Signing Day in the SEC: News and analysis (6 p.m. update)
Breaking down all the news from Signing Day in the SEC. Updated hourly.
An updated look at the latest from the SEC on National Signing Day.
|Robert Nkemdiche (right) is in the Ole Miss fold, but Chris Jones (left) stuck with Mississippi State. (US Presswire)|
6 p.m. ET: Was there ever any doubt? Last July, possibly? Maybe last February? October of 2011, say? When was the last time anyone would have placed a bet on anyone other than Alabama finishing the 2012-2013 recruiting cycle atop the team rankings? Not every ranking service agrees with 247sports or even its composite rankings, but who are you gonna believe: the coaching staff that's won three of four national titles and had its pick of nearly any national recruit that wasn't listening to Hugh Freeze's pied piper flute, or your lyin' spreadsheet?
The Tide capped off their 2013 class with -- ho-hum -- another five-star offensive tackle (this one plucked out of Texas) and another four-star, top-75 tailback (their fourth). At this point, it's the same thing repeated every signing day ad nauseam, but Nick Saban's perpetual-motion recruiting machine doesn't allow for any other kind of analysis: the Tide have proven they will win national titles if they recruit at this level, and they recruit at this level every single year.
Is there hope for the rest of college football? Yes, in the sense that even the best college football teams can always drop a game or two by random chance. In the sense that the Tide won't loom over the national title discussion on an annual basis like a celluloid alien spaceship drifting over New York, until Saban finally departs? No. That hope is long gone.
One other final note: Whiffing on Alvin Kamara and Clemson-bound guard Tyrone Crowder meant that there's no other way to spin Mark Richt's signing day than as one of disappointment. Between the single three-star defensive end landed in Wednesday's finale, the poor in-state showing (the Bulldogs signed 2 of 247Sports' top 15 Georgia prospects), and zero five-star signees, Georgia fans aren't going to be happy.
That's not to say this class is a disaster. Thirty-two signees strong, it ranked 12th in the final national rankings, and thanks to a healthy 14 four-stars it finished with a better per-recruit ranking average than Auburn's 23-member No. 11 class. But that's almost the point: the Tigers just went 3-9, fired their entire staff, and share a less talent-rich state with Alabama. Should defensive line coach Rodney Garner's switch from Athens to Auburn really have been so monumental as to propel the Tigers ahead of the Bulldogs despite all of the former's disadvantages and the latter's advantages? If Richt has found a number of diamonds-in-the-proverbial-rough, it won't matter, but on its face this class may not be good enough in today's SEC.
Final winners: Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Texas A&M.
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