Steve Spurrier and his staff have hauled in the Rivals.com 12th-ranked recruiting class. We finished less than 20 points behind number 11 Miami and less than 100 behind number six Florida State. There's a sizable jump between FSU and number five Texas, which is at the bottom of a short list of elite teams that hauled in truly magnificent classes.
Here's how the SEC stacked up in the Rivals rankings:
12. South Carolina
16. Ole Miss
22. Mississippi State
That's right, folks; the SEC garnered 10 teams in the Top 25, and Kentucky did better than they usually do, even getting a truly elite QB prospect in Morgan Newton. The rich get richer, as they say.
While we missed out on a couple of high-profile prospects on signing day and consequently didn't make the Top 10 for the second time in three years, this was another good class for Spurrier and his team. While results have been disappointing over the past two years, Spurrier has improved the overall talent level in Columbia, at least in terms of how these kids were rated coming out of high school. He deserves credit for that. We have as much talent here now as we've ever had, and if our coaching staff and players can meet halfway and mold this group into the team it's capable of becoming, we might actually do some things over the next few years.
Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to take a look at how we did at each position. As most of you know, a team can garner a lofty recruiting ranking by raking in highly rated players, but it's just as important that a team get players that address its needs. I'll be rating us by position based on two simple factors: what did we need, and how well did we fill that need. Today, we'll look at how we did recruiting the offensive line. Before we do this, though, I'm going to say that you should take my words with a grain of salt here. I'm not a recruiting expert and don't know as much as people do about these new guys.
Obviously, this has been considered one of our major areas of need due to its poor performance over the past couple of seasons. I'm not sure the problem has been a lack of talent, as we're actually fairly deep and young at the line positions, as we're only graduating one significant lineman this year (Jamon Meredith). I'm willing to bet that the biggest recruit for the OL we picked up was new coach Eric Wolford. That said, a few good linemen certainly can't hurt.
We recruited one high school linemen--Nick Allison (3 stars)--and two from junior colleges--Steven Singleton (3) and Kevious Watkins (2). We missed out on two higher profile players, Johnnie Farms and Quinton Washington. Allison, like most freshmen linemen, will likely need to bulk up 15-25 pounds before he'll be ready to take the field. Singleton and the massive 340 pount Watkins, on the other hand, may be ready to go right away. That's a good thing in the short term. In the long term it could hurt our depth at the position, as these two will be graduating in two years, although sometimes you don't get more than two good years out of linemen anyways because they usually take time to break into the rotation.
I'm going to call this a solid, B- linemen class. It would have been nice to have landed Washington and/or Farms, but the JUCOs should be ready next year if needed and Allison could turn out to be a decent player under Wolford's tutelage.