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Recruiting: A Complete Breakdown of SEC Early Enrollees in 2014

Tennessee Volunteers

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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.