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2007 SEC Recruiting - What It All Means
Florida WR Deonte Thompson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 14, 2007


How does this year's recruiting class affect the real world of college football? What did each team do and what positions did they go after? Going beyond players who are just names to many, like future Florida WR Deonte Thompson, here's what it all means.

Click on each team for the fill class list and top players
East  Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt 
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State

- 2006 SEC Recruiting Rankings

1. Florida
The class is heavy on ... Players who'll be getting paid a whole bunch of money in the near future. By playing freshmen like Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow during last year's national championship run, Urban Meyer could legitimately sell the top of the top players on immediate playing time if they earned it. The Gators got immediate help for certain areas, like the running game thanks to lightning fast Chris Rainey and the talented Bo Williams, and did a stunningly amazing job of getting three quarterbacks who could've gone anywhere in the country, but chose to come to Gainesville even though Mr. Tebow will be under center for the next three years. This coaching staff could sell a ketchup popsicle to a lady in white gloves.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... WR Deonte Thompson
The player you might care about this year ... RB Chris Rainey
What it all means to the real world of college football ... USC might have gotten a few more of the No. 1 players (at least according to some services) but Florida roared with either the first or second best haul of premier talents in the country. If you're in the top two in SEC recruiting, you're doing something right much less being among the best of the best nationally. Meyer, after following up on an epic 2006 class, has now cemented himself as one of the premier recruiters in America. In other words, last year's national title season really might have been just the beginning.

2. LSU
The class is heavy on ... Receivers. The Tigers loaded up on the defensive line and the secondary with some of the nation's best players, but the receiving corps is particularly jaw-dropping led by Terrance Toliver, arguably the nation's No. 1 receiver prospect, and JUCO transfer Demetrius Byrd, who'll be an immediate fill-in for Dwayne Bowe. Throw Ron Brooks, DeAngelo Benton and tight ends Mitch Joseph, Jordan Corbin and Alex Russian in the mix, and Ryan Perrilloux, when he eventually takes over the starting quarterback job, will have an abundance of riches to work with.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... DT Joseph Barksdale
The player you might care about this year ... WR Terrance Toliver
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Everyone's talking about Florida's recruiting class, and on a national scale, USC's, but LSU's haul is every bit as good. It's time to finally give head coach Les Miles credit for being able to bring in top-flight talent with a class every bit as good as one Nick Saban could've amassed. If there's any question whether or not LSU is a national superpower, this recruiting season showed that it is.

3. Tennessee
The class is heavy on ... Skill players. With four top-shelf running backs and eight receivers, Tennessee is loading up to keep the offense rolling over the next several years. The best recruits are on defense, especially in the secondary where CB Eric Berry and JUCO transfer DeAngelo Willingham are special, but as far as the development of the attack under offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe, the skill players will shine over the long haul.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... CB Eric Berry
The player you might care about this year ... WR Brent Vinson
What it all means to the real world of college football ... After a mediocre recruiting year, Tennessee reestablished itself as one of the elite of the elite recruiting superpowers. The defense is going to be every bit as athletic as the other top teams after bringing in a fast, fast, fast group of players for the back seven, while some of the receivers might get time right away to try to replace the lost stars. It'll be tempting to get Brent Vinson on the field right off the bat

4. South Carolina
The class is heavy on ... Receivers. How many players does it take to replace Sidney Rice? This is the class that finally should put back the fun in the fun 'n' gun with six wide receivers, three tight ends, and QB Stephen Garcia to get the offense vertical. Matt Clements and JUCO transfer Larry Freeman could see time right away, while RB Brian Maddox should be a nice option for the ground game from day one. The secondary isn't bad, either.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... QB Stephen Garcia
The player you might care about this year ... RB Brian Maddox
What it all means to the real world of college football ... The SEC from top to near bottom came up with unbelievable recruiting class after unbelievable recruiting class, and Steve Spurrier and South Carolina not only held its own, it came up with a top ten national crew. The program has been competitive in SEC play under the Ball Coach, with a few close calls against the big boys, and this recruiting class might put it over the top. There's far, far more talent in Columbia now.

5. Auburn
The class is heavy on ... The defensive line. Auburn's defense relies on speed and quickness, but it doesn't work if the front four isn't getting the job done. Ends Antoine Carter, Bo Harris and A.J. Greene are three of the better prospects, while Kyle Coulahan and Tim Lamb have ready-made size to clog up the middle. The Tigers didn't ignore the back seven with the strength of the class in the secondary and Josh Bynes and Eltoro Freeman for the linebacking corps.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... LB Josh Bynes
The player you might care about this year ... QB Kodi Burns
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Talk about recruiting to type, Auburn got small, lightning fast linebackers, big, physical defensive backs, and tall offensive tackles who could fill out and become NFL top prospects (like 6-7, 295-pound Lee Ziemba). Watch out for RB Enrique Davis and WR Chris Slaughter right away, while QB Kodi Burns to get meaningful playing time behind Brandon Cox.

6. Georgia
The class is heavy on ... The offensive line. The Bulldogs improved greatly up front with eight linemen for the offense and four big-time prospects for the D. JUCO transfers Jarius Wynn and Corvey Irvin are ready to replace some lost starters on defense, while the offensive side ended up with its share of ready-made players in JUCO transfer Vince Vance and top high school tackles Trinton Sturdivant and Chris Little, who was all but a sure-thing for Florida State before signing with the Dawgs. The Noles got their revenge getting Antwane Greenlee from Mark Richt at the last second.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... RB Caleb King
The player you might care about this year ... LB Jarius Wynn
What it all means to the real world of college football ... With East teams Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina having great recruiting classes, Georgia didn't slip with the foundation for the future. Getting top offensive linemen might not always be sexy, but when you have a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford, you want to do anything possible to keep him healthy and effective. Last year's class was full of linemen, and this year's group should make the competition that much more interesting.

7. Alabama
The class is heavy on ... The defensive line. Saban's great LSU teams were built on the defensive front, especially at tackle, and the recruits paid attention as five tremendous prospects, led by 315-pound Kerry Murphy and 280-pound Josh Chapman, should be the rocks of the future Tide defense. DE Luther Davis and LB Rolando McClain have All-SEC written all over them.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... LB Rolando McClain
The player you might care about this year ... S Michael Ricks
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Considering Saban only had a month to work, and with all the negativity surrounding the program since Mike Shula was canned, this is a fantastic class saved by a flurry of last-second signings. Outside of a few players here and there, like safety Michael Ricks, this is a class for the future. Patience isn't a virtue around Tide football, but it might have to be; the huge payoff might be right around the corner.

8. Ole Miss
The class is heavy on ... Immediate help from the JUCO ranks. Ole Miss instantly upgraded the offense with RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis from Indiana last year, and got a little more pop thanks to Brent Schaeffer from Tennessee. Head coach Ed Orgeron has to win and win now, and while he was able to bring in some excellent high school talents, like LB/DE Chris Strong, JUCO safety Ashlee Palmer, LB Tony Fein, OT Mark Jean-Louis, and the star of the class, Schaeffer's throwing mate at the College of the Sequoias, WR A.J. Jackson, were recruited to get more wins right now.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... LB/DE Chris Strong
The player you might care about this year ... WR A.J. Jackson
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Orgeron is a phenomenal recruiter (just to be in the running for top RB Joe McKnight, who signed with USC, says something), and has been from the beginning, but he's not getting much breathing room when it comes to winning. It takes years for a recruiting class to develop, and his first two hauls are just now starting to take the training wheels off. This is yet another good class of SEC caliber talent, but will all the same coaches be there a few years from now?

9. Mississippi State
The class is heavy on ... Quarterbacks and linebackers. Four quarterback prospects were brought in, led by JUCO transfer Josh Riddell, to get ready to play in case oft-injured starter Michael Henig gets banged up again. It helps that they'll have the best receivers Sylvester Croom and his staff have ever brought in with JUCO transfer Co-Eric Riley ready to play right now, and Marcus Green and Antwon Dixon good talents for down the road. Seven linebackers were signed of all shapes and sizes, and they're almost all keepers. This class brought in an instant upgrade for the corps.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... RB Robert Elliott
The player you might care about this year ... WR Co-Eric Riley
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Croom did a great job for the second year in a row of getting a nice mix of good high school players for the future and enough ready-made starters to help out right now. While the passing game got the most attention from this class, the most excitement is around the potential of the running game with Robert Elliott and speedy Wade Bonner combining with last year's star recruit, Anthony Dixon.

10. Arkansas
The class is heavy on ... Tight ends. Can you say safety valves for the middling Arkansas quarterbacks? Three tight ends were brought in and all can play. David Williams is more like a fullback playing tight end, 6-7 Grant Freeman should grow into a third tackle, and Brandon Lapkin has the best all-around athleticism. All three were locked in before signing day.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... C Seth Oxner
The player you might care about this year ... DE Jake Bequette
What it all means to the real world of college football ... This was a big class with 27 players coming in, and of the 18 that committed before signing day, only one flew the coop after the whole Mitch Mustain/Gus Malzahn fiasco. As last year proved, Arkansas wins with a certain kind of player, but it also unearthed some top-shelf mega-talent along the way. With the way the rest of the SEC recruited this year, the Hogs had better hope this meat-and-potatoes class, at least compared to last year's, can help the program keep pace.

11. Kentucky
The class is heavy on ... The offensive line. Five projected tackles and two guards were signed forming the building blocks for the program. Only JUCO transfers Jess Beets and Josh Winchell are expected to make an impact this year on what should be an explosive UK offense, but the real talent comes from the high school ranks with Stuart Hines and Brad Durham the cornerstones for the future.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... DE D.J. Stafford
The player you might care about this year ... OT Jess Beets
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Coming off a strong season and with head coach Rich Brooks signed to an extension, it became easier to get a slew of linemen and plan for three to five years from now. That's not to say the coaching staff wouldn't like a few of the seven defensive back recruits to step up right away and help out one of the nation's most woeful pass defenses.

12. Vanderbilt
The class is heavy on ... Variety. After a few successful seasons, Vandy has started to go after a better class of players, and while it can't come close to hanging with the big boys in the East, it got a little something for everywhere. Now it's more about amassing the best talent possible rather than try to fill in a few holes here and there, and that's no more evident than the pick up of QB Larry Smith. The Commodores are overflowing with quarterbacks, but Smith was too good to pass up.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... QB Larry Smith
The player you might care about this year ... LB John Stokes
What it all means to the real world of college football ... The program is doing better at not just figuring out which players fit the overall system, and are smart enough to go to Vanderbilt, but also getting better players. This class was an attempt to get better in all areas and improve the overall talent level. It might just take a while for most of these recruits to get rolling.