Power Ranking Top 2014 SEC Football Recruiting Classes
SEC recruiting will undoubtedly ascend to another level this year, as Texas A&M joins Alabama as a national recruiting power.
Under first-year head coach Butch Jones, Tennessee is another program that is making its conference competitors uneasy on the recruiting trail.
Several other SEC schools, including Georgia, Florida, Vanderbilt and LSU, are poised to climb in the rankings in the time between now and national signing day.
In fact, rare is the SEC school that is not expecting to make an impressive haul this recruiting season.
Recruiting class and recruit information courtesy of 247Sports.com.
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Total commits: Four
Top commit: Rafe Peavey, 4-star QB
The Hogs are under new management, so there will be significant changes to the program. Bret Bielema will look to build a bully in Fayetteville, so his recruiting will emphasize size, strength and toughness.
Arkansas has two 4-star commitments and two 3-star commitments.
Ace recruiter Charlie Patridge will help mine more talent out of Florida and Arkansas will be looking to quickly establish itself as a new SEC recruiting power.
Peavey is a sleeper 4-star quarterback with a good skill set whereas 4-star DT Bijhon Jackson is a 6’1.75”, 334-pounder who could be a space-eating lineman and future defensive cornerstone.
13. South Carolina
Total commits: Five
Top commit: Bryson Allen-Williams, 4-star DE
Only five commitments are in the fold for Steve Spurrier, yet the feeling is that more will come soon. Spurrier has recruited well in Columbia and that figures to continue.
Allen-Williams is a 4-star pass-rushing outside linebacker who stands at 6’2”, 220 pounds and will also be able to play defensive end in sub-package situations. Joe Blue is another key recruit, as the stocky 3-star linebacker is a physical player who will provide good depth.
There are two 4-star and three 3-star commitments in this class.
12. Mississippi State
Total commits: Six
Top commit: Nikia Cathey, 3-star WR/CB
With six commitments, the Bulldogs are coming along slowly, although Cathey is one of the country's quickest and fastest players. They have five 3-star pledges and one 4-star commitment in ATH Jamoral Graham.
From Tennessee, Graham is a 5'11", 190-pounder with good athletic ability and versatility. RB Dontavian Lee is a 3-star rock-toter who is 6'1", 200 pounds.
A 3-star prospect, Cathey is elusive with the football and could be a multi-purpose threat.
With Dan Mullen hiring ace recruiter Billy Gonzales, expect the Bulldogs’ recruiting efforts to be the best they've been in years in 2014. They won’t be at this spot in the SEC rankings next February. Count on it.
Total commits: 10
Top commit: Kendall Blanton, 3-star TE
After having a great class in 2012, Gary Pinkel and his staff had a down recruiting year in 2013. With a year as an SEC team under their belts, Pinkel has higher recruiting expectations for 2014, as he looks to expand Missouri’s reach into the South, while still recruiting well in the Midwest.
Mizzou has nine 3-star commitments and one 2-star commitment.
Blanton, a 3-star TE, is the program's top commit and the 6’6”, 227-pound pass-catcher should be a good fit in Mizzou’s offense. Also, 3-star safety Greg Taylor is a standout and 2-star recruit Darnell Green-Beckham should ring a bell for Tiger fans at WR.
Total commits: Nine
Top commit: Drew Barker, 4-star QB
When Ohio native Mark Stoops was named head coach at Kentucky, his home state immediately became a recruiting hotbed for the Wildcats. That is why it is no shock that six of the school's nine commitments are from Ohio.
The class is led by Barker, who's a 6'4" QB from the Blue Grass State. He has a strong arm and is tough as a runner.
Thaddeus Snodgrass is another good commit. He's a 4-star wide receiver who is 6’2”, 175 pounds and can run like the wind. His hands will develop with more reps, but he should be able to make plays deep downfield for offensive coordinator Neal Brown.
Tymere Dubose, a 6'6", 250-pound defensive tackle, is a quality 3-star commit.
Kentucky has two 4-star and seven 3-star recruits.
Total commits: Eight
Top commit: K.J. Carta-Samuels, 4-star QB
Vandy’s class is about balance, as the group is evenly split between offensive and defensive recruits. James Franklin has turned things around in Nashville, transforming the Commodores into a legitimate recruiting threat in the SEC.
He has two 4-star commitments and six 3-star commits.
A Top 25 finish in 2014 recruiting would be Franklin’s third consecutive such haul, and that’s impressive.
Carta-Samuels, who is 6'2" and has a strong arm, is a 4-star QB from California. Another recruit to watch is 4-star running back Mikale Wilbon. Bryce Lewis is a 3-star cornerback who, at 6’1”, will be able match up against big SEC wide receivers.
Total commits: Five
Top commit: Sony Michel, 5-star RB
No offense to the other prospects in UGA’s class, but this group starts and ends with Michel. He’s one of the best pure players in the country and grades out as one of the top running back prospects in recent history. Getting the Florida native to commit this early is a huge coup for Mark Richt’s program.
TE Jeb Blazevich is big 4-star receiver who has great hands and subtle separation quickness. UGA's past history suggests it will finish higher when next February rolls around.
Richt has one 5-star pledge to go along with two 4-star and two 3-star commitments.
Total commits: Eight
Top commit: Dalvin Cook, 5-star RB
Will Muschamp has a great staff of recruiters and Florida, which has six offensive and two defensive recruits, will no doubt be in the hunt for the nation’s No. 1 class once again.
Cook is the top Gator commit and that may not change through national signing day, as he's a 5-star RB prospect with good instincts and elusiveness.
QB Will Grier, a 4-star recruit, may be the field general of the future in Gainesville. He's already set several national and state passing records, according to USA Today.
Florida has one 5-star, two 4-star and five 3-star players committed.
6. Ole Miss
Total commits: 11
Top commit: Andy Bauer, 4-star OT
For anyone who thought Ole Miss just had a lucky recruiting year in 2013 and was going to fall by the wayside, you’re wrong.
The Rebels already have 11 commitments and their class is starting to take shape. Hugh Freeze’s class may not finish as high as his 2013 class did, but don’t be surprised to see Ole Miss in the final Top 15-20.
The Rebels have five 4-star and five 3-star commitments to go along with one unrated recruit.
Andy Bauer, a 4-star offensive tackle, leads this class. He's 6’6”, weighs more than 300 pounds and can be a nasty run-blocker. C.J. Hampton is a 4-star safety with starting potential and then there's 4-star running back/wide receiver D.K.
Meanwhile, D.K. Buford could be one of the 10 fastest players in the country with a 4.45-second time in the 40-yard dash.
Freeze and his staff are not going anywhere. Doubters better get used to it.
Total commits: Nine
Top commit: Tre' Williams, 4-star LB
A whole new staff is off to an encouraging start as it attempts to put together a solid recruiting class. Head coach Gus Malzahn has connections around the South, but he surely will face some negative recruiting due to published reports—denied by Auburn—of possible NCAA rules violations.
However, Auburn should still be able to sign a good class. It currently consists of five 4-star and four 3-star commitments.
Williams is one of the best LB prospects in the country and a hard hitter at 6'2". He will weigh over 240 pounds one day and play in a defense which also will have talented 6'5" DE Justin Thornton.
Total commits: Eight
Top commit: Bo Scarbrough, 5-star ATH
You have to be a recruiting juggernaut when an early class of eight commitments, with six being 4-star or higher recruits, is considered a slow start.
That’s right, by 'Bama’s standards, the Tide are off to a slow start. However, Alabama will surely surge in the rankings, finishing in the top two in the conference and top five nationally again.
The Tide have commitments from one 5-star, four 4-star and three 3-star recruits.
Scarbrough, a 6'2", 222-pounder, is a 5-star athlete who can run and also work as a wide receiver on the perimeter. Cornerback is a position of need this year and Nick Saban has commitments from Stephen Roberts and Kalvaraz Bessent, who both stand at 6’0” and are 4-star recruits.
Total commits: Nine
Top commit: Edward Paris, 5-star S
Les Miles’ charm, wit and energy have served him well on the recruiting trail and this year is no different. The Tigers are cleaning up, with a special focus on the state of Texas. Right now, nearly one-third of LSU’s class is from the Lone Star State.
Defensive back Edward Paris, the top player in the class, is from Texas. He's a 5-star 6’1”, 190-pounder who can play safety and cornerback.
Jacory Washington, a 4-star tight end, will give LSU another athletic seam player and could also be flexed out wide on some formations. Keep an eye on 6'2", 185-pound Devin Voorhees. He's a 4-star athlete who can play safety or wide receiver and will be fought over by the coaching staff.
Miles has one 5-star, five 4-star and three 3-star recruits.
Total commits: 15
Top commit: Jalen Hurd, 5-star RB
Rocky Top is blasting loud and proud these days, as the Vols are recruiting well so far under new coach Butch Jones.
Offensive recruiting is the theme of this class, which is led by 6’3”, 225-pound 5-star RB Jalen Hurd. With his size, speed and elusiveness, Hurd should contribute as a true freshman in 2014.
On defense, the top recruit is 4-star safety Todd Kelly Jr., whose father played for the Vols. Jones also has a commitment from 3-star 6’6”, 295-pound center prospect Coleman Thomas.
An interesting note about this class is that only four of the 15 commitments are from Tennessee.
The group features one 5-star, three 4-star and 11 3-star recruits.
1. Texas A&M
Total commits: 12
Top commit: Hoza Scott, 5-star OLB
Kevin Sumlin runs a high-octane offense for the Aggies and, more times than not, he’s going to find himself having to hold leads. The best way to do that is to obviously play good defense, so Sumlin has scored seven early commitments from defensive players out of his current 10-man class.
Outside linebacker Hoza Scott, a 5-star prospect, leads the group. He's a 6’3”, 225-pounder who can pursue the ball with speed, play with range and also rush the passer.
Defensive back Nick Harvey, a 4-star recruit, is a smart and instinctive player who can play safety or corner.
Also, 4-star safety Dylan Sumner-Garder has a great chance to become a starter. On offense, 4-star QB Kyle Allen is the top player. Skill position commitments 4-star RB Shaun Nixon and 3-star WR Jamal Jeffrey also fit A&M's spread offense.
The Aggies have one 5-star, eight 4-star and three 3-star recruits.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.