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Hard To Argue With Mason, But It Would Have Been Fun To See Vandy Chase A Proven Head Coach

derek-masonJust as everyone from the Florida Keys to the Puget Sound questioned Vanderbilt’s hire of James Franklin — “Who’s he?” — folks from one coast to the other are proclaiming new hire Derek Mason to be the perfect man for the job.  His resume certainly checks all the right boxes:

 

*  At Stanford, he was part of a program that won big

*  He’s recruited students that fit Vanderbilt’s academic profile

*  He’s recruited the South, as he pointed out at his introductory presser

*  He’s served as defensive coordinator at a program that plays an SEC style of ball

*  He’s young, a former player and he’s coached in the NFL — which should help him communicate with his players and recruits

*  And he’s not short on confidence, saying “SEC East title, here we come,” during that aforementioned press conference

 

On the surface, he’s a near carbon copy of Franklin.  That’s a good thing.  Franklin may now be trying to tear down what he built up by chasing VU commits, but he did erect the Commodore program in the first place.  You can’t blame AD David Williams for trying to find someone with a resume akin to his last coach’s.

However — and mind you, this however is not a knock on Mason in any way — it would have been nice to see Vanderbilt take its newfound status as an honest-to-God football program with back-to-back top 25 finishes and see what kind of proven head coach the school could have landed.

There’s a scene in the film, “The American President” in which Micheal J. Fox’s character suggests the White House use the president’s high approval rating and “take it out for a spin.”  Well, it would have been nice to see VU use its current status to try and woo some proven guys.  Reports suggest the top two candidates aside from Mason were Clemson assistant Chad Morris and Indianapolis assistant Pep Hamilton.  Maybe Williams likes to hire guys while they’re still hungry.  Or maybe he did put out some early feelers to sitting head coaches only to be rebuffed.  (But if that had happened, it’s likely someone would have been given a raise at his current school.)

There are zero guarantees when it comes to hiring coaches, of course.  Franklin and Hugh Freeze were yawn hires outside of their new campuses.  They turned out to be terrific hires.  Last year, Bret Bielema was the “big name” hire that every fan craves.  He inherited a mess and has a long rebuild ahead of him, but a nine-game losing streak in Year One and the 11th best recruiting class in the SEC (as currently rated by Rivals.com) certainly can’t be classified as “hot start” material.

So there’s nothing to say that a guy who’s already served as a head coach somewhere would have arrived in Nashville and led Vanderbilt to greater heights than Mason might lead them to.  Again, it’s hard to argue with his resume.  And grabbing the D-coordinator from a team that won the Pac-12 last season does indeed indicate the amount of progress Vanderbilt has made under Williams, Bobby Johnson (who recruited a lot of the guys his replacement won with) and Franklin.

It just would have been fun to see if the Commodores could have been able to lure in a successful coach from the MAC, MWC or AAC with its newfound status as bowl-goin’ ballgame-winnin’ program.

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Holley Lifts Florida’s Class

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxFlorida’s 2014 class received some sizable momentum this week.

Defensive tackle Thomas Holley from Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., switched his commitment from Penn State to Florida.

Holley, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 3 defensive tackle by Rivals, decided to go with a coaching staff he knew at Florida over a staff he would have to get to know at Penn State.

“I think it was just kind of hard for me to build a relationship with a coaching staff in two weeks, when I had spent 10 months building a relationship with the previous coaching staff,” Holley told ESPN. “It really came down to the why between Penn State and Florida. At Florida, I already had a great relationship with the coaching staff, so it made it an easier decision.”

Holley’s decision to choose Florida adds to an already impressive defensive haul in the 2014 class. Defensive backs Duke Dawson and Jalen Tabor have already enrolled at Florida and defensive end Gerald Willis III has committed.

Willis, who chose Florida over LSU at the Under Armour All-American game in St. Petersburg, Fla., earlier this month, appears solid in his commitment to Florida. His mother, April Justin, told 247Sports that Willis “will not flip at all” from his commitment.

Holley maintains his commitment to Florida is solid as well.

“I’m not trying to be a person that is constantly changing up what they want to do,” he said. “When I make a decision, I want to make sure it’s the right decision, and that’s why I’ve been taking my time with the process.

“Even after the coaching staff change, I took my time, I sat down with my family and weighed out all my options, and that’s what it came down to. This is my last hoorah, as far as schools. I don’t plan on changing up anytime soon. I don’t plan on decommitting from Florida and going somewhere else. This is it for me.”

Florida still has plenty of work to do on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators landed athlete Brandon Powell, who could play running back or wide receiver. But the Gators are still trying to recover from the losses of running back Dalvin Cook, who has enrolled at Florida State, and receiver Ermon Lane, who decommitted last week and appears to be leaning toward the Seminoles.

Florida is pursuing running backs Jeff Jones, who’s committed to Minnesota, and Derrell Scott, who’s also considering South Carolina and Tennessee. Receivers Eric Lauderdale, Isaiah McKenzie and C.J. Worton, a Florida State commit, are strongly considering Florida as well.

Gators coach Will Muschamp is selling playing time to prospects. He said this week every position is “open” following Florida’s 4-8 season.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to walk into a great situation to improve, play in an exciting offense,” Muschamp said. “This is still the University of Florida. We’ll compete and play for championships. That hasn’t changed. Not in one year, that hasn’t.”

 

Vandy’s class takes huge hit

Vanderbilt’s 2014 class is predictably in big trouble as the Commodores search for a replacement for coach James Franklin.

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Vandy Recruits Begin To Look Around

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxVanderbilt’s recruiting is on hold as the college football world waits for James Franklin’s final decision.

Multiple reports have Franklin leaving Vanderbilt to become the head coach at Penn State. That would be a tremendous blow to Vanderbilt on the recruiting trail, where Franklin has made the Commodores relevant for the first time since recruiting coverage became a thing.

Vanderbilt commitments have already begun hearing from schools ready to take advantage of the idea of Franklin bolting for Penn State. And those prospects appear to be listening.

Defensive tackle Michael Sawyers from Ensworth School in Nashville, Tenn., is one of those prospects. He told Rivals.com he plans to visit Ole Miss and Texas and is considering trips to Tennessee and Notre Dame.

“I was thinking Vanderbilt was more of a long-term thing with Coach Franklin,” said Sawyers, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 17 defensive tackle by Rivals. “That’s kind of getting to me right now. I’m still committed to Vanderbilt and I feel like if we keep this class together we can still be good, but I’ve just decided that I’m going to take a couple of official visits and see how things play out.”

It will be interesting to see how Trent Sherfield’s recruitment plays out. The athlete from Danville (Ill.) High School told 247Sports on Thursday he planned to open his recruitment after hearing the reports about Franklin’s departue.

Vanderbilt could still be in play for Sherfield, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 45 safety by 247Sports.

Other Vanderbilt commitments to watch as Franklin’s status remains in question: defensive backs Kyle Gibson from Seffner, Fla., and Emmanuel Smith from Murfreesboro, Tenn., and running back Mikale Wilbon from Chicago.

All three prospects are highly-touted and would have several options if they decided to look at other schools.

One key prospect Vanderbilt can feel good about is quarterback KJ Carta-Samuels from San Jose, Calif. The younger brother of former Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels reaffirmed his commitment – at least for now – to Vanderbilt.

 

Gators add Tabor, lose Lammons 

Florida received good news Thursday when cornerback Jalen Tabor from Friendship Christian Academy in Washington, D.C., announced he will enroll at Florida next week.

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SEC Commitment Comparator – 1/8/14

blue-chip

(CORRECTION — An earlier version of this piece had incorrectly tallied LSU and Alabama’s Quantity and Quality numbers.  We apologize for any confusion.)

National Signing Day is one month away.  Do you know how your school’s class stacks up?

Today we give you a quickie overview of the current SEC classes of commitments (with juco signees thrown in for good measure).  As usual, we take a three-way approach to determine who’s sitting pretty and who needs to close fast.

We use the star rankings provided by Rivals.com because over time we’ve found them to be better indicators of future team success.  No, 4-stars and 5-stars don’t always pan out, but the more a school signs… the better.  There are exceptions to this rule (Arkansas under Bobby Petrino, Missouri currently under Gary Pinkel), but most everyone would grab the five-star guys if they could get ‘em.

For each star Rivals assigns, we assign a point.  We also award a point to 0-star prospects as their film has yet to be graded.  We look at each class in terms of Quantity (just the total amount of talent points coming into a program), Quality (the average number of points per player in a given class), and High-Caliber Recruits (4- and 5-star athletes only).  We feel this covers recruiting about as thoroughly as is possible.  Then, at the bottom of this report, we’ll tally the results, look at each school’s standing within the league, and dole out our own MrSEC.com Recruiting Rankings.

Ready?  Let’s start with the Quantity portion of our rankings…

 

Quantity

  School   Commits   5-stars   4-stars   3-stars   2-stars   1- & 0-stars   Total Points
  Tennessee   33   2   15   15   0   1   116
  Alabama   24   4   13   7   0   0   93
  Auburn   21   3   10   7   1   0   78
  Kentucky   23   0   9   13   1   0   77
  Ole Miss   23   0   6   16   1   0   74
  Missouri   26   0   2   17   7   0   73
  Texas A&M   20   2   10   7   1   0   73
  Florida   20   0   11   9   0   0   71
  LSU   18   1   13   3   1   0   68
  Vanderbilt   20   0   6   14   0   0   66
  Arkansas   20   0   3   15   2   0   61
  Georgia   16   1   10   5   0   0   60
  S. Carolina   16   0   8   8   0   0   56
  Miss. State   18   0   2   12   4   0   52

 

Quality

  School   Commits   Pts/Commit
  Alabama   24   3.87
  LSU   18   3.77
  Georgia   16   3.75
  Auburn   21   3.71
  Texas A&M   20   3.65
  Florida   20   3.55
  Tennessee   33   3.51
  S. Carolina   16   3.50
  Kentucky   23   3.34
  Vanderbilt   20   3.30
  Ole Miss   23   3.21
  Arkansas   20   3.05
  Miss. State   18   2.88
  Missouri   26   2.80

 

High-Caliber Recruits

  School   Commits   4- & 5-stars
  Alabama   24   17
  Tennessee   33   17
  LSU   18   14
  Auburn   21   13
  Texas A&M   20   12
  Florida   20   11
  Georgia   16   11
  Kentucky   23   9
  S. Carolina   16   8
  Ole Miss   23   6
  Vanderbilt   20   6
  Arkansas   20   3
  Missouri   26   2
  Miss. State   18   2

 

Tally all those rankings up and you arrive at our official MrSEC.com Recruiting Rankings, just one month from signing day.

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Under Armour Game Shows SEC’s Recruiting Dominance

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxSEC hats were easy to find during the Under Armour All-American Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Thursday.

Five of the seven prospects who announced their college decisions during the game chose an SEC school.

LSU led the way by landing commitments from safety Jamal Adams from Lewisville, Texas, and running back Leonard Fournette from New Orleans.

The day could have been better for LSU. The Tigers missed out on defensive back Tony Brown (Alabama) from Beaumont, Texas, and receiver Speedy Noil (Texas A&M) and defensive lineman Gerald Willis III (Florida) from Edna Karr High School in New Orleans.

The two prospects who chose non-SEC schools: cornerback Jalen Tabor from Washington, D.C., chose Arizona and receiver Travis Rudolph from West Palm Beach, Fla., picked Florida State.

Fournette was the biggest get for LSU. The nation’s No. 1 prospect according to ESPN chose the Tigers over rival Alabama.

“I chose LSU because I felt home there,” Fournette said. “I have a great relationship with both coaches, coach (Les) Miles and coach Frank (Wilson). The decision was made (Wednesday) when I was talking to my parents late at night about what school I wanted to attend. I was kind of going back and forth, so at the end of the day I prayed on it and I woke up and I felt that LSU was going to be the place for me.”

Expectations will be high when Fournette arrives in Baton Rouge. That’s fine with him. Fournette told ESPN he hopes to win a national championship and the Heisman Trophy as a freshman at LSU.

“I know that’s a lot to say, but I can handle the pressure,” Fournette said.

The SEC will be plenty to handle as the conference continues to bring in more talent. Of the 91 committed prospects playing in the Under Armour All-American game, 42 have chosen SEC schools. The ACC has the second most commitments with 17.

The SEC’s depth of recruiting talent is still growing. The league has nine of the top 15 classes for 2014, according to Rivals. The ACC has three of the top 15. The Big Ten has one.

LSU will continue to be a school to watch on the recruiting trail. The Tigers are targeting several highly-touted prospects, including receiver Malachi Dupre from New Orleans and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson from Gardena, Calif.

LSU has Rivals’ sixth-ranked class in the nation. Still, the Tigers would be in better position if they had landed more prospects on Thursday.

The decisions by Noil and Willis to leave the state surely hurt the Tigers’ recruiting effort.

“It felt like home when I went on my official visit (to Texas A&M),” Noil explained of his decision. “I look forward to taking my talents to A&M.”

Willis’ mother, April Justin, wanted her son’s talent to be on display at LSU. Justin, who voiced her displeasure when son Landon Collins chose Alabama in 2012, made it clear she didn’t agree with Willis’ decision to choose Florida.

“LSU’s still No. 1,” Justin said on ESPN.

Alabama is still No. 1 in recruiting. Brown’s commitment will only help as the Crimson Tide attempts to finish with the top-ranked signing class for the sixth time in seven years.

Roll Tide, roll,” Brown said.

 

White continues to impress

Auburn quarterback commit Sean White took home MVP honors from the Under Armour game.

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Gruden “Open To Hearing” About College Job… Thank Goodness The Suckers In This Story Aren’t In The SEC

gruden-teases-shows-leg-flirtsWow, it really is a day of tried-and-true sports stories.  See if you’ve heard this one before: Jon Gruden is “open to hearing” from a college about its head coaching vacancy.

Someone alert the press!  Wait, Gruden’s agent has already taken care of that.  Again.

In this case, Orangebloods.com — the Rivals.com site covering Texas athletics — has reported that the ex-NFL coach and current ESPN broadcaster “is open to hearing from the Texas athletic department.”  This from a high-level source.

The source went on to say that Gruden views the Texas job as one of the few “premier” coaching jobs in college football.  He also gave another reason for Gruden’s alleged interest… and for Texas’ need to go BIG:

 

“It’s Austin.  It’s not like any other city in Texas, or anywhere, really.  It’s a destination, but with the state capitol, the university, the politics and the media, it’s the eye of a hurricane.

(James) Franklin, (Jim) Mora, they are great coaches — but stepping into this sort of situation for the first time?  You’re going to have limited success.”

 

Whatever.

Gruden has toyed with the hopes of so many schools at this point that, quite frankly, we’re sorta/kinda sick of his act at this point.  Last year, the SEC version of “UT” called Gruden about their then-open gig.  Gruden — who reportedly viewed Tennessee as a “premier” job because he’d coached there and because his wife has family there — played footsie with intermediaries before saying, “no thanks,” when he got an actual call from Vol athletic director Dave Hart.

Gruden likes to have his name kicked around because it keeps him “hot” in coaching circles.  Fair enough.  But there’s about as much chance of Sam Houston or Davy Crockett coaching the Longhorns next year as there is of Gruden taking the job.

It was just 14 days ago that Southern Cal athletic director Pat Haden said: “I talked with Jon a while back.  He wants to coach in the pros.  If he’s a head coach, he wants to coach in the pros.”

So good luck, Texas.  You’re the suckers of the month in the Great Gruden Grab.  He’ll wind up with a new contract from ESPN and you’ll wind up with a disappointed fanbase when a Franklin or a Mora is introduced.  We’ve seen this one play out one too many times to put any stock in it whatsoever.

(Which guarantees Gruden will take the job.)

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Sharpe Gives Florida Good News

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxFlorida’s offense received a boost Thursday when offensive lineman David Sharpe from Providence School of Jacksonville committed to the Gators.

Sharpe, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle by ESPN RecruitingNation, committed to Florida despite growing concerns about the program’s future. Gators coach Will Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis last week after Florida finished the season with a 4-8 record.

“Coach Muschamp really needed help and I really want to help turn the program around,” Sharpe told ESPN. “I think we have a special class coming.”

That’s to be determined, but Florida took a nice step on Thursday. Along with Sharpe, Florida picked up a commitment from wide receiver Moral Stephens from Taylor County High School in Perry, Fla.

The two additions gave Florida  18 commitments for the 2014 class, which is ranked No. 9 in the nation by Rivals.com.

“Considering the down year on the field and some of the changes to the coaching staff, this Florida class is shaping up very well,” recruiting analyst Craig Haubert wrote on ESPN.com today.

Now Florida needs to finish with a strong close. The Gators are recruiting several highly-touted prospects, including athletes Jamal Adams and Adoree’ Jackson, defensive end Lorenzo Carter and wide receiver Travis Rudolph.

Florida is also in good position with receiver Eric Lauderdale from Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, Calif. It appears Oregon, which recently offered Lauderdale, will likely be Florida’s top competition.

“I like that the quarterback (Marcus Mariota) there is coming back, and you know I like that style of offense,” Lauderdale told Rivals. “I’d say they are on the same level as Florida with me.”

There are plenty of questions regarding Florida’s future. Can Will Muschamp return the Gators to their 2012 form when they won 11 games?

Muschamp is trying to convince recruits that Florida will be back to competing in the SEC next year.

“It’s still the University of Florida,” he said last month. “I think there’s some obvious reasons why we are where we are. We’re a team that won 11 games last year, and I don’t think that happened by accident. We have a really good football staff. We have some good players on our football team. We’re going to have a good football team moving forward. So at the end of the day, this is a great education and it’s a great place to come compete.”

 

Garrett expected to be a Tiger

Highly-touted linebacker Clifton Garrett from Plainfield South High School in Joliet, Ill., will announce his decision on Tuesday.

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Texas Website Says Saban Has Started Thinking About His Longhorn Staff (Which Sounds Kinda Funny)

saltgrainsIf you’re a Longhorn fan, it’s true.  If you’re a Crimson Tide fan it’s clearly propaganda from a Longhorn website.  If you’re anyone else, it’s just the latest log to be tossed onto the increasingly entertaining  “Will he or won’t he” Nick-Saban-to-Texas fire.

Geoff Ketchum of Orangebloods.com — the Rivals.com site covering Texas athletics — tweeted today:

 

“An OB source has confirmed that Nick Saban has initiated the vetting process of trying to see what a staff at Texas might look like.”

 

Figures.  With Saban even vetting assistants requires a dang “process.”

What exactly this means is anyone’s guess.  Is Saban calling potential assistants?  Is he drawing little hearts around assistants’ names in a spiral-bound notebook marked “The Process?”

Your guess is as good as ours.

But we will add this to the mix — and Alabama fans will like it — during last year’s Jon-Gruden-to-Tennessee buzz-nado, the ESPN broadcaster was reportedly calling potential aides, hiring high school coaches to work as liaisons for his Big Arnge program, etc.  And then he didn’t take the job.

Grain of salt time, folks.

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Alabama’s Recruiting Keeps Rolling

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxIt’s been a difficult week for Alabama following it’s loss to Auburn.

Alabama’s hope of winning its fourth BCS championship in the last five years was likely dashed by its fierce rival. There’s still hope, but that likely rests on the shoulders of Duke as it tries to upset No. 1 Florida State this weekend.

The consolation prize for Alabama: the Crimson Tide is all but assured of winning its sixth recruiting national championship in seven years.

Alabama received two commitments this week from safety Laurence “Hootie” Jones from Neville High School in Monroe, La., and defensive lineman Jarren Reed from East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Miss.

Alabama 24 commitments in its 2014 class, which has a comfortable hold on No. 1 in the Rivals Team Rankings.

Alabama’s loss to Auburn has rejuvenated the Nick Saban-to-Texas rumors, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering their popularity in recent months. But they haven’t appeared to cause any concern among recruits.

“(Saban) told me he is too old to build another program,” Jones, who chose Alabama over LSU, told TideSports.com. “He would rather keep what he has now. He wants to retire at a place where he loves. He doesn’t want to go somewhere and try to rebuild. He may not be able to rebuild by the time he is ready to retire.”

There is no rebuilding at Alabama, just reloading. And Reed will help with that. The former Florida signee chose Alabama because he wants to help the Crimson Tide return to winning SEC and BCS titles.

“I felt like Alabama was the best place for me,” Reed told TideSports.com. “I can become a better person and player. Everything stands out to me about their program, the football aspect and the academics, the graduation rate.

“It’s an elite program. I want to be the best I can be. I want to play with the best.”

Alabama is focused on once again securing the best class in the nation. The Crimson Tide’s list of top uncommitted targets includes running back Leonard Fournette from New Orleans, cornerback Marlon Humphrey from Hoover, Ala., linebacker Raekwon McMillan from Hinesville, Ga., and cornerbacks Tony Brown from Beaumont, Texas, and Jalen Tabor from Washington, D.C.

Fournette and Tabor will take official visits to Alabama next weekend, as will wide receiver Travis Rudolph from West Palm Beach, Fla., and offensive lineman Brian Wallace from St. Louis. Alabama commitments David Cornwell and Cameron Robinson are expected to be in Tuscaloosa that weekend helping Alabama’s coaches recruit the uncommitted prospects.

 

The week hasn’t been easy for Alabama or its fanbase, and a long offseason is sure to come as the Crimson Tide prepares to replace quarterback AJ McCarron. But there’s good news for Alabama. More help is on the way.

 

Malone the latest to choose Tennessee

Wide receiver Josh Malone from Station Camp High School in Gallatin, Tenn., gave Tennessee good news when he committed to the Vols on Wednesday.

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SEC Commitment Comparator – 12/5/13

blue-chipIt’s been a month since our last look at the MrSEC.com commitment big board.  National Signing Day is just nine weeks from yesterday and there’s been movement all over the SEC scene.  Rivals.com — whose grades we’ve found to be most accurate over time — has also updated some of its own star ratings.  Add it up and every single team has seen movement since early-November.

As usual, we break down the SEC’s commitment classes for you in three different ways and then we tally those results to arrive at our own official MrSEC.com recruiting rankings.

Starting with Rivals’ star rankings, we assign one point for each star awarded to a player.  We also give 0-star prospects — those who’ve yet to have their game tape graded — a point just because we’re nice guys.  We then look a the commitment crops according to quantity (total points for each program), quality (the average points per committed player), and high-caliber recruits (the total number of 4- and 5-star commits only).

We then rank the SEC’s schools in each category from 1 (best) to 14 (worst) and tally the scores to create our own ranking.

Let’s start with quantity, the total number of points committed to each SEC program as of today.  The last column shows you the number of points gained or lost since November 7th…

 

Quantity

  School   Commits   5-stars   4-stars   3-stars   2-stars   1- & 0-stars   Total Points   Pts +/-
  Tennessee   33   2   16   13   1   1   116   +13
  Alabama   24   3   14   7   0   0   92   +9
  Kentucky   24   0   9   14   1   0   80   -2
  Missouri   25   0   2   15   8   0   69   +2
  Ole Miss   21   0   6   14   1   0   68   +5
  Auburn   18   3   7   7   1   0   66   +9
  Texas A&M   18   2   9   6   1   0   66   +3
  Vanderbilt   20   0   6   14   0   0   66   +3
  Georgia   16   1   10   5   0   0   60   -5
  Florida   16   0   9   7   0   0   57   +6
  LSU   15   0   10   4   1   0   54   +1
  Arkansas   17   0   2   14   1   0   52   +4
  Miss. State   18   0   2   10   6   0   50   +2
  S. Carolina   14   0   7   7   0   0   49   +1

 

How Butch Jones intends to ink 33 players is still anyone’s guess as he only has room for 30 including backcounting.  One would assume three of the Vols’ current commits will grayshirt, but we’ll see.  Jones and company are still out recruiting, too.  Remember, that 25-man “cap” on signees is a soft cap, nothing more.  Coaches can still work around it.

Aside from Tennessee, the biggest gains over the past month have been made in the state of Alabama where both Bama and Auburn have added nine points in our quantity chart.

Now let’s examine the quality of athlete at each school…

 

Quality

  School   Commits   Avg. Pts/Commit
  Alabama   24   3.83
  Georgia   16   3.75
  Auburn   18   3.66
  Texas A&M   18   3.66
  LSU   15   3.60
  Florida   16   3.56
  Tennessee   33   3.51
  S. Carolina   14   3.50
  Kentucky   24   3.33
  Vanderbilt   20   3.30
  Ole Miss   21   3.23
  Arkansas   17   3.05
  Miss. State   18   2.77
  Missouri   25   2.76

 

No surprises here.  Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, Auburn, LSU and Florida are inking the best athletes.  Tennessee — even with 33 commits — is still over the 3.50 mark which is remarkable in itself.  South Carolina just comes in a 3.50 and they have space for plenty more commitments.

Arkansas, Mississippi State and Missouri fans surely don’t like how the numbers break for their teams.  It will be interesting to see what kind of bounce Mizzou gets for reaching the SEC Championship Game.  (Sidenote — Gary Pinkel has shown this year and throughout his career that he doesn’t require top 10 classes to win games… much as Bobby Petrino never needed all-star players to deliver positive results.)

Next we look at the high-end caliber players.  Not all 4- and 5-star players will love up to their hype, but the more blue-chippers a school lands, the better the odds of finding some true difference-makers…

 

High-Caliber Players

  School   Commits   4- & 5-stars
  Tennessee   33   18
  Alabama   24   17
  Georgia   16   11
  Texas A&M   18   11
  Auburn   18   10
  LSU   15   10
  Florida   16   9
  Kentucky   24   9
  S. Carolina   14   7
  Ole Miss   21   6
  Vanderbilt   20   6
  Arkansas   17   2
  Miss. State   18   2
  Missouri   25   2

 

From looking at those numbers, the odds of uncovering some real gems are in the favor of Tennessee and Alabama, followed by Georgia, Texas A&M, Auburn and LSU.

Next we tally up all those scores in order to create our official SEC recruiting rankings.  First place in one of the three categories above would equal one point.  Second place would equal two point and so on.  The lower the number the better the class…

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