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Wednesday, January 15, 2014
SEC class rankings analysis

By Gerry Hamilton

Another week of the RecruitingNation class rankings, another week with SEC schools dominating the rankings. Thirteen of 14 SEC programs claim spots in the top 40, with only Vanderbilt having slipped out this week following James Franklin leaving the Commodores for Penn State. As has been the case most of this cycle, Alabama is holding down the No. 1 spot nationally. The SEC also has four of the top five classes nationally and seven in the top 10.

Trending up: LSU is the big mover in the SEC, jumping three spots to No. 4. While the Tigers remain at 18 commitments, a number of their verbal pledges made jumps in the final ESPN 300 for the Class of 2014 led by Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory School), who jumped nearly 50 spots to No. 54 overall. Seven Tigers commits made jumps in the final ESPN 300, which led to LSU's rise nationally. With LSU still in on a number of highly rated prospects, the Tigers remain a possibility to end with the No. 2-ranked class nationally and in the SEC.

Auburn also continues to trend up, and with a handful of highly rated prospects still in play, the Tigers could challenge for a top-five class. Auburn is currently No. 9 nationally, which is good for No. 6 in the SEC.

Trending down: While the Volunteers have the No. 5-ranked class nationally and No. 4 in the conference, they already have 33 commitments and little room remaining in the 2014 class. That coupled with other programs picking up verbals and changes in the final ESPN 300, the Vols ranking could be slipping. While Tennessee is almost assured of finishing with a top-10 class nationally, the Vols will have a tough time remaining in the top five.

One to watch: A victim of small class numbers, the Bulldogs have been trending down for weeks as others have piled up commitments. While Georgia has very limited spots remaining, the hire of Jeremy Pruitt as defensive coordinator could give the class a final shot in the arm. If the Bulldogs can finish with five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and one more, a top-10 finish is likely. Georgia is currently the No. 7-ranked class in the conference and No. 10 nationally.

Behind the numbers: There are 107 prospects in the final ESPN 300 currently committed to SEC schools. Breaking it down further, the SEC West is responsible for 60 of those pledges, with the East having 47. Alabama leads with way with 17 ESPN 300 commitments, LSU has 14, Florida has 12, and Texas A&M and Tennessee each check in with 11.

There are also eight five-star prospects currently committed to SEC programs, out of 15 possible. Of the eight, seven are SEC West verbals with the Crimson Tide having four alone. There is the possibility that as many as 11 five-star recruits will sign with SEC programs, with No. 9 overall Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra), No. 14 Carter and No. 15 Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) still strongly considering SEC schools.

Bold prediction: The Auburn Tigers will finish with a top-five class nationally. While that doesn’t sound bold to predict, it means Auburn will beat out Alabama for No. 52 overall Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn), pull the upset for No. 127 Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South), snag No. 174 Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian) and one more big fish.