Published February 11, 2013 - 3:56pm
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The SEC dominated last week’s National Signing Day, and 40 percent of the top 100 players signed with SEC teams. The SEC is a machine that isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Even Kentucky and Vanderbilt are cashing in.
Here’s a look at the top recruiting classes by position:
Signees: 4* PRO Hayden Rettig and 4* DUAL Anthony Jennings
Buzz: Les Miles and the Tigers signed two four-star quarterbacks in Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings. Rettig is a 6-3, 190-pound pro-style quarterback with a big arm, while Jennings is 6-2, 200-pound dual-threat athletic quarterback. Each will give Les Miles options in the future. Miles has been partial to running quarterbacks in the past (see Jordan Jefferson), and we saw how ineffective the passing offense was at times with Zach Mettenberger in 2012. Rettig and Jennings give the Tigers a future quarterback competition with options.
Running Back: Alabama
Signees: 5* Derrick Henry, 4* Alvin Kamara, 4* Tyren Jones and 4* Altee Tenpenny
Buzz: To say Alabama’s 2013 running back haul was impressive is to state the obvious. As the top back in the country (listed as an athlete in most recruiting services), Derrick Henry is a beast at 6-3, 245 pounds. The five-star Henry, along with four-star Alvin Kamara, four-star Altee Tenpenny and four-star Tyren Jones, all came from outside the state of Alabama. Henry could move into an H-Back role similar to what Jalston Fowler did before he got hurt in ‘12, and Kamara could slide out and play some slot receiver. See how fast the stacked running back group got more attractive with just “two signees”? That’s how fast Saban can turn things around and haul in another top back in 2014. I’m not so sure this isn’t the best running back haul ever for any one team in college football. At least it will be entertaining to see how Bama keeps them all happy. Is that possible?
Wide Receiver: Florida
Signees: 4* Demarcus Robinson, 4* Ahmad Fullwood, 4* Alvin Bailey, 3* Chris Thompson and 3* Marqui Hawkins
Buzz: Florida had zero playmakers in 2012 at wide receiver, and Will Muschamp made it priority to sign five or six of them. He ended up signing five and missed out on James Clark on signing day. Inking five receivers is important considering Florida was ranked 118th in the country in passing offense. Watch out for Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fullwood to make a splash at receiver, and Alvin Bailey could jumpstart special teams, too.
Offensive Line: LSU
Signees: 4* OT Ethan Pocic, 4* OG Josh Boutte, 4* OG Andy Dodd, 3* OT Fehoko Fanaika and 3* C KJ Malone
Buzz: Being a former offensive lineman himself, Les Miles usually signs a top line class. And this year was no different. Miles’ biggest new big ugly is 6-7, 290-pound Ethan Pocic, and he’s about as physical as it gets for tackles in the country. LSU loses both tackles and a center in 2013, and hauling in five signees will help tremendously. Pocic is also an early enrollee and should compete for playing time in 2013, but don’t sleep on any of the other newcomers.
Defensive End: Alabama
Signees: 5* OLB/DE Jonathan Allen, 4* Tim Williams and 4* Dee Liner
Buzz: Nick Saban and Kirby Smart are known to recruit bigger defensive players who are possible ‘tweeners between positions, and the ‘13 class is no different. Jonathan Allen should become Nick Saban’s next great pass rusher much like Courtney Upshaw. Allen is 6-3, 260 pounds, and he can either play with his hand on the ground or at the JACK linebacker. Williams is a little lighter at 225 pounds, though he will add weight and be a rush end for the Tide. Dee Liner is much like Quinton Dial and enters Alabama listed as a tackle. However, Bama should utilize Liner more at end like Dial at 277 pounds. This group is insanely talented.
Defensive Tackle: Florida
Signees: 4* Darious Cummings, 4* Jarran Reed, 4* Caleb Brantley and 4* Jay-nard Bostwick
Buzz: Will Muschamp had to make 2013 a priority for defensive tackles. Losing Sharrif Floyd and Omar Hunter left huge holes. However, Florida signed the top tackle class of the conference. JUCO signees Darious Cummings and Jarran Reed will make an instant splash, while Caleb Brantley and Jay-nard Bostwick will get their feet wet in 2013 and continue to develop in the future. Muschamp and his staff landed all four even though former defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Dan Quinn went to Seattle. Altogether, defensive tackle will be a strongpoint moving forward.
Signees: 5* Alex Anzalone, 4* Daniel McMillian, 4* Matt Rolin and 3* Jarrad Davis
Buzz: Much like defensive tackle, Muschamp hauled in an exceptional linebacking group for the future. Alex Anzalone and Daniel McMillian are SEC-ready as freshmen, and Jarrad Davis could turn out to be the biggest underrated recruit in the ‘13 class for the Gators. The three of Anzalone, Rolin and Davis were flipped from other schools.
Defensive Backs: Florida
Signees: 5* CB Vernon Hargreaves, 4* S Marcell Harris, 4* S Keanu Neal and 4* S Nick Washington
Buzz: Surprise – Will Muschamp signed yet again another top position group on defense. This time it’s the defensive backs, and this group has a chance to be special. Muschamp has a knack for signing bigger corners to match up against physical receivers, and Hargreaves may be the best corner prospect in the SEC since Eric Berry signed at Tennessee (who later moved to safety). Look for all four to be impact players in the future, but Hargreaves could be the top corner in the country in just two years. He has lockdown potential.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports