The SEC placed more teams in the Scout.com Top 40 and ESPN Top 25 rankings than any other conference. There are 10 teams overall and three in the top 10 in the Scout.com ranking, and six teams overall and three in the top 10 in the ESPN rankings.
Of course, those high rankings won't mean much come August if those prospects can't even get into school. Thanks to new NCAA guidelines regarding core classes, programs could lose more signees than ever before.
Previously, high school signees were required to pass 14 core classes. If they failed to pass 14, they could still go to summer school or prep school for a year and get the credits they needed.
This time around, those signees must pass 16 core classes, including four years of English; three years of math (algebra one or higher); two years of natural or physical science (including one laboratory class); two years of social science; one additional year of either English, math, or science; and four years of an additional course of study involving the previous list subjects as well as language or philosophy.
While signees can still attend summer school and prep school, the NCAA will accept only one core course from summer school or prep school. Remember all those incredible stories about players saving their academics with one incredible summer of academic discipline and success? Good luck, kid. The NCAA is on to that act.
Schools have known this was coming for the past four years, so it's not like the NCAA suddenly pulled a rabid bunny out of its hat and let it loose on unsuspecting colleges and high schools. That gave students a full four years to earn their core classes and made it tough on kids to take a year off – or even a semester. In the end, a recruit's GPA is determined by his grades in those core classes.
That means several of last week's signees – at this point – aren't eligible to play college football and won't be until May. Or later. If ever.
College football recruiters said already overworked high school counselors, coaches and administrators have been harried and frazzled making sure these kids stay on course toward earning their core classes. That's also made it tough on college coaches to really know where many of their prospects stand.
"We are going to have four or five of these that are going to go to junior college or prep school. You have to do that," said
"It is a new rule that we don't know what the impact is going to be, but it is out there for these players to reach. I am not saying it's not a fair rule, but it is going to be a challenge. Fourteen core courses was tough; 16 is going to be tougher. I hope we stop there, but it could change in a few years. We don't have any control over that. A lot of these guys are still working to complete those 16 core courses, and also there are several who are still short on the test, but there are several more that they can take between now and Aug. 1."
That's not just
Mallett, a native of
At 6-7, 253 pounds, Mallett isn't a fit for the spread option. Instead, he's a traditional drop-back passer and a much better fit for new
That's also why
"After visiting with Ryan and his parents, we feel that it is appropriate to file a waiver in this case based on extenuating circumstances,"
Their logic runs something like this: If Mallett enrolled at the
On the other hand, we're talking football here, not a course of study, and should student-athletes be able to transfer from one school to another just because a new coach comes in with a new philosophy?
That's an argument the NCAA will have to settle, and it might take some time and study because of its potential to set a precedent that institutions will be forced to follow in the future.
In the meantime, Petrino will have to find a way to turn Casey Dick into something he's never been – a consistently productive passer. And tight end Ben Cleveland needs to keep Mallett away from sprinkler heads.
When Mallett moved into the dorm room he shares with
"I refused to wear anything orange today," Richt told the Athens Banner-Herald on signing day. "My wife was trying to get me to wear an orange hat and I said, 'Honey, if they get just one picture, those suckers are going to use that for 10 years.'"
His son Jon, a quarterback from
Since Jon won't report to Clemson until May 21, it could be a long four months around the Richt household.
"He gets away with it," Katharyn Richt said. "He's been doing it for awhile.
"I've never really been a fan of orange," Mark Richt said. "Ever since I've been coaching, orange has been the enemy. Today, it's a blessing to see Jon wearing orange and to know that he's going to a great place."
In all seriousness, Richt knew his son wanted and needed go somewhere else, and Clemson had the family's blessing.
"It was definitely the coaches and their backgrounds," he said when asked what drew him to Clemson. "Coach (Tommy) Bowden is a strong believer, and that's how I am. After seeing what they do on the field and off the field, it really drew me there."
Being on the other end of the recruiting experience has given Richt a new perspective on the process.
"This whole recruiting year has been different for me," Richt said. "You really get to see firsthand the emotions involved, to see him go through the excitement of the opportunity. I think we sometimes forget that. It was good medicine for me."
Interesting stuff from the never-ending Alabama-Auburn feud.
"They outworked everybody,"
The most interesting comments on
At Gadsden (Ala.) City High, however, coach Joe Billingsley wasn't so sure the 2008 recruiting class signaled a transfer of power in the state of
"You can't tell how it will go from year to year," Billingsley told The Birmingham News. "This year,
"These kids don't miss a thing now. They're more mature physically, they understand the process, and they want to play right away."
Every year, coaches stand up at podiums on signing day and extol the virtues of the promising class of recruits they just signed. They do it in the SEC, but they also do it at Eastern Michigan,
Every once in awhile, a coach has the guts to be honest about his recruiting class.
"We were probably laughing and giggling a lot more last year at this time, weren't we, Coach Reaves?" said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, sitting next to his recruiting coordinator. "We'd won our last three, and we had the fourth- and sixth-rated (class) in the country. This year it's probably around 25 or so, somewhere around there. It's a good solid bunch."
Spurrier admitted that a late-season slide and a 6-6 record didn't help.
"Some schools can do it year in and year out. I think losing your last five games doesn't help you, though," Spurrier said. "But we're really proud of the guys that came and we're proud of the guys we've got."
"We have beaten in the last two years, two, three, four teams that have had top-10 recruiting classes almost every year," Brooks said. "And we haven't even sniffed the top 10 (in recruiting). Not to knock the recruiting services, but the bowl wins have just shown that if you come to
One final thought from Richt, who was one of many coaches who had to sit and wait while top prospects waited until signing day to announce their decisions.
"I don't need all the drama, quite frankly," Richt said. "The more attention this thing gets, the tougher it is on a high school coach, the tougher it is on a parent, the tougher it is on the prospect. I think a lot of people enjoy the attention at first, and after awhile it becomes so overwhelming. This service, that service. This school, that school. This newspaper, that newspaper."
Richard Scott is a Birmingham-based sportswriter, author and Tiger Rag's SEC expert. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.