Signing Day Checklist: Wrapping up the SEC

EAST

FLORIDA

Signees: 27

247Sports
National Rank: 4

Overview:
The Gators did what the Gators do on the recruiting trail, signing a class with national talent at the top, quality depth throughout the middle and "bottom," and a top-five ranking. Not that it's ever been difficult for Florida to sign in-state blue chips, but the Sunshine State was particularly kind this year: nine four-stars and a pair of five-stars, No. 1 CB Vernon Hargreaves III and No. 2 RB Kelvin Taylor.

Needed to Address:
The lack of offensive playmakers. So welcome, Taylor, a trio of four-star wideouts (starting with No. 16 WR Demarcus Robinson), and intriguing 5-8, 214-pound powerback Adam Lane

Headliner:
If there's such a thing as a true can't-miss prospect in this class, many would say it's Hargeaves, a super-polished, technically sound coach's son who could wedge his way into even the crowded Gator secondary upon arrival.

Instant Impact:
Much less crowded: the Gator backfield, where Mike Gillislee ate up 244 carries and the next-most-used tailback (rising sophomore Matt Jones) got just 52. Expect Taylor to challenge for the starter's job -- if not win it outright -- as soon as this fall.

Best-Case Scenario: The flood of top-tier defensive blue-chips (we haven't even mentioned Alex Anzalone or Marcell Harris yet) make Will Muschamp's defense the best one this side of Tuscaloosa while the new offensive weapons lift that unit to far greater consistency. Result: a national title shot.

GEORGIA

Signees: 32

247Sports
National Rank:
12

Overview:
If you'd asked Bulldog fans at this time last year where their 2013 class would be ranked if it featured 32 names, we're guessing they'd have something much kinder than 12th. As written in this space Wednesday, Mark Richt didn't make much hay within the much-raided Peach State and wound up with a class more solid than spectacular -- and one ranked seventh in the SEC

Needed to Address:
After losing as many as 10 starters from the 2012 defense, the Bulldogs needed an injection of defensive depth, stat, and they got it. Of their whopping 13 early enrolees, eight play defense, including prep school nose tackle goliath John Atkins and four-star safety Tray Matthew. Standout prep school OLB Leonard Floyd arrives in the fall.

Headliner:
The No. 3 pro-style QB in the country, 6-3 Brice Ramsey could find himself doing a mean Aaron Murray impression in a couple of seasons.

Instant Impact:
Though not one of the early-enrolling mob, JUCO safety Shaquille Fluker had his pick of SEC programs and nonetheless should be ready to compete for a starting job right away -- good news with Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams having graduated.

Best-Case Scenario:
The headliners like Ramsey, Matthews, and Tramel Terry deliver, a high percentage of the rank-and-file three-stars become contributors (or stars), and Georgia never flinched from its perch atop the SEC East.

KENTUCKY

Signees: 22

247Sports
National Rank:
36

Overview:
Given that Mark Stoops' program is 1. Kentucky 2. Kentucky with an entirely new coaching staff 3. Kentucky coming off a 2-10, 0-8 season, this class isn't half-bad -- and a sign that given an complete cycle to work with, Stoops may be able to craft one that by Kentucky standards will be 1,000 percent good. When was the last time the Wildcats signed a player -- in this case, composite four-star DE Jason Hatcher -- who had been committed to a program like USC?

Needed to Address:
Everything, but given Stoops' defensive background it's no wonder five of the Wildcats' seven highest-ranked signees play on that side of the ball. Hatcher and four-star JUCO DE Za'Darius Smith should substantially upgrade the Wildcats' play on the defensive line.

Headliner:
Four-star Ohio product Marcus McWilson flipped from Nebraska late in the process to give Stoops a potential All-SEC safety -- and serve notice recruits were willing to listen to what the new Wildcat head man had to say.

Instant Impact:
With both starting defensive ends graduated, the 6-6, 250-pound Smith was likely recruited to step into the starting lineup from Day 1, and has the pass-rushing skills to make the most of that opportunity. 

Best-Case Scenario:
Respectability, ho!

MISSOURI

Signees: 20

247Sports
National Rank:
39

Overview:
The euphoria of Signing Day 2012 and inking Dorial Green-Beckham seemed to have dissipated entirely by the end of Signing Day 2013, thanks to a class that featured just two consensus four-star players -- DT Josh Augusta and RB Chase Abbington -- and ranked dead last in the SEC. This is, as the kids say, not a good look.

Needed to Address:
Who's going to take over when James Franklin departs remains to be seen, and the Tigers put two more bullets in the chamber by signing a pair of promising three-star quarterbacks -- Trent Hosick from Kansas City, and Eddie Printz of Lassier, Ga., the former more athletic and the latter more of a pocket passer -- and getting both on campus early.

Headliner: The Tigers needed big bodies on the defensive line in the worst way after the departure of Sheldon Richardson, and the 6-5, 295-pound Augusta gives them one that's skilled and strong as well as big.  

Instant Impact:
If Henry Josey can't recover from his catastrophic 2011 knee injury and become something like his former self, the shifty Abbington may get a real crack at the starting job before the season is over. 

Best-Case Scenario:
Gary Pinkel has turned plenty of under-the-radar recruits into stars before; he'll have to again if he can't follow up this disappointing class with something better in 2014, at least if he wants the Tigers to do more than battle the Wildcats and Commodores for the East cellar.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Signees: 21

247Sports
National Rank:
21

Overview:
The Gamecocks' recruiting strides in recent years have largely coincided with an uptick in Palmetto State talent and a corresponding uptick in Steve Spurrier's ability to have them stay at home, so it's no surprise that in a year where the state produced only five composite four-stars (and only one, guard D.J. Park, signed with Carolina) that the Gamecocks' class is more similar to Arkansas' or Mississippi State's than Florida's or Georgia's. Still, the front seven talent -- OLB Larenz Bryant, DT Kelsey Griffin, WDE Devin Washington -- is impressive.   

Needed to Address:
The losses of Marcus Lattimore and Ace Sanders means some playmaking help was necessary, and the Gamecocks appear to have gotten some in four-star running back David Williams and wideout Pharoh Cooper. But did they get enough?

Headliner: Much of the Gamecocks' recent success has been built on a stout run-stuffing defense, and Griffin's sparkplug 6-3, 290-pound presence in the middle of the Carolina line should ensure that success continues.

Instant Impact:
With both Lattimore and Kenny Miles gone, there's carries to be had in the Gamecock backfield, and we'd expect Williams to make a major push for a major share of those.

Best-Case Scenario:
The stars along the front seven align and keep the Gamecocks among the SEC's most explosive defenses, while Spurrier continues to make the most of his offensive tools -- and the Gamecocks squeak past the Dawgs and Gators for another SEC East title.

TENNESSEE

Signees: 21

247Sports
National Rank:
25

Overview:
Both Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley made the most of limited timeframes in the run-up to their first Signing Days on Rocky Top, but with the Vols in full-on rebuilding mode after back-to-back 5-7 disappointments, Butch Jones had less luck. Still, the late additions of four-star WR MarQuez North and four-star QB Joshua Dobbs meant the class was better than it could have been.

Needed to Address:
The 2012 Vols were a disaster defensively (somewhere, the Troy Trojans are nodding), so getting four defenders on campus early -- led by four-star Jaylen Reeves-Maybin, the No. 17 OLB -- is a nice boost for Jones. But No. 117 overall SDE Jason Carr might be an even bigger boost when all is said and done.

Headliner:
On a receiving corps gutted by early departures, North should have the chance to shine early and often, and the 6-4, 212-pound target could become a quick favorite of whoever inherits Tyler Bray's starting job.

Instant Impact:
A rotten 2012 meant that jobs might be available in the Vol secondary -- another reason losing five-star safety Vonn Bell to Ohio State stung so badly -- so don't be surprise if safety Lemond Johnson or corner Cameron Sutton make a push for immediate playing time.

Best-Case Scenario:
Jones squeezes the most out of his lightly-regarded players the way he did at Cincinnati, and in tandem with bigger and better classes down the road, the 2013 class paves the way for the Vols to return to SEC East relevance.

VANDERBILT

Signees: 27

247Sports
National Rank: 30

Overview:
Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Thanks to James Franklin's relentless push, Vanderbilt's finally recruiting on nearly the same level as Arkansas or Mississippi State, and nabbing big signing day wins like Zach Cunningham and Jordan Cunningham; on the other hand, even with Franklin's relentless push, Vanderbilt's still not quite recruiting on the same level as Arkansas or Mississippi State. Given the level on which Vanderbilt used to be recruiting, we'll say half-full, but the 'Dores aren't keeping the Gators and Dawgs up at night just yet.

Needed to Address:
Even pre-Franklin, Vandy's never seemed to lack for smart, overachieving players to fill out its lineup; it's finding legitimate All-SEC-caliber stars that's been harder. So signing three 247Sports four-star players -- Zach Cunningham, ILB Nigel Bowden, and WDE Landon Stokes -- and three more composite ranking fours-stars is a big move in the right direction. 

Headliner:
And that's before we get to Jonathon McCrary, the 6-4 three-star dual-threat QB who earned interest from the likes of Georgia and Alabama and landed an invite to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. McCray has enrolled early and has many Vandy fans expecting him to take over the starting job 2014 -- if not earlier.

Instant Impact:
Vandy's linebackers have always been one of the strengths of the team, and the 6-4, 200-pound Zach Cunningham has both the size and skills to start making his own impression at the position as soon as 2013.

Best-Case Scenario:
Franklin maximizes the talent of the class the way he has with his current roster, McCrary becomes a star, Bowden and Cunningham make the linebacking corps one of the SEC's best, and Vandy pulls off a previously unthinkable 10-win season. 

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