10 SEC players from 2016 class who outperformed their recruiting ranking
Recruiting is an inexact science. The time invested watching prospects from across the country is meant to help create an educated projection of player’s capabilities.
Potential can be a tricky thing, however. Some can’t-miss prospects fail to make any impact, while overlooked high school players blossom into college and NFL stars.
In 2016, there were several freshmen who left a much bigger mark than expected. Here are the top 10 prospects from the Class of 2016 who outperformed their recruiting rankings.
10. Lamical Perine (3-star RB) – Florida: Florida had a crowded backfield to begin the season, but Perine earned his way into the rotation. Against Kentucky, Perine broke out for 105 yards on 17 carries. Perine outperformed his higher-rated fellow newcomer Mark Thompson and finished with 421 yards and a touchdown.
9. Brian Herrien (3-star RB) – Georgia: When fans discussed incoming Georgia running backs, Elijah Holyfield dominated the conversation. On the field, however, Herrien became the main contributor. As Nick Chubb and Sony Michel dealt with injuries, Herrien proved to be a valuable Plan C. The No. 54 running back prospect in 2016, Herrien gained 377 total yards and three touchdowns.
8. Daniel Thomas (3-star S) – Auburn: The lowest-rated prospect in Auburn’s 2016 class (he didn’t even receive a national rank), Thomas showed a lot of promise after stepping in for Rudy Ford late in the season. Against Alabama, Thomas snagged two interceptions to go with six tackles. Thomas ended the season with 16 total tackles, two interceptions and 1.5 tackles for a loss.
— C.J. Holmes (@_ceejay22au) November 26, 2016
7. David Marshall (3-star SDE) – Georgia: Marshall wasn’t among the Bulldog’s blue-chip prospects last season, but he made an immediate contribution on defense. As part of a young front seven, Marshall notched 26 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
6. Cale Garrett (3-star LB) – Missouri: Usually a formidable unit, Missouri’s defense had a disappointing season. The Tigers did, however, find a pleasant surprise in Garrett. The linebacker was Missouri’s lowest-rated prospect — another who didn’t crak the top 1,000 nationally — but Garrett finished 2016 with 47 tackles, six tackles for a loss and an interception.
5. Josh Jacobs (3-star APB) – Alabama: For a program used to having a backfield filled with 5-star recruits, Jacobs’ contribution in 2016 was surprising — and needed. Jacobs wasn’t even on most teams’ radar as signing day approached, but Alabama made him an offer. As a true freshman, Jacobs finished fourth on the team with 567 yards and four touchdowns.
4. Trayveon Williams (4-star APB) – Texas A&M: Williams wasn’t an unknown prospect, but he blossomed from the No. 311 recruit nationally into a bonafide star. The first-year back secured a starting job and led the Aggies with 1,057 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Williams finished 10th in the SEC in rushing last year — he was the No. 8-ranked athlete in his class last season.
3. Dimetrios Mason (3-star WR) – Missouri: Missouri’s passing attack came alive in 2016, and Mason played a big role in helping that happen. Mason came to Missouri is just the 210th wide receiver prospect in the country, but he finished the season as the Tigers’ second-leading pass catcher. The former 3-star recruit caught 47 passes for 587 yards and three touchdowns.
— Will Gregg ️ (@willtrill5) October 29, 2016
2. Jawaan Taylor (3-star OG) – Florida: The Gators sought improvement along the offensive line in 2016, and they got solid contribution from one of their least-heralded prospects. Taylor, the nation’s No. 46 guard prospect, took over at right tackle in the second game of the season and never looked back. For his excellent play, Taylor was named to the 2016 Freshman All-SEC Team. Quite a quick rise for the nation’s No. 953rd-ranked player.
1. Benny Snell (3-star RB) – Kentucky: One of the best freshmen in the SEC, Snell paired with Stanley Williams to give Kentucky the only pair of 1,000-yard rushers in the conference. Ranked just the 56th running back prospect in the class, Snell averaged nearly 6 yards per carry and finished with 1,091 yards and 13 touchdowns. Only two SEC players found the end zone more often.
All rankings courtesy of the 247Sports Composite