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Recruiting 2012 - SEC East Needs & Concerns

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 27, 2012


What does each SEC East team need, and what are the concerns this offseason?

Recruiting 2012 

SEC East Recruiting Rankings

Recruiting 2011 | Recruiting 2010 | Recruiting 2009

CFN Top Prospects for 2012
- No. 1 to 50 | No. 51 to 100 | No. 101 to 150
- No. 151 to 200No. 201 to 250 | No. 251 to 300
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
- Tight Ends | Off. Tackles | Guards & Centers 
- Def. Ends | Def. Tackles | Linebackers | Corners | Safeties 

RANKINGS BASED ON THE CFN PRE-PRESEASON 124.
RECRUITING RANKINGS TO COME SIGNING DAY


- SEC West Recruiting Rankings

1. Georgia | Scout List

2012: What’s Needed Now: Patience for last year’s class to mature. No one helped themselves more than Georgia last year with terrific transfers coming in to blend with young stars like Isaiah Crowell. Mark Richt has loaded up on the offensive line over the last few seasons, and now it’s time to fortify the talent across the board. There isn’t any one glaring need.

Team Concerns For 2012: Kicker and punter. The Bulldogs are loaded with a team good enough to be in the national title discussion, but long time punter Drew Butler and kicker Blair Walsh are gone. Enter Marshall Morgan, a kicker out of Fort Lauderdale who’ll get every shot to instantly take over the starting job. Punter Collin Barber is a good prospect who’ll be asked to push for the gig from Day One.

What’s Coming In: COMING SIGNING DAY ONCE THE OFFICIAL LISTS ARE ANNOUNCED

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 8. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive tackle. The dream class should change around Georgia football over the next several years with superstar prospects like QB Christian LeMay, RB Isaiah Crowell, and DE Ray Drew all with the potential to be major national figures, but for all the flash for the offense and for all the good things done in the secondary, the key should be on the offensive front with rock-solid prospects for the interior in David Andrews and Chris Mayes, and top tackles in Watts Dantzler, Zach DeBell, and Xzavier Ward to bank on by 2014 to provide next-level talent on the outside.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 16. That Class Was Heavy On ... The lines. After signing a ton of skill players last season, Georgia needed the building blocks this year. The team's best recruit was Alec Ogletree, a guided missile of a linebacker who was the key to the defensive haul several months ago. Up front, head coach Mark Richt inked Brent Benedict out of Jacksonville, one of the nation's top tackle recruits, and also got the very promising Kenarious Gates. On the defensive side, Garrison Smith spurned Alabama, Florida State, Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC to be the leader of the Dawg line in the near future. T.J. Stripling will be a terror on the end after hitting the weighs and adding at least 25 pounds, while Michael Thornton is a ready-made tackle who's good enough to see time right away.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 10. That Class Was Heavy On ... skill players. This isn’t a big class, but it’s a class full of talent with a few top-shelf skill players looking to be the next big thing now with Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno gone. Aaron Murray is the receiver to combine with A.J. Green to potentially give the Dawgs the SEC’s best 1-2 receiving punch, while QBs Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger should wage an interesting battle for the starting spot in the near future. Only one running back, Washaun Ealey, signed on, but he’s a good one. 

2. South Carolina | Scout List

2012: What’s Needed Now: The Gamecocks need skill players to load up for the future. The last two classes have been about the superstars up top, with Jadeveon Clowney the big get last year and Marcus Lattimore the star of 2010, but there’s work needing to be done to get the offensive playmakers in place for 2013 and beyond. The receiving corps needs to be addressed, but there isn’t one glaring weakness.

Team Concerns For 2012: The passing game has to be better. The defense should be a killer with one of the nation’s best pass rushes, and the running game should be terrific if and when Lattimore returns, but QB Connor Shaw has to be better down the field and a top target has to emerge with Alshon Jeffery gone. There’s an opening for a newcomer to step in and shine right away.

What’s Coming In: COMING SIGNING DAY ONCE THE OFFICIAL LISTS ARE ANNOUNCED

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 11. That Class Was Heavy On ... the secondary. Getting Jadeveon Clowney is the crown jewel, but he's hardly the only key part of the class. While there are big-time stars all across the board, led by top offensive tackle Brandon Shell, running back Shon Carson, and lightning fast receiver Damiere Byrd, the secondary got the most help with several terrific prospects including safety Sheldon Royster, who might be thrown on the field right away, and Brison Williams, who’s ready-made to make an instant impact after spending last year at Fork Union Military Academy. Throw in corners Ahmad Christian and Ronnie Martin, the defensive backfield that struggled so much last year should be better soon.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 28. That Class Was Heavy On ... Marcus Lattimore. Steve Spurrier focused mostly on the secondary with five defensive back prospects signed who need to develop quickly. There isn't a star of the lot, but Victor Hampton with his tremendous speed comes close. The passing game got a little help with QB Connor Shaw and a few decent receivers including Ace Sanders, a 5-7 speedster, but the entire class, and especially the offense, revolves around Lattimore, Scout.com's No. 1 ranked back. The 6-0, 207 pounder picked the Gamecocks over Auburn, Florida State, and Georgia, among others, and he'll be the centerpiece of the Spurrier offense very, very soon.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 9. That Class Was Heavy On ... linebacker. The Gamecocks loaded up at wide receiver with Alshon Jeffrey and Lamar Scruggs excellent prospects, and the safeties are tremendous with Stephon Gilmore and Quin Smith stars for the future. The stars are at linebacker with Devonte Holloman and Damario Jeffery safety-sized defenders who could blow up after a little bit of time in the weight room, while JUCO transfers Tony Straughter and Josh Dickerson looking to see time early on.

3.
Florida | Scout List

2012: What’s Needed Now: Offensive firepower. The Gators haven’t had a superior running game in years, and the offense sputtered and coughed throughout last season. QB Jeff Driskel was the star of last year’s class and could be the franchise, but he’ll have to battle for the job and he’ll need more playmakers. However, that’s not coming with this class that’s full of next-level defensive prospects.

Team Concerns For 2012: A go-to receiver. Quarterback will be in the spotlight, but finding a steady running back and a star receiver is a must early on. There are plenty of four-and-five star players to go around, but now they have to produce. The defense is about to be special with the 2010 recruiting class about to mature, and there’s a whole bunch of superior talent on the way to provide an instant push for playing time.

What’s Coming In: COMING SIGNING DAY ONCE THE OFFICIAL LISTS ARE ANNOUNCED

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 21. That Class Was Heavy On ... Jeff Driskel. The 2010 Florida recruiting class was so phenomenal that there wasn’t anything that Will Muschamp could do, or needed to do, to try to upgrade the overall talent level. However, being Florida, the stars still signed with several terrific defensive backs including safety Marcus Roberson and corner Valdez Showers, a great running back in Mike Blakely, and a top punter in Kyle Christy. But the class will most likely be remembered for anything that top quarterback Jeff Driskel does. While he’s extremely mobile, under the tutelage of Charlie Weis he’s expected to be something special. No one’s expecting him to be another Tim Tebow, but … let’s just say the expectations are through the roof.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 1. That Class Was Heavy On ... NFL players. Yeeeeeeeesh. Everything worked for the terrific Florida class as Urban Meyer's health concerns didn't turn out to be  a problem in any way. The Gators got 13 players (but it's probably over 15) that would be the crown jewel in the class of roughly 110 other programs including Mack Brown, a lightning fast back who might finally be the one to give Meyer the feature back he's been searching for. Chris Dunkley, Adrian Coxson, and Solomon Patton might have started, or at least would've seen time, at wide receiver last year and should be key parts of this year's team, offensive tackles Chaz Green and Ian Silberman will be starting at the next level if they can effectively add 20 pounds of muscle, and Sharrif Floyd out of Philadelphia and Dominique Easley from New York City might be the nation's two best defensive line prospects. And then there's the secondary. Matt Elam and Jonathan Dowling are tall, talented safeties, and Jaylen Watkins, Joshua Shaw and Cody Riggs are special corner prospects.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 13. That Class Was Heavy On ... quality over quantity. While there were a few misfires with the Gators not getting everyone they were hoping for, especially after the national title season, the stars they did get were top-shelf. Xavier Nixon might be the nation’s best offensive tackle prospect, Jelani Jenkins is arguably the top linebacker, Gary Brown is among the best defensive tackles, Nick Alajajian and Jonotthan Harrison are among the best guards, and Andre Debose is a top receiver. There aren’t a lot of prospects for each spot, so if the stars bust, there isn’t a lot to fall back on.

4. Missouri | Scout List 

2012: What’s Needed Now: Top-shelf players. Helping out the linebacking corps would be nice, and getting a few more defensive linemen to go with last year’s haul would be a plus, but with the move coming to the SEC the Tigers need to get far stronger and far better across the board. Head coach Gary Pinkel has a good-looking class coming in, but he needs to land as many four-and-five star prospects as possible with so many areas already looking good for the next few years.

Team Concerns For 2012: Defensive line. The 2011 class has to pay off quicker than can be reasonably asked, especially at tackle, while end Jacques Smith has to be replaced on the outside. There might not be much from this class that can help right away, but the depth needs to be beefed up.

What’s Coming In: COMING SIGNING DAY ONCE THE OFFICIAL LISTS ARE ANNOUNCED

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 21. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. The last two classes brought in the skill players, but Gary Pinkel didn’t ignore the stars this year with another great quarterback prospect in Corbin Berkstresser and big, Tiger-like targets in Wesley Leftwich and Brandon Hannah. The offensive line got stronger at guard, and the secondary got some reinforcements, but the strength is on the defensive front where JUCO transfer Sheldon Richardson will be an All-Big 12 star now, and end Shane Ray will soon be another Aldon Smith. Gerrand Johnson will be a monster of an inside presence once he hits the weights.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 39. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill players. It was a bit of a strange class considering Gary Pinkel and his staff signed a slew of skill players last year, but this year's haul might be even more talented. Quarterbacks James Franklin and Tyler Gabbert will have years to work and develop behind Tyler's brother, Blaine Gabbert. WR Marcus Lucas won't fill the hole left by Danario Alexander, but he's another big, fast target with NFL upside. Up front, Nick Demien is a great offensive tackle prospect who should be the anchor by 2013. End Kony Ealy leads the defensive side as the team's top end prospect.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 39. That Class Was Heavy On ... offensive reinforcements. The defense was hardly ignored with DT Sheldon Richardson a sure-thing All-Big 12 talent and JUCO transfer Josh Tatum is a plug-n-play linebacker, but with all the superstars gone off the offense, head coach Gary Pinkel had to find a new wave of offensive prospects to develop. Blaine Dalton is a smallish quarterback who can move, while RB Kendial Lawrence and receivers Jaleel Clark and Kerwin Stricker are going to be counted on to shine by 2011.

5. Tennessee | Scout List

2012: What’s Needed Now: The defensive front seven. The Volunteers were fine defensively, but not great. The offense needs a boost as soon as possible, but for the long haul the defense needs to beef things up on the line. There are good prospects waiting in the wings, but reinforcements are a must with a few stud defensive tackles a plus. The secondary is fine for the next few years, but players are needed to develop for 2014.

Team Concerns For 2012: The running game needs more pop. The Vols return loaded with experience and should be full or ready-made players across the board, but RB Tauren Poole is gone from a ground attack that didn’t do much of anything. It’s an easy sell for any running back prospect; there’s a chance to play immediately ad make an impact.

What’s Coming In: COMING SIGNING DAY ONCE THE OFFICIAL LISTS ARE ANNOUNCED

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 10. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. Derek Dooley did a tremendous job with a class that might bring Tennessee back to the level that everyone has been waiting for. JUCO transfer safety Byron Moore will be used right away, JUCO transfer defensive tackle Maurice Couch will step inside instantly, and linebacker A.J. Johnson is a stud, but the key to the class is the bulking up on the offensive line with two Signing Day pickups in Cameron Clear and Antonio Richardson. Clear needs a while to bulk up, but the athleticism is there to be special. 6-5, 290-pound Kyler Kerbyson is ready soon, and guards Marcus Jackson and Alan Posey are promising.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 11. That Class Was Heavy On ... The passing game. The defense was hardly ignored in Derek Dooley's first class with three excellent linemen in JUCO transfer DT John Brown and ends Jacques Smith, and Corey Miller all good enough to see time right away. JUCO transfer Dave Clark needs to play a big role this year at one corner, while JaWaun James might be the SEC's best recruit for the O line. Before leaving, Lane Kiffin made a big deal out of securing the quarterbacks, and Dooley kept them around with Tyler Bray, a very big, very talented passer to go along with Nash Nance and JUCO transfer Matt Simms. Simms will be expected to compete for the starting job this offseason. Four terrific receivers were signed with Da'Rick Rogers, Justin Hunter, and Matt Milton all with next level skills.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 20. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. The defensive line got a big boost with Jonathan Hollins and Rae Sykes likely to provide immediate help on the end, and the linebackers are strong with Jerod Askew with all the skills to be special. The secondary got the most help with six defensive backs, and they’re all fantastic. Safety Darren Myles might be the best prospect of the group, while Nyshier Oliver and corners Janzen Jackson, Mike Edwards, Eric Gordon and Marsalis Teague all have the potential to be stars.

6.
Vanderbilt | Scout List

2012: What’s Needed Now: Offensive linemen. The Commodores have gone after the best players possible over the last few years, and head coach James Franklin was terrific last year at beefing up the skill spots, but now he needs offensive linemen to build up for the future. The line should be fine for the next few years, but this class has to be about the building blocks for down the road.

Team Concerns For 2012: Defensive playmakers. The Commodores return enough starters to be solid next season, but they lose some key parts on the line and corner Casey Hayward and safety Sean Richardson. The potential is there for 2011 to be a terrific year with so much experience returning, so this year’s class will be about the future. This is for 2014.

What’s Coming In: COMING SIGNING DAY ONCE THE OFFICIAL LISTS ARE ANNOUNCED

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 43. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill players. New head coach James Franklin did a magnificent job of bringing in one of Vanderbilt’s best recruiting classes in years. Signing Day pickups of WR Lafonte Thourogood, a 6-3, 225-pound former quarterback, and QB Josh Grady should be a big help in the near future for the always middling offense. The running backs got better with speedy Mitchell Hester and small, quick Jerron Seymoure to add more pizzazz to the attack. Tight end Dillon van der Wal out of California was a big-time coup, taking him away from Arkansas and Arizona State.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 55. That Class Was Heavy On ...
Defensive linemen. The Commodores got a little bit of everything for both sides of the ball and came up with some good defensive back prospects, led by corners Andre Hall and Karl Butler, and some intriguing receivers with 6-5 Chris Boyd and lightning-fast Jonathan Krause leading the way. But the need was the defensive front and that's where the stars are with tackles Vince Taylor, Kyle Woestmann, and Jared Morse leading the way. Thomas Ryan and James Kittredge might be needed right away on the end.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 67. That Class Was Heavy On ... running backs. The Commodores lived off the ground game ever since Jay Cutler left, but that was mostly because of the mobility at quarterback. The running backs needed to be upgraded, and Bobby Johnson did that, at least for down the road, with Eric Samuels a speedy option, Warren Norman a quick player, and Zach Stacy a bit of a do-it-all prospect.

7.
Kentucky | Scout List

2012: What’s Needed Now: Defensive playmakers. The last three recruiting classes have mostly focused on upgrading the offense, but that didn’t exactly payoff in a dismal 2011. It was a young crew of talented skill players that needed time, but now it’s time to produce. The defense has to stronger and more productive, and this class is focusing on getting more options for an already decent-looking secondary.

Team Concerns For 2012: Offensive line. Three starters are gone from an offensive front that didn’t do nearly enough to a pathetic attack. The skill players are in place for the next few seasons, but the line has to be reloaded. However, O line doesn’t’ appear to be the strength of this recruiting class.

What’s Coming In: COMING SIGNING DAY ONCE THE OFFICIAL LISTS ARE ANNOUNCED

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 45. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receiver. The secondary gets a huge boost with safety Glen Faulkner a find and corners Eric Dixon and Daylen Hall, and the offensive line got help with tackle Darrian Miller a future All-SEC factor, but the bulk is at receiver. Rich Brooks focused on skill players a few years ago, and Joker Phillips loaded up with this class with six good receivers and tight end Alvin Dupree to boost the depth right away, but speedsters like Demarco Robinson and Daryl Collins should be stars in the future.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 38. That Class Was Heavy On ... The running game. Last year Rich Brooks made sure the future of the passing game was set by bringing in three quarterbacks, five wide receivers and two tight ends. The future became the present with so many issues at quarterback last season. this year, new head man Joker Phillips made sure the running game was secure with four very good prospects led by Brandon Gainer out of Miami and Raymond Sanders out of Georgia. In an interesting move, Phillips also loaded up on tight ends bringing in four with Alex Smith a big blocker and Tyler Brause like a big receiver. Don't dismiss the big signing of Joe Mansour, one of the nation's top punting prospects.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 32. That Class Was Heavy On ... the passing game. Three quarterbacks, five wide receivers and two tight ends … head coach Rich Brooks is looking for more out of a passing attack that was supposed to feature Curtis Pulley, before he was booted off the team. There aren’t any stars at receiver, but Anthony Kendrick, Ridge Wilson, LaRod King and Chris Matthews are big. Really big. 6-3 and up big. The quarterback battle will be tremendous with Morgan Newton, Ryan Mossakowski and Brian Adams all starting-quality prospects.

- SEC West Recruiting Rankings