Revisiting the SEC’s freshmen and where they ranked as recruits

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With National Signing Day under a week away, let’s take a look at the top freshmen in the SEC in 2012 and where they were ranked according to 247Sports Composite Rankings.

The composite rankings include the average star ranking of the big four recruiting services – 247Sports, Rivals, Scout and ESPN. It’s a unique and new way to rank the prospects.

This list, which ranks players by their overall composite ranking in the country for 2012, does not include redshirt freshmen like Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans or Denzel Nkemdiche – only true freshmen.

Five-Stars

1. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri: DGB caught 28 passes for 395 yards and a team-high five touchdowns. He started to come on toward the latter part of the season.

3. DJ Humphries, OT, Florida: The early enrollee played in several games along the offensive line, and Florida actually used Humphries at tight end to give them an extra big athletic body for blocking purposes.

7. Landon Collins, DB, Alabama: Collins recorded 17 tackles but he didn’t play many significant snaps in the secondary.

12. Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia: Marshall had 117 carries for 759 yards and eight touchdowns. He split time with fellow freshman Todd Gurley.

13. Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida: Bullard played in all 13 games, notching 27 tackles, five tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He really started to come on towards the end of the season.

16. John Theus, OT, Georgia: Theus started all 14 games at right tackle and will be a staple on the UGA line for a couple more years. Offensive linemen don’t start as freshmen, but Theus was one of the unusual studs.

18. Trey Williams, RB, Texas A&M: Williams played in every game for the Aggies. He had 65 carries for 376 yards and five touchdowns to go along with his 25 kick returns for 557 yards.

20. Josh Harvey-Clemons, DB/OLB, Georgia: JHC played in all 14 games for Georgia, recording 14 tackles, mostly on special teams.

29. TJ Yeldon, RB, Alabama: Yeldon should have been ranked much higher than he actually was in ‘12, and he electrified the SEC with his 175 carries for 1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns. Like Cooper, Yeldon was key in the Tide’s championship run.

33. Thomas Johnson, WR, Texas A&M: Johnson made an impact as a freshman, playing in 10 games and catching 30 passes for 339 yards and one touchdown. However, he left the team in December and went home.

34. Channing Ward, DE, Ole Miss: Ward played in 12 games, recording 21 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.

35. Jordan Jenkins, DE, Georgia: Jenkins arguably could have been a starter if not for Jarvis Jones. He made 31 tackles, eight tackles for loss and five sacks, and he’s going to be a star.

Four-Stars

36. Dante Fowler, DE, Florida: Like Bullard, Fowler played a key role for the Gators, racking up 30 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He’s going to be quite the player and had a better year than Bullard.

40. Shaq Roland, WR, South Carolina: Roland only caught five passes for 80 yards and a touchdown as a freshman.

41. Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama: Ragland played in 11 games and recorded only eight tackles.

43. Cyrus Jones, WR, Alabama: Jones played mostly on special teams returning punts and kicks. He had eight punt returns for 61 yards and 10 kick returns for 250 yards.

45. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: Cooper was arguably the best deep-threat in the SEC, and he caught 59 passes for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged a nasty 16.9 yards per catch and was so instrumental in the Tide’s national championship run.

48. Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina: Davis saw more carries after Marcus Lattimore’s injury. He logged 52 carries for 275 yards and two touchdowns.

74. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: Gurley was arguably the top freshman in the SEC, logging 222 carries for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns. He led all running backs in rushing yards and touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per carry.

86. Kwon Alexander, LB, LSU: Alexander played in seven games, making two starts and logging 12 tackles, one tackle for loss and one forced fumble.

91. LaDarrell McNeil, DB, Tennessee: McNeil saw his playing time improve after Brian Randolph went down with an injury. He played in 11 games, making seven starts and logging 58 tackles and one forced fumble. He’s going to be a star.

98. Evan Boehm, OL, Missouri: Boehm was thrust into the starting role because of injuries on the Tigers’ offensive line. And he held his own throughout the entire season. This kid is going to be special.

119. Quay Evans, DT, Miss State: Evans played in 10 games making just seven tackles.

156. Matt Jones, RB, Florida: Jones logged 52 carries for 275 yards and three touchdowns backing up senior Mike Gillislee.

160. Vadal Alexander, OL, LSU: Alexander received immediate playing time because of the attrition to LSU’s offensive line. He made nine starts and played in all 13 games and was a second-team freshman All-American.

242. Brian Kimbrow, RB, Vanderbilt: Kimbrow shared time with Zac Stacy and Wesley Tate. He had 66 carries for 413 yards and three touchdowns.

297. Otha Peters, LB, Arkansas: Peters played in 10 games making 32 tackles.

Three-Stars

327. Isaac Gross, DT, Ole Miss: Gross played in all 13 games, starting seven, as an undersized nose tackle. He recorded 40 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He was a major underrated player.

344. Antonio Morrison, LB, Florida: Morrison was arguably Florida’s top freshman. Just a three-star out of high school, Morrison logged 34 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. He hits like a truck.

467. AJ Turner, LB, Arkansas: Turner played in all 12 games, making 53 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He made a much needed impact right away.

618. Caleb Azubike, DE, Vanderbilt: Azubike played a lot as a freshman making 21 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. He could be a breakout player in 2013.

Photo Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

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