If you are interested in annual recruiting ranks ups and downs, then the SEC is not the conference to follow. All but two of the teams were +/- 8 spots away from their 4 year Matrix recruiting ranking and only 4 teams were +/- 10 ranking spots removed from their September 1, 2012 recruiting ranking. Georgia moved up 12 spots to #10 while the two SEC newcomers dropped 11 and 10 spots respectively.
SEC Bounce? Not for A&M and Missouri. While many of you believe switching AQ conferences will help in recruiting, the CBFMatrix stats have proven that to be a false assumption. Thanks to the Aggies and Tigers for providing further validation to that conclusion by only being +2 and +1 recruiting rank (#RR) spots above their 4 year Matrix rankings.
Alabama: Boring up to #1. Started Sept. 1 at #3 in the country and finished #1. Never dipped below #5 recruiting ranking. Was top 3 every ranking period after November 1 and took over the #1 spot mid-January. Awesome recruiting cycle not much drama.
Florida: Well the coaching staff can recruit, but can they coach? It has never been a question of talent at the Swamp and they proved that with Urban. But the Gators hired a guy from a program that was, other than one lightning in a NC bottle season, a chronic underachiever. The Gators have top 10 ranked talent over the last 4 years. Another -2 coach effect year or worse and I say you have the wrong coach.
Georgia: Big run for the Dawgs after getting out of the gate a little slow. Not that most teams would love to be in the top 25 of recruiting rankings September 1, but that is uncharacteristic of UGA. They had the biggest RR jump in the last 4 months before NSD with +12 putting them at #10 for 2012 but -4 spots under their 4 year ranking.
Auburn: #9 September 1 and finished #10 and right on their 4 year national ranking. It wasn’t without its trials. The Tigers dropped all the way to #19 at the end of January but jumped 9 spots in the last 48 to NSD and landed a huge OT commit thereafter to boost the ranking.
LSU: Started #8 and finished #12. No real up or down momentum for the Tigers. It was, on paper, one of their lowest ranked classes over the last several seasons. It shouldn’t have too much of a down effect but a couple more classes in the teens will impact them in the toughest division in CFB.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks chipped away at their recruiting rank all season pushing in to the top 10 in the final week. But the last 48 hours of the 2012 recruiting cycle were unkind dropping USC 7 spots to settle at #16. Still a solid finish considering they were #19 for the 4 year 2008-2011 ranking.
Texas A&M: The Aggies were top 10 for all but the last 20 days of the recruiting cycle. The wheels fell off the last 2 weeks as they dropped to #17 from #7. It is not unfamiliar territory as A&M had a 4 year Matrix rank of #17 coming into this 2012 cycle.
Tennessee: First Dooley could recruit and was an average coach. Then the could recruit at an elite level but couldn’t coach. Now his recruiting is falling off and he since hasn’t proven to be able to coach. The hottest seat in the SEC got hotter with a fall off in talent. -7 spots under their 4 year ranking, the Vols, if this continues are on a path down in the SEC.
Mississippi State: Big year for the Bulldogs with a #23 class, 7 spots better than their 4 year average. Mullen has proven to be an average coach, but that goes a long ways if your talent keeps improving. However, I don’t see it as enough to make a difference to get into that 8+ win season without some magic and luck. Time will tell if this recruiting ranking can improve along with the coaching.
Arkansas: Its a good thing the Hogs have the Matrix chart best coach in the SEC. At #27 and just 2 spots off their #25 four year ranking, the Razorbacks are running in place with talent. Petrino has been a real genius in Fayetteville but that is hard to maintain every year. They pushed in to the top 20 briefly but couldn’t maintain it. In my opinion, they need more December and January OVs to close on elite kids.
Missouri: Another year, another class outside the top 25. That gets you by in the Big12 with slightly above average coaching, but not in the SEC where 80% of the games are decided on recruiting rank and field in the pre-season. The Tigers, at #32, were 3 spots better than their 4 year ranking, but this will give little improvement. Until they get into the top 20-25 consistently and coach them up better this team is at best a mid-tier SEC program.
Vanderbilt: Wow! Huge recruiting year for the Commodores. At #42 they were 19 spots over their 4 year #61 ranking. That will help and Franklin has proven he can coach. However, this team is still the bottom half of the East and 7 wins is a great year until the recruiting gets into the 20s with consistency.
Kentucky: Trending water. #48 and 3 spots worse than their 4 year ranking. This would be great in the Big East but the SEC will continue to eat the Wildcats up with nearly every game being an upset if they win.
Ole Miss: #51 is just a terrible finish to a really bad run. This started several years back when highly ranked classes were not getting kid qualified or on the field. This was a systemic issue of poor recruiting strategy and it’s going to take many years to get back in the middle of the SEC. Being in the talent heavy SEC West, this kind of class is a real setback. It’s going to take a lot of patience and bourbon if you are a Rebel.