Recruiting 2012 -SEC West Rankings

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 2, 2012


Ranking and analyzing the 2012 SEC West Recruiting Classes

Recruiting 2012 

SEC West Recruiting Rankings

Recruiting 2012

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   

- SEC East Recruiting Rankings

1. Alabama | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... The Tide loses a slew of good defensive starters, but there are more waiting in the wings. Signing Day defensive tackles Dalvin Tomlinson and Korren Kirven were the icing on an already terrific cake. The stockpiled depth after years of great recruiting classes is amazing, but it would be nice if a stud No. 1 receiver could come in and take over a big role early on. The Tide needs a boost for the receiving corps after the start of the last few classes for the defensive side, and the stars appear to be coming.

Team Concerns For 2012: Cyrus Jones and Amari Cooper are considered two of the nation’s best receiver prospects and could be factors right away. The rich are getting richer on defense with Reggie Ragland an NFL inside linebacker spending a few years in college, and safeties Landon Collins and Eddie Williams each special.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Remember, the Tide had to replace Greg McElroy, Mark Ingram, and Julio Jones in 2011, so the idea of losing starters – and offensive coordinator Jim McElwain - isn’t exactly going to cause a major panic for Nick Saban and his program. Star running back Trent Richardson turned pro, but Eddie Lacy is a big playmaker who’s ready for a bigger role. The linebacking corps will need to be remade with Dont’a Hightower taking off early, Courtney Upshaw done, and C.J. Mosley a question mark at the moment considering the horrible injury he suffered in the BCS championship. On the plus side, Outland-winning tackle Barrett Jones stunningly chose to come back to join Chance Warmack to anchor the left side to keep BCS championship hero AJ McCarron clean, while D.J. Fluker is back at right tackle. The young receivers who looked so strong against LSU should play a bigger role, and they might need to make the passing game stronger to overcome early problems for a defense that lost seven starters. Even so, the D will quickly reload around strong safety Robert Lester and linebacker Nico Johnson. 

2. LSU | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... Quarterback. Zach Mettenberger was the key pickup last year after transferring from Georgia, but the Tigers need more talents in the stable for depth and more options. However, that doesn’t appear to be coming. Upgrading the defensive front seven is a bit of a must, and Les Miles is bringing in a solid group of linebackers that should shine in a few years. This is a good looking class, but it might not be a special one.

Team Concerns For 2012: The offensive line. Three starters are gone from a group that dominated everyone but Alabama. After years of loading up on the defensive front, and with last year’s class focusing on the passing game, this year some reinforcements for the offensive side will be a must. The defensive back seven, though, will get the most attention.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: The Tigers won’t be as good, but that might only bring them back to the pack just a little bit. Rarely does a national title-level team lose its starting quarterback and become better because of it. Jordan Jefferson had a good second half of the regular season, but his problems against Alabama showed just how much the offense needs more of a passing threat under center. Enter Zach Mettenberger, a transfer from Georgia who was the presumed front-runner for the Bulldog starting job two years ago before having some off-field issues. He has a phenomenal stable of running backs to hand off to, while the offensive line that was so dominant over the season gets enough starters back to be a killer again. Rueben Randle left early, but the passing game got a break with Russell Shepard reversing field and choosing to come back for another year. The defense will be almost as nasty with Anthony Johnson, and Bennie Logan forming a solid defensive tackle pair, but losing Michael Brockers hurts. The linebacking corps loses both starters on the outside, and star corner Morris Claiborne took off – Tyrann Mathieu isn’t eligible yet to leave – but Les Miles has stockpiled enough talent to not have too much to worry about. 

3. Auburn | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... Not much. The Tigers and Gene Chizik came up with a whopper of a 2011 class and doesn’t have any glaring needs this year. Skill players were the priority in 2010 – led by a decent get named Newton – and the defensive back seven was strong last year. This was a young team that’s maturing and should be coming into its own.

Team Concerns For 2012: Consistent quarterback play is a need, but Cam Newton was a once-in-a-millennium find; it’ll be up to Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier to carry the load. Offensive tackle will be the biggest concern coming into spring ball with improved defensive consistency No. 2.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: Is there life without offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and star running back Michael Dyer, who both took off to Arkansas State? Probably. Settling on a starting quarterback right away is a must, but Barrett Trotter is out of the mix after stunningly choosing to take off a year early. Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier will be in the mix for the starting job, and the need to find a consistent second offensive weapon to go along with running back Onterio McCalebb. The interior of the line returns intact, but the starting tackles are gone. The defense had to be rebuilt, but now it’s more experienced with nine starters returning. It should be even more talented than the national title version.  

4. Arkansas | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... The Hogs are loaded just about everywhere, but they need to start stockpiling numbers at running back for down the road and have to keep feeding the receiving corps with more and more options. An upgrade at corner isn’t a must this year, but it will be next season, and finding a few pass rushers is a priority. Overall, no matter what the position, Arkansas needs as many great prospects as possible to keep up the arms race with the other star programs in the West.

Team Concerns For 2012: Receivers, receivers, receivers. JUCO transfer Courtney Gardner could be and instant star, while Jalen Cobb and Keon Hatcher are studs for down the road. Bobby Petrino wanted running backs, and he’s getting them, led by Jonathan Williams out of Texas. It’ll be strength in numbers for the defensive ends with Deatrich Wise and Taiwan Johnson leading a terrific group.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: The Hogs just so happened to be in the toughest division in college football and lost to the nation’s two best teams. Under Bobby Petrino, though, the talent level is getting to the point where it’s time to knock off an Alabama or LSU and get to the SEC title. This could be the team to do it if a few playmaking receivers are found early on to replace Jarius Wright and Joe Adams. Most of the offensive line returns, to protect quarterback Tyler Wilson, who provided a big boost by deciding to return for his senior season. If Knile Davis is healthy and ready to go, the running game could be the SEC’s best. The defense loses a few heart-and-soul types like end Jake Bequette and linebackers Jerry Franklin and Jerico Nelson, but just enough key players return to prevent a disastrous drop-off. Unlike other SEC teams, Arkansas will have the offense to make up for any defensive issues. 

5. Texas A&M | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... Skill players. The Aggies are losing a slew of stars off an offensive powerhouse, and while this year’s class isn’t likely to provide much in the way of instant help, the passing game prospects should be hot for Kevin Sumlin’s offense. The receiving corps needs talent to develop for the next few seasons, and it would be a plus if star running back prospect Trey Williams could shine immediately.

Team Concerns For 2012: The passing game. This shouldn’t be a problem with a little bit of time, but it’s not going to be Case Keenum and fireworks right away. Ryan Tannehill is gone as is Jeff Fuller, but Ryan Swope and Uzowa Nwachukwu are talented. The biggest hit is in the secondary with three starters and the top corners gone, but the 2009 and 2011 classes were loaded with secondary prospects and this year’s class appears to be strong for the defensive backfield.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: The Kevin Sumlin era could get off to a rocky start. Going off to the SEC West isn’t exactly a way to rebuild, and losing a ton of firepower won’t help with QB Ryan Tannehill, WR Jeff Fuller, and RB Cyrus Gray all off to the NFL. Christine Michael has to prove he can stay healthy enough to carry the rushing workload behind a great-looking line that gets all five starters back. The defense that was such a rock against the run and led the nation in sacks gets six starters back on the front seven including Sean Porter and Damontre Moore on the outside. The pass rush has to continue to be tremendous with three starters gone from the secondary. 

6. Mississippi State | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... Defensive linemen. You don’t have a chance in the SEC without a strong defensive front, and MSU is getting one. The Bulldogs lose two key playmakers up front, including tackle Fletcher Cox, and an upgrade is needed for 2013 and beyond. Head coach Dan Mullen is getting a slew of interesting pass rushers and a few terrific tackles to make the line a strength.

Team Concerns For 2012: Backfield production. Any time Tyler Russell is ready to grow into the star he was supposed to be as a star 2009 recruit would be a plus, while losing RB Vick Ballard takes away a heart-and-soul type for the offense. Safety is a huge concern with Charles Mitchell and Wade Bonner gone, but the 2010 class was heavy on defensive backs and could be a major plus in time.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: There are too many big replacements to hope to get back to the 2010 production, but the talent is there to improve on a disappointing 2011. The defense loses top tackle Fletcher Cox off the line, and both safeties have to be replaced, but six starters are back and the production shouldn’t drop off too much. Offensively, the passing game has to be better and that means QB Tyler Russell has to live up to his prep hype. All the top receivers are seniors, and they’ll have to take over the offense with RB Vick Ballard and three offensive linemen done.

 7. Ole Miss | The Entire 2012 Recruiting Class  

The 2012 Class Was Heavy On... The Rebels and new head coach Hugh Freeze have to find a passing game and an offense. It’s Ole Miss, so there’s always a national search for the tired, poor, and hungry quarterbacks yearning for playing time. JUCO transfer Bo Wallace will be in the mix right away, and after a few years of decent recruiting classes aimed at the skill positions – with last year’s class shining at receiver – the passing game has to be better.

Team Concerns For 2012: Offensive tackle. There’s enough young depth across the board to create some interesting position battles going into spring ball, but the offense needs better blocking and has to do it with Bobby Massie taking off early for the NFL and Bradley Sowell done with his eligibility. The Rebels need a left tackle.

Looking Ahead To The 2012 Season: What kind of a team is Hugh Freeze taking over? The Rebels were 116th in the nation in scoring, 114th in offense, and last in the SEC in total and scoring defense. There’s work to do on the defensive front that underachieved in a huge way, but the experience should pay off after throwing true freshmen C.J. Johnson and Bryon Bennett to the wolves. The defense will work around true sophomore linebacker Serderius Bryant on the weakside and Mike Marry in the middle, while all four starters are back in the secondary. The offense has to settle on a quarterback in yet another offseason derby, and finding a consistent running back to work around would be nice. The offensive tackles that were supposed to be a major strength, and weren’t, are both gone with Bobby Massie taking off early for the NFL, but the interior returns intact.

- SEC East Recruiting Rankings