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Vols get nation's top class
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BeliefBlazer Offline
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Almost unanimously, the experts agree the big winner in the SEC's recruiting war is in Knoxville. Phillip Fulmer's Vols have, according to some, the highest-ranked recruiting class in the nation.

"They cleaned up," said Scott Kennedy, a recruiting analyst for Scout.com who covers the South. "They had one of those years where everything just came together."

The Vols received commitments from 17 players rated four stars or better on Rivals.com's five-star system. By contrast, the other 11 SEC schools collected a combined 56 signatures of four or five-star players.

Rivals.com, Scout.com and Max Emfinger each ranked the Vols as their No.1 class in the nation at some point Wednesday.

Tennessee's class is highlighted by Demetrice Bolden, a 6-foot cornerback from Miami's Killian High. The Vols also received signatures from top offensive linemen Josh McNeil and Chris Scott and elite quarterback Jonathan Crompton.

Georgia, however, isn't far behind. Mark Richt's Bulldogs slipped a bit in-state but picked up the slack by going out of Georgia for big-name players. Eleven of the Bulldogs' haul came from outside the Peach State borders. Emfinger ranked the Bulldogs No.7 nationally; Scout.com, Tom Lemming and Rivals ranked Georgia's class as the country's eighth-best.

"Really, when you're talking about a class that's in the top 10 or 15, you can make an argument that any of them are the top class in the country," Kennedy said.

Analysts agree that Alabama and Auburn had similarly ranked recruiting classes, with both programs making the national top 20.

"It's hard to say on Auburn," Rivals.com Southeast analyst Jeremy Patterson said. "In one sense you consider Auburn having a great year because Auburn's sitting at 11th now, and Auburn usually finishes in the 15 to 20 range. However, when you look at the kind of year Auburn had, with the early (recruiting) momentum and then it sort of leveled off, I guess you could say that could be disappointing."

The four new SEC head coaches fared well, despite having about a month each to prepare for signing day.

Urban Meyer arrived in Gainesville after coaching Utah in the Fiesta Bowl and put together a solid class, ranked in the top 10 by both Rivals and Scout and No.5 by guru Max Emfinger. But by lofty Florida standards, it may not be solid enough.

"Florida has had a disappointing year, but I hate to say that because right now they're (in the top 10)," Patterson said. "But they lost out on several, several kids they hoped to sign today."

The arrival of Steve Spurrier helped elevate South Carolina's signing class. The Gamecocks signed six four-star players, as rated by Rivals.com. One was tight end Jonathan Hannah, who reneged on an earlier commitment to Virginia Tech.

New LSU coach Les Miles, on the job less than a month, pieced together a signing class ranked in the nation's top 25. It was highlighted by the high-profile signing of Ryan Perrilloux, a dual-threat quarterback who earlier committed to Texas but changed his mind.

Ole Miss fans were cautiously excited about landing big-name defensive tackle Jerrell Powe. The Waynesboro, Miss., product, a Rivals.com five-star recruit, waffled between Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss in the last month before choosing the Rebels. The caution, though, lies in Powe's academics. He'll likely spend the next two years at a junior college.

"Ole Miss didn't finish that high in the national picture, probably around 30 or so, but for Ole Miss that's exceptional," Patterson said. "Ole Miss is usually lucky to be in the top 50, and coach (Ed) Orgeron has just done a super job of going out and getting some great players without much time."

Sylvester Croom's second signing class at Mississippi State included a coup - South Panola (Miss.) defensive back Derek Pegues. He was thought to be leaning to Ole Miss and surprised fans by signing with the Bulldogs on Wednesday morning.

Arkansas' recruiting class was highlighted by Little Rock product Darren McFadden, who is regarded as one of the nation's elite athletes.

Kentucky and Vanderbilt, to no one's surprise, didn't make much of a wave in recruiting. Neither signed a four- or five-star player, according to Rivals or Scout.
02-04-2005 01:43 AM
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TIGER50 Offline
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Post: #2
Doesn't this happen every year...........and every year you lose a game and Fulmer is called an idiot!!! and everybody on the Vol networks start blaming him for the loss.
02-21-2005 09:30 PM
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