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SEC Breakdown: Tide tops recruiting rankings

The College Football season is at the halfway point and National Signing Day is less than four months away. With that in mind, we decided to reset the SEC Team Recruiting Rankings and see how each program is stacking up.

MORE: Big Ten Breakdown: Grading the classes | Best SEC defensive end? | team recruiting rankings



Summary: Alabama sits atop the team rankings nationally, so the fact that it also boasts the SEC’s top class is a given. The defending national champions have made a habit of amassing stacked classes and seem to be doing so again. If the Tide doesn’t end the cycle with the No. 1 class in country, it will certainly be close. The allure of Alabama is obvious and it’s why Nick Saban has four five-star prospects already in the fold.

Highest ranked commit: No. 1 overall prospect Najee Harris committed to Alabama long ago, but the running back is likely to look around in the months between now and Signing Day.

Big name left on the board: No. 6 overall prospect Isaiah Wilson and No. 16 overall prospect Jedrick Wills are both still considering the Tide.

2. LSU

Tyler Shelvin
Tyler Shelvin

Summary: It’s hard to believe that despite a slow start to the year and the removal of head coach Les Miles, the Tigers still sit at No. 2 in the conference when it comes to recruiting. That fact shows just how important the relationships are between the Tigers' current coaches and the prospects on the commitment list. Assuming the new coach keeps some of the key names around on the staff, the Tigers could maintain this high position when it matters most in February.

Highest ranked commit: DT Tyler Shelvin, the nation’s No. 8 overall player, has been committed to the Tigers for longer than a year.

Big name left on the board: DT Marvin Wilson. Despite all the changes, the nation’s No. 2 prospect said recently the Tigers are still very much in the mix.


D'Andre Swift
D'Andre Swift

Summary: Things may be inconsistent on the field for the Dawgs this fall, but the recruiting trail has been very good to Kirby Smart in his first year in Athens. What should be viewed as even more encouraging to Georgia fans is that several major targets appear to be leaning in the Dawgs’ favor, setting up for a big close to the class.

Highest ranked commit: RB D’Andre Swift. The nation’s No. 38 overall player committed earlier this fall.

Big name left on the board: LB Nate McBride. The five-star from Vidalia, Ga. appears to be down to Oregon and Georgia.


Maleik Gray
Maleik Gray

Summary: The Vols loaded up on commitments early in the cycle, including a stretch in the summer that saw the school land a half dozen commits within the matter of a few hours. Now that the program is excelling on the field, the question is whether they will target some bigger names and perhaps move on from some players evaluated early in the process.

Highest ranked commit: DB Maleik Gray. The nation’s No. 77 overall player was a key addition for the Vols.

Big name left on the board: DB Lamont Wade. The nation’s No. 1 corner has visited Knoxville three times this fall.


Summary: Head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies have officially gotten their swagger back after a year to forget in 2015. With an undefeated record headed into this weekend’s game against Alabama, the Aggies control their own destiny in the SEC West. That on-field success is already helping recruiting but will likely pay further dividends when it comes to closing on prospects down the stretch.

Highest ranked commit: QB Kellen Mond. The quarterback could be the next star in College Station.

Big name left on the board: LB Anthony Hines. A big in-state name, Hines is a priority for the Aggies' coaches.


Summary: The new coaching staff in Columbia has made in-state talent a priority and the effects are clear when looking at the Gamecocks' commitment list. Of course the Palmetto State doesn’t have enough talent to stock the team alone, and border states like Georgia and North Carolina will be key, especially the closer we get to Signing Day.

Highest ranked commit: WR OrTre Smith. The Gamecocks won a battle with rival Clemson to land the state’s top player.

Big name left on the board: DE Aaron Sterling. The former Alabama commitment would bring much-needed help to the Gamecocks.


Zachary Carter
Zachary Carter

Summary: Armed with what seems to be a dominant defense, the Gators are still seen as a program on the rise. Perception is everything in recruiting, and the perception of the Gators as a program on the road to redemption has certainly made an impact. How UF closes on the recruiting trail will likely be determined by how the current season plays out. An early-season loss to Tennessee certainly didn’t ruin Florida’s momentum, but the chance to play for an SEC title would give the Gators a massive boost with some of the top prospects in both 2017 and 2018.

Highest ranked commit: Rivals100 DE Zachary Carter picked Florida over Clemson and a number of other top-flight programs.

Big name left on the board: Tough as he is to read, five-star DE Jarez Parks will likely commit to either Florida or Alabama.


Keytaon Thompson
Keytaon Thompson

Summary: A 2-4 start is less than ideal for a Mississippi State team that stood to benefit from an NCAA investigation surrounding its in-state rival. This is not the way to capitalize. Still, the Bulldogs (at least for the time being) hold a top-20 class nationally. That ranking may be a product of quantity, however, as just three of the school’s 21 commits carry rankings higher than three stars.

Highest ranked commit: Rivals250 quarterback Keytaon Thompson will take a handful of visits but is likely to sign with Mississippi State.

Big name left on the board: Four-star junior college wide receiver Brandon Martin could provide immediate help to a struggling offense next season.


Calvin Ashley
Calvin Ashley

Summary: The antithesis of Mississippi State, Auburn carries a relatively small class that will likely move up the rankings as it grows. The product it has placed on the field so far this fall has looked better than most expected and could help the Tigers see an uptick in recruiting as Signing Day approaches. A particularly strong year in the state of Alabama could also be a boon for Gus Malzahn’s squad.

Highest ranked commit: Rivals100 OL Calvin Ashley has been committed to the Tigers for some time now and is unlikely to flip.

Big name left on the board: Rivals250 LB K.J. Britt has long been high on Auburn, but the Tigers will need to hold off Stanford, which is no easy task.


Chase Hayden
Chase Hayden

Summary: Arkansas is in the midst of what is shaping up to be an impressive season, so the best of its recruiting efforts may still be in front of it. It could be one of the programs that stands to benefit should a major program in the region (Texas?) decide to dismiss a head coach. The Razorbacks could be on the rise at the exact right time to gobble up recruiting momentum.

Highest ranked commit: Four-star running back Chase Hayden, a Tennessee-based prospect, choose Arkansas over a handful of fellow SEC programs.

Big name left on the board: Three-star defensive end Nelson Mbanasor isn't the highest rated target on the board, but he recently backed away from his commitment from Oklahoma State and could help Arkansas' recruiting class.


Javonte Richardson
Javonte Richardson

Summary: The Wildcats may seem like they’re having a down year on the recruiting trail because of their ranking in the conference, but nationally the school ranks No. 40 overall. Recruiting success over the next few months will surely be tied to on-field success, especially if Kentucky can win enough games to become bowl eligible. A winning season will prove that Mark Stoops is building in the right direction, a sign several recruits are hoping to see.

Highest ranked commit: ATH Javonte Richardson. The versatile Ohio star committed early and has stayed locked in with the ‘Cats.

Big name left on the board: OT Jedrick Wills. The five-star is right in the Wildcats' backyard and remains their No. 1 overall target.


D.D. Bowie
D.D. Bowie

Summary: The NCAA investigation looming over Ole Miss certainly isn’t helping things. Even before any sanctions are handed down, the uncertainty in the minds of recruits is likely having an effect. Combine that with a less than ideal start to the season and the Rebels’ recruiting stock has certainly been higher. That said, should things with the NCAA break correctly, it won’t be time to panic. There’s plenty that could go correctly for Ole Miss down the stretch.

Highest ranked commit: Longtime Rebels commit D.D. Bowie is one of the more versatile athletes in America.

Big name left on the board: Five-star running back Cam Akers is high on Ole Miss. Les Miles’ dismissal at LSU helped the Rebels stake claim to what some think is a slight lead in Akers’ recruitment.


DaRon Davis
DaRon Davis

Summary: Situated in one of the least fertile recruiting grounds in the SEC, Missouri comes with a few built-in challenges. It’s not that the Tigers can’t be competitive in the league. They’ve proven themselves capable of that. It’s just that they’ll need to sustain some level of success to routinely be competitive in recruiting battles with multiple SEC teams. Missouri does well its in own state and is attempting to build larger inroads in Florida.

Highest ranked commit: Kansas City-based athlete DaRon Davis is the only prospect rated higher than three-stars committed to Missouri at the moment.

Big name left on the board: Rivals250 defensive end Chester Graves is the top-ranked uncommitted prospect in the state of Missouri and Mizzou needs to do all it can to land his commitment.


Summary: The Commodores have struggled to recruit at a high level during the Derek Mason era, choosing to target more under-the-radar and developmental type prospects rather than go head-to-head with SEC foes for players in the south. This has led to mixed results, but after beating Georgia on Saturday, perhaps the developmental approach is starting to pay off.

Highest ranked commit: QB Jacob Free. The three-star Alabama signal caller remains the top prospect in the class.

Big name left on the board: LB Dimitri Moore. The high three-star out of Texas has already officially visited Nashville and is a priority prospect for the school.