Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Now that the 2011 season has come to an end it's time to move on to the next phase of the college football year: recruiting. With the SEC Recruiting Reset we fill you in on what you may have missed in the SEC and what you should expect to see between now and signing day.
TOP THREE CLASSES
1. Alabama. The new national champions continue to roll on the recruiting trail with what's currently nation's No. 1 class. The Tide already have five commitments from the Maxpreps Top 100 and 26 overall, nearly every one a blue-chipper. In particular, don't expect the passing game lockdown on display vs. LSU to change anytime soon; the highest-ranked three of those top 100 recruits are all defensive backs, and athlete Cyrus Jones (the No. 88 overall prospect) could play in the secondary as well. Sweetest of all is that much of the Tide's success has come at the expense of their SEC West rivals--the Tide just stole top safety (and No. 12 player overall) Landon Collins out of Louisiana from LSU, and flipping powerhouse running back T.J. Yeldon in mid-december was a huge blow to Auburn.
2. Florida. The bumpy transition from Urban Meyer to Will Muschamp meant that the Gators' 2011 class wasn't up to the program's usual standards, but that's not going to be an issue in 2012. Five of the Gators' 18 commitments are top 100 prospects, led by 6'6" five-star offensive lineman D.J. Humphries, No. 14 overall. Though (as always) the Gators are getting a huge boost from their home state -- as with Seffner (Fla.) five-star running back Matt Jones -- Muschamp hasn't hesitated to take the Gators national again, landing Humphries from Charlotte, linebacker Antonio Morrison (No. 76 overall) from Illinois, and tight end Colin Thompson from Pennsylvania.
3. LSU. As long as Les Miles is on the Bayou and winning games, there's going to be too much talent in Louisiana for the Tigers to not finish with one of the nation's best recruiting classes, and that's true again this year; 14 of the Tigers' 21 commitments are from their home state, with six more hailing from Texas, Georgia, or Florida. What is a surprise is that the single commitment from outside SEC country just so happens to be the headliner: top-ranked quarterback and No. 2 overall recruit Gunner Kiel, who'll be expected to solve the passing woes on display in the Superdome by no later than 2013.
TOP PLAYERS AVAILABLE
1. Stefon Diggs -- Many of the top local prospects across the Southeast have already made their decisions -- or have said so publicly, anyway -- but that doesn't mean SEC schools aren't still battling away over available prospects in other parts of the country. One of those is Olney, Md. wideout Stefon Diggs, a total-package burner who ranks as the cuntry's No. 18 overall prospect. Though Diggs has been highly noncommital about his recruitment and has discussed possibly waiting past Signing Day to sign, Auburn received one of his early visits and Florida has long been considered one of Diggs' favorites. The Tigers and Gators will have to fight off a long list of national suitors for Diggs' signature, however.
2. Josh Clemons -- This 6'5" safety/wide receiver prospect (and the nation's No. 54 overall recruit) hails from Valdosta, Ga., only minutes from the Florida-Georgia border. So it's no surprise the two schools believed to be battling it out over Clemons are, you guessed it, Georgia and Florida. The Gators may have a slight edge, but in a race still far too close to call, expect Clemons to take his decision down to the wire.
WORK TO DO
1. Ole Miss. No one will blame Hugh Freeze if the Rebels don't boast a top-25 class after their miserable 2-10 season and coaching overhaul, and early signs -- like the commitment of highly prized in-state defensive end Channing Ward -- are good. But he still needs to find a way to get his first class's numbers up; the Rebels are currently sitting on an SEC-low 12 commitments.
2. Auburn. The Tigers currently check in at No. 16 in the Maxpreps rankings and have four top-100 recruits, so it's not as if there's alarm sirens going off for Gene Chizik or anything. But with just 15 commitments as of Tuesday, Auburn is banking on a big finish with lots of big names choosing the orange-and-blue. If those names go elsewhere, Chizik could be left with the league's eighth- or ninth-best class.
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