Tag:Arkansas
Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:28 am
 

2/10 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Talented athlete Stefon Diggs is expected to commit to Maryland later today.

 Auburn is waiting on the decisions of Diggs and Alex Kozan.

 James Franklin clarified his words about decommits he made to Vanderbilt supporters.

 North Carolina started 2013 recruiting with package deal.

 A strong finish in 2012 would help Arkansas close on big name recruits.

 The country's top tight end, Adam Breneman, is impressed with Penn State coach Bill O'Brien.

 A record crowd turned up to hear Gary Pinkel talk about Missouri's 2012 recruiting haul.

 Meet UCLA's 2012 recruiting class.

 Michigan State is interested in some linemen who are already picking up offers.
Posted on: February 8, 2012 9:56 am
 

2/8 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Running back Derrick Green has 17 offers and is planning on visiting Arkansas.

 A look at the recruiting territories for the Illinois coaching staff.

 Vanderbilt doubled its football recruiting budget.

 Having two former Wisconsin players on staff could help in recruiting.

 Michigan picked up players in 2012 and 2013. The Wolverines are still in the running for Alex Kozan too.


Posted on: February 3, 2012 11:37 pm
 

Auburn lands 2nd top 100 OT with Diamond

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The (arguably) biggest win for Auburn on National Signing Day was landing Maxpreps top 100 offensive tackle Avery Young. But as it turned out, the Tigers had a win just as big waiting for them --and at the same position -- after National Signing Day.

That's thanks to Jordan Diamond, the 6'6", 310-pound four-star tackle from Chicago's Simeon High School who signed with Auburn Friday night. Diamond picked the Tigers over offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Arkansas and others.

Diamond ranked as the nation's No. 67 overall prospect at Maxpreps and the No. 9 offensive tackle in the class, giving Auburn five members of the Maxpreps top 100, tying them for third-most in the conference behind Alabama and Georgia.

"Auburn is getting a hard, dedicated player with great character," Simeon head coach Dante Culbreath told the Chicago Tribune. "Jordan felt comfortable with the Auburn coaching staff, like here at Simeon. It was a matter of that relationship and how he felt."

From Tom Lemming's scouting report on Diamond:

The No. 1 prospect in the state of Illinois is the prototypical LT. Blessed with long arms and quick feet, he can effectively block on the second level and eliminate linebackers ... He has a take no prisoners' attitude, never lets up, shows good hand/punch in pass protection, can seal and sustain blocks, and he's exceptionally strong at the point of attack. He anchors well and he uses his outstanding athletic ability to slide and mirror and cut off fast edge rushers. One of the most dominating LT's in the country.

Auburn is now poised to make a major post-Signing Day impact, with No. 14 overall athlete Stefon Diggs -- the nation's top remaining unsigned recruit -- also seriously considering the Tigers. Diggs is scheduled to sign Feb. 10.

Relive all the highlights from National Signing Day at CBSSports.com's NSD Central.

Posted on: February 3, 2012 9:52 pm
 

SEC Signing Day Grades



Posted by Bryan Fischer


CBS Sports Top 25 Team Rankings
College Commits Top 100
1. Alabama 28 6
5. Florida 21 5
11. South Carolina 25 1
13. LSU 22 2
14. Texas A&M 21 3
20. Georgia 19 6
21. Tennessee 19 0
22. Auburn 20 5

SEC school-by-school
East Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
21 OL D.J. Humphries A- The Gators put together a really good class that should boost numbers and talent but it will be remembered for a few of the misses.
- Team page
- Commitment list
19 OL John Theus B It's not the dream team but it could still be considered one of the better classes in the conference with what they did at RB and on defense.
- Team page
- Commitment list
26 QB Patrick Towles C A good quarterback helps but there are a few questionable recruits in the group next to some others that could develop into solid SEC players.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 WR Dorial Green-Beckham B+ The nation's leading passer and the #1 overall recruit will earn you a good grade but it's not a very deep and talented class otherwise.
- Team page
- Commitment list
24 WR Shaq Roland B Yet again the Old Ball Coach lands the top recruit in the state and does some very nice things in Georgia, such as landing Mike Davis (a great fit for that offense).
- Team page
- Commitment list
21 DB LaDarrell McNeil B- A few late decommits took some luster off but a good class nevertheless. They certainly added some offensive weapons but didn't grab an impact defender.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 RB Brian Kimbrow A Best recruiting class in school history and win some head-to-head battles against some big name schools? Impressive. It's not the most talented when compared to others but a great job by the staff in 2012.
West Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
28 DB Landon Collins A+ One national title in January, one in February. This might be one of the most talented recruiting classes Nick Saban has brought in.
- Team page
- Commitment list
21 RB Jonathan Williams C+ The Razorbacks figured to have a better class but it's just ok. Striking out on DGB hurt but they still filled needs at the spot and added a good RB in Williams if he can stay healthy.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 OL Avery Young B This is the best OL class in the SEC with some tremendous talent there. The skill position players are very good but there's no doubt the Tigers missed out on a few guys.
- Team page
- Commitment list
22 WR Avery Johnson B- It's hard for a top 15 class to be disappointing but that's what this one was for LSU after some very notable defections on the lead up to Signing Day.
- Team page
- Commitment list
19 DE Channing Ward B- Pretty good class on short notice, a lot of the recruits will play early and often in talent-deprived Ole Miss.
- Team page
- Commitment list
27 DL Denico Autry B- It wasn't a great class outside of the defensive line but that looks like it will be the strength of the team down the road with this group.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 RB Trey Williams B+ It was an up-and-down ride to Signing Day but the Aggies got better and added talent that will certainly help them on offense in addition to a few guys giving a little boost on defense.

Posted on: February 3, 2012 10:05 am
 

2/3 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Signing Day and its aftermath appear to be over so it's time to recap everything that happened with the latest and greatest.

Great look at what went on behind the scenes in the recruitment of Dorial Green-Beckham. Emptying the Missouri Signing Day notebook.

Georgia's record-breaking recruiting rankings streak appears to be over.

 Bobby Petrino and the Arkansas staff talked about their recruiting class.

 Florida struck out on Signing Day with some uncommitted prospects.

 Great story about Vanderbilt's recruiting class with a behind the scenes look.

 Negative recruiting was a hurdle for Miami leading up to Signing Day but if Al Golden can keep it up, watch out for the Canes.

 It was smooth sailing for Oregon despite the Chip Kelly uncertainty.

 Here's everything new Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze had to say about his recruiting class.

 Some recruiting wins notwithstanding, Derek Dooley needs to win at Tennessee now.

 Darius Philon was more committed to Alabama than the school was to him.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 1:56 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 2:04 pm
 

Former Tide commitment: "They did me wrong"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A new Kentucky signee who was asked to take a "grayshirt" by Alabama -- delaying his enrollment until January of 2013 and not joining the Crimson Tide until that spring -- has told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he feels Nick Saban and his program "did me wrong."

Three-star running back recruit Justin Taylor of North Atlanta High School committed to the Tide in early 2011 but suffered a knee injury at the start of his high school season. In January, Taylor was informed by Saban that he would not be able to sign with the Tide on National Signing Day as planned, though Alabama would honor the scholarship offer if he was willing to delay enrollment. Taylor elected to accept a late offer from Kentucky instead and signed with the Wildcats yesterday.

“I knew I wasn’t going to Alabama when I met with Coach Saban at my high school a couple of weeks ago,” Taylor told the AJC. “When Coach Saban came down, I just had this feeling in my heart. I prayed about it and God told me … and I know this sounds kind of crazy … but God told me that Alabama was not the place for me.”

Saban told Taylor the revocation of his original offer was due to his torn ACL, but North Atlanta head coach Stanley Pritchett (a former South Carolina star running back) believes otherwise.

“If you look back on it, you see that it was a numbers game, that Alabama really wanted [Taylor] to sit out because of the numbers,” Pritchett said, referring to the SEC-imposed limit of 25 signees per class. “It kind of makes you mad, but you also feel good that he didn’t go there. Because if he had gone to Alabama, he would’ve probably just have been another number.”

Alabama's final class included 26 signees, one of which "back-counted" to the 2011 class, putting the Tide at exactly 25 players for 2012.

Taylor was not the only longtime Tide commitment asked by Saban to grayshirt; Prichard (Ala) defensive tackle Darius Philon signed with Arkansas despite donning an Alabama hat at his school's signing ceremony. Two of Philon's teammates told the Mobile Press-Register that Philon had been asked to grayshirt last week. Philon had switched his commitment from Auburn to Alabama last September and had not visited any other schools since committing. He underwent knee surgery following the high school season.

Philon refused to speak to the media following the signing ceremony and has yet to make any public comment. Taylor, however, was less shy about his feelings regarding the Tide.

“The way they talked to me, they respected me … but as far as pulling the scholarship, I think they did me wrong," he said. "I was the No. 7 to commit, that’s all I’ve got to say. I was committed to them for a year. They could’ve handled it better.” 

Given that Saban's method of "handling" injured commitments appears to be simply finding players he likes better and forcing those commitments to deal with the consequences, we're inclined to agree.

For video of Saban discussing his No. 1-ranked class on the CBS Sports Network's Signing Day special, click here. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:53 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 11:17 am
 

Signing Day Coast-to-Coast Wrap



Posted by Bryan Fischer


It's time to pick up the wrapping paper, survey the damage and get excited to play with your new toys as Signing Day - i.e. Christmas in February for college football coaches and fans - has come to a close. Here's a broad overview of what happened from coast-to-coast.

Houston, we have a five-star

If there was one big - to borrow a metaphor from another sport - curve ball on Signing Day that made everybody scratch their head in disbelief it was word that Fresno (Calif.) wide receiver Deontay Greenberry had surprisingly signed with Houston during the middle of the day. It's normally a bit unusual when a program like UH signs anybody from outside the states of Texas or Louisiana and even more puzzling when they sign a highly rated player. But Greenberry? In addition to becoming the highest-ranked recruit the program has ever inked, the switch was cause for celebration inside the football office for a coup of epic proportions.

In short: Houston stole a five-star recruit on the week before Signing Day from Notre Dame.

This wasn't a local big time kid, this was the state of California's best wide receiver and somebody the Irish were counting on to play early and often with the departure of guys like Michael Floyd. The Cougars were not only closer to a BCS game than the storied program but they picked their pockets for one of their top recruits. It should have been a big day for Brian Kelly to trumpet guys like number two overall player and Columbus (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel or Greenberry's cousin, cornerback Tee Shepard. Instead it was Kelly who was trying to spin the loss during his annual press conference.

"It is hard for me to feel disappointed about something I have never had, or someone I have never coached," Kelly said. "I'm more excited about the 16 who did sign."

The reason the 6-foot-3, 187-pound wide out flipped was primarily due to Houston receivers coach Jamie Christian, who came over from Arizona State. Christian had kept the Sun Devils in the running (Greenberry took a visit in October and considered them as late as December) despite a commitment to Notre Dame until Dennis Erickson's staff was fired and deserves the lion's share of the credit for getting Greenberry on campus last weekend and for ultimately landing a top-ranked guy. Cougars' head coach Tony Levine has developed some very successful wide receivers over the past several years and it appears he's got somebody a lot more talented than he's ever coached coming in with the class of 2012.

One in January, another in February

Texas coach Mack Brown has picked up the title Mr. February due to his penchant for winning a recruiting title but lack of success in translating that into a national title. After the run Nick Saban has had at Alabama recently, it might be time to find something that accurately describes his dominance in the first two months of the year because he's not limited to one or the other. As expected, the Crimson Tide took home the top recruiting class in the country in 2012 but perhaps the only thing that was surprising about it was that it wasn't, well, surprising.

"We knew exactly pretty much what we were gonna get," Saban said. "We didn't really have any surprises."

The only thing that even registered on the meter was when defensive tackle Korren Kirven decided to go away from home and play for the Crimson Tide (part of the reason why a numbers crunch led to some like defensive tackle Darius Philon signing at Arkansas). All told, 28 players will be considered part of yet another recruiting title for a program that seems to land any recruit they want, including an impressive six top 100 players.

The headliner is Geismar (La.) defensive back Landon Collins, who signed sans drama Wednesday and even seems to have patched things up with his mother following the bizarre reaction she had when he committed at the Under Armour All-American Game early last month. A ball-hawk who isn't afraid to lower the shoulder and stick the ball carrier, Collins is bound to find a role early on in the secondary. This class didn't really load up on offensive lineman but filled out just about everywhere else was stacked. The front seven in particular could see plenty of recruits turn into All-Americans, led by the impressive Reggie Ragland and Dillon Lee. Offensively there are some speedsters at wide out and T.J. Yeldon might be the best running back coming into the conference.

The Tide, it appears, just can't stop rolling.

M-I-Z-D-G-B

Though the news had broken that the country's top overall player in the class of 2012 would likely be headed to Columbia, nobody was truly sure until the the 6-foot-6 Dorial Green-Beckham put on the Missouri hat and officially sent his LOI in. The announcement seemed a little ho-hum despite the nearly 1,000 people watching locally and the national television audience but that's mainly a testament to the reserved Green-Beckham himself.

With many analysts calling him the second coming of Randy Moss, there's immense pressure on the top-ranked wide receiver and for good reason. There are few prospects as impressive physically as Green-Beckham and though he doesn't have great hands and needs some polish, the underlying natural talent is a good reason why he was highly regarded and highly recruited. Missouri has had success building around taller, bigger pass catchers in their offense and it looks like they'll have three years to see what kind of eye popping numbers

It can't be understated how big this is for a program like Mizzou. Landing the top recruit in the country is not just about getting a good player, it's about adding a level of prestige to the program. A talent like DGB only comes along once in a generation and for the Tigers to keep him at home is understandably huge, especially with the move to the SEC. Gary Pinkel has had plenty of success over the past several years even if it hasn't resulted in a championship and everybody understands that the competitions is about to be ratcheted up several notches going forward. With the signature of Green-Beckham, Pinkel and Mizzou proved that even if guys like Mack Brown, Bob Stoops and Nick Saban really want a kid, the Tigers can compete off and - hopefully - on the field in their new league going forward.

Nerd Search 2012

Outside of alumni and those that have to write about the Pac-12, there weren't too many mentions of Stanford on Signing Day every year.

My how times have changed.

Not only did the Cardinal tie for the national lead with six top 100 prospects, but they landed multiple five-stars and had people talking less about Andrew Luck and more about the fact that maybe this program can indeed sustain excellence going forward. There's no denying that it was one of the best years for talent on the West Coast in some time and the big reason why was the number of elite offensive lineman. If this were a few years ago, many of them would be penciled in to go to USC or Oregon or out of the area to programs like Notre Dame but instead it was Stanford who reeled the majority of the elite guys in this year (Josh Garnett, Andrus Peat, Kyle Murphy). If you were to call this the best offensive line class in recent recruiting history, you wouldn't find too many who would argue. That's just how much of a difference the school was this year and the coaches' efforts were rewarded with a top 10 class ranking.

It wasn't just an academic powerhouse like Stanford who made waves either. Northwestern landed a pair of top players in Malin Jones and Ifeadi Odenigbo. Vanderbilt brought in what some called the best class in school history. Duke landed a lightly recruited guy who, according to recruiting coordinator Matt Lubick on the CBSSports.com Signing Day Central Show, runs a sub-4.3 40 yard dash. Lots of recruits talk about wanting academics but it appears they're finally following up.

Pocket squares and pads seem to be the latest thing on the recruiting trail.

More recruiting SECcess

It wasn't quite the banner year for the league that it could have been but 2012 certainly was a great Signing Day for the best conference in the country. Eight of the SEC's 14 teams finished in the final top 25 class rankings, highlighted by Alabama at the top and both of the league newcomers turning in great first efforts. Texas A&M ended up stealing defensive tackle Edmund Ray from Missouri and added wide receiver Thomas Johnson, a former Texas commitment, to a group that finished 14th. Florida was a top five class despite missing out on some guys and even a few programs that have recently struggled did well with Georgia, Tennessee and Auburn grouped together from 20-22.

The Bulldogs had to land just about every target left on their board and they did ok, notably beating Florida State late for linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons despite a little issue with his grandfather not signing his letter of intent until Thursday. The Bulldogs missed out on Juco wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (who went to Tennessee) and offensive tackle Avery Young (to Auburn) but also landed five-star offensive lineman John Theus and what might be the best one-two punch at running back in the class with Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. It wasn't a "Dream Team" but Georgia still showed you can have a very good class and it only be alright in such a deep league.

Kentucky brought in what might be the top quarterback in the state this year in Patrick Towles and took advantage of Alabama's number crunch in grabbing running back Justin Taylor. The state of Georgia was a big producer of talent for a lot of the league's schools and is quickly becoming the go-to state for most FBS programs after the big three of California, Texas and Florida. The theme this year was even if a school didn't pick up a commitment from a kid, there's a high chance he went to another SEC school.

Quality over quantity

This was finally the year that we'd see NCAA sanctions limit USC and Lane Kiffin had to be creative in how he managed the numbers on top of grabbing the best talent available. Even though the Trojans missed out on linemen Peat and Murphy, it was still a good haul with Zach Banner, Jordan Simmons and Max Tuerk on top of skill position talent like five-star Nelson Agholor, linebacker Jabari Ruffin, end Leonard Williams and wide receiver Darreus Rogers. Given the way the staff has recruited over the past two years, it's looking more likely that the school can get through harsh NCAA sanctions better than was previously thought. Missing out on three guys may seem like a lot but it should help next year by giving Kiffin those scholarships to use for early enrollees in 2013.

Meyer Mayhem

FYI to coaches across the country, if Urban Meyer starts circling your recruits, you better be prepared to bring your A+++ game if you want to land them. The master recruiter took Ohio State's class from middling prior to his hire to tying the nation's lead with six top 100 recruits and a number three overall class ranking. This was, mind you, with only two months on the job to recruit with a program that just got slapped with a bowl ban from the NCAA. Meyer really attacked the defensive line and looks like he'll be importing a high quality, SEC-caliber defensive line with Se'Von Pittman, Tommy Schutt, Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington. He's already jumped on several top 2013 players and if this year was any indication, it could be a long couple of years for his Big Ten counterparts.

Seminole DLight

Mark Stoops is the defensive coordinator at Florida State and he might be the happiest man in the state of Florida. As good as Ohio State's defensive line class was, FSU's might be the best in the country. Though they lost Dante Fowler Jr., they still signed Chris Casher, Mario Edwards, Eddie Goldman, Justin Shanks and should get Dalvon Stuckey in a year or two after he goes to a Juco. The thing about the Seminoles is that they don't need every guy to come in and play right away but each is talented enough to make an impact in certain situations. Edwards has the pedigree and drive to become a high first round draft pick with his skill set and Stoops should use him in multiple spots. Adding guys like Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams are also huge gets for the program in the secondary. Whoever plays the best defense likely has a leg up in the ACC and it appears that's where Florida State did the best on Wednesday.

More on Signing Day
Columns
Dennis Dodd

Urban strikes gold right away; stigma of Tressel scandal already gone



Brett McMurphy

Forget suspense and excitement, it's just another 'Bama Signing Day
Related links
The Golden Touch

The early indication that things would be going Miami's way came when one of the country's top uncommitted recruits, Miramar (Fla.) cornerback Tracy Howard, flashed the "U" sign on national television and made, to some, the surprising decision to stay home and play for the Hurricanes. Although Howard's recruitment was a bit difficult to read, it appeared there was only a slim chance that he'd leave the state and most were predicting he was Florida's to lose down the stretch.

Much like Stanford this year, there weren't a whole lot of recruits the program missed out on that they were after hard - a remarkable accomplishment given what's swirling around Coral Gables. The loss of linebacker Reggie Northrup hurts because he could play multiple positions and is easily one of the top linebacker prospects in the state. That he switched to archival Florida State stung a little but that was one of the rare occasions were the Hurricanes were slowed down. This was the largest class in the country and plenty of the recruits should see early playing time with guys like Duke Johnson making an impact from the moment they step on campus. Al Golden had to climb a mountain but did a great job grabbing the guys he did.

Tosh.Ohhh

Not sure any assistant had a greater impact on multiple programs than new Washington coach Tosh Lupoi. California's class imploded, Washington landed the #5 player in the country in Shaq Thompson, UCLA added Jordan Payton and Oregon picked up Arik Armstead due to the uncertainty. One wonders if Lupoi had been hired earlier how much more impact he would have had for the Huskies' class but it's clear he shifted the recruiting trail in the conference in just a few short weeks.

In addition to Washington, USC, Stanford, plenty of other Pac-12 programs landed strong classes in what was a very, very good year for talent West of the Rockies. Oregon managed to flip several recruits, such as wide receiver Chance Allen from Oklahoma State and a terrific pick up in Bralon Addison from Texas A&M (who took a late visit and should fit perfectly in Chip Kelly's system). Though many were skeptical of the hire initially, Jim Mora grabbed a terrific class and fellow newcomers Rich Rodriguez and Mike Leach also had good first efforts. There really wasn't a "bad" class among the bunch and even lowly Colorado landed a top 100 player.

Texas being Texas

The Longhorns finished in a familiar spot right at the top of the class rankings and even though they couldn't push Alabama off the top spot, this has some major players who can play early and often. Malcom Brown is a beast at defensive tackle and Manny Diaz' defensive staff pulled one of the big surprises in taking Torshiro Davis away from LSU. The class has the top running back in the country with record-setter Johnathan Gray and the state's top wide out in Cayleb Jones. Mack Brown also closed very well, grabbing speedy Daje Johnson and linebackers Dalton Santos and Bryce Cottrell in addition to Davis. It will be a young Texas team in 2012 but with this class and the current roster, it will certainly be a talented one.



Category: NCAAF
Tags: Adolphus Washington, Al Golden, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Andrus Peat, Arik Armstead, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Avery Young, BCS, Big Ten, Bob Stoops, Bralon Addison, Brian Kelly, Bryce Cottrell, Cal, California, Cayleb Jones, Chance Allen, Chip Kelly, Chris Casher, Colorado, Cordarrelle Patterson, Daje Johnson, Dalton Santos, Dalvon Stuckey, Dante Fowler Jr., Darius Philon, Darreus Rogers, Dennis Erickson, Deontay Greenberry, Dillon Lee, Dorial Green-Beckham, Duke, Duke Johnson, Eddie Goldman, Edmund Ray, Florida, Florida State, Gary Pinkel, Georgia, Gunner Kiel, Houston, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Jabari Ruffin, Jamie Christian, Jim Mora, John Theus, Johnathan Gray, Jordan Payton, Jordan Simmons, Josh Garnett, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Justin Shanks, Justin Taylor, Keith Marshall, Kentucky, Korren Kirven, Kyle Murphy, Landon Collins, Lane Kiffin, Leonard Williams, LSU, Mack Brown, Malcom Brown, Malin Jones, Manny Diaz, Mario Edwards, Mark Stoops, Matt Lubick, Max Tuerk, Miami, Michael Floyd, Mike Leach, Missouri, NCAA, Nelson Agholor, Nick Saban, Noah Spence, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, P.J. Williams, Pac-12, Patrick Towles, Randy moss, Reggie Northrup, Reggie Ragland, Rich Rodriguez, Ronald Darby, Se'Von Pittman, SEC, Shaq Thompson, Signing Day Wrap, Stanford, T.J. Yeldon, Tee Shepard, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Thomas Johnson, Todd Gurley, Tommy Schutt, Tony Levine, Torshiro Davis, Tosh Lupoi, Tracy Howard, UCLA, Under Armour All-American Game, Urban Meyer, USC, Vanderbilt, Washington, Zach banner
 
Posted on: February 1, 2012 8:48 pm
 

National Signing Day Winners and Losers: SEC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Breaking down who won and who lost in the SEC on National Signing Day:

 

WINNERS

Mike Slive. Anyone who doubted Missouri's conference cred had to fall silent for at least a day as the Tigers introduced the nation's No. 1 recruit into the SEC East. The rest of the Tigers' class may not be as deep as many of their new league rivals', but when said class also includes a star as overpoweringly bright as Dorial Green-Beckham, it's hard to see any flaws.

Players to watch: WR Dorial Green-Beckham, G Evan Boehm, QB Maty Mauk.  

Alabama. Yawn--just another No. 1-ranked class of 25-plus blue-chips for Nick Saban's perpetual recruiting motion machine, with the surprise signing of highly regarded Virginia defensive tackle Korren Kirven the icing on a cake the Crimson Tide had baked long before Wednesday. By his own admission, Saban said they "didn't have any surprises," for worse or -- this being Alabama -- better. Once Kirven had declared and top safety Landon Collins had finally gotten his mother on board, the drama in Tuscaloosa was over.

In fact, after a big Junior Day haul, Saban and Co. are already off and sprinting for 2013. Come next February, it's likely there won't be any surprises then either. It may not be exciting for anyone hoping for stunning announcements, big rankings swings, and overheated speculation -- the Tide may have used it all up in last year's Cyrus Kouandjio saga -- but it's the same lethally efficient formula that's netted Saban two national championships in three seasons. Nothing much changed for Alabama on Signing Day, but unfortunately for the rest of college football, that means nothing much has changed when it comes to the difficulty of knocking the Tide off their perch, either.

Players to watch: S Landon CollinsRB T.J. YeldonCB Geno SmithVideo: Saban on being No. 1 on the recruiting trail. 



James Franklin. When Franklin's blazingly hot start last summer netted him a commitment from All-American running back Brian Kimbrow, the nation's no. 52 player, the response from many observers around the SEC was "That's impressive. It'll be even more impressive if he actually signs."

Not every one of those early Vanderbilt commitments made it across the finish line. But Kimbrow did, along with 20 other quality players that had the 'Dores in the CBS Sports National Signing Day  Top 25 a week beforehand. Vandy couldn't quite hang on to that lofty ranking, but even having the SEC's eternal doormat in a "top 25" conversation is an achievement for Franklin arguably on par with Saban's in Tuscaloosa. 

Players to watch: RB Brian Kimbrow, DE Caleb AzubikeQB Pat Robinette.

Steve Spurrier's nerves. South Carolina isn't traditionally the first team you'd think of when looking for a comparison to Alabama when it comes to recruiting success. But the Gamecocks might be this year, thanks in part to joining the Tide in the team rankings top 10 (believe it or not, Carolina quietly finished third in the SEC). But like Alabama, the Gamecocks also enjoyed a pleasantly uneventful Signing Day, with 19 of the 25 Gamecocks who signed today having already committed before the 2011 season started. 

“It’s been a peaceful Signing Day today, which was kind of nice,” recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. said. And when you peacefully land players like Shaq Roland and Jordan Diggs, doubly so.

Players to watch: WR Shaq Roland, RB Mike DavisDB Jordan Diggs. Video: Spurrier talks recruiting impact. 


LOSERS

Mark Richt's nerves. On the other side of the spectrum from Alabama and South Carolina, there was Georgia's National Signing Day. The day started with the disappointment of missing out on receivers Cordarelle Patterson (Tennessee) and JaQuay Williams (Auburn) (leaving the Bulldogs with just one wideout in the class), then picked up with a commitment from Maxpreps top 100 linebacker/safety Josh Harvey-ClemonsBut that a.m. joy dissolved into p.m. worry as Harvey-Clemons grandfather and legal guardian reportedly refused to sign Harvey-Clemons' letter of intent. Adding insult to injury, Richt's premature public comments on Harvey-Clemons may have even constituted a minor NCAA violation.

With or without Harvey-Clemons, the Bulldogs are still going to boast a star-studded class with nearly as many top 100 recruits (five, or six) as any team in the country. But the potential of losing Harvey-Clemons to hated Florida with the Gators already sitting some 15 spots ahead in the team rankings is likely to cause a restless evening (or evenings) in Athens all the same.

Players to watch: OL John TheusRB Keith MarshallDE Jordan Jenkins. Video: Will Muschamp on Florida's Signing Day.

LSU's in-state clout. There's about 105 FBS teams or so that would gladly trade classes with LSU's, especially after the addition of out-of-state gems like Oxford (Ala.) linebacker Kwon AlexanderBut in a somewhat down year for talent in the Pelican State, the Tigers had to lock down the borders to put together a truly elite class, and that didn't happen--not only did Collins and highly-regarded linebacker Denzel Devall stick with their Alabama commitments, Texas shocked Les Miles by snatching away the Tigers' blue-chip linebacker Torshiro Davis. (Davis rubbed salt in Miles's wound by saying LSU's players "don't seem that happy.")

Those were the top three players in the state by many accounts, and LSU didn't land any of them. It's not the end of the world, but for a program built on an annual harvest of blue-chippers from the bayou, it's a worrying sign all the same.

Players to watch: OL Vadal Alexander, WR Avery Johnson, LB Trey Granier.  

Arkansas. As usual under Bobby Petrino, the Razorbacks signed a respectable-but-not-spectacular class that Petrino will no doubt turn into something far more than the sum of its parts once it comes together in Fayetteville. But to come as close as they reportedly did to signing the player that would have helped cement their status as a national power and come up short has to sting.

Players to watch: LB Otha Peters, OG Jeremy Ward, RB Jonathan Williams.

SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN

Auburn. On the good side: wide receivers JaQuay Williams and Ricardo Louis each stuck with their original commitments to the Tigers, offensive lineman Will Adams flipped from Georgia Tech, and top tackle Avery Young gave Auburn a top-100 cornerstone at Georgia and Florida's expense. On the not so good side: Eddie Goldman, Ronald Darby, Leonard Williams, Alexander and Jordan Moore all had Auburn as one of their finalists and all went in a different direction. Gene Chizik's boom-or-bust Signing Day somehow managed to neither quite boom nor bust.

Players to watch: QB Zeke Pike, RB Jovon Robinson, DB T.J. Davis. And to wrap things up, here's some video of Derek Dooley:


 
 
 
 
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