NSD 2018 Wrap-Up: SEC superlatives
Today we re-visited the way the SEC ranked in the 2018 Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings now that National Signing Day is in the books. But it’s also worth taking note of some superlatives as it pertains to the conference, especially considering how heated things can get on the recruiting trail.
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Georgia drew a lot of praise for its success during the first Early Signing Period, but the program worked for more the next six weeks. The Bulldogs put a bow on their No. 1 signing class in 2018 on National Signing Day by flipping Quay Walker from Alabama and Otis Reese from Michigan, then taking Tommy Bush out of Texas and locking up five-star cornerback Tyson Campbell from Florida.
Kirby Smart and his Georgia Bulldogs have been the talk of the country after signing eight five-stars in this class. It is impossible to keep all of the talent home, but they signed six of the top eight in Georgia and hit on many of the ones they targeted in their home state.
What Georgia did in 2018 will be hard for anyone to repeat in 2019, but Georgia is off to a good start with seven commits, including one from five-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood, the No. 1 junior in the Peach State.
Auburn turned things around in a major way on the field in 2017 and the program also turned things up a notch on the recruiting trail. The Tigers finished No. 3 in the conference, behind only Georgia and Alabama, marking their highest finish in conference since 2012. Despite their high finish the Tigers didn’t garner much attention, so we’re here to rectify that. Signing players like four-star quarterback Joey Gatewood and four-star running back Asa Martin should help the Tigers restock the talent that had them playing for an SEC Championship last fall.
Given that Arkansas elected to take less than 20 players in this class combined with the short period of time the new staff had to put things together, it’s tough to put the Razorbacks in this spot. But considering the school is clearly in need of an upgraded roster, finishing last in the SEC standings in recruiting is still a disappointment. Chad Morris is a great recruiter and an innovative offensive mind, but he will have to do better at landing top talent to get things turned around in Fayetteville.
There are several good candidates for this one but it has to go to Alabama and Auburn for missing out on five-star wide receiver Justyn Ross. It’s not often that the top player in the state of Alabama doesn’t end up playing for the Tide or the Tigers, with Jameis Winston in 2012 being the last to do so and we all know how that turned out. Ross was badly wanted by both schools and at different times during his recruitment it seemed like both schools led. But Clemson’s national recruiting reach continues to impress.
Tennessee earns this honor for stealing J.J. Peterson away from Alabama and nabbing his commitment before he had ever even set fit on campus in Knoxville. The Rivals100 linebacker wasn’t committed to the Tide, but he had been projected by many to end up in Tuscaloosa for quite some time. That likely still would have happened had Jeremy Pruitt not left to take over the job in Knoxville, but once he did Peterson couldn’t wait to join him. Even after he committed to the Vols, Alabama made another late run but still came up empty.