SEC breakdown: Recruiting streaks to follow for 2018 class
College football recruiting is often about momentum, and the challenge for most programs is carrying that momentum over from class to class, even if the on-field results vary. Today we take a look at some notable recruiting streaks in the SEC and analyze whether or not schools can extend them with their efforts in the 2018 class.
Will Florida’s impressive run of elite defensive ends continue?
Florida has landed at least one defensive end ranked as a four-star or higher in every class since 2011. The run has included four five-stars, including two in the same class in 2012.
The streak currently stands at six years, but the Gators don’t have a single defensive end, let alone one ranked four-stars or higher, in the fold for 2018. With just four uncommitted four-star defensive ends in the state of Florida, the task is a tall one. Add in the fact that one of such players in IMG Academy’s Stephon Wynn, who came to the boarding school from South Carolina, and things get even tougher.
That said, Florida has an offer out to Armwood High School’s Malcolm Lamar and will likely be a player with him down the stretch should it so choose. The Gators could also reach outside of the state to keep the streak alive, and they have had no problem doing just that in the past.
Will Ole Miss land its usual allotment of four-star prospects?
It is mid-April, less than 10 months to National Signing Day, and Ole Miss is still without its first commitment.
This is not the norm under Hugh Freeze. Since he took over in 2012, every year since the 2013 class, Freeze and Ole Miss have signed at least four four-star prospects. In 2013, the Rebels signed nine four-stars and three five-stars. That was their best class ever in the modern era. In 2014, seven four-stars were signed, then six in 2015 with another monster class in 2016 that consisted of 10 four-stars and one five-star.
With some recruits concerned about the NCAA questions surrounding the program in 2016, the 2017 class finished with only four four-star prospects. This year, with Ole Miss still lacking a 2018 verbal pledge, this streak may be in real danger.
Freeze has brought in top talent on a regular basis since taking over, but this class looks like it may be his toughest to assemble at this stage.
Can Georgia keep the state's top prospect home?
In 2015, Georgia signed defensive tackle Trenton Thompson, the state of Georgia's No. 1 prospect. Since then, they have lost the best in its state to schools in the Pac-12: Demetris Robertson to California in 2016 and quarterback Davis Mills to Stanford in 2017.
Even before Thompson, in 2013 and 2014, the Dawgs lost Robert Nkemdiche to Ole Miss and Raekwon McMillan to Ohio State. The current streak of losing the best in its home state is at two years, but it will likely be three after signing day 2018 passes. Trevor Lawrence is the No. 1 prospect not only in Georgia, but the country, and the five-star quarterback is committed to Clemson.
Jadon Haselwood is committed to Georgia in 2019, and he is the early leader for the state's top prospect, so that is something to watch.
Will Alabama finish atop the SEC recruiting rankings for an eighth straight year?
Florida finished with the No. 1 recruiting class in 2010 and Auburn was No. 2, leaving Alabama with the third best class that cycle. Alabama has been No. 1 in the SEC every year since; that streak has been going strong for seven years.
Will the Crimson Tide continue their dominance in 2018? If you look at the rankings now, Alabama is outside of the top 25, but expect to see them back near the top as we get closer to National Signing Day in February.
Kentucky and Mississippi State are ahead of Alabama today, but do not get used to that. But Ed Orgeron and LSU could fight Nick Saban and the Tide for the top class in the SEC, so this is a streak we are going to keep our eye on.
Can LSU sign Louisiana’s top player for the sixth straight year?
The Tigers have done a terrific job of landing Louisiana’s top prospect in recent years, with every No. 1 from 2013 until 2017 deciding to stay in state. That list includes stars like Tre’Davious White and Leonard Fournette. But as usual, LSU is set to battle several schools for this year’s top players.
If Signing Day were today the streak would be extended, as LSU defensive back commit Kelvin Joseph sits in the state’s top spot. But not only are schools still recruiting him, but his spot is also up for grabs as players like wide receiver Devonta Jason and wide receiver Terrace Marshall both made very compelling cases for the top spot in the state this spring. Jason is currently committed to Kansas, while Marshall is weighing a number of options, including Texas A&M, TCU, Oregon and others. LSU is still in the mix for both players but will have to do a good job to hold off several out-of-state programs and extend the streak to six years.