
  • "We’re very pleased because we have a unique circumstance in this class where we have 11 players – seven new players, one junior college transfer, three holdovers from a year ago and a transfer from another school – that are all here at mid-semester who are going to be a part of our team. They’re going to be here for spring practice. They’re going to be here for the offseason program, and that’s going to enhance their development."
  • "You guys know that I’m not really much into the ratings and really don’t even know how we are rated and really don’t much care how we’re rated. Every year I try to come up with some analogy to sort of put in perspective how you should rate recruiting classes. If we went out to buy a hunting dog and it was a puppy, we would buy it based on its potential, its lineage or whatever you want to call it in terms of breeding, and we would know probably when that dog grew up whether it was a good hunting dog or not. We’d never know until we put him out in the field and saw him actually go hunting, but we would buy it without knowing for sure what that result would be."

Recruiting rewind: Arkansas

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
5:17
PM ET
Arkansas Razorbacks

The class

Recruits: 25 (25 high school seniors, one enrolled early).

Top prospects: The Hogs signed one ESPNU 150 player, offensive tackle Cam Feldt. He’s rated as the No. 8 offensive tackle prospect in the country. Calvin Barnett is the No. 21 defensive tackle prospect nationally, while Daunte Carr is the No. 24 safety prospect in the country.

Sleepers: Bobby Petrino really likes Marquel Wade’s ability to make things happen in the open field even though he doesn’t have blazing speed. He’s also a dangerous return man. Garrett Uekman is a pass-catching tight end who may have a chance to play early for the Hogs.

Needs met: The Hogs needed some more muscle in the offensive line and found it in Feldt, who has big-time potential as a run-blocker at both tackle and guard. Petrino thinks 260-pound Jatashun Beachum has a chance to be a Michael Bush type of player. It remains to be seen how much the Hogs helped themselves on defense. Are there enough linebackers and pass-rushers in this class, guys who can make plays, to bolster a defense that's given up far too many points the last two seasons?

Analysis: There weren’t a lot of big names in this class and only two four-star players, but Petrino likes the overall athleticism of the class. Byran Jones and Barnett were must gets at defensive tackle. The Hogs were able to get Barnett away from Oklahoma State. Eduardo Camara is one of the top 5 kickers in the country, and Arkansas can certainly use a boost in special teams. The offense is in place for the Hogs to do big things, especially next season. But it still gets down to stopping people, and the Hogs are still very much an unknown on that side of the ball.

Scouts Inc. grade: B-

What Bobby Petrino said:

  • "The last week gets a little bit wild. I think it continues to change. Recruiting is continuously changing, the early the commitments, the not staying committed, who the commitments are. The one thing we have to do is continue to work and have to have a good plan. We do a good job with our ranking system. We try to rank them and try to go get the number one guy on our list and then we work our way down the list. It’s quite the process. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of stress but it’s rewarding when you stand up here at the end of the day."
  • "I think we really helped ourselves on defense. That was certainly an emphasis. We understand that we are going to improve on defense. We have a lot of young guys coming back, but we needed to add some guys who could come in and contribute right away. On the defensive front, the size and the athleticism of the guys coming in on defense will certainly do that. We do feel like some of the guys in the secondary will come in and compete. The best part about it is that they are going to have to compete."

Recruiting rewind: Auburn

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
4:41
PM ET
Auburn Tigers

The class

Recruits: 32 (28 high school seniors, two enrolled early, and four junior college players, three enrolled early).

Top prospects: The Tigers signed seven ESPNU 150 prospects, led by running back Michael Dyer of Little Rock, Ark. Dyer is the No. 1 running back prospect in the country. Eric Mack is the No. 2 offensive guard prospect in the country. Corey Lemonier was a signing day addition; he's rated as the No. 9 defensive end prospect nationally.

Sleepers: Jessel Curry, the son of former Atlanta Falcons star Buddy Curry, could make an impact at linebacker or fullback. He’s already enrolled in school. Ryan Smith was a productive quarterback in high school, but is skilled enough to play just about anywhere.

Needs met: One of the Tigers’ biggest needs was met back in December when they signed former Florida quarterback Cameron Newton, who’s in school after graduating from junior college and will compete for the starting quarterback job this spring. Lemonier was also a key get late, especially with the Tigers losing Antonio Coleman. The other thing Auburn did was improve its speed on both sides of the ball. With Ben Tate departing, Dyer probably won't have to wait long to get a shot.

Analysis: No, the Tigers didn’t violate the SEC’s 28-signee rule. They actually signed 27 players to national letters-of-intents on Wednesday, adding to the five early enrollees that count against last year’s class. But, yes, Gene Chizik did make a statement that was heard around the SEC. The Tigers are well equipped to go out and sign great players and beat anybody to get them. He has a great recruiting staff with the likes of Trooper Taylor, Curtis Luper and Tommy Thigpen, and kids clearly want to play in Gus Malzahn’s offense. It doesn’t appear that this bunch is going to back down to Nick Saban’s recruiting machine. It should be fun in the state of Alabama over the next few years.

Scouts Inc. grade: A

What Gene Chizik said:

  • "I've said this so many times, but it's not about getting the best player. We obviously want the best player, but he also has to be the right player. I think our coaches did a great job and we did a great job of evaluating not only talent, but the mark of a man that we wanted to bring in to represent this university, our football program and the Auburn family. I am as much or more proud of that as I am with the talent that we recruited with this class."
  • "Michael Dyer, rock solid. Solid from the beginning to the end. My hat is off to him and his family. It's incredible, in our opinion, on what he brings to the table, not just as a football player. His personality is dynamic. His commitment to Auburn, his commitment to his coaches ... it's been phenomenal. He's been one of the most fun guys to recruit from the beginning to the end. He played some practical jokes at the end that we didn't appreciate, but we love him. He's been great. The importance of him to us is huge. Michael brings a dual type situation when you talk about a tailback. He is extremely powerful. He's probably one of the strongest running backs in terms of power running, breaking tackles, being able to run through two or three guys at times."

Recruiting rewind: Florida

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
4:04
PM ET
Florida Gators

The class

Recruits: 28 (27 high school seniors, 11 enrolled early, and one prep school player).

Top prospects: The Gators led the country with 17 ESPNU 150 prospects, including the No. 1 and No. 3 overall players in defensive end Ronald Powell and defensive tackle Dominique Easley. Jonathan Dowling is the No. 1 safety prospect in the country, while Mack Brown is the No. 4 running back prospect nationally.

Sleepers: Linebacker Darrin Kitchens has great speed and is certainly one to watch at a couple of different positions. Michael McFarland played quarterback in high school, but is ticketed as a tight end at Florida.

Needs met: You name it, and the Gators got it. This has to be one of the best defensive line classes in the country when consider that Leon Orr, Sharrif Floyd, Easley and Powell were all ranked in the top 10 at their positions. The Gators needed a running back and got one of the best ones in the country in Brown. They lost Joe Haden and Major Wright early to the NFL, but added the likes of Matt Elam, Joshua Shaw, Jaylen Watkins and Dowling in this class.

Analysis: In short, the rich get richer. Moreover, maybe Urban Meyer should take a leave of absence every year. This is one of the most talented signing classes that anybody can remember going all the way back to the time they started ranking players. Already, the Gators have 11 players enrolled in school, which means they get to go through spring practice and should be more prepared to play in the fall. The Gators have lost some great players in recent years (Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Carlos Dunlap and Haden), but Florida fans can rest assured that a new shipment of great players is on the way.

Scouts Inc. grade: A+

What Urban Meyer said:

"I’ve gotten myself in trouble in the past by hyping up players who were not yet deserving of it. But I’m not sure I’ve seen a defensive front as good as this one. When you look at Ronald Powell, Sharrif Floyd, Leon Orr, Dominique Easley and Lynden Trail, those are some serious guys. I just think in certain areas, it’s the best we’ve ever done."

"We lost five juniors to the draft and obviously lost some talented players on offense and defense. I don’t know if there’s ever a rebuilding year, but if there was, this would be one for us. If you look at the receivers we have had here in the last few years starting with Dallas Baker, Bubba Caldwell, Chad Jackson and then you go to Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin and then this year we lost Riley Cooper, David Nelson and Brandon James. We have to start replacing them with real guys."

Recruiting rewind: Georgia

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
3:29
PM ET
Georgia Bulldogs

The class

Recruits: 19 (18 high school seniors and one junior college player, who’s already enrolled).

Top prospects: The Bulldogs signed six ESPNU 150 prospects. Alex Ogletree is the No. 4 safety prospect in the country and may grow into an outside linebacker. T.J. Stripling is the No. 5 outside linebacker prospect in the country, while Garrison Smith is one of the top 15 defensive tackle prospects in the country.

Sleepers: Michael Bennett is a candidate to play either receiver or safety and a very instinctive football player even if he’s not highly rated. Kenarious Gates is a huge offensive tackle prospect who may need a couple of years to develop.

Needs met: The strength of the Bulldogs’ class is on the defensive line, and that’s always a good place to start. Michael Thornton and Smith are a pair of promising defensive tackles, which is critical given the Bulldogs are losing three senior tackles. Junior college safety Jakar Hamilton will also get a chance to play early, while Kolton Houston and Brent Benedict were big gets in the offensive line.

Analysis: This signing day won’t be a memorable one for the Bulldogs. They lost several players to other schools late, including top receiver prospect Da’Rick Rogers to Tennessee. Also, the Bulldogs didn’t fare nearly as well in state as they usually do. Nine of the top 10 in-state prospects on the Scouts Inc. chart went elsewhere. Still, the Bulldogs were able to get several players on defense that should fit well into new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme.

Scouts Inc. grade: B+

What Mark Richt said:

  • "Recruiting is a lot about relationships and any time there is a change on the staff for whatever reason, the relationships that have been built throughout the recruiting process were broken. I think the timing of the hires, taking as long as it did, put a strain on some of these young men that we had committed. Some guys changed their mind, but it drives the point home that it is very much about relationships.
  • "Some kids are a little more mature than others. They know what they want, and they know that their word means something. But there are a lot of things going on. Let's face it, you've got a kid who is 17, 18 or 19 years old and coaches that are anywhere from 25 to 65 trying to convince them that one school is better than the other. It can be confusing and difficult at times."

Recruiting rewind: Kentucky

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
2:51
PM ET
Kentucky Wildcats

The class

Recruits: 26 (23 high school seniors, one enrolled early, one prep school player and two junior college players, one who enrolled early).

Top prospects: Brandon Gainer is a four-star running back from Miami who’s capable of filling out to the 215-pound range. Dale Trimble and Eric Simmons were both rated among the top 25 cornerback prospects nationally.

Sleepers: Tyler Robinson has what it takes to play either tight end or defensive end in college, and although Tim Patterson of Louisville wasn’t rated real high nationally, he’s an athletic middle linebacker with great size who has a chance to move to defensive end at the next level.

Needs met: The Wildcats were gutted in their defensive line, especially inside, and made that a priority. Defensive tackle Bruce Laughlin will get a chance to play early. Donte Rumph, who initially signed with Kentucky last year, could play either tackle or end. Jerrell Priester has a chance to be one of those do-it-all running backs the Wildcats like. They could have used another receiver in this class.

Analysis: There aren’t a lot of highly rated players in this class, but Kentucky typically hasn’t raked in four- and five-star guys. Randall Cobb wasn’t rated out the roof coming out of high school, and he’s done just fine in the SEC. This was Joker Phillips’ first class after taking over for Rich Brooks, and he went hard after the Wildcats’ needs and went down to the final hour before getting several key players to sign. One thing's for sure: The Wildcats will have to continue to replenish on defense if they want to keep going to bowl games. That was the secret to their improvement under Brooks.

Scouts Inc. grade: C+

What Joker Phillips said:

  • "I have not been a part of a class [that has changed this much in the last 24 hours]. It says something about how relentless we were in this last 24, 48 hours in trying to get these kids to get the faxes in for us."
  • "We're not worried about recruiting. We're going to continue to do what we do, which is battle 'til the end. We'll sign great players. We'll be in some of those battles late in the game. That's what we did in this class."
  • "We always talk about the heart and soul of our program has to be in the state of Kentucky. What's the biggest population in the state of Kentucky? The city of Louisville. We have to be successful in the city of Louisville, and we have."

Recruiting rewind: LSU

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
2:19
PM ET
LSU Tigers

The class

Recruits: 27 (25 high school seniors, one enrolled early, one prep school player and one junior college player, who enrolled early).

Top prospects: The Tigers signed seven ESPNU 150 prospects, with Travis Dickson leading the way. He's the younger brother of former LSU tight end Richard Dickson and rated as the No. 4 tight end prospect nationally. Eric Reid and Tharold Simon were two of the top 10 safety prospects in the country, while Kadron Boone feels a big need at receiver. The Tigers were able to wrestle him away from Texas Tech.

Sleepers: Sam Gibson was an athletic quarterback in high school, but is capable of playing a couple of different positions in college. Nic Jacobs is an underrated tight end/defensive end prospect who also kicked off in high school.

Needs met: One of the Tigers’ most important gets was stealing away defensive tackle J.C. Copeland from Tennessee at the last minute. They needed more depth in the interior. Landing Boone was key, too, especially since LSU lost a couple of receivers to other schools the last few weeks of the recruiting season.

Analysis: Prep school signee J.R. Ferguson should combine nicely with Copeland to give the Tigers an imposing defensive tackle duo over the next few years. The Tigers needed some help at running back. Perhaps Spencer Ware can come in next season and contribute after playing quarterback in high school. The same goes for Boone at receiver, because the Tigers are in need of playmakers on the perimeter. All in all, it was an impressive close to signing day by Les Miles and his staff.

Scouts Inc. grade: A-

What Les Miles said:

  • "I think the last day certainly benefited us. We didn't get everybody that we wanted, but we got those guys that we had to have and ones that will really come in and have an effect on this team."
  • "I feel like these four [receivers] were exactly what we needed at that position. I like those guys because they are good students. On the field, they are physical players with good speed and great ball skills, so I think the ability to put young guys on that field that will compete in those multiple wide receiver sets is back."
  • "In the secondary, we had to have a great class, both at corner and safety. Eric Reid at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, reminds me of a young Chad Jones physically. Ronnie Vinson, Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon can all play corner and are, in my opinion, a very capable group."

Recruiting rewind: Mississippi State

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
1:50
PM ET
Mississippi State Bulldogs

The class

Recruits: 26 (23 high school seniors and three junior college players).

Top prospects: Damien Robinson was the No. 10 offensive tackle in the country and one of the top handful of players in the state. Michael Carr and Brandon Hill were two other four-star prospects from the state that the Bulldogs landed.

Sleepers: Nick Griffin barely cracked the list of the top 100 running backs nationally. But with the Bulldogs losing three senior running backs, he could see the field early. Jamerson Love is another in-state running back to watch.

Needs met: Losing running back Rajion Neal late in the recruiting game to Tennessee hurt. The Bulldogs are obviously thin in the backfield. But getting an offensive tackle the caliber of Robinson helps to ease the sting. The Bulldogs also needed some defensive end/outside linebacker types, which is where Kaleb Eulls and Hill fit in.

Analysis: Dan Mullen said when he took the Mississippi State job that the Magnolia State would be his priority, and he’s now signed 37 in-state players in his two classes. Right away, the athleticism in this class is impressive. Mullen signed a number of players who could play on both sides of the ball. Not allowing Robinson to get out of state was also a resounding statement for this staff and where the program is headed.

Scouts Inc. grade: B-

What Dan Mullen said:
  • "We wanted to put together a class of champions that will take pride in representing the entire state of Mississippi. I'm proud of the work our staff has done in bringing in the best from around the state and adding great talent to our team from both inside and outside of Mississippi."
  • "Over the last two years, since we've been here, we've signed twice as many players than Southern Miss from the state of Mississippi and three times than the school up north from the state of Mississippi."
  • "With Damien Robinson, I don’t think there was a higher recruited kid in the state. For him to pick our program, and the combination of those other young guys coming in, that boosts us for the future. With an offensive line with four seniors, next year [the offensive line] will be a priority for us as well."

Recruiting rewind: Ole Miss

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
1:21
PM ET
Ole Miss Rebels

The class

Recruits: 24 (20 high school seniors, one already enrolled, one prep school player and three junior college players, two of those already enrolled).

Top prospects: Defensive end Carlos Thompson was one of the top prospects in the state of Mississippi. Defensive end Wayne Dorsey was one of the top junior college prospects in the country and is already in school. The Rebels also can’t wait to get the ball to junior college newcomer Randall Mackey in the Wild Rebel formation.

Sleepers: Cordell Giles projects as a tight end in Ole Miss’ system and possibly a fullback. Vincent Sanders wasn’t ranked among the top 50 receivers nationally, but look for him to get a chance to play early.

Needs met: The Rebels lost a lot of defensive ends, but were able to restock at that position nicely. Delvin Jones, Carlton Martin and Bryon Bennett all have excellent pass-rushing potential. The hope is that junior college safety Damien Jackson will also be able to step in and play early. Is there an explosive playmaker in this bunch?

Analysis: Nutt thinks this is the best defensive line class he’s ever signed. There are five signees in this class that project as defensive ends, and all five were highly rated. It’s crucial that Dorsey lives up to his billing and becomes a force next season. The Rebels only signed seven players from the state of Mississippi, and there will be much debate about whether Ole Miss or Mississippi State won the in-state battle. But Nutt likes the balance in this class, and there are several players who could end up playing a number of different positions.

Scouts Inc. grade: B-

What Houston Nutt said:

  • "I thought we did our best recruiting in the state of Mississippi since we've been here. Carlos Thompson, Vincent Sanders, Randall Mackey, Carlton Martin, Bryon Bennett, Will Denny -- these guys in state were solid as a rock. We met their families and got excited about the relationship that we will have with them forever."
  • "It keeps taking us to another level. We are in the most competitive league in America. We are ranked around 15th in the country. As you know, in the SEC, we have Alabama, Auburn, LSU, etc., so it is very competitive. We have had a lot of juniors already calling in for next year. I am excited about recruits from Mississippi that are going to be seniors [in high school] next year that are excited about Ole Miss football. I think it takes us to another level."
  • "We signed seven players from Florida. All of them are very good athletes. We have a really good connection through Chris Vaughn right now. He is from Florida and has been recruiting Florida players for a long time. There is nothing like the relationship and trust factor with how we are committed to our players."

Recruiting rewind: South Carolina

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
12:39
PM ET
South Carolina Gamecocks

The class

Recruits: 24 (22 high school seniors, two enrolled early, and two junior college players, one who enrolled early).

Top prospects: Marcus Lattimore was the No. 2 running back prospect in the country and the 19th best player overall. Offensive guard A.J. Cann and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles were also ESPNU 150 prospects. Cornerback Victor Hampton chose South Carolina after initially committing to Florida.

Sleepers: The Florida schools may be wishing in a few years that they had recruited receiver Ace Sanders a little harder. Safety Brison Williams is another player to watch.

Needs met: Beefing up the offensive line was clearly the priority, and the Gamecocks did that by signing six offensive line prospects. They also needed another pass-rusher, and Brandon Golson gives them that hybrid outside linebacker they can move around. There wasn’t a marquee quarterback signed in this class – for the second year in a row -- and that’s a problem.

Analysis: The best thing the Gamecocks did was clean up in state, and it’s the second year in a row that they have won more than their share of the in-state recruiting battles. Lattimore may be one of the most important players Steve Spurrier has signed since coming to South Carolina. He’ll get a chance right away to pump some life into the Gamecocks’ sagging running game.

Scouts Inc.: B-

What Steve Spurrier said:

  • “We’ve got some new (offensive linemen) on the way, a new coach on the way and a new running back on the way. So, yes, we’re going to try and emphasize the running game.”
  • “I think we’ve done a really good job, our coaches, of emphasizing to our in-state players that we can win big here.”
  • “With these new players coming in, I really believe we’ve got a chance, the next four or five years, to be a lot better than we’ve ever been here.”

Recruiting rewind: Tennessee

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
11:56
AM ET
Tennessee Vols

The class

Recruits: 25 (21 high school seniors, seven enrolled early, and four junior college players, one who enrolled early).

Top prospects: The Vols signed two of the top 6 receiver prospects in the country in Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter. They wound up with six ESPNU 150 prospects, including two of the top linemen in the country. Ja'Wuan James is the No. 2 offensive tackle prospect, and Corey Miller is the No. 4 defensive end prospect. Both are already enrolled in school, too.

Sleepers: Linebacker John Propst isn’t the biggest guy or the fastest guy on the field, but all he does is make plays. Zach Fulton has great size. With the right seasoning, he could develop into a very good offensive guard in college. Derek Dooley also likes linebacker Raiques Crump, who was a last-minute take by the Vols.

Needs met: The most glaring hole in this class is at defensive tackle. Losing J.C. Copeland on the final day to LSU was a killer. Otherwise, Dooley and his staff addressed the most pressing needs -- offensive line, defensive end, receiver and kicker.

Analysis: Dooley didn’t have much time after replacing Lane Kiffin, but give him credit for whipping together a top-10 class in less than three weeks. Having the eight early enrollees helped, but going out and getting players the caliber of James Stone, Rogers and Hunter tells you a little something about Dooley’s recruiting prowess. The Vols were able to get Tyler Bray in early from California, but they still need another quarterback, especially with Nick Stephens heading into his senior season. New defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox has to like the pass-rushing potential of the Jacques Smith-Corey Miller tandem.

Scouts Inc. grade: A-

What Derek Dooley said:

  • "I guess I was hired on a Friday (Jan. 15), and that next Saturday, I guess it's an understatement to say that the program was in a fragile state. We had so much to do and a short time to get there. We really just had to focus in one step at a time. That started that Saturday. Our first priority was getting some coaches in to help us hit the road recruiting, and of course putting all our energy into those eight mid-term enrollees, which was a fragile state as well. So I was really pleased that all eight of them came back and I thought that was a good first step."
  • "Tennessee has so much to sell. So it wasn't as hard as people think to go out there and convince some of these young men to come to Tennessee. It was just a matter of me getting in front of them and selling who I am and what I believe; selling our coaching staff and selling where we are headed with the program."
  • "One thing that is certain is that we have to do a good job in the state of Georgia, among other states. There's a lot of good football players in that state. In the past, in all my years of watching this program [Tennessee], when they've won, they've had some very good football players come out of Georgia. I remember when I was on the Georgia staff as a G.A. Cosey Coleman, Jamal Lewis and Deon Grant get plucked right out of the state. And what happens a few years later? National championship."

Recruiting rewind: Vanderbilt

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
11:07
AM ET
Vanderbilt Commodores

The class

Recruits: 24 (23 high school seniors, one enrolled early, and one junior college player, who also enrolled early).

Top prospects: Running back Rajaan Bennett is big enough and physical enough to play right away. Defensive lineman James Kittredge was an Under Armour All-American and will probably grow into a tackle in college. Vanderbilt beat Arkansas, Auburn and Florida State for defensive tackle Jared Morse, while Karl Butler has a chance to play early at cornerback, nickel and on special teams.

Sleepers: Local product Fitz Lassing got his offer a day before signing day, but could end up playing linebacker, fullback or tight end in college. Chase Garnham has the kind of speed at linebacker the Commodores love.

Needs met: Vanderbilt stocked up on offensive and defensive line types. Nine of the Commodores’ signees are ticketed to play in the trenches. It remains to be seen if the big-play receiver they so desperately need is in this class. Maybe Jordan Matthews is that guy.

Analysis: Bobby Johnson has upgraded Vanderbilt’s talent every year he’s been on the job, and he thinks this is his most talented class yet. That’s despite having six decommitments since the end of the season. Getting another quarterback to push Larry Smith this spring was huge. Junior college newcomer Jordan Rodgers, the younger brother of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, is already enrolled in school. The addition of Bennett gives the Commodores a bruising presence in an already talented offensive backfield. We’ll find out soon enough who in this class can make a play in the passing game, because the Commodores need all the help they can get in that area.

Scouts Inc. grade: C

What Bobby Johnson said:
  • “Don’t be surprised when a lot of these guys come in and have an impact on our program like Warren Norman did and Zac Stacy and those kind of players. We think it’s that kind of class.”
  • “We got a lot of these guys committed last spring and over the summer. Our coaches did a great job in keeping in touch with these guys and cultivating their interest in Vanderbilt. They came through with a great class. The interest we got right off the bat from playing in the bowl and winning it was a huge help.”
  • “It’s probably the most ready-to-go defensive line we’ve ever recruited. Those guys usually have to redshirt, but I think these guys are going to push some people and be a force on our team next year.”

Ranking the SEC recruiting classes

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
9:19
AM ET
It's obvious that Florida was the runaway winner this recruiting period, and the Gators were a resounding No. 1 both nationally and in the SEC.

The Scouts Inc. guys have ranked all 12 of the SEC classes this year.

Here's the order as well as the grades for each class:

1. Florida A+

2. Alabama A

3. Auburn A

4. LSU A-

5. Tennessee A-

6. Georgia B+

7. South Carolina B-

8. Ole Miss B-

9. Mississippi State B-

10. Arkansas B-

11. Kentucky C+

12. Vanderbilt C

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Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12