Tag:JaJuan Story
Posted on: February 2, 2011 5:50 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2011 1:44 pm
 

SEC Signing Day: Winners and Losers

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Taking stock of the day in the SEC:

WINNERS:

Alabama:
No surprise that Nick Saban's crew put together yet another huge Signing Day, with the No. 1 spot in the Maxpreps team rankings wrapped up after adding No. 1 offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio to what had already been a massive haul. The Tide pulled in a perfect 3-4 defensive end in Jeoffrey Pagan (pictured) and flipped supremely athletic outside linebacker Brent Calloway back from Auburn (after he'd committed to the Tigers at the U.S. Army All-American game), two major missions accomplished. Top those off with the rest of the Tide's commitments -- including five-star teammates RB Dee Hart and S Hasean Clinton-Dix -- staying securely in the fold, and missing out on Isaiah Crowell (and likely No. 1 overall recruit Jadeveon Clowney ) barely even stings.

Video: Jeoffrey Pagan highlights

Georgia: Linebacker Kent Turene was an awfully nice pickup. But landing Crowell was a seismic development, the one member of the much-ballyhooed "Dream Team" the tailback-starved Bulldogs absolutely had to have. He alone was enough to push Mark Richt into the winner's column, but add in Turene and the successful fending off of challenges for commits like defensive back Corey Moore, and even missing out on Pagan won't be enough to wipe the smile off of the faces of Bulldog fans.

Video: Todd Grantham talks Signing Day  

Auburn: Losing Calloway to the hated Tide stung, and the euphoria of watching Kouandjio announce for the Tigers dissipated quickly as he elected not to sign his LOI on Signing Day, eventually joining Calloway and his older brother in Tuscaloosa. But Chizik got a ton of help for his occasionally-porous defense anyway, inking one of the nation's best safeties in Erique Florence and a rock-solid defensive tackle prospect in Crowell teammate Gabe Wright. The Tigers also wasted no time replacing cornerback decommitment Marcus Roberson with coveted Mississippi athlete Jermaine Whitehead, a Mississippi State commitment. Even without Kouandjio, the Tigers landed a top-10 class that proved their program-changing 2010 haul was no fluke. Still, Tiger fans have to wonder: if they weren't coming to Auburn, couldn't Calloway and Koundjio have gone somewhere other than Alabama?

Video: Gene Chizik talks Signing Day at CBS College Sports , Kiehl Frazier commits , Coaches react to Erique Florence decision

Ole Miss: Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen enjoys pointing out the raw numbers of his team's players and recruits come from the state they share with the Rebels, but it was Houston Nutt who ran away with nearly all of the state's top-ranked talent. Having already secured the signatures of former Bulldog commitment five-star linebacker C.J. Johnson and highly-regarded receiver Tobias Singleton, the Rebels added to their in-state haul by keeping top-100 wideout Nickolas Brassell out of the clutches of the Tide. The battle between Nutt and Mullen on the recruiting trail was more-or-less a draw in 2010, but there's little question who had the upper hand this season.

LSU: The day was unusually quiet by the usually madcap Bayou Bengals' Signing Day standards, but that happens when you have your state on virtual lockdown and that state provides enough talent for one of the nation's best classes all on its own. Simply making sure their commitments (most notably offensive tackle La'El Collins and defensive counterpart Anthony Johnson) made it across the dotted line would have guaranteed Les Miles a successful Signing Day. But keeping Shreveport's Jermauria Rasco (pictured) -- one of the nation's most highly sought-after defensive ends -- at home (and away from Texas) more than made up for missing out on Florida defensive tackle Tim Jernigan.

Vanderbilt:
The Commodores won't finish anywhere near the top of the league's recruiting rankings, of course. But given the limited time James Franklin had to work with, the results were quite impressive. Franklin flipped Virginia Tech quarterback commitment Lafonte Thourogood first thing Signing Day morning and brought in several other candidates for immediate playing time, like Ohio tight end Dorien Bryant.

LOSERS:

Florida:
The Gators, as always, can still boast one of the nation's best classes, and no one anywhere signed a better QB-RB combo than Jeff Driskel and the underrated Mike Blakely. Roberson's arrival was a nice Signing Day surprise, and Will Muschamp and Co. turned away a serious Ohio State challenge for receiver JaJuan Story. But particularly looking at the way their rivals at Georgia and Florida State finished, Gator fans won't be happy about being unable to make up any ground with prospects like Jernigan, Curtis Grant, or Stephone Anthony. Roberson wound up the only new addition on Signing Day, and even he somewhat fell into the Gators' laps after his wild commitments and decommitments to Texas Tech and Auburn. Muschamp will be cut plenty of slack this season after his late arrival in Gainesville, but another class that so completely cedes the limelight to the Dawgs and 'Noles won't be as easily forgiven.


Mississippi State:
How thin was the Bulldogs' final class after seeing the likes of Johnson, Singleton and -- most painfully -- Whitehead decommit? Not one of their 23 commitments ranked among the top 25 at their position, according to Tom Lemming. The Bulldogs struggled going head-to-head with Ole Miss within Mississippi, and came up empty when going abroad for players like Washington D.C.-based Kevin McReynolds, who signed with UCLA. Players like receiver Joe Morrow and defensive tackle P.J. Jones are unquestionably SEC-grade talents, but after such a productive, promising year on the field, the lack of recruiting punch is puzzling.

Arkansas: There's nothing particularly disappointing about the Razorbacks' 2011 class (though watching tight end commitment Chris Barnett sign with Michigan wasn't fun), and keeping home-grown talent like quarterback Brandon Allen and tackle Brey Cook in Arkansas was a bright spot. But when you share a division with Alabama, LSU, and Auburn, "nothing particularly disappointing" may not be good enough to stay in the mix for a division title.






 
 
 
 
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