Recruiting: A Complete Breakdown of SEC Early Enrollees in 2014

The SEC enrolled 72 recruits early in the 2014 cycle.

Enrolling early is a fairly new trend that is clearly used by one league more so than any other.

Fans always ask how the SEC does it? How can one league become so dominant? The simple answer is it cares more. The SEC is more dedicated to winning championships than your favorite conference, from the last graduate assistant on the sidelines to the last row of fans in the nosebleed seats at Neyland Stadium to the big-dollar donors and $7 million coaches.

It’s why enrolling early has become such an important aspect to SEC recruiting. This league more than any other mercilessly ignores senior prom in exchange for spring practice. While on the surface, a few extra months of work shouldn’t change the course of a coach’s career, enrolling players early can be extremely beneficial.

And the rest of college football needs to follow the SEC’s lead.

The hardest part of true freshman life in major college football isn’t on the field. Athletes are more prepared physically than ever to contribute early. It is the mental side of the game that is tough to adjust to — and that includes little things like finding a classroom or learning a road map.

Eight extra months of practice time to acclimate to college life, learn to function independently and work with teammates all while not having to worry about wins and losses is invaluable. It also allows athletic departments to fudge scholarship numbers forwards or backwards to accommodate the NCAA.

Just look at how many high school athletes who should be still in high school are already on an SEC campus today:

Tennessee (14)

Butch Jones' No. 5-ranked class was clearly about size and roster turnover. He signed 36 players and 14 of them are already enrolled. The offensive skill positions got a big boost this spring with the additions of names like Josh Malone, Jalen Hurd, Daniel Helm and Ethan Wolf. Otherwise, the line of scrimmage got plenty of help as three offensive linemen and a pair of D-liners enrolled early for the Vols. This is one of the largest classes of early enrollees in history and should help churn the depleted Tennessee roster quickly this spring.

Name Pos. Ht Wt Hometown Nat'l Rank
Josh Malone WR 6-3 195 Gallatin, Tenn. No. 36
Jalen Hurd RB 6-3 227 Hendersonville, Tenn. No. 40
Daniel Helm TE 6-4 225 Chatham, Ill. No. 198
D'Andre Payne DB 5-9 176 Washington, D.C. No. 264
Ethan Wolf TE 6-5 243 Minster, Ohio No. 325
Dimarya Mixon DE 6-3 263 Compton, Calif. No. 579
Neiko Creamer ATH 6-3 223 Wilmington, Del. No. 638
Coleman Thomas OL 6-6 299 Max Meadows, Va. No. 639
Jakob Johnson LB 6-4 240 Stuttgart, Germany No. 642
Ray Raulerson OL 6-5 275 Tampa, Fla. No. 849
Emmanuel Moseley DB 5-11 165 Greensboro, N.C. No. 857
Von Pearson WR 6-3 185 Newport News, Va. No. 4 (JC)
Dontavius Blair OL 6-8 300 Anniston, Ala. No. 8 (JC)
Owen Williams DL 6-2 285 Macon, Ga. No. 113 (JC)

Florida (9)

The Gators need some offensive help and Will Muschamp and new coordinator Kurt Roper got some with this group. Will Grier is a special athlete who could be ready to help at quarterback in the fall because he will get a full spring to get accustomed with the Gators' program, offense and campus. With the loss of two stud cornerbacks, Muschamp also added some needed depth to the secondary with two of the top rated players in the class in Jalen Tabor and Duke Dawson.

Name Pos. Ht Wt Hometown Nat'l Rank
Jalen Tabor DB 6-1 188 Washington, D.C. No. 14
Will Grier QB 6-2 190 Davidson, N.C. No. 48
Duke Dawson DB 5-10 190 Cross City, Fla. No. 194
Nolan Kelleher OL 6-6 305 Mt. Pleasant, S.C. No. 356
Brandon Powell RB 5-9 175 Deerfield Beach, Fla. No. 400
Taven Bryan DL 6-5 260 Casper, Wyo. No. 533
DeAndre Goolsby TE 6-4 230 Derby, Ky. No. 535
Kavaris Harkless OL 6-5 275 Jacksonville, Fla. No. 809
Drew Sarvary OL 6-6 318 Tallahassee, Fla. No. 150 (JC)

Alabama (8)

Alabama welcomed eight new faces to campus this spring, including the top player in the class (Cam Robinson) and the No. 4-ranked quarterback in the nation (David Cornwell). In all, Nick Saban enrolled five top-100 prospects early and will have them for spring practice. He also brought in two four-star junior college players, both of which will help bolster the defensive line.

Name Pos. Ht Wt Hometown Nat'l Rank
Cam Robinson OL 6-6 325 Monroe, La. No. 4
Tony Brown DB 6-0 195 Beaumont, Texas No. 9
Hootie Jones DB 6-2 215 Monroe, La. No. 50
David Cornwell QB 6-5 240 Norman, Okla. No. 79
Cam Sims WR 6-4 200 Monroe, La. No. 84
Dion Hamilton LB 6-0 240 Montgomery, Ala. No. 203
Jarran Reed DL 6-4 310 Goldsboro, N.C. No. 13 (JC)
D.J. Pettway DL 6-3 255 Pensacola, Fla. No. 15 (JC)

Texas A&M (7)

Kevin Sumlin will get some immediate help from his early enrollees at two key positions. Wide receiver and offensive line got much deeper with the addition of five-star prospect Speedy Noil. Three blockers, including two elite junior college prospects, should help rebuild the depth along the offensive front quickly. Sumlin also gets his prized gem in the form of the nation's top quarterback, Kyle Allen, onto campus early.

Name Pos. Ht Wt Hometown Nat'l Rank
Speedy Noil WR 5-11 190 New Orleans, La. No. 8
Kyle Allen QB 6-3 200 Scottsdale, Ariz. No. 10
Zaycoven Henderson DT 6-1 310 Longview, Texas No. 219
JJ Gustafson OL 6-5 310 Dallas, Texas UR
Jermaine Eluemunor OL 6-4 315 Danville, N.J. No. 7 (JC)
Avery Gennesy OL 6-5 310 Southhaven, Miss. No. 9 (JC)
Josh Reynolds WR 6-4 190 San Antonio, Texas No. 37 (JC)

Kentucky (7)

Mark Stoops did an excellent overall job with this class and his much-maligned offense should get a big boost with seven early enrollees. Drew Barker is the QB of the future in Lexington and is one of the highest rated players in this class overall. He will be joined by three other skill position prospects in wideouts Thaddeus Snodgrass and T.V. Williams and running back Mikel Horton. This is a strong group for the Cats.

Name Pos. Ht Wt Hometown Nat'l Rank
Drew Barker QB 6-3 217 Burlington, Ky. No. 119
Thaddeus Snodgrass WR 6-1 180 Springfield, Ohio No. 304
Mikel Horton RB 6-1 223 West Chester, Ohio No. 380
T.V. Williams WR 5-10 165 McKinney, Texas No. 687
Dorian Hendrix LB 6-0 230 Huber Heights, Ohio No. 761
C.J. Johnson DT 6-3 275 Columbia, S.C. No. 30 (JC)
A.J. Stamps CB 6-0 190 Vicksburg, Miss. No. 215 (JC)

Ole Miss (7)

Only two true freshman early enrollees signed with Ole Miss so Hugh Freeze's class features mostly junior college prospects, one transfer and one prep schooler. But at least they are highly touted, as Marquis Haynes was the No. 5-rated prep school prospect in the nation and all three JUCOs are ranked in the top 50 nationally. Christian Morris comes to Oxford from UCLA after signing there originally in the 2013 class.

Name Pos. Ht Wt Hometown Nat'l Rank
C.J. Hampton DB 6-1 195 Meridian, Miss. No. 96
Kendrick Doss QB 6-2 215 Florence, Ala. No. 610
Marquis Haynes DE 6-3 225 Jacksonville, Fla. No. 5 (PS)
Christian Russell LB 6-1 235 Fayetteville, N.C. No. 25 (JC)
Fahn Cooper OL 6-5 315 Crystal Lake, Ill. No. 28 (JC)
Jeremy Liggins ATH 6-4 295 Oxford, Miss. No. 48 (JC)
Christian Morris OL 6-6 290 Memphis, Tenn. Transfer

Auburn (5)

Gus Malzahn didn't get too many true freshman early enrollees (2) but he brought in quality junior college prospects. D'haquille Williams is considered the top JUCO player in the nation and he should help on the outside in short order. In fact, a total of three pass-catchers enrolled early to help Nick Marshall and the passing attack this spring.

Name Pos. Ht Wt Hometown Nat'l Rank
Stanton Truitt WR 5-10 185 Monroe, Ga. No. 317
Chris Laye TE 6-5 240 Cumming, Ga. Unranked
D'haquille Willams WR 6-3 205 LaPlace, La. No. 1 (JC)
Derrick Moncrief S 6-3 225 Prattville, Ala. No. 11 (JC)
Xavier Dampeer OL 6-2 300 Mendenhall, Miss. No. 194 (JC)
Missouri (5)

Gary Pinkel didn't bring in much elite talent but getting five new faces on campus early is a big help. Brandon Lee is the only nationally ranked freshman joining the roster early and he should help fill out a depleted front seven. Kenya Dennis is a quality JUCO prospect who also will help rebuild depth on the defensive side of the ball for Mizzou.

Name Pos. Ht Wt Hometown Nat'l Rank
Brandon Lee LB 6-2 215 Indianapolis, Ind. No. 276
Logan Cheadle DB 5-9 175 Lee's Summit, Mo. Unranked
Michael Fairchild OL 6-4 275 Overland Park, Kan. Unranked
Marvin Zanders QB 6-2 185 Jacksonville, Fla. Unranked
Kenya Dennis DB 6-0 200 Raymond, Miss. No. 100 (JC)
Arkansas (4)

Bret Bielema didn't have a great National Signing Day overall. The rest of the SEC West kept improving while the Hogs missed out on all of its big NSD targets. Getting four names onto campus early, however, will allow this class to help the winless Razorbacks address their needs sooner. In particular, the passing game should get some help this spring with two wideouts and a quarterback enrolling early in Fayetteville.

Name Pos. Ht Wt Hometown Nat'l Rank
Rafe Peavey QB 6-2 212 Bolivar, Mo. No. 355
Chris Murphy CB 5-10 180 Marietta, Ga. No. 622
Jared Cornelius WR 6-1 185 Shreveport, La. No. 907
Cody Hollister WR 6-4 205 Bend, Ore. No. 232 (JC)
The Rest of the SEC:
Les Miles and LSU only bring in two early enrollees but both are highly touted, four-star recruits. It is sort of startling to see only one early enrollee for Mark Richt and Georgia. He normally brings in a half-dozen or so in January. South Carolina only had one while Mississippi State got two to enroll early and Vanderbilt had none.
Name Pos. Ht Wt Hometown Nat'l Rank
LSU 
Edward Paris S 6-1 190 Arlington, Texas No. 42
Brandon Harris QB 6-2 195 Bossier City, La. No. 75
Mississippi St
Nick Fitzgerald QB 6-5 220 Richmond Hill, Ga. Unranked
Jocquell Johnson OL 6-6 307 Jackson, Miss. No. 97 (JC)
Georgia
Jacob Park QB 6-3 200 Goose Creek, S.C. No. 114
South Carolina
Abu Lamin DT 6-4 295 Fayetteville, N.C. No. 16 (JC)

 

 

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