With National Signing Day tomorrow, let’s take a look at the SEC teams and what their biggest needs are going into the official grocery-shopping day that is NSD.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama’s biggest recruiting need would either be at wide receiver or defensive line, particularly at nose guard. Alabama lost all-star wide receiver and physical specimen Julio Jones. They also lost Marcell Dareus at defensive end, but they will be fine because they have depth at end. Of the defensive line, the nose guard position needs to be a difference-maker, and Jesse Williams looks to be that guy. Williams is already enrolled at Alabama, coming from Arizona Western Community College. Alabama is in great shape to fill their needs on NSD.
Auburn has plenty of holes to fill everywhere. They return the fewest starters than anyone in the country. However, the main position of need is along the offensive line. Auburn loses four starters, and one of their main strengths this year was along the offensive line. However, they currently have a couple of different prospects who can step up as freshman and help replenish the depleted position. Christian Westerman from Chandler, Arizona, looks to be the main difference-maker.
Arkansas loses stud quarterback Ryan Mallett, but recruiting-wise, that is not a position of concern. Where the Razorbacks’ need help and depth is in the defensive secondary. They lose two starters in Ramon Broadway and Rudell Crim. Even though Tramain Thomas and Isaac Madison return, they are both upperclassmen. Arkansas needs to add defensive secondary talent in the 2011 class in order to build solid depth for the future.
Florida’s primary concern is at the quarterback position. John Brantley struggled all year to get anything going. With Florida moving into the pro-style offense, they need a talented quarterback, and someone they can look to the future with. Highly touted quarterback Jeff Driskel is currently on campus and enrolled early. Gator fans hope he will be the guy of the future.
Georgia’s two main positions of concern are at running back and nose guard. The Bulldogs have an overrated Caleb King and upperclassman in Washaun Ealey on the roster at running back. The Dawgs desperately need to land that “it” back in this class. The question is whether Isaiah Crowell will be a Dawg on NSD? In order to run the 3-4 defense effectively, Georgia needs that monster of a man in the middle at nose guard. Can they land him in this class?
The main position of concern for Kentucky is at wide receiver. The Wildcats lose Randall Cobb and Chris Matthews, and both were very influential in Kentucky’s success this past season. Current wide receiver commits will have a shot at some early playing time at wide receiver for the Wildcats.
LSU’s obvious position of need is at quarterback. Even though Jordan Jefferson improved throughout this season and played spectacular in the bowl game, the Tigers still need a big-time quarterback to run this offense and get the ball to the talented wide outs. Zach Mettenberger looks to be that guy, and he is already on campus.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
The main position of concern for State is at linebacker. The Bulldogs lose all three starters at the position, and they will have to find someone to fill that role and be a playmaker. Chris White was a stud and a difference-maker for Mississippi State, and they will have to recruit very well to replace the linebacker position.
The Rebels have holes all over the roster and have many needs they need to fill on NSD. However, the biggest position of concern is at defensive line. The Rebels lose four tackles, including stud Jerrell Powe, who is one of the best tackles in the league. Kentrell Lockett has applied for another year of eligibility, so hopefully that will help out on the defensive front if he is awarded the extra year.
The Gamecocks need to build depth at linebacker and defensive back. South Carolina loses two starters in Josh Dickerson and Tony Straughter, and they will need to build some positive, impactful depth with this recruiting class. The Gamecocks were also run out of the stadium in Atlanta because of a weak defensive backfield. Stephon Gilmore needs some help in the secondary, a secondary which finished 10th in the SEC in pass defense.
The two main needs for the Vols are at linebacker and defensive tackle. Nick Reveiz is among three senior linebackers for the Vols leaving after this season. They need someone badly to step in and be serviceable at linebacker. Also, the Vols are in dire need of defensive linemen. Depth is building at DL, but Tennessee needs more of it. Both positions are in great shape heading in NSD.
Vanderbilt does return a lot of players for next year. Bottom line – Vanderbilt needs to get someone on campus to play quarterback. Larry Smith can’t bust a grape. The Dores have to have a quarterback in this class, period.