Tracking the 5-stars: How SEC’s 2018 recruiting class compares with the past 5 years

With Signing Day pushed up to Dec. 20 (the period runs Dec. 20-22) this year, the chase for the nation’s top talent only increased in intensity. Fewer days to convince recruits also meant fewer days for those recruits to make a decision if they choose to make a splash on the official Signing Day.

So the race for 5-star talent is heating up, and as of Dec. 5, only Georgia is taking advantage among SEC schools. At that point, the Bulldogs were the only SEC team to reel in any 5-star talent, according to 247sports.com. The three verbal commitments that Georgia has represents the entire SEC haul as of that date.

And that maintains a somewhat alarming trend in the conference. Since a peak of 19 5-star recruits in the Class of 2014, the SEC has seen the nation’s top talent fan out on a consistent basis in the years to follow. The number of 5-star recruits signing with SEC schools has steadily decreased — to 18 in 2015,  14 the following year and 12 last season.

Still, the SEC, and in particular Alabama, has been the top dog over the last five recruiting classes when it comes to 5-star talent. The Tide have led the nation every year since 2013 in hauling in the nation’s top recruits. They tied fellow SEC schools Georgia and Ole Miss with the Class of 2016. Each team pulled in three 5-star recruits.

They have some catching up to do this year, but Alabama always draws in the top talent as Signing Day approaches. As of Dec. 5, Ohio State leads the nation with four 5-star verbal commitments. Alabama has yet to gain a 5-star commitment for its latest recruiting class.

With still a couple of weeks left before Signing Day, only Georgia (No. 5) and Auburn (No. 9) are ranked in the top 10 for this year’s recruiting class; Alabama sits at No. 21. Rest assured, however, that the Tide and the SEC will be competitive once again when the ink is dry and all letters of intent are completed.

Here’s a look at how the SEC has fared in recruiting the top talent in the nation since 2013.

2018 (so far)

5-star commits: 3

5-star QBs (1): Justin Fields (Georgia)

Highest-rated commit: Fields (Georgia)

Skinny: Even though Signing Day has been bumped up, it’s still too early to tell just how the newest class will shake out. Georgia may have the early lead and should enjoy a College Football Playoff bump, but it will be interesting to see how Alabama rebounds and what effect Jimbo Fisher will have on the Class of 2018 at Texas A&M.

With just a couple of weeks to go, Mississippi State, Florida, LSU and Texas A&M sat in order just outside the top 10 in the recruiting rankings, with Tennessee and Alabama farther down the list.

2017

5-star commits: 12

5-star QBs (1): Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)

Highest-rated commit: RB Najee Harris (Alabama)

Skinny: Despite being down in the number of 5-stars, the SEC still had five teams (Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Florida) ranked in the top 11 in the nation. Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy and RB Najee Harris have already paid dividends for the Tide. This season, Jeudy became Alabama’s No. 2 receiver behind Calvin Ridley. Jeudy accumulated 244 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 13 catches, while Harris was able to contribute among a wealth of talent at running back. Harris rushed for 306 yards and three touchdowns on 55 carries.

2016

5-star commits: 14

5-star QBs (2): Shea Patterson (Ole Miss), Jacob Eason (Georgia)

Highest-rated commit: OT Greg Little (Ole Miss)

Skinny: Alabama and LSU had the top recruiting classes in the nation, but Ole Miss’ Little and Patterson were the most dynamic of duos. Interesting to note that both 5-star QBs, Patterson and Eason, could be headed elsewhere.

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2015

5-star commits: 18

5-star QBs (2): Blake Barnett (Alabama), Kyler Murray (Texas A&M)

Highest-rated commit: DT Trenton Thompson (Georgia)

Skinny: With Alabama leading the way, the SEC squeezed in six teams among the top 11, dominating that recruiting class. Tide WR Ridley emerged as a go-to guy. Ridley was third in the SEC during the regular season with 896 receiving yards. He hauled in 55 passes, three for touchdowns.

2014

5-star commits: 19

5-star QBs (1): Kyle Allen (Texas A&M)

Highest-rated commit: RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)

Skinny: It was certainly a banner year for recruiting in the SEC. Led by Alabama and LSU at the top in order, the conference boasted seven of the top nine teams in the country. From five through nine, respectively, were Texas A&M, Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.

Not surprisingly, the top two recruits in the nation went to SEC schools, and they did not disappoint. Fournette set rushing records at LSU and was a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, while DE Myles Garrett etched his name in the record books for sacks at Texas A&M and was the first player chosen in that draft.

2013

5-star commits: 17

5-star QBs: None

Highest-rated commit: DE Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss)

Skinny: The SEC dominated the nation in recruiting with six teams ranked among the Top 10. Alabama topped the list, with Florida (No. 3), LSU (No. 6), Ole Miss (No. 8), Texas A&M (No. 9) and Auburn (No. 10) rounding out the leaders. Georgia ranked No. 12.

Individually, the top recruits panned out, beginning with Nkemdiche. Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil and Alabama LB Reuben Foster were among the top six recruits in the country. All were first-round NFL Draft picks.


Source: Saturday Down South

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