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2008 SEC Recruiting - What It All Means
LSU WR DeAngelo Benton
LSU WR DeAngelo Benton
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 12, 2008


How does the 2008 SEC recruiting class really affect the college football world? Which programs, like LSU getting WR DeAngelo Benton, did the best job this recruiting season? Now that the storm has died down, here's what it all really means.

Recruiting 2008 ... SEC
Ranking the SEC classes

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

- 2007 SEC Recruiting Rankings
- 2006 SEC Recruiting Rankings

1. Alabama
The class is heavy on ... Super-duper, blue-chip, next-level stars. Alabama hired Nick Saban to make the program a national title powerhouse again, and this class should do it with a dizzying array of talent from top to bottom. QB Star Jackson, RB Chris Jordan, WR Julio Jones, OT Tyler Love, DTs Marcel Dareus, Kerry Murphy and Terrence Cody, DEs Michael Williams and Courtney Upshaw, LBs Mark Barron and Jerrell Harris, and corners Burton Scott, Alonzo Lawrence and Robby Green are all top talents who have All-SEC potential, and will have the NFL scouts hanging around the program more than ever.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... LB Mark Barron
The player you might care about this year ... DT Terrence Cody
What it all means to the real world of college football ... LSU, Florida, Georgia, Auburn and Tennessee have all been national superpowers in recent years, and this class marks the official arrival of Alabama into the club ... potentially. The tremendous array of talents now has to live up to the billing. If you thought the pressure was on Saban when he was first hired, that's nothing compared to the expectations surrounding the program now. Remember, it's going to take at least a year, maybe two, for this class to kick in. Good luck keeping the Tide fans under wraps for that long.

2. Florida
The class is heavy on ... Defense. The team lived and died through the growing pains of a young, talented secondary last season, and now there are reinforcements led by safeties Will Hill and Dee Finley, arguably the best pair in any class, while corners Janoris Jenkins, Adrian Bushell and Jeremy Brown will all get a chance to play right away. The signing of Omar Hunter gives the Gators an NFL caliber defensive tackle who'll be ready right off the bat, while the linebacking corps is loaded with Brendan Beal, William Green and Lerentee McCray bringing more speed and athleticism.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... S Will Hill
The player you might care about this year ... WR Carl Moore
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Florida had its share of disappointments, led by the loss of top guard Ricky Barnum to Michigan, but Urban Meyer and his staff once again came up with a loaded group of athletes that'll provided instant depth and a starter or two. All the buzz is about the Alabama class, and Georgia and LSU each got more than their share of future all-stars, but the Gators more than held their own. They're not going anywhere.

3. Georgia
The class is heavy on ... Skill players. Last year was about beefing up the offensive line, needing instant impact players who could fill in some gaps, and at the very least, grow into backup roles. Now it's about upgrading the weapons for QB Matthew Stafford to work with. A.J. Green might be the team's best receiver, and he hasn't gotten to school yet. Speedster Tavarres King might also see time in the receiver rotation early on. Knowshon Moreno isn't going anywhere, but he'll get plenty of help from Richard Samuel, Carlton Thomas, Dontavius Jackson and Xavier Avery.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... DT DeAngelo Tyson
The player you might care about this year ... WR A.J. Green
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Georgia is being hailed as the No. 1 team in the country going into the season, or is at the very least in everyone's top five. The team is more than fine as is, and now it has a loaded recruiting class of top athletes for several key spots to help with the depth. Head coach Mark Richt has never been afraid of playing freshmen, and he has a few new stars ready to step in where needed.

4. LSU
The class is heavy on ... Louisiana talent. The best players in the class (CB Patrick Johnson and LB Ryan Baker from Florida, and DE Chancey Aghayere and LB Kyle Prater from Texas) are from elsewhere, but Les Miles was able to put a relative fence around Louisiana and keep players like DE Chase Clement, CB Brandon Taylor, WR Chris Tolliver and TE Tyler Edwards. Position-wise, the receivers, including Edwards and fellow tight end Lavar Edwards into the mix, is top-shelf.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... CB Patrick Johnson
The player you might care about this year ... WR DeAngelo Benton
What it all means to the real world of college football ... While other SEC programs might have done a better job this recruiting season, LSU more than held its own coming off the national title campaign. If nothing else, the team is getting looks from everyone and can recruit nationally because of the success, and it isn't limited just to the southern part of the country. Of course, all the top players are from Louisiana, or close by, but there's no one out of reach to go after.

5. Auburn
The class is heavy on ... Skill players. The best prospects are on the defensive line, led by JUCO transfer Raven Gray and end Andre Wadley, but with the offense switching up to more of a spread offense under offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, the team needed players who fit the system. JUCO transfer QB Chris Todd will battle for time early on, while DeRon Furr and Barrett Trotter will provide depth over the next few years. Keeping RB Onterio McCalebb was key, while the real coup was getting speedy receiver Harry Adams to lead a fast group of targets. New WR Philip Pierre-Louis might be the team's fastest player.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... LB Deshaun Barnes
The player you might care about this year ... DE Raven Gray
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Much has been made about the Auburn class and the players it lost, but the late defections don't take away from a strong haul. With new coordinators coming in late in the game, it was hard to come up with an elite of the elite class, and now there has to be a nervous twitch around the program after Alabama came up with one of the nation's best classes. There aren't a lot of sure-thing stars from the Tiger class, but there are more than enough good players to develop.

6. Arkansas
The class is heavy on ... The passing game. Under new head coach Bobby Petrino, Arkansas is going to start throwing the forward pass. Now he needs players who can fit the system, but he didn't forget about the ground game with top RBs De'Anthony Curtis leading a talented group. However, the receiving corps got the biggest boost with six prospects coming in all shapes and sizes. Quarterbacks Jim Youngblood and Tyler Wilson are each big, strong passers able to push for the starting job right away, but the real star is on his way from Michigan. The only question is whether or not former Wolverine Ryan Mallett will be eligible this season or next.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... CB Joe Adams
The player you might care about this year ... WR Jarius Wright
What it all means to the real world of college football ... There's no question Petrino can put together high-octane offenses. The only issue will be how fast the transformation can be made and how quickly the new prospects can shine. It's easy to forget that Petrino's Louisville teams were also tremendous defensively, and while there weren't too many top prospects brought in, that'll likely change next year.

7. South Carolina
The class is heavy on ... The secondary. There needed to be an upgrade at defensive back, and the team got it with four safeties and two phenomenal corners in Charles Whitlock and Akeem Auguste. Whitlock will be used in a variety of ways, but becoming a consistent No. 1 corner would be enough. The offense got a little bit of help with quarterbacks Reid McCollum and Aramis Hillary sure to be thrown into the fire, at least in practice, from the moment they get to school.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... RB Eric Baker
The player you might care about this year ... CB Charles Whitlock
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Oh what a difference a year makes. Last February, South Carolina had one of the nation's best recruiting seasons and appeared ready to turn the corner in the Spurrier era. After a brutal collapse over the second half of the season, the program lost almost all its mojo. There's weren't too many holes to plug after last year's class, but it would've been a sign that things really were changing in Columbia if this group was better.

8. Mississippi State
The class is heavy on ... Receivers and defensive linemen. The passing game has its targets for the future with four good receivers, led by Rashun Dixon, and two strong tight ends in Kendrick Cook and Nelson Hurst. Defensive tackle Templeton Hardy is the star of the class while the overall bulk is on the ends, but there aren't any sure things among the six prospects.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... DT Templeton Hardy
The player you might care about this year ... OT Phillip Freeman
What it all means to the real world of college football ... This is a class for the future, especially for the receiving corps, but it would've been nice if a quarterback or three was brought in to build around. With Michael Henig forced to retire thanks to a hip problem, head coach Sylvester Croom should've given a look to the JUCO ranks to find a quarterback to backup Wesley Carroll. If Carroll goes down, and if backup Josh Riddell isn't healthy, the team will be in huge trouble. Croom has said he'll make sure next year's class has a star passing prospect coming in.

9. Tennessee
The class is heavy on ... Linebackers. The rest of the class is nothing special, but E.J. Abrams-Ward (who'll end up at receiver), Marlon Walls and Herman Lathers, all safety-sized speedsters, should be tremendous once they have a few years of the Tennessee weight room under their belts. Austin Johnson could be ready to provide depth in the middle right now.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... LB E.J. Abrams-Ward
The player you might care about this year ... TE Aaron Douglas
What it all means to the real world of college football ... After coming up with a tremendous 2007 class, the coaching staff slipped making it two mediocre classes in the last three seasons. Gone are the days when Tennessee could get out of bed and wait for the top talents to fall over themselves to come to Knoxville. Considering how nasty the SEC has gotten, head coach Phil Fulmer can't afford any more classes this average.

10. Ole Miss
The class is heavy on ... The secondary. There aren't any five-star talents like Patrick Trahan, the new star of the linebacking corps, but there's strength in numbers at defensive back with five safeties and four corners. The corners will make the most immediate impact with JUCO transfer Demario Marr all but certain to be an opening day starter, and Derrick Herman a speedy prospect to develop. Offensively, new head coach Houston Nutt got a slew of running backs. There might not be any Darren McFaddens, but Enrique Davis and Devin Thomas are speedsters who can hit the home run.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... QB Chris Wilkes
The player you might care about this year ... LB Patrick Trahan
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Former head man Ed Orgeron was a fantastic recruiter who left the shelves stocked with decent prospects. Nutt missed out on some key prospects and didn't get the overall haul he might have liked, but he got his share of decent players to build a future around. Even so, this wasn't the kind of class that'll transform the program overnight.

11. Kentucky
The class is heavy on ... Receivers. Big, fast Aaron Boyd is the gem of the class, while tight end Sean Stackhouse could play a key role in the next two years. Overall, the best players are in the secondary with four nice prospects led by Winston Guy, who has the lightning fast wheels to play corner, and the hitting ability to play safety.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... S Winston Guy
The player you might care about this year ... WR Aaron Boyd
What it all means to the real world of college football ... Kentucky set up its succession plan for the end of the Rich Brooks era with offensive coordinator Joker Phillips to take over relatively soon. That stability didn't matter when it came to recruits with a mediocre class woefully lacking in top notch stars to get excited about. There's no question the talent level isn't there compared to the epic classes brought in by other SEC teams, so a few surprise players have to emerge.

12. Vanderbilt
The class is heavy on ... A few really good prospects, and a steep, steep drop-off. The margin for error is paper thin when it comes to Vanderbilt recruiting, so it's uh-oh time if the players targeted to fill in key holes early on, like LBs Tristan Strong and DeAndre Jones, don' t pan out. Numbers-wise, the defensive line got the most help.
The player who'll someday be a really big deal ... LB Tristan Strong
The player you might care about this year ... LB DeAndre Jones
What it all means to the real world of college football ... The Commodores will never be able to grab the players the top SEC teams will, but as long as head coach Bobby Johnson connects on the top players he brought in, while desperately hoping for a few starters to emerge in the next three years from the no-big-deal bulk of the class, the program won't fall back further.

 




























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