Biggest need for each SEC East team ahead of National Signing Day
The first Early Signing Period was held in December, and it proved to be a huge success, with a good portion of 2018 athletes signing with their preferred schools.
That took some of the shine off Wednesday’s National Signing Day, but there are still plenty of talented players to be signed.
For teams in the SEC East, that’s a good thing, as there are weaknesses with each team’s class as it stands (even with Georgia’s, though the Bulldogs have the No. 2 overall class in the nation).
Here’s one position each SEC East squad should target in the buildup to Wednesday’s National Signing Day:
Florida: Defensive line
After years of mediocrity on offense, it’s no surprise that first-year head coach Dan Mullen is targeting players on that side of the ball with his first recruiting class.
Ten of Florida’s 16 signees and commits are offensive players. Mullen likely isn’t done adding players to his offense, but he should also focus on adding a defensive lineman or two before Wednesday.
The Gators have to replace Taven Bryan, who left a year early for the NFL. Building depth at the position on National Signing Day would be ideal. Andrew Chatfield, a 4-star DE, is down to Florida and Miami, and he would be a huge get for Mullen and the Gators.
Georgia: Wide receiver
The Bulldogs signed one 4-star receiver in Kearis Jackson, but that’s the only receiver who is currently in the 2018 class.
For a team that is losing Javon Wims and will rely heavily on a senior in Terry Godwin in 2018, replenishing the ranks at the position will be important. They’re still in the mix for 4-star WR Antoine Green out of Florida, and adding him to an already star-studded class would be huge for coach Kirby Smart and his staff.
The Wildcats got some good news this NFL Draft season, as both Josh Allen and Jordan Jones will return for one more year in Lexington.
Still, the time to recruit a particular position is before you have a need, not when it becomes a need. Right now, the Wildcats have 20 signees and two hard commits, and not a single one plays linebacker.
Look for Mark Stoops to make that position a priority this week.
Missouri: A star player
The Tigers have a pretty balanced class so far, but they’ve yet to add a 4- or 5-star player to the mix. If they don’t find one by Wednesday, it’ll be the first year since 2006 that they don’t have at least one 4- or 5-star player in their recruiting class.
Mizzou might have found its quarterback of the future in former LSU QB Lindsey Scott, but the Tigers could still use another splashy player in this class. They still have a chance to land 4-star DT Michael Thompson, but they’re competing with Oklahoma for the St. Louis prospect’s services.
Outside of Thompson, there’s not much out there for the Tigers, so coach Barry Odom will need to make his best pitch to try to keep the 4-star defender in state.
South Carolina: Defensive line
The Gamecocks have two defensive linemen — 4-star DE Kingsley Enagbare and 3-star JUCO DT Jabari Ellis — signed, but they’re still thin at the position.
Coach Will Muschamp’s defense will need some young players to fill in at key spots in 2018, and there will be ample opportunities for freshmen to contribute. Rick Sandidge, a 4-star DT out of North Carolina, is a top target, and there’s a good chance the Gamecocks land him Wednesday, which would be huge for their 2018 class.
Tennessee: Defensive backs
The Vols don’t have a single defensive back in their 2018 class, which seems strange for new coach Jeremy Pruitt, who is a former Alabama defensive coordinator.
However, Tennessee is going after guys like 5-star CB Olaijah Griffin and 4-star Isaac Taylor-Stuart, so Pruitt will likely have a defensive back or two before Wednesday’s National Signing Day is done.
Vanderbilt: Pass rushers
The Commodores have only one defensive end and no outside linebackers in their 2018 class, which needs to change by Wednesday.
After losing LB Oren Burks and DE Jonathan Wynn, the Commodores have some holes to fill, but there aren’t many prospects out there for them.
They’re currently targeting 4-star players in DE Malik Langham (who is likely to sign with Alabama) and 3-star OLB Salua Masina (who is giving Vandy a longer look). Landing either would be huge for coach Derek Mason.