SEC Spotlight: Four predictions for the 2023 class
The 2023 recruiting cycle is entering crunch time and teams around the country are finalizing their recruiting classes. This week we're looking at each conference and predicting which team will win the conference recruiting title, which team will be the biggest surprise, what the conference's biggest recruiting win will be and which decisions will cause major changes in the conference recruiting standings.
Up next is the SEC.
CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100
The SEC recruiting champion will be ... Alabama.
Looking at the rankings, this is an easy call with the Crimson Tide perched at the top. But Georgia, LSU and Florida still have cards to play to make a push. The Bulldogs are working on five-star end Samuel M’Pemba, four-star tight end Duce Robinson, four-star end Damon Wilson and four-star defensive tackle Jordan Hall. Florida is also pushing for Hall, and is lining up to gain more elite flips that are sure to make waves within the recruiting universe.
Alabama currently does not have a five-star attached to the class, but that could change if Keon Keeley heads to Tuscaloosa. The other factor that could help Bama stay on top: It has six four-stars with a 6.0 Rivals rating (RR), and a few of those could receive a bump in the rankings. There is a possibility players such as Caleb Downs and Justice Haynes, among others, will receive that fifth star in the next rankings update.
The SEC's most surprising class will be ... Texas A&M.
Coming off an epic 2022 recruiting haul, the future for head coach Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies looked bright. The 2023 effort has lagged in comparison to last year's accomplishments but it has picked up, as the Aggies are currently ranked No. 23 nationally off 11 verbal pledges. A&M also has the nation’s second-ranked class by the star average at 3.91, with two five-stars and four six-stars committed.
The positives aside, will this class continue to rise or fall apart? Riding a six-game losing streak, there are red flags waving in College Station. One of the persistent rumors coming out of the program is the potential of a mass exodus of underclassmen hitting the portal. If the current freshmen are unhappy and sharing that with the 2023 class, two years’ worth of recruiting hard work and energy could be eviscerated. One of the possible big signs was seeing in-state five-star linebacker Anthony Hill decommit from the Aggies on Nov. 7.
The biggest recruiting victory will be ... the Vols landing Nico Iamaleava.
Iamaleava is the highest-rated player in the class committed to an SEC school, but picking him as the biggest win on the recruiting trail goes beyond his ranking. Victories in the SEC work down to the play in the trenches, but winning conference championships is all about the play under center. By landing Iamaleava, Tennessee has that piece to keep head coach Josh Heupel’s offense flowing after Hendon Hooker leaves.
Come July 1, 2025, when Texas joins the SEC, we’ll see if the biggest win in this class at quarterback was Tennessee or Texas with Arch Manning. It would be hard to go against Heupel, Iamaleava and the Volunteers as everything stands right now.
The biggest remaining decisions that will impact the SEC's rankings will be ... the flips.
Georgia is in position to make a run at Alabama for the top spot, but all the dominoes have to fall into place. Florida is the other team that could make a lot of noise pushing from No. 6 up the leaderboard.
There may only be one player that will move the needle at this point in the game, putting one team over the top and that is Cormani McClain. UGA may land Samuel M’Pemba, but Alabama can make that a wash if they sign Keon Keeley. What will heavily impact the final rankings are how the 2023 players are ranked, if we see some current prospects on the five-star borderline moved up, and which players may end up flipping like McClain.
The Gators could flip some in-state recruits that would take a great class to the next level. The prospect to watch is McClain. The five-star corner was seemingly set to commit to Florida but shocked all by choosing Miami. If the Gators continue to sway committed players, flipping McClain would move the needle.