With 10 verbal commitments already in the bag, the Florida Gators will look to continue their success on the recruiting trail in the upcoming weeks. But how does Florida’s success compare with the rest of the SEC East? Let’s break out the Orange and Blue microscope and take a closer look at Florida’s recruiting competition.
If Georgia head coach Mark Richt’s seat gets any hotter in Athens, he might have to share the icepack Russ, the interim Uga mascot, rests on during games. Richt is once again on the proverbial coaching hot seat entering the 2011 season, so the success of this recruiting class could ultimately be determined by the success the Bulldogs have on the field.
However, Richt has always been one of the top recruiters in the SEC. The ‘Dawgs’ have six verbal commitments led by four star receiver C.J. Curry from Gainesville, Ga., and defensive end Leonard Floyd from Eastman, Ga.
Five star offensive tackle John Theus (6-6/292, Jacksonville/ Bolles) has not released a top list of schools yet, but Georgia is expected to be near the top of that list. Theus’ older brother, Nathan, signed with the Bulldogs as a long snapper this past signing class.
Four star wide receiver Shaq Roland (6-1/170, Lexington, SC/ Lexington), recently named Georgia in his top four along with Florida, South Carolina and Alabama. Roland is expected to make a decision sometime over the summer.
Head coach Derek Dooley is the energizer bunny of the college recruiting world. Dooley has offered an astounding 166 players across the country compared to 135 for the Gators. But after a 6-7 year in his first season in Knoxville, Dooley, like Richt, will have to show success on the field before the recruiting efforts pay dividends for the 2012 class.
Despite having offered just about every prospect in the Southeast, the Vols have just two verbal commitments led by four star receiver Corey Smith from Akron, Oh.
Andrew Jelks was recently offered a scholarship by Tennessee. The 6-foot-6 265-pound offensive lineman from Paris, TN., grew up a big Tennessee fan and could become the first offensive lineman to commit to the Vols if he does decide to choose Tennessee.
Nothing is a given in the SEC, but some experts predict South Carolina will win the SEC East this season. An SEC East title would undoubtedly help boost recruiting for a team that is already off to a good start.
Steve Spurrier, aka the “Ol’ Ball Coach” or “I’d rather be playing a round of 18 than visiting a 17-year-old kid” has never really been known for his recruiting efforts. Spurrier, however, is a legend among college football fans, and recruits know his name.
The Gamecocks signed arguably the No. 1 prospect in the country last year in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. SC has five verbal commitments to date, led by four star offensive linemen Brock Stadnik from Greensboro, NC.
As previously mentioned, Roland has named the Gamecocks as one of his final four choices.
Kelvin Rainey, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound tight end from Yulee, Fl., has had the Gamecocks at or near the top of his list for quite some time.
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips isn’t joking around when it comes to the 2012 recruiting class. Let’s face it – Kentucky recruiting doesn’t get talked about much, so I have to make the most out of that play on words.
But UK has three verbal commitments, led by four star defensive tackle Thomas Chapman from Louisville. Chapman had offers from both Louisville and Kentucky, so it’s a bit surprising he shunned his hometown team for the in-state rival.
Kentucky also has a commitment from 6-foot-5 quarterback Patrick Towles, who also had offers from Cincinnati, Louisville, and Illinois.
Unless basketball coach John Calipari can recruit for the football team, it will once again be tough for Kentucky to compete with the other SEC juggernauts.
Vanderbilt, yes Vanderbilt, is on the hottest recruiting streak in the SEC right now. No really, I’m serious.
Recruiting at Vanderbilt is not the easiest task, but new head coach James Franklin seems to be up to the challenge as the Commodores have picked up five commitments within the last two weeks.
They have six verbal commitments total led by linebackers Darreon Herring from Stone Mountain, Ga., and Jacob Sealand from Tucker, Ga. Herring is teammates with current UF running back commit Mike Davis and defensive tackle commit Jafar Mann.
Four-star running back Brian Kimbrow, from Memphis, has also named Vanderbilt as his leader.
New head coach Will Muschamp has come out firing in the 2012 recruiting class, landing 10 verbal commitments, seven of which are four-star players, according to Rivals.
Florida leads the SEC in recruiting four-star players as no other SEC East team has more than two. Though SEC West foe Alabama has more overall commits with 12, Florida still has two more four-star players.
Offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker, from Boynton Beach, heads the list of Florida commitments at 6-foot-6 and 315-pounds. This balanced class has five offensive and five defensive commitments.
The Gators are still in the running for several of the top prospects in the Southeast, and are on pace to have the best overall class in the SEC East.