National Signing Day 2012: Power Ranking the SEC Recruiting Classes
How often can a team be ranked among the top 20 recruiting classes in the nation and still finish in the bottom half of its conference? Yearly, if that team is from the SEC.
Except this year, the consensus seems to be that SEC teams ranked Nos. 8-10 in the conference are considered as having top 25 classes.
The talent level at most every school in the Southeastern Conference continues to build on a yearly basis. Alabama has won the National and SEC recruiting crown yet again, and the consensus among the big four recruiting sites (Rivals, Scout, ESPNU, 24/7 Sports) is that 13 of the SEC's 14 teams were worthy of a top 50 designation in 2012.
Here's how SEC teams fared on National Signing Day.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
When do they name the mythical yearly Recruiting National Championship after Nick Saban? That trophy, which doesn't currently exist, would have an almost permanent residence in the city of Tuscaloosa over the past five years.
Saban and Alabama secured the No. 1 class in the nation by getting a signature from every single commit on National Signing Day.
Three of the big four recruiting sites list Alabama as having the No. 1 class in the nation.
2. Florida Gators
Florida had a great National Signing Day. The Gators finished with a consensus top five class, and Will Muschamp has an exciting group of young players ready to step into key roles heading into 2012.
3. Georgia Bulldogs
After securing the signatures of a couple surprise late commitments, the Bulldogs forged into the SEC's top three classes yet again.
Two of the four recruiting services list UGA in the top 10. The other two have Georgia near the top 10 as well.
4. LSU Tigers
The Tigers ended up all over the map when it comes to team rankings. Scout has LSU at No. 6. ESPNU has the Tigers at No. 12. Rivals lists Les Miles' team at No. 16, while 24/7 Sports has the Tigers at No. 11.
What is certain about this group of signees is that while there may not be a consensus five-star recruit in the class, there are at least 10-15 four-star prospects who will be calling LSU home for the next four years. That's something only Alabama and Florida can currently boast.
5. Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies made a nice splash in their first offseason as an SEC program. New head coach Kevin Sumlin landed five-star running back Trey Williams and a handful of four-star prospects on National Signing Day.
A&M is ranked pretty much all over the top 25, but the consensus is that its first class as an SEC school was good enough to rank among the top SEC teams.
6. South Carolina Gamecocks
Steve Spurrier made out like a villain yet again this season. The head football coach landed a consensus top 15 class and came away with one of the nation's top running back prospects in Mike Davis.
There will be no huge splash this year like Marcus Lattimore in 2009 or Jadeveon Clowney in 2010, but this class is better than solid.
7. Auburn Tigers
Auburn finished strong and ended up with a top 20 class, according to all four recruiting services. Securing the services of offensive tackle Avery Young was big for the reloading Tigers, especially coming off of last year's consensus top three class.
8. Tennessee Volunteers
Considering the miserable season the Vols just endured, it's pretty amazing that Tennessee ended up with a top 20 class, according to Rivals and 24/7 Sports.
Head coach Derek Dooley did have a couple of late decommitments from long-time verbals Otha Peters and Dalton Santos, but the late pickup of five-star juco wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson made those losses a little easier to take.
9. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Dan Mullen signed a boatload of players this year, 28 to be exact. There was only one consensus five-star among the group and only a handful of four-stars.
Mississippi State's recruiting haul was good enough to get it among the top 25 classes in half the polls, however.
10. Missouri Tigers
Missouri made the biggest splash of the day by landing all-everything wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, but the rest of its class left something to be desired.
The Tigers ended up with 18 signees. Only three of those players were consensus four or five star prospects.
11. Arkansas Razorbacks
The battle for Green-Beckham came down to the final moment between Missouri and Arkansas. As a result of not landing the star wide receiver, Arkansas gets the lower ranking here.
2012 definitely was not a bad year by any stretch for the Razorbacks, as most still consider this a top 30 class, but it still pales in comparison to most of Arkansas' SEC West rivals.
12. Vanderbilt Commodores
Everyone knew it would be hard for James Franklin to hold onto the handful of four-star commits he received in his first few months on the job. But apparently he did enough to hold onto three of those prospective solid recruits.
Brian Kimbrow, Andrew Jelks and Caleb Azubike all signed today. If the 'Dores hadn't lost out to Georgia on longtime commit Josh Dawson at the last minute, this class would be ranked at least one spot higher.
13. Kentucky Wildcats
The Wildcats ended up with the No. 53 class, according to 24/7 Sports. Scout.com listed the Wildcats at No. 31 in the nation and Rivals.com left them out of the top 50 altogether.
Word has it that everyone was too busy watching basketball practice to care, however.
14. Ole Miss Rebels
Bringing up the tail-end of the SEC's 2012 signing classes is SEC West cellar-dweller Ole Miss.The Rebels program is going to be down for quite some time.
Hugh Freeze's first signing class at Ole Miss is barely considered a top 60 class.