Biggest takeaways from the SEC’s dominant National Signing Day

High School Football: National Signing Day-Lorenzo Carter

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Now that National Signing Day is all but in the rearview, let’s recap an overall dominant signing day showing by the SEC schools.

SEC flexes its muscle

Let’s put it frankly: SEC teams torched other conferences on signing day. The conference finished with seven of the top 10 classes and finished with 10 of the top 25 in the country. Of the top 10 players in the country, SEC schools landed seven of them, including the top two prospects. All total, SEC schools signed 14 of the top 20 players in the country and 27 of the top 50. For comparison, the Big Ten landed three of the top 50, and the ACC signed 10 of the top 50. What the SEC accomplished (again) is the equivalent of reloading a cruise missile entering the College Football Playoff era.

Last year, the SEC was dominant, too, only the conference finished with five of the top 10 classes. This year, it finished with seven.

The best ever?

Alabama’s signing class is ridiculous, and many are saying – on paper – it is the best in the modern recruiting era. The class is ridiculous because of the amount of top tier talent that signed. According to 247Sports, the Tide signed six five-star players and 15 four-star players. That’s absurd. The Tide signed the #1 offensive tackle, #1 and #2 cornerbacks, #1 defensive end, #1 and #3 outside linebackers, #1 center and #2 athlete. All total, 17 of the 26 signees were ranked in the top five of their respective positions.

Related: Alabama honors scholarship to player with career ending injury

The Tide have finished first in the team recruiting rankings since 2011. That’s four straight years of winning the mythical recruiting national championship. I don’t think depth or talent will be Nick Saban’s problem.

LSU is a big riser

The Tigers closed very strong on signing day. The second best WR Malachi Dupre signed with LSU over FSU, and 4-star DT Travonte Valentine signed with LSU over Miami. The Tigers also flipped 3-star DE Sione Teuhema to help put the class over the edge and push it to #2 SEC class and #2 overall class in the country.

Big-time finishes for lousy records

Tennessee and Florida finished a combined 9-15 this season, but the Vols and Gators finished 7th and 9th in the country. Florida will always recruit well, because they’re Florida, but Tennessee is the more surprising finisher. The Vols haven’t been to a bowl game in three years, and Butch Jones just hauled in a fantastic class.

Related: Tennessee National Signing Day recap

Both the Florida and Tennessee coaching staffs should be lauded for their efforts. The Vols finished 7th in the country after signing 34 players, while Florida finished 9th and signing 23 players. Yes, the sheer volume of signees helped push Tennessee towards the top, but don’t let the top tier talent in the class fool you.

Related: Florida National Signing Day recap

Division separation

The SEC West racked up the top four SEC classes in Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn. Tennessee, Florida and Georgia all finished in the top 10 for the East. Still, the West is funneling and controlling the top talent. The West signed seven of the top 10 players in the country and 18 of the top 50 players, while the East signed eight of the top 50. The SEC West has created separation over the last few years on the field, and that doesn’t look like its slowing down anytime soon.

5-star OLB Rashaan Evans’ shocker

The biggest shocker of the day was the top-ranked outside linebacker Rashaan Evans. The Auburn native was thought to stay home and play for the Tigers, but he chose the rival Crimson Tide. Evans was one of three top outside linebackers the Tide signed, and he has a big-time future.

Top recruiter

Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon hauled in the talent for the Bulldogs. McClendon was in charge of signing 5-star DE Lorenzo Carter, 4-star WR Isaiah McKenzie, 5-star RB Sony Michel and 5-star RB Nick Chubb, among others. Georgia has always recruited well, and McClendon is a major reason why they landed a top 10 class this season.

How the SEC finished in the conference and nationally:

1. Alabama (1)
2. LSU (2)
3. Texas A&M (5)
4. Auburn (6)
5. Tennessee (7)
6. Georgia (8)
7. Florida (9)
8. Ole Miss (15)
9. South Carolina (18)
10. Kentucky (22)
11. Arkansas (30)
12. Mississippi State (38)
13. Missouri (39)
14. Vanderbilt (46)

Photo Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports



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  • Division dominance just flat out ain’t true

    • Dominance might not have been the best word; separation may have been. However, winning the last five SEC Championships makes a strong case for dominance.

  • So excited for this recruiting class to come in. I love the fact that 14 guys are already enrolled.

    • That was the only way to not have to gray shirt people in that giant class y’all have. I seriously don’t know how you get that many recruits and are going to be able to manage -_-

    • Just gotta feel for the 7 or 8 kids that won’t have a scholarship come fall.

      • I understand that UT had some extra scholarships from players leaving early. But that still doesn’t make sense how they could get 37 commits. How many will stay? So Butch can recruit, but isn’t Tennessee still under an NCAA probation, limiting their scholarships from the LK era?

      • I believe one player is being grey shirted and the rest are on scholarships. The reasoning of all this a long story but Butch knows what he is doing and the ?NCAA wouldnt let him continue to do that in recruiting without stopping him. Plus we didn’t sign 37 it was more like 32 with one going to prep school and two more committing somewhere else.

  • Can we all agree that Bama should be forced to take off a year of recruiting? Aren’t there federal laws against what they do year in and year out?
    Seriously, though, I guess it is “fun” every season to see if anyone is able to take them down.

    • The sarcasm is strong with ^this post^…

      However, four fundamental rules of the “SEC jungle” clearly apply here:

      a) You don’t usually kill elephants with BB guns….. you just make them really mad.
      b) If you can’t hunt with the big dogs, just stay on the freakin’ porch……like Smokey does
      c) Haters’ gonna always hate.
      d) If your program of choice gets the majority of (c) in your conference, chances are good that you’re probably doin’ something right.

      • You mean like that 2 game losing streak?

        • LOL! You know you’re team is great when after winning 3 out of 4 national titles rival fans start using an 11-2 season as “bad”. By the way, how’s that three game losing streak to Bama feel? You might want to get that fixed before pointing to someone else’s losing streak.

  • So many players at Bama will never their chance to play in the NFL, because they ride the pine at Bama. It’s becoming stupid to even go there at this pont.

    • Including the 33 that went to the NFL (just since the ’09 draft)…. AND not counting the ones that’ll go in a couple of months………EPIC FAIL, you bet ‘cha..
      BTW, while you’re spouting facts, don’t bother counting the NFC Rookie of the Year this past season either.
      No more “corn in the jug” for you today……. ;)

  • What’s the actual record between the SEC and other conferences over the past 4 years?, margin of victory?, margin of losses?

    What’s the actual record between the SEC West and SEC East? over the past 4 years?

    There is a difference between the star ratings and the results that just can be accounted for by coaching and development. Sorry I’m not buying these wildly unreconciled ratings or conclusions. If they were right there would be a lot greater difference in the questions above.

    Congratulations to all our conference members on a great class.

    • 8 wins and 6 losses West. Lose one more game and it’s an even regular SEC conf. season. and while we are clearly the best bowl game record conference, is that record as good as the recruiting services say it should be? no As followers, we and our recruits need to be very careful about believing the ‘service talk about our signee. Didn’t AJ McCarron just say the same thing a couple weeks ago when talking about the Alabama season?

      • The raters themselves don’t agree AND change their scores. The article you * is written by the raters, what statistics are they going to select? Have you noticed that the rating scores fall on a scale that covers percentage grades that don’t match increments proportional to the *****,****,***,** fourth have you noticed that they don’t rank everyone, nor do they rank everyone based on the same sample of data. If you cherry pick enough data you can make yourself look right based on several samples of your data. But if you look at all the data and predictions then the wrong projections quickly overwhelm the right ones.

      • and I didn’t read how you explained the SEC east winning at about the same rate… and didn’t Auburn and Alabama lose their bowl games (example of selecting some sensational but unscientific data)