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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Time For 2015

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxThe end of signing day doesn’t mean the end of recruiting.

National signing day came and went on Wednesday, which means one class is finished and the next one is just beginning. Except the 2015 recruiting period was already well underway.

All 14 SEC schools have at least one commitment for the 2015 class. Half of the league has five or more commitments for 2015.

It’s the latest trend as recruiting continues to speed up. Coaches continue to push for early commitments, which allows schools to recruit into the future. After all, schools are already evaluating younger players while recruiting the upcoming class.

There’s also more pressure for coaches to evaluate and send out offers. A school often stands a better chance of landing a prospect if it’s one of the first schools to offer him.

Defensive back Terry Godwin from Callaway High School in Hogansville, Ga., committed to Georgia’s 2015 class in January. The Bulldogs’ early offer gave them an advantage in their pursuit of Godwin.

“Ever since they offered me, they’ve been there since day one,” he told UGASports.com. “They’ve helped me focus on school work and the recruiting process. They’ve let me know what to look for in schools.”

Of course, prospects who commit early still have plenty of time to change their minds. Godwin admitted he still plans to visit other schools. Many other committed 2015 prospects will do the same before they sign with a school next February.

The SEC is off to a hot start with the top 2015 prospects in the country. Twenty-two of the Rivals100 prospects for next year’s class are already committed. The SEC has landed 13 of those prospects.

Here’s a look at the number of 2015 commitments for each SEC school.

Alabama – 7
Arkansas – 5
Auburn – 2
Florida – 1
Georgia – 3
Kentucky – 2
LSU – 6
Ole Miss – 4
Mississippi State – 5
Missouri – 1
South Carolina – 5
Tennessee – 7
Texas A&M – 7
Vanderbilt – 1

There’s a long way to go until the next national signing day on Feb. 4, 2015. But most of the SEC is well on its way to putting a class together.

 

Bielema: It’s the path, not the stars

Arkansas’ 2014 class finished near the bottom of the SEC rankings.

The Razorbacks signed a solid class. It just fell short in the ultra-competitive SEC recruiting race.

That doesn’t appear to be concerning to Arkansas coach Bret Bielema. He pointed out a flaw with the “star” system that comes along with recruiting evaluations.

“In the Super Bowl,” Bielema said, “the number of five stars on the field were three, the number of four stars on the field were 19, the number of three stars on the field were 33, the number of two stars on the field were 17, the number of one stars on the field were one, and get this, the number of zero-star recruits from their high school rankings to play in the Super Bowl were 15. That’s five times the number of five stars.”

That’s true. But Bielema failed to point out the number of three-star, two-star and no-star prospects far outweigh the number of five-star prospects each year.

There were 33 five-star prospects in the 2014 class, according to Rivals. There are thousands of prospects with a three-star rating or below.

Recruiting rankings don’t mean everything. But they indicate a lot.

Alabama has signed the nation’s No. 1 class six of the last seven years, according to Rivals. The Crimson Tide has compiled a 72-9 record with three BCS championships during that time.

Bielema’s career record as a head coach shows he deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to coaching. But recruiting in the SEC is a different animal compared to what he faced in the Big Ten.

Alabama signed six of Rivals’ 33 five-star prospects on Wednesday. The entire Big Ten signed only three.

Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Texas A&M – Arkansas’ toughest competition in the SEC West – signed a combined 14 five-star prospects on their way to landing four of the nation’s top nine classes.

Bielema will need to recruit more like his SEC West rivals if Arkansas is going to have a chance to compete with those schools in conference play.

 

Tennessee focuses on Nashville

Tennessee announced Thursday it will open the 2015 season against UAB in Nashville at LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans.

The Vols will play a neutral site game in Nashville for one reason – recruiting. Tennessee signed eight prospects from the mid-state area on Wednesday. Coach Butch Jones hopes more exposure in Nashville will help the Vols land more prospects.

“I think it’s great for recruiting,” he told 104.5 The Zone in Nashville. “It’s great for all of our players from middle Tennessee to be able to play another game in their home area. I think it’s extremely healthy for us.”

Recruiting in middle Tennessee became extremely competitive in recent years with coach James Franklin at Vanderbilt. New Commodores coach Derek Mason appears determined to slow Tennessee’s recruiting success in Vanderbilt’s backyard.

Of course, Tennessee and Vanderbilt will continue to play every year, rotating back and forth between Knoxville and Nashville. That will surely play a role in recruiting as well.

 

Ole Miss releases Law

Ole Miss announced Thursday it has released running back D.J. Law from his national letter of intent.

Law, who attends Haines City (Fla.) High School, signed with Ole Miss on Wednesday. But he also sent a signed letter to Utah as well as East Mississippi Community College.

“After talking with D.J. and his family, we are releasing him from his NLI and wish him the best,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement. “We have put this matter behind us and plan to make best use of that scholarship.”

It’s still unclear if Law will attend Utah or East Mississippi. His academic status had already been a concern before signing day.

Freeze and Ole Miss deserve credit for not adding anymore drama to the process and allowing Law out of his letter without any kind of fight.

“Our compliance department is cooperating fully with the NLI office on this matter,” Freeze said. “We are completely certain no wrongdoing occurred by our coaching or compliance staff. Regardless of the outcome of the findings, we want the young man to attend the school he wants.”

 


1 comments
JonSDS
JonSDS

@RussMitchellCFB I think of the top 22 committed prospects in the top 100, the SEC has 13 of them. Maybe I'm reading that wrong

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