SEC: 2011 signing day wrap

SEC recruiting rewind: Alabama

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
3:00
PM ET
ALABAMA

The class

Recruits: 23 (Alabama announced 14 signees on Wednesday, all high school players. Nine players were already enrolled in school, including three junior college transfers.)

Top prospects: Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix is ranked by ESPN as the No. 2 safety nationally. Trey DePriest is ranked as the No. 2 outside linebacker. Xzavier Dickson is ranked as the No. 4 defensive end, Bradley Sylve as the No. 5 receiver and Demetrius Hart as the No. 8 running back.

Needs met: The Crimson Tide were looking to improve their pass rush and get more athletic along the defensive front and believe they've done that with Jeoffrey Pagan, LaMichael Fanning and Dickson. DePriest also factors into that equation potentially as a rush linebacker. With Julio Jones leaving early for the NFL, Alabama picked up three ESPNU 150 receivers in Marvin Shinn, Danny Woodson and Sylve. Junior college signee Aaron Douglas could end up being the Tide's left offensive tackle next season, and Clinton-Dix looks like the ideal safety in Saban's system.

Analysis: It's already a stellar class full of promising pass-rushers and coveted playmakers on the perimeter. But Alabama is still in it for top offensive tackle prospect Cyrus Kouandjio, who announced he was going to Auburn, but started having second thoughts and has yet to sign. The top overall prospect in the country, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, also has Alabama in his final three and will announce on Feb. 14. Regardless of what happens with those two, this is still the fourth straight top 3 class nationally that Saban has assembled.

ESPN recruiting grade: A

SEC recruiting rewind: Arkansas

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
2:30
PM ET
ARKANSAS

The class

Recruits: 30 (24 high school players, four junior college transfers and two prep school players). Five players have already enrolled in school.

Top prospects: Mitch Smothers is ranked by ESPN as the No. 3 offensive guard in the country and Brey Cook as the No. 5 offensive guard. Demetrius Dean is ranked as the No. 9 tight end, Lonnie Gosha as the No. 13 defensive end and Tevin Mitchel as the No. 18 cornerback.

Needs met: Both the wide receiver and tight end positions were a priority for the Hogs, and they landed several. Keante Minor and Quinta Funderburk are both four-star receivers, while Andrew Peterson is another four-star signee who comes to Arkansas as a tight end, but could eventually grow into an offensive tackle. Speaking of the offensive line, the Hogs signed two ESPNU 150 offensive linemen from right up the road in Springdale, Ark., in Smothers and Cook. They also got quarterback Brandon Allen from even closer to home, right there in Fayetteville.

Analysis: Every year, Bobby Petrino has taken another step with the Hogs' recruiting. They're solidly among the top 20 classes nationally this year and added key pieces to a returning roster that was already plenty talented. The Hogs were able to keep their top in-state talent at home in Smothers and Cook, and Allen is an underrated quarterback. Going into Florida and getting a player the caliber of Gosha says a lot about where Arkansas' program is right now. The same goes for getting Peterson and Mitchel out of Texas. One disappointment was losing tight end Chris Barnett to Michigan on signing day.

ESPN recruiting grade: B

SEC recruiting rewind: Auburn

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
2:00
PM ET
AUBURN

The class

Recruits: 24 (all high school players). Three players are already enrolled in school.

Top prospects: Reese Dismukes is ranked by ESPN as the No. 1 center in the country and Christian Westerman as the No. 2 offensive tackle. Kiehl Frazier is ranked as the No. 2 quarterback. Gabe Wright is ranked as the No. 3 defensive tackle, Erique Florence as the No. 4 safety and Quan Bray as the No. 5 athlete.

Needs met: Four senior starters from that offensive line this past season are gone, which makes Thomas O'Reilly, Gregory Robinson, Westerman and Dismukes such key signees. Now, if only Cyrus Kouandjio follows through and signs with the Tigers. There was a big need on the defensive front, too, which is why getting Wright on signing day was so important. Frazier looks like a perfect fit for Gus Malzahn's offense, and the Tigers also stocked up on safety help with Zac Etheridge and Aairon Savage departing and Mike McNeil entering his senior season.

Analysis: The balance of this class is what jumps out at you. Gene Chizik and his staff signed marquee players at just about every position. The Tigers needed offensive linemen and got four guys ranked among the top 10 nationally at their individual positions. Kouandjio would make this the strongest offensive line class in the country by a wide margin. The Tigers' defensive back class is also right up there, and they picked up a pair of athletes in Kris Frost and Bray that could help them in a number of different areas. Chizik really has it rolling right now. Coming off a national championship, the Tigers can boast their second straight top 5 class nationally.

ESPN recruiting grade: A

SEC recruiting rewind: Florida

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
1:32
PM ET
FLORIDA

The class

Recruits: 18 (all high school players). Seven players have already enrolled in school.

Top prospects: Jeff Driskel is ranked by ESPN as the No. 1 quarterback in the country. Ja'Juan Story is ranked as the No. 6 receiver. Mike Blakely is ranked as the No. 7 running back, A.C. Leonard as the No. 7 athlete and Jabari Gorman as the No. 8 safety.

Needs met: Blakely was a key get, but he had surgery and won't be available in the spring. The Gators will be looking for more consistency from their running backs, especially going to a pro-style offense and with Jeff Demps coming off such an injury plagued season. Holding onto Story was also critical. The Gators need more down-the-field threats at receiver, and he has the size and speed to play early. With so much uncertainty at quarterback, Driskel was a must-get for the Gators, and it only helps that he's already in school.

Analysis: It's not a big class in terms of numbers, and the Gators landed very few players, period, after Urban Meyer stepped down and Will Muschamp replaced him. The transition clearly hurt Florida with a few key prospects this year. Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan certainly comes to mind. Still, there are a lot of quality players in this class, starting with Driskel. He committed to the Gators when Meyer was still the coach, and Muschamp was able to convince him to stick with that commitment. The fact that the Gators didn't win many battles down the stretch was disappointing, but the real test for Muschamp on the recruiting trail comes next year.

ESPN recruiting grade: B+

SEC recruiting rewind: Georgia

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
1:02
PM ET
GEORGIA

The class

Recruits: 25 (all high school players). Two players have already enrolled in school.

Top prospects: Isaiah Crowell is ranked by ESPN as the No. 1 running back in the country. Jay Rome is ranked as the No. 1 tight end. Ray Drew is ranked as the No. 2 defensive end, Christian LeMay as the No. 5 quarterback and Malcolm Mitchell as the No. 7 receiver.

Needs met: The Bulldogs were looking to rev up their running game and got the top running back in the country in Crowell. Mark Richt has already hinted that Crowell might be the man when Georgia opens next season against Boise State in the Georgia Dome. LeMay is already enrolled in school and will battle Hutson Mason to become Aaron Murray's backup now that Logan Gray has transferred. With Justin Houston turning pro early, the Bulldogs needed another dynamic pass-rusher at outside linebacker. That's where Drew comes in. Landing three four-star receivers with A.J. Green departing was equally important.

Analysis: Richt referred to it as the "Dream Team," and by all accounts, this is a dream class. He says it's the deepest and most talented class he's signed at Georgia, and comes at a time when Richt needed something good to happen on the heels of a 6-7 finish this season. It's a class that could get even better if junior college nose guard John Jenkins signs with the Bulldogs on Saturday. The 340-pound Jenkins is exactly what Todd Grantham needs in the middle of that 3-4 defense. All in all, Richt and his staff delivered when the pressure was on. Now it's time to take it to the field.

ESPN recruiting grade: A-

SEC recruiting rewind: Kentucky

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
11:58
AM ET
KENTUCKY

The class

Recruits: 26 (all high school players). Three players are already enrolled.

Top prospects: Zach West is ranked by ESPN as the No. 16 offensive tackle in the country and Darrian Miller as the No. 21 offensive tackle. Glenn Faulkner is ranked as the No. 20 safety, James Elliott as the No. 20 offensive guard and Demarius Rancifer as the No. 28 outside linebacker.

Needs met: With Ryan Mossakowski transferring, Kentucky's need at quarterback only intensified. The Wildcats don't have a backup, which means signees Maxwell Smith and Theltus Cobbins will get thrown into the fire early. Smith is already enrolled in school. The Wildcats also signed at least five guys who could play receiver. Daryl Collins was a one-time Alabama commitment. Marcus Caffey and Josh Clemons may get an early look at running back with Derrick Locke departing.

Analysis: Kentucky coach Joker Phillips thinks this is the most athletic class the Wildcats have signed since he arrived in 2003 as an assistant, and he feels good about finding some more playmakers in this class the caliber of Randall Cobb and Locke. Faulkner should help solidify the safety position, and getting Collins late was a nice surprise. But losing two of the state's top prospects -- linebacker Lamar Dawson and tight end Jon Davis -- was a real downer. Davis had been committed to Kentucky for some time, but signed with Illinois.

ESPN recruiting grade: B-

SEC recruiting rewind: LSU

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
11:27
AM ET
LSU

The class

Recruits: 22 (21 high school players and one junior college transfer. Three players are already enrolled in school).

Top prospects: Anthony Johnson is ranked by ESPN as the No. 1 defensive tackle in the country. La'el Collins is ranked as the No. 3 offensive tackle. Jarvis Landry is ranked as the No. 3 receiver, Kenny Hilliard as the No. 9 running back and Mickey Johnson as the No. 11 defensive tackle.

Needs met: Getting former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger in at mid-term was crucial. The Tigers' passing game needs a makeover, and Mettenberger will compete with Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee in the spring for the starting job. Landry gives LSU another big-play threat on the perimeter with Terrence Toliver departing, and the Tigers really helped themselves in the defensive line. Johnson is already enrolled in school and is one of those guys who will probably factor into the tackle rotation immediately.

Analysis: In landing defensive end Jermauria Rasco on signing day, LSU put the wraps on one of the most impressive defensive line classes in the country when you throw in Anthony Johnson and Mickey Johnson. There's also Quentin Thomas, who could wind up being an end or tackle. The state of Louisiana was loaded this year, and the Tigers kept most of that talent at home. They signed 17 players from the state and could still add one more. Running back Jeremy Hill, a four-star prospect, didn't sign on Wednesday because of ongoing legal issues.

ESPN recruiting grade: B+

SEC recruiting rewind: Mississippi State

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
11:05
AM ET
MISSISSIPPI STATE

The class

Recruits: 22 (19 high school players, two junior college transfers and a prep school player. Four of the players enrolled in January).

Top prospects: Darion Arrington was ranked by ESPN as the No. 29 safety in the country. Joe Morrow was ranked as the No. 46 receiver, Dak Prescott as the No. 41 quarterback and P.J. Jones as the No. 61 defensive tackle.

Needs met: The Bulldogs went hard after offensive and defensive linemen, and three of those guys are already in school -- offensive linemen Nick Redmond and Joey Trapp and defensive end John Harris. Trapp is a big junior college offensive tackle the Bulldogs hope can step in and play right away. Coach Dan Mullen is always looking for more receivers, which made Morrow a key signee. The Bulldogs could have used a few more linebackers in this class.

Analysis: It's never ideal to get beat on so many in-state prospects by your archrival, especially when you're coming off such a good season. But despite winning nine games and beating Ole Miss for the second year in a row, the Bulldogs lost linebacker C.J. Johnson and receiver Nick Brassell to the Rebels after having both of those players committed. Manny Diaz leaving for the Texas defensive coordinator's job certainly didn't help matters. The Bulldogs even lost a player they had committed to Vanderbilt, defensive lineman Barron Dixon.

ESPN recruiting grade: B-

SEC recruiting rewind: Ole Miss

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
10:46
AM ET
OLE MISS

The class

Recruits: 27 (Ole Miss announced 22 signees on Wednesday, 19 high school players and three junior college transfers. Five other junior college transfers enrolled in January.)

Top prospects: C.J. Johnson was ranked by ESPN Recruiting as the No. 9 inside linebacker in the country. Serderius Bryant was ranked as the No. 14 outside linebacker. Tobias Singleton was ranked as the No. 21 receiver and Nick Brassell as the No. 29 receiver.

Needs met: The Rebels went into this signing class needing defensive linemen and linebackers and got eight of those guys. Not only was Johnson one of the top players in the state, but he was probably the most important target for Ole Miss in terms of need. Bryant is another linebacker who probably won't have to wait too long to get on the field. Junior college signee Gilbert Pena could end up being Jerrell Powe's replacement at nose, and the Rebels also brought in junior college quarterback Zack Stoudt to compete for the job in the spring.

Analysis: Coming off such a disappointing season, Ole Miss helped ease some of that pain by cleaning up in-state on the recruiting front. The Rebels landed eight of the 12 prospects on The Jackson Clarion-Ledger's Dandy Dozen team and were able to get Johnson and Brassell after they initially committed to Mississippi State. The other key is finding some defensive back help out of this class. Junior college transfer Wesley Pendleton will be one to watch at cornerback. The Rebels had trouble covering anybody last season.

ESPN recruiting grade: B-

SEC Recruiting rewind: South Carolina

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
10:20
AM ET
SOUTH CAROLINA

The class

Recruits: 31 (28 high school players, two prep school players and one junior college transfer).

Top prospects: Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles was a four-star prospect and one of the top prep school players in the country. Phillip Dukes was ranked by ESPN as the No. 17 defensive tackle. Kadetrix Marcus was ranked as the No. 18 safety and Brandon Shell as the No. 19 offensive tackle.

Needs met: The Gamecocks stocked up on defensive line help. Quarles and Dukes were big pick-ups, and it could get even better if defensive end Jadeveon Clowney follows through and signs with South Carolina. The Dixon brothers, both named Gerald, will also help up front. There are several players in this class likely to end up at linebacker, and that was also a big need. Shell's a good bet to step in as one of the Gamecocks' offensive tackles sooner rather than later.

Analysis: The Clowney watch is in full gear. There's no getting around it: He's the key to this class for the Gamecocks. And when the No. 1 overall prospect in the country happens to be from your state, you've got to land him. South Carolina is in good shape, but still has to fight off Alabama and Clemson here at the end. Clowney says he will announce on Feb. 14. If the Gamecocks get him, their defensive line class will easily be one of the best in the country.

ESPN recruiting grade: B-

SEC recruiting rewind: Tennessee

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
9:30
AM ET
TENNESSEE

The class

Recruits: 27 (24 high school players, 3 junior college transfers). Six players are already enrolled in school.

Top prospects: Curt Maggitt was ranked by ESPN as the No. 3 outside linebacker nationally. DeAnthony Arnett was ranked as the No. 9 receiver. Antonio Richardson was ranked as the No. 8 offensive tackle, Marcus Jackson as the No. 4 offensive guard and Marlin Lane as the No. 11 running back.

Needs met: The Vols think Lane is the home-run hitter they were lacking in the running game last season. He brings speed and big-play potential. Defensive tackle help was at the top of their list, and they got three in this class. Having quarterback Justin Worley already enrolled in school is a plus, and it's pretty obvious Tennessee felt like it needed to stock up on secondary help with seven defensive backs in this class.

Analysis: After salvaging the class on short notice a year ago, Derek Dooley has put together a second straight top-20 class. Landing in-state stars Cameron Clear and Richardson was critical. The other thing that sticks out about this class was getting two junior college defensive backs in Byron Moore and Izauea Lanier who should be ready to come in and help right away next season. It was a strong close for the Vols in those final 48 hours, although they missed on four of the targets they were hoping to get on signing day.

ESPN recruiting grade: B

SEC recruiting rewind: Vanderbilt

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
9:00
AM ET
VANDERBILT

The class

Recruits: 21 (all high school players)

Top prospects: Quarterback Lafonte Thourogood was ranked as ESPN's No. 54 athlete nationally. Safety Larry Franklin was ranked as the No. 35 safety. Tight end Dillon van der Wal was the No. 57 tight end and cornerback Derek King the No. 30 cornerback.

Needs met: The Commodores signed three quarterbacks and all three are a little bit different. But the common denominator with all three is that they're athletic and capable of running as well as passing. Also, the Commodores signed several players versatile enough to help at a couple of different positions, guys like the 6-foot-7, 235-pound van der Wall, who could play tight end or be a pass-rushing defensive end. Vanderbilt needed offensive line help and signed five in this class.

Analysis: First-year Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and his staff didn't have a lot of time, but they got a lot done in those last few weeks. Getting Thourogood away from Virginia Tech was impressive. The same goes for prying defensive lineman Barron Dixon away from Mississippi State. The Commodores can use all the defensive linemen they can get right now. Franklin likes the athleticism and versatility in this class. He also hopes he's found a quarterback among the three Vanderbilt signed -- Josh Grady, Kris Kentera and Thourogood.

ESPN recruiting grade: C

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