University of Georgia

SEC recruiting capsules

SEC recruiting capsules

Alabama

Signees: 26.

Where they come from: Nick Saban has an amazing stronghold on Alabama, landing 10 players from in-state including Rivals.com’s top seven players in the state.

Strategy: Saban locks down Alabama, and then branches out across the Southeast. The strategy has worked very well during the past three seasons. He grabbed top players from Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Three to watch:

ŸD.J. Fluker, OL, 6-7, 350, Foley, Ala.

The top player in Alabama is also the nation’s second-best player nationally, according to Rivals.com.

ŸNico Johnson, LB, 6-3, 226, Andalusia, Ala.

Johnson would be the top prospect for most schools, but he plays third fiddle to Fluker and Kirkpatrick in the state and in the Crimson Tide’s class.

ŸDre Kirkpatrick, CB, 6-2, 180, Gadsden, Ala.

Rivals.com ranks Kirkpatrick as the top cornerback in the country and the 11th best player in the nation.

Grade: A. The only coaches who can match Saban prospect-for-prospect right now are Les Miles and Urban Meyer.

Arkansas

Signees: 31.

Where they come from: Bobby Petrino signed recruits from all over the country, adding players from eight states.

Strategy: Petrino is known as a strong recruiter from his days at Auburn, and he showed his ability in this class to build bonds across the country. When looking at the class, one has to remember that one of the top “recruits” — running back Broderick Green — transferred from USC and will have to sit out a year.

Three to watch:

ŸColby Berna, 6-5, 285, Fayetteville, Ark.

The first commitment in the class, Berna is one of the top recruits in Arkansas.

ŸRonnie Wingo, 6-3, 220, St. Louis

Scout.com’s 12th-best running back, Wingo rushed 1,482 yards and 14 touchdowns.

ŸDarius Winston, 6-0, 180, West Helena, Ark.

The top recruit in Arkansas is the 24th-best prospect in the nation, according to Rivals.com.

Grade: B+. The Razorbacks did a solid job locking up the best in-state players and went outside the area for some other key players.

Auburn

Signees: 28.

Where they come from: Because of Saban’s dominance in Alabama, Auburn branched out to Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Texxas for prospects.

Strategy: New head coach Gene Chizik did a phenomenal job of closing strong despite having less time than most on the job following his hire. The former Iowa State head coach had some strong ties from his previous days at Auburn, and they probably paid off with the way he closed the recruiting season.

Three to watch:

ŸDontae Aycock, RB, 5-10, 216, Tampa, Fla.

Aycock was considered a Georgia Tech lean as a QB, but the Yellow Jackets pulled his scholarship when he visited Auburn.

ŸPhilip Lutzenkirchen, TE, 6-4, 245, Marietta (Lassiter)

One of the best pass-catching tight ends in the country, Lutzenkirchen led Lassiter to its best season in recent memory.

ŸTyrik Rollison, QB, 6-2, 185, Sulphur Springs, Texas

Rollison is one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the country, and he could find some immediate playing time to spice up the offense.

Grade: A-. Chizik did a better job than any other new head coach, landing a strong class following the departure of a popular coach.

Florida

Signees: 16.

Where they come from: Half of Florida’s 16 signees came from the Sunshine State.

Strategy: It was a small class, yes, but Urban Meyer signed nine players ranked four stars by Rivals.com and three that were five-star recruits. Meyer added standout linebacker Jelani Jenkins on Wednesday to round out an already stout class.

Three to watch:

ŸGary Brown, DT, 6-4, 275, Greensboro, Fla.

Rivals.com’s 23rd-best player in the country committed to the Gators almost a year ago.

ŸAndre Debose, WR, 6-0, 170, Sanford, Fla.

Meyer lost Percy Harvin to the NFL, but Debose — Rivals.com’s No. 2 WR — could be Harvin part II.

ŸJelani Jenkins, LB, 6-2, 220, Olney, Md.

The 16-year-old five-star recruit who Rivals.com calls the 10th-best player in the country really caps the class.

Grade: A-. The Gators probably did more with fewer scholarships than anyone else in the country.

Kentucky

Signees: 28.

Where they come from: The Wildcats signed six players out of Georgia, including three from LaGrange High.

Strategy: Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips did a good job grabbing two of the best quarterbacks in the country and mixing in a balanced crowd the rest of the way.

Three to watch:

ŸQua Huzzie, LB, 5-11, 205, LaGrange

The Class AAA Defensive Player of the Year led his team with 155 tackles.

ŸRyan Mossakowski, QB, 6-4, 201, Frisco, Texas

He missed time as a senior with an injury, but passed for 2,963 yards and 19 touchdowns.

ŸMorgan Newton, QB, 6-4, 220, Carmel, Ind.

Indiana’s Mr. Football passed for 1,938 yards and 22 touchdowns to go with 1,664 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns.

Grade: B. Brooks signed a strong class overall, but going across the country to find two standout quarterbacks says a lot about recruits confidence in Phillips’ offense.

LSU

Signees: 25.

Where they come from: Like Saban, Les Miles owned his home state and branched out to land some outstanding prospects.

Strategy: Miles got just about every big-time player he wanted this year. He signed four Rivals.com five-star prospects and added 11 four-star prospects.

Three to watch:

ŸCraig Loston, DB, 6-2, 193, Aldine, Texas

The top safety prospect in the country backed off a Clemson commitment when Tommy Bowden resigned. The loss was Miles’ gain.

ŸRueben Randle, WR, 6-3, 195, Bastrop, La.

The top receiver in the nation and arguably top prospect overall picked the Tigers on signing day to cap the class.

ŸRussell Shepard, QB, 6-1, 179, Houston

The top dual-threat in the quarterback could be a difference maker from the start, but Jordan Jefferson showed his talent at the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Grade: A+. The top recruiting class in the country resides in Baton Rouge. It’s really not even that close between LSU and anyone else.

Mississippi

Signees: 38.

Where they come from: They came from all over, but that’s what happens when a team signs 38 players.

Strategy: Head coach Houston Nutt cast a wide net into the recruiting ocean and obviously came back with a lot. He landed some very talented junior college prospects and prep school players, but obviously some of these kids won’t qualify and could be placed in JUCOs.

Three to watch:

ŸJamar Hornsby, DB, 6-3, 215, East Mississippi Junior College

Hornsby played in seven games for Florida in 2007 before heading to junior college. He was one of the top players in the nation coming out of high school.

ŸBobbie Massie, OL, 6-7, 345, Lynchburg, Va.

Massie is rated as the top prep school player in the country by Rivals.com.

ŸPat Patterson, WR, 6-3, 175, Macon, Miss.

Considered the top prospect in Mississippi, Patterson had 1,287 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior.

Grade: B. The Rebels got a strong mix of talented players, but teams will get some good ones when they sign 38.

Mississippi State

Signees: 27.

Where they come from: New head coach Dan Mullen signed 21 players from Mississippi.

Strategy: Mullen showed that he wasn’t going to get beat much in his home state by Ole Miss. The Bulldogs gained most of their class from the state, but dabbled around the Southeast for the rest of the class.

Three to watch:

ŸJosh Boyd, DT, 6-3, 275, Philadelphia, Miss.

The Army All-American was ranked by Rivals.com as the fourth-best pass rushing DT in the country.

ŸPernell McPhee, DE, 6-4, 270, Fulton, Miss.

The Itawamba Community College player will be counted on the contribute from the moment spring practice starts.

ŸDarius Slay, WR, 6-1, 180, Brunswick

Slay is highly rated, but the athlete can play. He lead the Pirates to a great season and could be a vital weapon soon.

Grade: B-. Mullen was a part of some great recruiting classes at Florida, so he has the experience necessary to excel in Starkville. The class just wasn’t full of elite prospects.

South Carolina

Signees: 29.

Where they come from: The Gamecocks signed 11 players from the Palmetto State.

Strategy: Steve Spurrier finished big on signing day by stealing receiver Alshon Jeffery from the other USC. He already nabbed two of the best players in South Carolina from Rock Hill’s South Pointe High, and landed elite running back Jarvis Giles from Tampa, Fla.

Three to watch:

ŸJarvis Giles, RB, 5-11, 176, Tampa, Fla.

Early enrollee rushed for more than 1,500 yards as a senior.

ŸStephon Gilmore, DB, 6-2, 181, Rock Hill, S.C.

Gilmore was committed to Clemson, but switched after Tommy Tuberville resigned. He accounted for 3,102 yards and 37 touchdowns last year.

ŸAlshon Jeffery, WR, 6-3, 217, St. Matthews, S.C.

A signing day surprise, Jeffery de-committed from Southern Cal to stay at home.

Grade: B+. The Gamecocks signed a borderline top 10 class led by Gilmore and Giles.

Tennessee

Signees: 19.

Where they come from: Tennessee got seven from in-state, but four came from Georgia.

Strategy: Former Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin came into the process late in the game, but managed to land some quality players. Getting Darren Myles late was a coup.

Three to watch:

ŸDarren Myles, DB, Atlanta (Carver)

Myles picked the Volunteers on signing day, giving Kiffin arguably his best prospect.

ŸNu’Keese Richardson, WR, 5-10, 165, Pahokee, Fla.

Rated as the ninth-best receiver in the country by Rivals.com.

ŸToney Williams, RB, 6-1, 235, Alpharetta (Milton)

Not as highly rated as some, but Williams dominated for Milton. He rushed for 1,945 yards and 26 touchdowns,

Grade: B-, Kiffin came on late in the recruiting season, but he did a solid job of landing a top 25 class.

Vanderbilt

Signees: 17.

Where they come from: Despite only 17 signees, Vanderbilt managed to pull players from eight different states.

Strategy: The Commodores built some on its bowl appearance by signing some quality players. They will never got toe-to-toe with the SEC powers for players, so they do a good job of picking and choosing.

Three to watch:

ŸWarren Norman, 5-10, 188, Chamblee

Quick running back helped Chamblee get to the Georgia Dome for the semifinals in 2007.

ŸBlake Southerland, 6-2, 235, Lawrenceville (Greater Atlanta Christian)

The brother of former UGA fullback Brannan Southerland will make his name on the other side of the ball.

ŸWesley Tate, 6-2, 210, Hendersonville, Tenn.

The brother of Notre Dame standout Golden Tate could make an early impact.

Grade: C, Bobby Johnson does a good job of landing players that fit his system, but they just aren’t highly ranked.

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