Three-Point Stance: Ranking the SEC jobs; Big Ten's best players
National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with a look at the top 10 players in the Big Ten, some thoughts on how the South Carolina job compares to others in the SEC and the checks out the battle for the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
1. RANKING THE JOBS IN THE SEC
South Carolina is the first Power Five job to open following Will Muschamp's dismissal on Sunday. There are differing opinions on how good an opportunity it is at South Carolina for a new coach like Hugh Freeze or Billy Napier. I think it’s a better job than many think.
Here's how I rank the SEC jobs in each division.
1. Georgia — This is the job that everyone covets in the SEC these days with such a huge recruiting advantage in a state that has emerged as a major talent producer. Georgia is ripe for recruiting.
2. Florida — This is an amazing job most coaches would love to have even with the competitive nature of recruiting in the state of Florida. National title history is here.
3. Tennessee — It’s a toss up between the Vols and Gamecocks here, believe it or not, but Tennessee gets the edge because of how much it has won over the years in the SEC.
5. Kentucky — Mark Stoops has done a great job with this program but it’s still considered a basketball school and likely always will be.
6. Missouri — The Tigers are geographically out of place but still do a solid job overall. But this is a tough assignment for any coach.
7. Vanderbilt — The lack of facilities, athletic support and the high academics make it a tough fit in the SEC.
1. Alabama — Nick Saban has made this the job to have in the SEC and it would take a few terrible hires in a row to ruin it.
2. LSU — The best recruiting advantage in college football always helps and now the Tigers have a recent national title to sell. This is a great job.
3. Texas A&M — The Aggies have the fan support, facilities and the recruiting territory to be elite. They just haven’t done it yet.
4. Auburn — ‘Bama is a problem but the Tigers border a lot of talent in Georgia and they’ve shown you can win here. Many would jump at this job.
5. Ole Miss — This is a tough call between Ole Miss and Arkansas but the Rebels have better in-state recruiting to work with.
6. Arkansas — This fan base is amazing and craving a winner so bad that this is a job no longer considered a lateral move from some bigger programs.
7. Mississippi State — It’s a tough sell in Starkville on the recruiting front.
Overall, I’d put South Carolina at No. 8 out of 14 ahead of Ole Miss and behind Auburn on the job list.
2. THE 10 BEST PLAYERS IN THE BIG TEN
It’s time to start another series as the Big Ten has finally played enough games to be included. Let’s look at the 10 best players, regardless of position, and if we expected this coming out of high school.
1. QB Justin Fields, Ohio State — This is obvious. We expected this level of play from Fields as he was a five-star and the No. 2 prospect in the 2018 class behind Trevor Lawrence. He’s 72 of 83 for 908 yards and 11 TDs. That’s amazing.
2. QB Michael Penix Jr., Indiana — Penix Jr. is one of the highest-ranked commitments signees in Indiana history so this isn’t a shocker. I didn’t expect 4-0 and a top-10 ranking but his leadership stood out and completing 91 of 150 passes for 1,070 yards and 9 TDs against good competition is not a stunner.
3. RB Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota — The Gophers aren’t good but Ibrahim is with 130 carries for 715 yards and 10 scores. Imagine how bad the Gophers would be without him? Mohamed was a high three-star who lost his four-star late, so he’s proven us wrong.
4. WR David Bell, Purdue — Bell continues to shine with 31 catches for 321 yards and four touchdowns. Defenses know he’s the Boilermakers' biggest offensive weapon and still can’t stop him. Bell was a rare Rivals100 commitment for Purdue, so this was expected.
5. CB Shakur Brown, Michigan State — The Spartans haven’t done much aside from the upset of Michigan, but Brown has been excellent with 16 tackles, three interceptions and four passes defended. Brown was a low three-star out of Georgia for the Spartans, so he’s exceeded expectations.
7. LB Olakunle Fatukasi, Rutgers — Rutgers has improved on defense and Fatukasi's 50 tackles, five tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and forced fumble have been noticed. A mid-level three-star, Fatukasi is playing better than expected.
3. WHICH PROGRAM WILL FINISH WITH THE NO. 1 CLASS?
Finally, we are getting close to the Early Signing Period. Who knows when an actual recruiting champion will be crowned, but it looks like college football is forging full-steam ahead to the first Wednesday in February. Here are the programs I think have a shot at finishing with the top-ranked 2021 class.
1. Alabama — The current No. 1 team in the recruiting rankings for 2021 is involved with some big names down the stretch as usual. The Crimson Tide has a fairly solid lead right now and are the odds-on favorite, especially if they close on prospects like Tunmise Adeleye or Xavian Sorey.
2. Georgia — The Dawgs just added linebacker Smael Mondon to move up to No. 5, which is impressive since they don’t yet have 20 commits. The quality is there. A lot of things would have to happen for them to win this and they’d need to close strong and pull off a surprise like defensive tackle Maason Smith or defensive end Korey Foreman.
3. Ohio State — The Buckeyes are No. 2 right now and could win this with a couple of out-of-state five-star commitments from defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau and receiver Emeka Egbuka. Their chances are right up there with UGA.
4. LSU — A lot depends on if the Tigers can get both Smith and Foreman and pull a surprise for running back Camar Wheaton or win the offensive tackle Tristan Leigh battle. They have a long way to go but it’s possible.
5. Oklahoma — Everything would have to go perfectly for the Sooners to make up this deficit as they are currently outside the top 10. That means prospects like offensive line Bryce Foster, Wheaton, Leigh, Egbuka and perhaps a surprise or two.
6. Oregon — The Ducks are currently third in the team rankings but they’d need to pull a shocker or two to win this like land Tuiamoloau, Foreman or Foster and they don’t lead for any of them.