The winds of change felt weird in the SEC East on signing day, as Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina all introduced new signing classes with new head coaches.
With these new coaches came new ways to poke and prod classes that will become building blocks for three new tenures. But instead of placing somewhat fabricated grades on each class with only paper results to pore over, we're calling this an early assessment.
I'm no high school talent expert, so I looked at all three from a neutral lens by looking at depth, notoriety and needs. It's not perfect, but darn it, it's all I've got:
Kirby Smart, Georgia
ESPN team ranking: No. 7 (13 ESPN 300 signees)
Wins: Smart was able to keep most of Mark Richt's class together, and had six very important early enrollees; including star quarterback Jacob Eason, who could be the starter early in 2016, and No. 1 tight end Isaac Nauta. At receiver, ESPN 300 member Riley Ridley is already on campus and JUCO Javon Wims should help early. Speedy Alabama flip Tyler Simmons was nice signing day get, as was athlete Mecole Hardman, who could play corner and receiver. Smart also scored big along the defensive line with five signees, including Julian Rochester (early enrollee), David Marshall (Auburn flip) and Michail Carter.
Losses: Smart missed on offensive line. Early enrollee Ben Cleveland could help this fall, but Georgia signed just three linemen -- all guards. In-state stud tackle E.J. Price surprisingly picked USC over Georgia, and there wasn't exactly a plan after that. Smart also didn't sign a placekicker, even with Marshall Morgan gone, and he only got one running back (Elijah Holyfield), which is perplexing considering the health issues this position has had. Missing on Price, in-state DT Derrick Brown and Florida DE Brian Burns hurt the closing of this class.
Final analysis: Smart was afforded the luxury of already having a pretty decent class left by Richt. He probably didn't make it tremendously better than what Richt would have mustered, but it's a solid class when you consider he was mostly at Alabama in December. Misses along the offensive line are concerning, though.
Barry Odom, Missouri
ESPN team ranking: No. 51 (No ESPN 300 signees)
Wins: With Maty Mauk's dismissal and Eddie Printz transferring, Odom had to get a quarterback in this class. He got two in three-star Micah Wilson and JUCO transfer Jack Lowary. Odom also had to address running back and No. 2 JUCO RB Natereace Strong could play immediately. Keeping offensive lineman Trystan Castillo was huge, as was getting former Alabama tight end commitment Brendan Scales and former Alabama receiver Chris Black (graduate transfer). Defensive end Tre Williams could be a real sleeper in this class.
Losses: While Strong was a big get for Odom, Missouri missed out on two running backs on NSD, which really hurt. The Tigers needed more quality bodies at running back and only got two. For a team losing four offensive line starters, Mizzou signed just three linemen. Where is the star power in this class? This was the only class in the SEC that didn't sign an ESPN 300 member.
Final analysis: Not only was Odom hampered by having only 12 days of real recruiting with his new staff, he was replacing legendary coach Gary Pinkel. The on-campus strife that swirled throughout the season didn't help recruiting, either. It's an OK start for Odom, but there's no getting around the fact that he and his staff will have to be as good at developing talent as Pinkel's -- if not better.
Will Muschamp, South Carolina
ESPN team ranking: No. 27 (4 ESPN 300 signees)
Wins: Getting ESPN 300 dual-threat QB Brandon McIlwain was a major win because he might have to play early. Muschamp loaded up along the defensive line with seven guys, including ESPN 300 members Keir Thomas and Stephon Taylor. He also landed five receivers, including ESPN 300 playmaker Bryan Edwards. Top-rated JUCO cornerback JaMarcus King and JUCO OT Akeem Cooperwod should compete for early playing time.
Losses: South Carolina lost six commitments after Muschamp's hire. That's high number for a team needing a solid class after the dreadful season it had. Losing Riley Ridley after he was committed for two days was tough. A team in desperate need of secondary help signed only two pure defensive backs. Watching OG John Simpson go to Clemson stung, too.
Final analysis: You do have to wonder what the ceiling is in some areas, and it's important that those defensive linemen and receivers develop quickly. The shortage of defensive backs is worrisome and there's a lot of coaching up to do on both sides. This class needed solid playmakers at skill spots on both sides, and it's just too early to tell about the overall offensive potential.
In the end
Smart was the signing day winner of the three. He hit the defensive line (a major need) and wide receiver hard, while securing the nation's top quarterback. However, misses at offensive line and running back will provide depth issues.
Muschamp's next with that solid defensive line haul and some upgrades at receiver, as well. He has his quarterback for the future, but the secondary is still too thin. So many unknowns sprinkled about, too.
Odom had so much stacked against that it's hard to ask him to do any better. Still, there are some big holes. This feels like such a developmental class and one that can't be the norm if Mizzou is going to press forward with Odom.