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SEC Spotlight: Five big questions about the 2024 cycle

Kirby Smart
Kirby Smart (Radi Nabulsi)

It didn't start off so hot in 2023, but the law of averages in college football has the SEC trending in the right direction almost halfway through the fall. In recruiting, 10 current SEC programs are in the recruiting team rankings top 25 and of course Oklahoma and Texas are in the thick of it ahead of joining next year, too. That makes about half of the top 25 SEC-related, so talent acquisition looks plenty familiar in the sport dealing with transition just about everywhere else.

With the Early Signing Period just over two months away, Rivals checks in on the SEC with five questions we'll soon get the answers to by the time the cycle winds down for good.

RELATED: SEC team recruiting rankings | Biggest Big 12 questions | Biggest Big Ten questions


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1. Ohio State overtook Georgia, but can anybody in the SEC?

Kobe Black
Kobe Black (Nick Harris)

Don't look now, Georgia fans, but Ohio State sits atop the Rivals team recruiting rankings at this point in time. Now, it may not stay that way based on the type of elite talent the Bulldogs remain in on going into the critical stretch of the 2024 cycle, but at one point it didn't look like any program – SEC or not – would have a shot at overtaking Kirby Smart on the trail ahead of signing day.

Of course, four other programs in the league are currently recruiting at a top 10 clip, so could there be another challenger to UGA before the end of the year?

Florida is sitting at No. 2 in the SEC, No. 3 overall, at this time, but the program to keep an eye on may be one spot lower with Texas A&M. While the Aggies have a pair of losses on the on-field resume, it hasn't hurt the recruiting process just yet, especially in the quality already on board. The Aggies have an average star rating of 3.82 (higher than Florida) but have yet to collect an initial five-star in 2024. Nothing can bump a class like one of the elites can, and A&M continues to pursue several in Kobe Black, Kamron Mikell and Solomon Williams, among others.

Current commitments Cam Coleman and Terry Bussey are also among those in five-star bump consideration, so even without any new additions we could see TAMU make a move. Of course, Alabama is still recruiting within the top 10 and Nick Saban is never to be discounted late in any recruiting cycle.

Heck, the 2023 class was the last time UGA was upended in the league and of course it was UA's stunning class that did the deed. We've seen that group make waves on the field as freshmen already, too. More on 'Bama below.



2. When does Alabama make its move?

Jordan Seaton
Jordan Seaton (Adam Friedman/

Only Alabama could be sitting at No. 8 overall, No. 4 in the SEC in mid-October, and it still be leaving onlookers wondering when the program is going to make (more) noise up the recruiting rankings. As per usual, though, it's almost that time.

The combination of the season and the weather turning is often great news for UA and it looks like the 2024 cycle may not be any different. The top overall target remaining has all but announced the Crimson Tide as the program to beat in No. 1 offensive lineman Jordan Seaton despite a push from Ohio State, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Colorado and many others.

Then there is blue-chip two-way talent Daniel Hill, perhaps a public UA lean despite South Carolina making the race twofold. Another uncommitted four-star for Tide fans to eye is in-state linebacker Bradley Shaw, who doesn't want to stay on the market very much longer.

On top of those potential additions, Alabama is working on plenty of flip candidates as per usual, so a sudden rise in the coming weeks and months should be anything but surprising.

Alabama hasn't finished worse than No. 3 in the Rivals team recruiting rankings since the class of 2018, when it finished seventh. It means patience should be preached to the Tide faithful, in that the current No. 8 mark is just a temporary spot.



3. How does the in-season effort affect classes such as Florida and Auburn?

Jeremiah Smith
Jeremiah Smith (

Florida is recruiting as well as any program in the country despite a subpar 2022 on the field followed by more questions than answers this fall outside of its upset of Tennessee. It has had no issue getting elite talent on campus since the spring months and it has amassed a strong class even beyond Sunshine State lines.

Independent of on-field improvement, can UF remain near the top of the national rankings? So far, it has, losing just one recruit (Michai Boireau) since the season began. On the other hand, Billy Napier and company are contending for elite targets such as Jeremiah Smith, Seaton, LJ McCray, Zavier Mincey, Jamari Howard and others.

Auburn is winless in the SEC, but it went into 2023 with lower expectations than the Gators, right? First-year coach Hugh Freeze had a monster summer on the trail before ever coaching his first game on the Plains, and even with the unstable on-field performance thus far, most of the group remains bought into the long term vision. In fact, since National Signing Day in February, AU was tied with A&M and Kentucky for the fewest deocmmitments in the league until Jalewis Solomon backed off his Auburn pledge on Tuesday evening. Otherwise, AU looks like it will hold onto its class headliners while working to cap the recruiting class with a gem or two in the flip game.




4. Georgia is not yet done, but what about wide receiver?

Nitro Tuggle
Nitro Tuggle (Nick Lucero/

Georgia may still very well become the recruiting champ in the league and overall, as noted at the top, but there are question marks around its wide receiver recruiting. At one point, it looked like the 2024 class would be the one to dismiss the notion of UGA not being able to attract some of the nation's best on the outside, but five-star candidate Ny Carr backed off of his pledge (now committed to Miami) and now there are rumors of another Rivals100 commitment in Nitro Tuggle becoming a flip candidate for multiple schools as well.

The last five-star wideout to pick the program was budding NFL star George Pickens, who panned out, but few in the following four classes had that degree. Should Tuggle defect and end up elsewhere, it won't be the end of the world for the program but maybe what we saw last offseason – UGA landing multiple wide receivers in the transfer portal – won't be a one off.

Of course, landing a five-star wideout at the end of the cycle would nip this entire question in the bud. UGA will add several elites at other positions, but maybe Ryan Wingo or Ryan Williams (with his potential reclassification to 2024) are the names to follow in the perception department.



5. Will SEC newcomers Oklahoma and Texas maintain momentum?

Oklahoma is No. 6 and Texas is No. 14 in the team recruiting rankings to date, each with a strong foundation of Lone Star State talent on board with plenty of chances to make moves for blue-chip talent down the stretch of the cycle. UT only has 18 prospects on board in total, to OU's 24, so there should be plenty of moves made by Steve Sarkisian's staff before all is said and done.

The on-field classic the two rivals just played won't soon slow down the hype or momentum for either in the coming weeks, especially within the region, so a bump up could become due for both programs.

On the other side, what does this look like when each is in the SEC for good? The sell for both Brent Venables and Sark to recruits has long been to build up to SEC play, but once the programs are cemented in the conference and the schedule gets that much tougher, will it show in recruiting?

Maybe we're looking too far ahead, but fans of each program should enjoy the recruiting ride as members of the Big 12 – with less elite competition – while it lasts. Look how long it took soon-to-be-renewed rival Texas A&M to gain true traction as a potential recruiting power before contending with Georgia, Alabama, LSU and others on a consistent basis.