Florida, Florida über alles
As expected, Florida brought in the nation's top rated class according to two of the three major services (and is a close second on Rivals). Just getting signed letters of intent from all of the verbal commits prior to today would have made for the best class in the conference, but the Gators added two more four star recruits in Chaz Green and Adrian Coxson. This is all still a minor miracle considering how unstable everything in Gainesville looked just over a month ago.
UF has now taken the league's recruiting crown from Alabama, who has held it the last two years. Since 2006, either Florida or Alabama has been ranked as having the best class in the SEC. Given the participants of the last two SEC Championship games, that should come as no surprise.
The Yellowhammer State ended a split decision.
The services disagree as to who had the best class in the state of Alabama, and that in and of itself is a victory for Auburn. Bama showed some chinks in the armor, losing coveted CB Keenan Allen to Cal, while Auburn picked up big name after big name.
It's not like having either the fourth or fifth best class in the country is anything for Crimson Tide fans to be upset about; roughly 115 teams in the land would probably want to swap classes with Bama. Still, for Auburn to end up neck and neck after a season in which the Tide was 14-0 and the Tigers were 8-5 is a win for Gene Chizik and his staff. We still need to see them coach up a better team that what we saw in 2009, but closing the gap in recruiting is a key step towards closing the gap between the teams' records.
Derek Dooley is a fine salvage man.
Lane Kiffin bolted a few weeks ago, taking Tennessee's best recruiter with him. The school was rejected by its first few head coaching choices. Recruits appeared to be wavering at best and bailing at worst. I don't think anyone would have blamed Dooley if his first class wasn't stellar, especially when even good recruiters turn in transitional classes below their potential all the time.
Despite some inevitable losses, Dooley firmed up most of the existing commitments. He added some good prospects too, headlined by former Georgia commit WR Da'Rick Rogers. If this is what Dooley can do with a couple weeks, then Tennessee is likely just fine when it comes to recruiting in the future. Of course, the same caveats about coaching them up that apply to Chizik apply here.
Les Miles sure knows how to close.
After Lane Kiffin was the one piling up signing day flips last year, it was Miles in Baton Rouge doing it this year. He snared 4* WR Kadron Boone, a guy who decommitted from Texas Tech after the Mike Leach fiasco started, and got two other guys to do NSD decommits: 4* DE J.C. Copeland (Tennessee) and 4* WR Jarrett Fobbs (Texas A&M). Those nabs helped shore up yet another top 10 class for LSU, which hasn't been ranked below 11th in recruiting by anyone since 2005.
It wasn't a banner day for Georgia.
Georgia didn't end up impressing to the degree Bulldog fans wanted to. UGA lost out on some highly touted recruits, some to other SEC schools like Da'Rick Rogers to Tennessee. The final ranking was not as high as most wanted either, but there's a good reason for that. Georgia signed just 19 players, and a larger class with the same proportion of star ratings as those 19 would have resulted in a much higher ranking. On an average star basis, Mark Richt made out better than a lot of the teams ranked above him, so while it wasn't a blowout day, it wasn't a failure either.
Ole Miss made a late push.
After hanging around in the 30s of the rankings for most of the process, Ole Miss sealed the deal with some players yesterday to end up in the mid teens. It's an important step for the program to show that it will remain a factor in the conference and not just sink back down to bottom feeder status. In fact, these back-to-back top 20 classes that Houston Nutt have brought in are better than the school did under famed recruiter Ed Orgeron when he was in charge (only his 2006 haul made the teens). It's a bit early to project the Rebels becoming a powerhouse in the division, but they sure are making progress.