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Recruiting 2012 - SEC East Rankings
Posted Feb 4, 2012

Ranking and analyzing the 2012 SEC East Recruiting Classes

Recruiting 2012 

SEC East Recruiting Rankings

Recruiting 2012

CFN 2012 Recruiting Rankings & All-Star Teams
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2012 CFN All-SEC
Recruiting Team

QB – Matt Davis, Texas A&M
RB – Keith Marshall, Georgia
RB – Trey Williams, Texas A&M
WR – Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri
WR – Shaq Roland, South Carolina
TE – Kent Taylor, Florida
OT – D.J. Humphries, Florida
OG – Vadal Alexander, LSU
C – Evan Boehm, Missouri
OG – Joe Harris, South Carolina
OT – John Theus, Georgia
PK – Adam Griffith, Alabama

DE – Jonathan Bullard, Florida
DT – Quay Evans, Mississippi State
DT – Jonathan Taylor, Georgia
DE – Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
OLB – Kwon Alexander, LSU
MLB – Reggie Ragland, Alabama
OLB – Josh Harvey-Clemons, Georgia
CB - Brian Poole, Florida
S – Landon Collins, Alabama
S – Eddie Williams, Alabama
CB – Geno Smith, Alabama
P – Collin Barber, Georgia

1. Florida | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... 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.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: There’s no excuse. The talent level is every bit as strong as LSU’s and Alabama’s, and now it’s time for everyone from the epic 2010 recruiting class to mature into shape. The defense should be truly special with ten starters returning including end Ronald Powell, a former top overall recruit with NFL upside. The key is improving an offense that didn’t do much of anything last year and now will be without offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, quarterback John Brantley, and running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. The receivers and line, though, should be terrific. Again, there’s no excuse, and this needs to be a big season with several players likely to bolt early for the NFL next year. 

2. Georgia | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... 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.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: It wouldn’t be Georgia without a few early entries into the NFL draft, but tight end Orson Charles is the only big loss this season with free safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Jarvis Jones coming back. The defending SEC East champs are loaded on offense with quarterback Aaron Murray having a more mature receiving corps to throw to and a burgeoning star in Isaiah Crowell – if he can stay in one piece – to handle the rushing workload. The O line that’s been a work in progress for what seems like a decade has even more retooling to do, but that’s nothing new for head coach Mark Richt. It’s going to be fine. The defense should be a next-level killer losing just one starter – corner Brandon Boykin – and with depth to spare. The line will be a brick wall if 2011 superstar JUCO transfer John Jenkins can be the NFL nose tackle he was expected to be right away last season, while Jones could be the SEC’s best pass rusher from his outside linebacker spot. Both kickers – placekicker Blair Walsh and punter Drew Butler – are gone after tremendous careers. 

3. South Carolina | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... 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.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Defensive end Devin Taylor decided to come back for his senior year to jack up the hype for what the USC with 2011 top recruit Jadeveon Clowney seemingly ready to blow up into superstardom on the other side. The defensive tackles have to be replaced, but the linebackers should help pick up the slack for a while and the secondary – even with the early loss of corner Stephon Gilmore to the NFL – should be a plus. The key to the season is getting superstar running back Marcus Lattimore back and healthy. He’s reportedly ahead of schedule on rehabbing his injured knee, but he can’t be counted on right away. Quarterback Connor Shaw has to prove he can throw a forward pass on a regular basis, and he’ll have to do it without Alshon Jeffery, who left for the NFL after being badly ignored throughout the 2011 season. 

4. Missouri | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... 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.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: The Tigers are off to the SEC East with a team good enough to make plenty of noise. The offensive line loses three starters, but Mizzou has become a factory for turning out steady front fives. Everything will revolve around dual-threat QB James Franklin with the hopes of star back Henry Josey to return healthy after suffering a bad knee injury. He’s not a lock to come back this year, meaning Kendial Lawrence might have to carry the load. Tight end Michel Egnew is gone, but leading receiver T.J. Moe is back. The defense has a ton of work to do on the line, and strongside linebacker Luke Lambert is done, but the back seven is athletic and good prospects are ready for bigger roles up front. 

5. Tennessee | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... 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.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Can Tennessee ever get out its mediocre rut? Tyler Bray might be the best quarterback in the conference, and he could blow up if receivers Da’Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter can stay healthy. The offense line struggled in the running game, but it started four underclassmen and now gets all five starters back. Tauren Poole was a talented running back who never got room to move, and now he’s done. The defense that finished 27th in the nation loses leading tackler Austin Johnson in the middle, but all four starters return to a terrific secondary and the line gets enough pieces back to be better. However, finding more of a pass rush would be nice. 

6. Kentucky | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... 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.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: The SEC was miserable offensively last year, and Kentucky was the worst of the bad lot. With three starters gone off the offensive line, the pass protection that was so woeful should have problems improving right away, but junior right guard Larry Warford is a decent one to work around. The quarterback play has to be better, with Morgan Newton needing to get healthy and Maxwell Smith needing to use his experience to be better. All the top running backs return, and the team’s best receiver, La’Rod King, is back. The defense has the impossible task of replacing safety Winston Guy and linebacker Danny Trevathan, and four of the five top defensive backs are gone, but all four starters on the line are back.
7. Vanderbilt | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... Offensive linemen. The Commodores have gone after the best players possible over the last few years, and head coach James Franklin was terrific last season 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.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Head coach James Franklin got the team to a bowl game in his first season, and now he has a better team coming back. Jordan Rodgers is the unquestioned starting quarterback, and he has a good group of skill players to work with led by RB Zac Stacy and big receivers Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd. Making it all work is a line that gets four starters back. The defense loses the man in the middle, Chris Marve, and ball-hawking defensive backs Casey Hayward and Sean Richardson are done. However, six starters are back and enough depth returns to expect even more from a defense that finished 18th in the nation. 

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