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Wednesday, January 8, 2014
SEC class rankings analysis

By Gerry Hamilton

The all-star game circuit has come and gone, and with the final high school games for the majority of top prospects in the country comes a number of commitments. As expected, the SEC conference cleaned up, as the conference now has seven of the top 10 ranked classes nationally and all 14 programs in the Top 37 in the RecruitingNation class rankings.

Trending up: There are a few choices here, but LSU and Texas A&M are the big winners. LSU got the one prospect in the class it had to have in running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine), the nation’s No. 1 prospect, during the Under Armour All-America Game, as well as No. 23-overall Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron). With the two huge verbals, LSU jumps from No. 11 to No. 7 in the national rankings, and from No. 7 to No. 4 in the conference. And the Tigers aren’t done, as they remain in the hunt for No. 7 Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra), No. 13 Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and No. 25 Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian).

Like LSU, Texas A&M had a big weekend, plucking five-star prospect Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr), the nation’s No. 8 player, during the Under Armour All-America Game and No. 89-ranked Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside) over the weekend. The Aggies remain in the hunt for No. 124 overall Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe) and linebacker Kenny Young (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian), among others.

Trending down: The Florida Gators slipped from No. 5 to No. 7 in the conference with the loss of No. 20 prospect Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central High), coupled with the ascension of LSU and Auburn. While trending down seems like a negative, it’s not so bad in this case, as the Gators have the No. 10 ranked class nationally and still have plenty of top prospects to choose from as they fill the final 4-5 spots in the class.

Also slightly trending down is Georgia, which fell from No. 4 to No. 5 in the conference with LSU’s jump. The Bulldogs continue to be a candidate to slip in the conference rankings, as they’ll have a smaller class than other conference teams. Should Georgia close with five-star DE Carter and No. 120 prospect Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King), a top 10 class nationally is a good bet even if UGA doesn’t finish in the conference’s top 5.

One to watch: Auburn is the pick here. Not only are the Tigers slowly trending up into the top 10 nationally, but they have the possibility to ascend with No. 84 prospect Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Al./Auburn) and No. 168-ranked Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy) still on the board, among others. The Tigers are considered the favorite to land both Evans and Williams.

Behind the numbers: The SEC is up to 106 commitments in the ESPN 300 following a bevy of commitments in the last 10 days. The conference remains in line to secure at least 10 more of the 36 uncommitted prospects remaining in the ESPN 300.

Bold prediction: There are currently six five-star prospects committed to SEC schools. That is impressive considering that there are only 10 five-stars committed. The SEC will also get the remaining five-star prospects uncommitted and end the 2014 cycle with nine of 13 five-stars. That means Jackson, Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) and Carter will sign with SEC teams.

As a bonus prediction, there will be seven schools from the SEC finish in the Top 10 of the RecruitingNation rankings. While there are currently seven in the top 10, that means every program will close well and continue to ascend, holding off programs around the country as national signing day draws near. The SEC programs in the top 10 currently are No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 7 LSU, No. 8 Georgia, No. 9 Auburn and No. 10 Florida.