Sports, Thrill of Victory

National Signing Day highlights this week’s Around the SEC

Georgia coach Kirby Smart had a terrific first full recruiting season. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

Here’s what’s new and notable in and around the Southeastern Conference as February has arrived.


The SEC stockpiles talent on National Signing Day

It was another year, and another great talent haul, for the Southeastern Conference on Wednesday, Feb. 1. 

Once again, the league had a number of its 14 teams place well among the country’s 128 FBS programs. Here’s how ranked the league’s teams, with the national rank for each in parenthesis:

  1. Alabama (1)
  2. Georgia (3)
  3. LSU (8)
  4. Florida (9)
  5. Texas A&M (10)
  6. Auburn (14)
  7. Tennessee (15)
  8. South Carolina (16)
  9. Arkansas (24)
  10. Kentucky (26)
  11. Mississippi St. (27)
  12. Ole Miss (39)
  13. Missouri (48)
  14. Vanderbilt (64)

Some notable things from NSD:

Alabama tops the Rivals rankings… again. The Crimson Tide have occupied that spot every since 2011 except one (it was second to Southern Cal in 2015). Alabama also topped the rankings in 2008 and 2009. 

On that topic, you can’t beat No. 1… or can you? Even for the Crimson Tide, this was an unprecedented level of dominance. In the Rivals point system, the 3,433 points that Alabama accumulated was not only more than second-place Ohio State (3,078), and more than the previous best total (3,263) that Southern Cal pulled in ’15. (Rivals does award more stars now than it did historically, but still…)

To put it in perspective, the 28 players that Alabama signed averaged a star ranking of 4.11, and got 11 of the country’s top 100 players, including No. 1, Najee Harris.

Georgia also had a tremendous class, ranking third overall. That’s significant because it’s the first full class for coach Kirby Smart, who replaced Mark Richt because Georgia decision-makers felt Smart would be more aggressive in recruiting.

It’ll be interesting to watch how pro-style quarterback Jake Frohm, a five-star recruit, and current starter Jacob Eason can co-exist. Eason, of course, was the highest-rated quarterback in the 2016 class.

Florida also closed strong on National Signing Day after some felt the Gators might wind up outside the top 20. However, the Gators also added a couple of players with questionable backgrounds who helped them ascend the rankings. 

With off-field issues being a perpetual issue in Gainesville for years, will adding more players who could cause trouble or distractions backfire for coach Jim McElwain, or will it prove to be worth the risk?


  1. Kentucky (18-4, 9-1 SEC)
  2. Florida (17-5, 7-2)
  3. South Carolina (18-4, 8-1)
  4. Arkansas (17-5, 6-3)
  5. Tennessee (13-9, 5-4)
  6. Vanderbilt (11-11, 4-5)
  7. Georgia (13-9, 4-5)
  8. Alabama (13-8, 6-3)
  9. Texas A&M (11-10, 3-6)
  10. Auburn (14-8, 3-6)
  11. Ole Miss (13-9, 4-5)
  12. Mississippi St. (13-8, 4-5)
  13. LSU (9-12, 1-8)
  14. Missouri (5-16, 0-9)


  1. Malik Monk, G, Kentucky
  2. De’Aron Fox, PG, Kentucky
  3. Yante Maten, PF, Georgia
  4. Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
  5. Sebastian Saiz, F, Ole Miss
  6. Sindarius Thornwell, G, South Carolina
  7. Isaiah Briscoe, G, Kentucky
  8. P.J. Dozier, G, South Carolina
  9. Moses Kingsley, C, Arkansas
  10. J.J. Frazier, PG, Georgia
  11. Luke Kornet, C, Vanderbilt
  12. Tyler Davis, C, Texas A&M
  13. Ke’Vaughn Allen, SG, Florida
  14. Daryl Macon, G, Arkansas
  15. Quinndary Weatherspoon, G, Mississippi St.