Recruiting Conference Breakdown: SEC Conference continues its dominance on recruiting scene
Feb. 13, 2007
By Tom Lemming
CSTV Recruiting Expert
Tom is CSTV's college football recruiting analyst, and writes for CSTV.com regularly. E-mail here!
The SEC dominated everything. It was, perhaps, the best recruiting year ever for the conference when you talk about having six teams in the Top 10. The competition is much fiercer there than anywhere else in the country. It is hand-to-hand combat and extremely fun to watch. Plus, they're allowed to sign more players than the other conferences because several of them won't be able to make it academically, so they sign kids and send them off to prep school or junior colleges.
Florida just dominated. They got All-Americans at every position. They were No. 1 over USC mainly because they signed more players and got help everywhere. They're not losing that many players, but the guys coming in could be better than ones leaving, talent-wise. They already have Tim Tebow on campus yet they still got two All-American quarterbacks in Cameron Newton and John Brantley. They're becoming the SEC's version of USC. Florida is loaded with talent, but they have a big bulls-eye on their back. Every team in the conference will be gunning after them. If Florida goes undefeated next year they should automatically put Urban Meyer in the College Football Hall of Fame with everyone aiming at him.
Tennessee seemed very close to Florida. Phil Fulmer, you have to give him a ton of credit and throw him in there with Mack Brown and Pete Carroll as one of the nation's best. They don't get a ton of local talent so he's got to be a national recruiter every year and he does a remarkable job. They needed speed and loaded up on it with Eric Berry and Gerald Jones. They also helped themselves at just about every position except quarterback.
LSU lost Joe McKnight, the fans are upset, but overall they got everyone else they wanted in-state. They got Jarrett Lee out of Texas, who I thought was the most underrated quarterback in the country. He really helped them and enhanced their prospects. LSU is part of what I call the "Super Seven," the seven super talented teams nationally. They are USC, Texas, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, Auburn and LSU. The Tigers just reloaded this year. They gathered up another great group of in-state players. They have impact players coming in like Chad Jones that can be contributors as true freshmen.
Ole Miss had another knockout year. Georgia and Auburn did as well. Auburn is the deceptive team because they brought in a bunch of gifted athletes, if they're all qualified.
Even though Nick Saban had just one month to recruit, I thought he did a very good job at Alabama. He has the potential to challenge Florida right away. He has the confidence in himself and the work ethic. And Alabama has talent.
But the SEC knocked it out of the park this year. It was a grand slam for the conference. Every team had a good year. For the first time every team could wind up in the Top 50 including Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Even Arkansas, who didn't have a great year, could finish in the Top 50.
Five Impact Players
Caleb King, RB, Georgia - If he's healthy, he could be instant impact player at tailback.
Eric Berry, QB/CB, Tennessee - He quarterbacked as senior, but without a doubt was the best defensive back in San Antonio. He's physical, quick and instinctive. He's got all the ingredients for a perfect cornerback. He'll probably stay three years and be a first round pick. He's that talented.
Chris Donald, LB, Tennessee - I was exceptionally impressed with him. He can run with the backs and hit like a defensive tackle.
Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida - Everybody is talking about him being next great pass rusher nationally if he develops a little bit more technique.
Enrique Davis, RB, Auburn - He can also contribute as a true freshman. He's big time back with great vision and strength.