Commentary

SEC East recruiting breakdown

Updated: August 17, 2011, 9:57 AM ET
By Jamie Newberg | ESPN Recruiting

Here's a look at how programs in the SEC East are faring on the recruiting trail.

Florida Gators

Commitments: 17
ESPNU 150 commitments: 6
Who they have: In their first full season to recruit, new Gators coach Will Muschamp and his staff are putting together a very good recruiting class. The Gators have done particularly well across the secondary, with two four-star safeties in Marcus Maye (Melbourne, Fla./Holy Trinity Christian Academy) and Rhaheim Ledbetter (Shelby, N.C./Crest) and four-star cornerback Brian Poole (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast). The Gators also have two solid running backs in big Matt Jones (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) and versatile Mike Davis (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson). Florida hit the trifecta at offensive tackle in five-star D.J. Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek ) and four-stars Jessaman Dunker (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) and Omari Phillips (Venice, Fla./Venice). Florida also landed the nation's top tight end in Colin Thompson (Warminster, Pa./Archbishop Wood). Humphries is the top-rated OL prospect in the country and the No. 7 overall prospect, while Thompson, Dunker, Poole, wide receiver LaTroy Pittman (Citra, Fla./North Marion), Phillips, and outside linebacker Lorenzo Phillips (Patterson, La./Patterson) are members of the ESPNU 150.

Who they still want: The Gators are in the mix for a couple of ESPNU 150 athletes in Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Councel) and Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep). Both are likely wide receiver prospects. Diggs was outstanding at Florida's Friday Nights Lights camp last month. Florida would love to add tight end Kent Taylor (Lake O'Lakes, Fla./Land O'Lakes), and it is battling Penn State and Georgia for him. Sliding over to the other side of the ball, the Gators are battling Miami for the nation's top-rated cornerback, Tracy Howard (Miramar, Fla./Miramar). They would love to close with some defensive line help and are seriously in the hunt for ESPNU 150 prospects Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, Ga./Harris County), Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, N.C./Crest), Carlos Watkins (Forest City, N.C./Chase), and Tyriq McCord (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson) and four-star DT Jordan Watkins (College Park, Ga./Woodward Academy).

Georgia Bulldogs

Commitments: 12
ESPNU 150 commitments: 2
Who they have: The Dawgs are going big, with seven of their dozen commitments being linemen. Georgia landed four-star OT John Theus (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School) on Dawg Night and 6-foot-5, 332-pound offensive guard Chester Brown (Hinesville, Ga./Bradwell Institute) a few days later. It also landed 6-5, 315-pound OL Greg Pyke (Baltimore/Latin Boys). Three-star athlete Quayvon Hicks (Blackshear, Ga./Pierce County), who is 6-2 and 252 pounds, could end up at fullback while Ty Smith (Moultrie, Ga./Colquitt County) is a very athletic tight end. On the other side of the ball, Georgia has loaded up on the DL with Millen (Ga.) Jenkins County teammates and four-star prospects Jonathan Taylor and James Deloach and defensive end Leonard Floyd (Eastmon, Ga./Dodge County).

Who they still want: While the Bulldogs landed the nation's top running back last season with five-star running back Isaiah Crowell, Georgia wants to land another in this class. The back atop its wish list is five-star Keith Marshall (Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook). Marshall, who's No. 6 in the ESPNU 150 and the No. 1 RB, has never come out and named a leader, but most believe UGA has as good a shot as anyone. The Dawgs have had success dipping into Tampa, Fla., lately and would love to steal another from the Sunshine State in athlete Nelson Agholor (Tampa/Berkeley). He should narrow down his extensive school list soon and expect Georgia to be on it. Staying in Florida, the Bulldogs are after O-tackle Avery Young (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens). Of course, Georgia would love to continue to stockpile its D-line with defensive end Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, Ga./Harris County) and defensive tackle John Atkins (Thomson, Ga./Thomson). ESPNU 150 CB Yuri Wright (Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco) will likely official visit UGA this fall.

Kentucky Wildcats

Commitments: 19
ESPNU 150 commitments: 0
Who they have: The Wildcats seem to be recruiting on a different and better level under second-year coach Joker Phillips. They have their quarterback of the future in Patrick Towles (Ft. Thomas, Ky./Highlands). This four-star prospect has great size, athletic ability and a very good arm. Kentucky has loaded up front with the commitments of five OL recruits, led by Jordan Watson (Fayetteville, Ga./Whitewater), Jon Toth (Indianapolis/Breheuf Jesuit Prep) and T.J. Jones (Myrtle Beach, S.C./Myrtle Beach). Wide receiver DeMarcus Sweat (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) could be the sleeper of his talented high school team and he's headed to Lexington. On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats have done well on the defensive line with commitments from Tyrone Pearson (Louisville, Ky./Seneca), Langston Newton (Carmel, Ind./Carmel), Thomas Chapman (Louisville, Ky./Dupont Manual), Patrick Graffree (Elizabethton, Ky./Central Hardin) and Daniel Ross (Jeffersontown, Ky./Jeffersontown). They also landed two solid players in corner Jonathan Reed (Indianapolis/Pike) and linebacker Josh Harris (Maysville, Ky./Mason County).

Who they still want: It's shaping up to be an in-state battle between the ‘Cats and Cards for three-star running back Anthony Wales (Louisville, Ky./Central). He could very well finish his career as the all-time leading rusher in the state. Kentucky would love to land wide receiver MeKale McKay (Louisville, Ky./Moore). They could be fighting UCF the hardest, as the Knights signed his brother (Demarcus Smith) in February. Linebackers Deion Jones (New Orleans/Jesuit) and Tyler Drake (Plantation, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas), defensive end Tyler Knox (Myrtle Beach, S.C./Myrtle Beach), defensive back Kimlon Dillon (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) and offensive lineman Blake Fromang (Orlando, Fla./Lake Highland) are a few others to watch out for with Kentucky.

South Carolina Gamecocks

Commitments: 18
ESPNU 150 commitments: 2
Who they have: After winning the SEC East and closing strong on its 2011 class, South Carolina is still going strong on the recruiting trail. This group, No. 15 in the class rankings, features a nice blend of playmaking athletes on both sides of the ball, such as ESPNU 150 ATHShaq Roland (Lexington, S.C./Lexington), WR Jody Fuller (Monroe, N.C./ Sun Valley), WR Kwinton Smith (Dillon, S.C./Dillon), ATH Kyle Fleetwood (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson), and ATH Rico McWilliams (Lovejoy, Ga./Lovejoy). It also has some big bodies up front in ESPNU 150 OT Brock Stadnik (Greensboro, N.C./West Guilford), OG Cody Waldrop (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), OG Joe Harris (Lithonia, Ga./Lithonia), DT Carlos Hood (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) and DE Darius English (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern). Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier nabbed his quarterback of the future in Brendan Nosovitch (Allentown, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic). Tight end Kelvin Rainey (Yulee, Fla.) and linebackers T.J. Holloman (Atlanta/St. Pius X Catholic) and Kaiwan Lewis (Hammonton, N.J./Saint Joseph) are all talented recruits.

Who they still want: Five-star defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy) had a great unofficial visit to Columbia this summer, and South Carolina could be a dark horse for the country's No. 2 prospect. The Gamecocks could add another receiver or two. Keep an eye on Chris Brown (Hanahan, S.C./Hanahan), Alton Howard (Orlando, Fla./Edgewater) and Quinshad Davis (Gaffney, S.C./Gaffney). South Carolina could make a big push in the secondary with prospects like Chaz Elder (College Park, Ga./Banneker), Karl Joseph (Orlando, Fla./Edgewater), Nate Smith (Warminster, Pa./Archbishop Wood Catholic), Andre Scott (Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge) and Fred Tiller (Homerville, Ga./Clinch County).

Tennessee Volunteers

Commitments: 15
ESPNU 150 commitments: 2
Who they have: Going into July, Tennessee had a total of two commitments. Since the Vols elite camp in mid-July Derek Dooley and his staff have landed 13 more and they now find themselves sitting at No. 21 in the class rankings with a class that includes seven four-star prospects. Quarterback Nathan Peterman (Jacksonville, Fla./Bartram Trail) is a guy they got on late, but he committed shortly after Tennessee offered. UT gets help at running back with the versatility of Imani Cross (Gainesville, Ga./North Hall). ESPNU 150 wide receiver Drae Bowles (Jackson, Tenn./Jackson Christian) should have a chance to help out the offense right away. On defense, the Vols are bringing in a talented group of linebackers, led ESPNU 150 guy Dalton Santos (Van, Texas/Van), who is the nation's top inside linebacker. He's joined by four-star Khalid Henderson and high three-stars Otha Peters (Covington, La./Covington) and Justin King (Dunwoody, Ga./Dunwoody). LaTroy Lewis (Akron, Ohio./Archbishop Hoban) is one of the top defensive end prospects from the state of Ohio and four-star corner Kenneth Crawley (Washington, D.C./Woodson) and four-star safety LaDarrell McNeil (Dallas/Wilmer-Hutchins) will help the secondary.

Who they still want: The Vols are in the mix for three-star WR Jason Croom (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), who will choose between the Vols and Mississippi State on Thursday. The Vols would love to get defensive with their remaining spots. Defensive line prospects Denico Autry (Scooba, Miss./East Mississippi C.C.), Dalvin Tomlinson (McDonough, Ga./Henry County), Danny O'Brien (Flint, Mich./Powers Catholic) and Korren Kirven (Lynchburg, Va./Brookville) are showing a lot of interest. The Vols trail Florida and Alabama for defensive end Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, Ga./Harris County). Tennessee is also looking for help in the secondary and is recruiting quite of few defensive backs, including Damien Lawry (Dallas/ Wilmer-Hutchins), D.J. Singleton (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peters Prep), Karl Joseph (Orlando, Fla./Edgewater), Jordan Diggs (Cape Coral, Fla./Island Coast), Kenneth Crawley (Washington, D.C./Woodson) and Andre Scott (Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge). Of course Dooley would love to land ESPNU 150 athlete Jeremy Liggins (Oxford, Miss./Lafeyette).

Vanderbilt Commodores

Commitments: 15
ESPNU 150 commitments: 0
Who they have: Vanderbilt, which is No. 25 in the class rankings, could be the surprise of the year in recruiting. New coach James Franklin and his staff are selling prospects on getting an Ivy League education in the SEC, early playing time and the great city of Nashville. While they are not getting all the prospects, Vandy is getting more of its share than ever before. This group is led by the dynamic athlete Brian Kimbrow (Memphis, Tenn./East), who should bring a Percy Harvin-like ability to the offense. The Dores also landed some good in-state prospects in wide receiver Cory Batey (Nashville, Tenn./The Ensworth School), defensive end Caleb Azubike (Nashville, Tenn./McGavock) and offensive lineman Barrett Gouger (Chattanooga, Tenn./Baylor). Vandy has done well in the Peach State as well, with commitments from defensive ends Stephen Weatherly (Atlanta/North Atlanta), a four-star prospect, Josh Dawson (Tucker, Ga./Tucker), Tre Griffin (Ackworth, Ga./North Cobb), LaDarius Banks (Dallas, Ga./East Paulding) and four-star linebackers Jacob Sealand (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) and Darreon Herring (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) and cornerback Paris Head (Buford, Ga./Buford).

Who they still want: How Vandy closes will be greatly enhanced by playing well on the field this fall. It has to show progress, and that will certainly go a long way with prospects such as quarterback Jamil Golden (Memphis, Tenn./Ridgeway), running backs Shaquille Powell (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) and Shadrach Thornton (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County), wide receivers Nathan Cole (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell), Andre McDonald (Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins) and Austin Aikens (Tampa, Fla./Plant), offensive linemen Andrew Jelks (Paris, Tenn./Henry County), Ronnie Stanley (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman), Kevin McCoy (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) and Kameron Davis (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla./Boyd Anderson). The Commodores to boost their secondary and are after DBs Josh Shelton (Mount Juliet, Tenn./Mount Juliet), Clint Heaven (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee), Jordan Diggs (Cape Coral, Fla./Island Coast) and Chaz Elder (College Park, Ga./Banneker).

Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at jamienewbergbw@yahoo.com.

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