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SEC Football: Current State of Recruiting in the Eastern Division

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week we focused on the current recruiting rankings in the SEC West. Unsurprisingly, some of the best recruiting rankings in the country can be found in that division. The SEC East also has some highly ranked teams at the moment, but many of them are likely to cede ground when the rankings get finalized in February. Simply put, the SEC East has teams whose rankings are more susceptible to changes based on their seasons' achievements than the West.

Part One: Current State of Recruiting In The SEC West

Let's break down the East's recruiting.

247 Sports Composite: June 23, 2015
Team 2016 Signing Class Size (est.) Number of Commitments Number of Four- or Five-Stars % Blue Chips Overall Ranking SEC Ranking
Georgia 25 11 6 55% 9 4
UK 21-23 17 2 12% 17 7
Florida 16-19 14 2 14% 19 8
Tennessee 20-22 11 4 36% 21 9
Missouri 22-24 11 2 18% 43 12
S. Carolina 16-18 5 2 40% 63 13
Vandy 25 6 0 0% 67 14

Impressions:

  • At this point in the summer, it's clear the SEC East is not recruiting near as well as the SEC West except for Georgia. The 'Dawgs have a consensus five star quarterback commit from Washington state, and the rest of them consist of Georgia kids with one exception. New offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is being credited with earning the commits of two blue chips, and a staff that already recruited well apparently just got stronger. UGA looks to be in the mix for at least a dozen other blue chips as well, many of which are in-state recruits. Georgia will probably ride the wave of in-state talent to finish somewhere near the top five come February.
  • Speaking of relying on in-state talent, Kentucky has done much the same this cycle as the Commonwealth has had an unusually strong prep class relative to historical norms. Additionally, UK has received commitments from 11 prospects from Ohio. UK was able to hold off Michigan from poaching its Ohio recruiting ace last winter, and Vince Marrow is proving he was worth his raise. However, if any team is due to drop in the rankings it's the Wildcats. While they could pick up another blue chip or have a commitment get an upgrade before NSD, they are very close to the limit of this signing class barring serious attrition after the season.
  • Florida probably won't finish within a top 20 finish either unless several of its current commits later get recruited over or they see upgrades in their rankings. Like UK, Florida probably can't add many more recruits given a small senior class; however, Florida's final blue-chip percentage will likely be higher given some of the highly-ranked recruits they appear to be in on.
  • Tennessee's recruiting remains strong heading into Year Three of the Butch Jones era. UT is unlikely to match the highs of previous signing classes, as negative recruiting regarding early playing time has likely picked up. UT may be a victim of its own previous recruiting success. This class should probably be judged as a success if UT is able to sign the classes best players at the most critical positions. The final blue chip percentage probably holds par, which is very impressive.
  • Roughly 11 months ago, South Carolina was sitting at 21 commitments with a blue chip percentage of roughly 50%. This cycle has been far slower—both of its blue chip prospects gave their commitments in 2014—which could be linked to uncertainty surrounding Steve Spurrier. It will be interesting to see how many recruits South Carolina brings into the fold during camp season this summer prior to the start of the season. Perhaps playing to their advantage is that Georgia is loaded with talent this year, the Bulldogs can't take everyone, and South Carolina has historical connections to many of the high schools there. Still, this probably will be a small signing class.
  • Missouri has a shot of climbing the rankings, as its overall commitment list should double before all is said and done. Hurting Mizzou is the lack of in-state talent this cycle leaving little wiggle room. Missouri will probably have another strong season regardless, and continue to remind the public that developing players is just as important as recruiting them.
  • Vanderbilt is, unsurprisingly, struggling on the recruiting trail currently. The prospect of another torture chamber grim season and the potential for a coaching change will do that. A season that shows improvement will add to recruiting momentum.

It will be interesting to see how the season plays out for teams like Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee and what impact that will have on their recruiting classes. Florida would appear to be a team with the most to gain if it can get to eight wins. Georgia, though, is firmly in the commander's chair from here on out.