Now with National Signing Day in the books, let’s look at the top newcomers in the SEC for 2013. Predicting the top newcomers is often very tough, and these aren’t just merely rankings of the top players. We’re going to look at what type of impact they’ll make and where they’ll make it.
No. 11- Chris Jones, DE, Miss State
From: Houston, MS (Houston)
Size: 6-5, 260 pounds, 4.7 40
The Skinny: Much has been made about Ole Miss’ stellar recruiting class, but it was the Bulldogs, not the Rebels, that signed the top Magnolia state prospect Chris Jones. The 6-5, 260-pound Jones blew up after his unforgettable Under Armour week that sent more offers and more attention his direction. Two storied programs that jumped on Jones late were Alabama and Florida, but it ultimately came down to in-state programs Ole Miss and Mississippi State. In fact, despite being committed to MSU for seven months, Jones flirted with Ole Miss late and took two different trips to Oxford before National Signing Day to no avail. Jones’ recruitment was so intense that he even received death threats entering the final week before signing day.
What Mississippi State is getting: The Bulldogs are getting an SEC-ready 18-year-old future star who arguably has the highest ceiling of anyone in the 2013 recruiting class. Jones’ skills aren’t as raw as Jadeveon Clowney’s exiting high school, but he will possess more athleticism than any defensive end on the roster once he sets foot in Starkville. The one returning starter at defensive end is Denico Autry, and once Jones hits campus, he’ll compete with backups Preston Smith, Kaleb Eulls, Ryan Brown, Nelson Adams, Torrey Dale and AJ Jefferson for playing time. It’s not likely Jones will be ready to start against Oklahoma State. However, as Jones continues to develop and hone his technique, his stock will continue to soar in the SEC. His size, athleticism and quickness of the ball will help make Jones an impact player for MSU, starting next season.
Other impact newcomers:
- No. 12 Za’Darius Smith, Kentucky
- No. 13 OJ Howard, Alabama
- No. 14 Marquez North, Tennessee
- No. 15 Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M
- No. 16 Leon Brown, Alabama
- No. 17 Fred Ross, Mississippi State
- No. 18 Tray Matthews, Georgia
- No. 19 Jonathan Allen, Alabama
- No. 20 Ben Bradley, Auburn
- No. 21 Alex Anzalone, Florida
- No. 22 Carl Lawson, Auburn
- No. 23 Frank Herron, LSU
- No. 24 Larenz Bryant, South Carolina
- No. 25 Ryan Timmons, Kentucky
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports