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SEC 2011 Recruiting Report

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Several SEC teams welcomed in a new class of highly rated athletes on Wednesday. It is the crowning moment of the college football offseason and it is also a big business, especially for recruiting services who market information to the fans of those teams. (Notice I used the word “teams” and not “schools” as that is not always the case, but that’s another tale.)

So, with all due credit to the major three services (Rivals.com, Scout.com, and ESPN), this is a compilation of each SEC team’s recruiting rankings. I can’t explain the differences in the rankings except to say that all these services evaluate on different parameters and we all need to pass Calculus III before you attempt to decipher it.

Alabama
Rankings: Rivals (1), Scout (7), ESPN (2)
Alabama addressed several needs on defense as well as continued to add to the offensive arsenal. Alabama is one of three teams in the SEC that may be legitimately three deep at multiple positions.

Arkansas
Rankings: Rivals (24), Scout (16), ESPN (18)
While not as sexy as other teams, Arkansas added some needed depth to the defensive front while continuing to put more pieces in guns of the offense. If these defensive players pan out, Arkansas could be up for a run in the coming years.

Auburn
Rankings: Rivals (7), Scout (1), ESPN (3)
Auburn got some big help to rebuild the offensive and defensive lines that won the National Championship last year. They also added a highly touted quarterback and skill position players to fit that system.

Florida
Rankings: Rivals (14), Scout (21), ESPN (12)
Florida’s new coaching staff inherited a lot of young talent that struggled to find footing last year. This year’s class may not have the raves of previous ones, but there are good pieces here as the Gators transition to life after Urban Meyer.

Georgia
Rankings: Rivals (5), Scout (6), ESPN (9)
By far the surprise of the day for the conference was Georgia where embattled HC Mark Richt hit on several big commits from some of the top players on everyone’s boards. Most of the recruits fill offensive needs but there are also several solid pieces for the defense. Now the question is can Richt finally turn the corner and get Georgia on top of the SEC East.

Kentucky
Rankings: Rivals (Not in Top 50), Scout (32), ESPN (Not in top 25)

Kentucky’s biggest stars in recent years weren’t necessarily guys people knew much of on signing day. Joker Phillips hopes that holds true with this crew as he added a few interesting pieces to Big Blue to try and build on recent success.

LSU
Rankings: Rivals (6), Scout (9), ESPN (10)
In a talent-rich state, LSU seems to get first dibs on the best of the crop, and that hasn’t changed. LSU just seems to reload each year, and 2011 is no different.

Mississippi
Rankings: Rivals (18), Scout (24), ESPN (25)
Mississippi probably had the biggest gaffe of signing day when it was discovered that one of the recruits was actually not theirs but Texas A&M’s and the guy’s mom had forged his signature. Otherwise, Ole Miss did add some solid performers to the fold.

Mississippi State
Rankings: Rivals (42), Scout (43), ESPN (Not in top 25)
The Bulldogs, already a young team, spent most of the day gathering commitments from offensive players. Dan Mullen was pleased with it so we’ll see that that means. MSU usually doesn’t get the highly touted guys in droves so this was a solid class by their standards.

South Carolina
Rankings: Rivals (20), Scout (13), ESPN (24)
South Carolina got an even number of commitments from offensive and defensive players and fro the second year in a row, they’ve addressed needs and look to be building to maintain the success that led them to the SEC East championship this year.

Tennessee
Rankings: Rivals (12), Scout (11), ESPN (13)
Derek Dooley parlayed a mediocre year marred with all sorts of near-wins into a pretty decent class. Many of the top-rated commits figure to help out the defensive unit.

Vanderbilt
Rankings: Rivals (not in top 50), Scout (45), ESPN (Not in Top 25)
Vanderbilt never gets ranked high in these things but they do usually get guys they really want who fit what they are about. With a new coaching staff in place, this was a good start. However, I wouldn’t expect much from them in terms of a postseason run anytime soon.

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