SEC Football Recruiting: The Best and Worst of the 2012 Conference Classes

Jeremy Hillman@@SECpigskinContributor IFebruary 2, 2012

SEC Football Recruiting: The Best and Worst of the 2012 Conference Classes

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    There were plenty of ups and downs for each team in the SEC in this year's National Signing Day.

    The recruiting season has come and gone and left us much to analyze and ponder.

    Some teams were more successful than others, as big time recruits decided which college program they would play for.

    Throughout the long recruiting process and in the hype of signing day, there were clear winners and clear losers for individual players and for overall classes.

    Who came out on top? Who disappointed?  What players made the biggest impacts?

    In this slideshow, I will present awards for the very best and worst of this year's SEC recruiting season...

The Best Player

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    It is widely accepted that wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was the top prize in this year's recruiting season.

    The athletic wideout is a very sizable 6'6", 220 and has good hands.

    At that size and with considerable speed, Green-Beckham can make an immediate impact this Fall.

    The recruiting battle came down to the wide open passing offense at Arkansas to the home team Missouri Tigers.

    In the end, Green-Beckham chose Missouri.

    His commitment improved what otherwise is a pretty average class, at best, for the Tigers.

    It also left Arkansas with a somewhat lackluster class and frustrated fans and coaches.

The Most Overrated Player

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    Recruiting stars and rankings are obviously an uncertain science. 

    Some players end up better than their star rating and some players end up worse.

    The player in this year's SEC crop of commits that sticks out to me as the most overrated player is Cyrus Jones.

    Jones signed an LOI with Alabama.

    He is a very athletic player and could find success at Bama. However, I can not see how he could be a 5-star prospect.

    First of all, he is just 5'10", although listed on some sites as 5'11", and weighs well under 195 pounds. This smaller size is definitely not typical of 5-star type athletes.

    Second, he doesn't have a set position. He is being considered for running back and cornerback and possibly wide receiver. Since when is a tweener position guy a top recruit?

The Best Name

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    Every season there are players in the recruiting season that have great names.

    Names that fans rally around and announcers love to say.

    This season there may be none better than Auburn linebacker commit Cassanova McKinzy.

    It just rolls off the tongue.

    His future teammate and fellow Auburn signee Gimmel President has a great name too. However, look for the Auburn broadcasters to revel in saying "Cassonova is in on the tackle again."

The Most Painful Flip

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    Committed to LSU for much of the recruiting process, Torshiro Davis was assumed by most everyone a lock to sign with the Tigers.

    The 6'3", 222-pound outside linebacker was a prized recruit and has the athleticism and speed to thrive at the college level.

    He shocked the nation by switching his commitment from LSU to Texas on signing day.

    Losing the 4-star OLB was a another painful blow to the LSU recruiting class.

The Biggest Surprise

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    My biggest surprise of signing day came when junior college wide receiver Coradarelle Patterson made his college decision.

    All along, he was considered an LSU lean and fit nicely into their lineup and team needs.

    Patterson is a 6'4", 205-pound 4-star wideout that has the ability to make an immediate impact.

    On National Signing Day he surprised me, and many others, by signing with the Tennessee Volunteers.

    Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and the Vols now have a big addition to the wide receiver unit.

    This was a big surprise signature for head coach Derek Dooley and the Volunteers.

The Biggest Get

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    The Auburn Tigers put together a nice class and were looking strong heading into National Signing Day.

    Then they had several big time prospects pick different schools during signing day proceedings, and it looked as if the class may end in disappointment.

    That is when 5-star offensive tackle Avery Young stepped up to the podium and chose Auburn over Georgia late in the afternoon.

    Young's signature made for a nice ending to the recruiting process for the Tigers and helped them end up with a top 12 class nationally.

    He is one of the top five tackles in the nation and helps bolster what was already an elite class of offensive linemen for Auburn.

The Worst Class

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    It is never good for a first-year coach to struggle bringing in a quality recruiting class.

    It may not be new head coach Hugh Freeze’s fault, since he has had little time to recruit for Ole Miss since being hired just a couple months ago. Nonetheless, finishing dead last in the SEC for recruiting is not going to sit well in Oxford.

    Ole Miss had just 17 commitments, two 4-star and zero 5-star commits, and is currently ranked just 49th in's national rankings.

The Best Class

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    Another year, another top recruiting class from Nick Saban.

    Alabama loaded up with talent again this season and has won the recruiting national championship (whatever that means).

    There is a bit of a question lingering about how Saban handles oversigning, but you won't hear Bama fans complain about this influx of talent.

    Alabama leads the nation with a ridiculous 17 4-star and 5-star signatures.