SEC Three & Out: Signing Day Drama

CFN SEC columnist Barrett Sallee examines the offseason in the SEC.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee

Three & Out returns every Thursday in 2012 to keep fans up-to-date on the latest news and notes from the SEC. This week, we examine the only day of the year when fax machines still serve a purpose - National Signing Day.

The battle for the nation's No. 1 recruit, wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, came down to two SEC teams, Arkansas and Missouri. In the end, it was the home-state Missouri Tigers receiving Green-Beckham's letter or intent. Was this the first major on-the-field storyline in the new-look SEC?

Probably so.

Green-Beckham has said that his decision was based more on the relationships and proximity to home, rather than conference affiliation. But if Missouri wasn't coming to the SEC, would Green-Beckham be a Razorback?

That question was asked, and successfully dodged during his ceremony; but that doesn't stop the speculation.

With six straight national titles in its back pocket, it's no secret that the SEC is the nation's top conference - and the foundation of that dominance is defense. The SEC provides Green-Beckham the opportunity to showcase his skill against the very best college football has to offer, and through a television contract that is second-to-none (and about to be even better).

Green-Beckham - arguably the best recruit to ever sign with Missouri - certainly helped the Tigers announce their presence in the SEC with authority. How do the Missouri faithful celebrate? With a billboard, of course.

Yep, they're ready for the SEC.

Winning the crystal football certainly paid off for Alabama.

The Crimson Tide hauled in the nation's No. 2 class with a total of 26 signees. That number is 26 because the Tide is counting back one of those scholarships to get to the 25-player hard cap that was instituted this year. But things got interesting down the stretch for head coach Nick Saban just to get under that number, especially when four-star defensive linemen Dalvin Tomlinson and Korren Kirven surprised the Tide on National Signing Day with their letters of intent.

Alabama already had too many players committed before Tomlinson and Kirven signed, so who got left hung out to dry?

One player was Justin Taylor, a three-star running back out of suburban Atlanta, who was told by Saban that he couldn't sign as part of the 2012 class, but could come to Tuscaloosa in January 2013. Taylor initially pledged to stay with the Tide, but signed with Kentucky on National Signing Day. Probably a good move considering Alabama's recruiting acumen isn't going to diminish, and he probably would have been on the tail end of the 2013 class too.

Taylor's soap opera took place before Tomlinson and Kirven signed, so who were the casualties on National Signing Day?

Defensive lineman Darius Philon, who is recovering from a knee injury, is apparently one of them. Philon, and Alabama commit since September, announced that he was "undecided" between Alabama and Arkansas, then put on an Alabama hat, but later signed with the Hogs in the afternoon. Teammates later confirmed to that Philon was asked to grayshirt by Alabama.

If you ever needed proof of why oversigning legislation had to be adopted - and probably improved, here's your reason. It's a business and I get that, but no player should have to go through that embarrassment - especially embarrassment caused by adults who say that they have the player's best interest at heart.

It looks like Georgia and Florida have some more waiting to do.

Josh Harvey-Clemons - the nation's second-ranked outside linebacker - got Georgia's National Signing Day kicked off in style, announcing his intention to sign with the Bulldogs. As it turns out, it was only his intention and not his grandfather's.

National Signing Day came and went, but Georgia never got a fax from Harvey-Clemons. His grandfather, Woodrow Clemons, apparently won't sign off on the Bulldogs, and is pushing his grandson to sign with Florida rather than Georgia.

You hate this for the kid. It's his decision, and his alone.

If the family doesn't want him to go to Georgia, that's fine. As we saw with Landon Collins - whose mother was clearly upset about his announcement to go to Alabama over LSU - family members don't always have to agree. They should, however, be supportive. After all, it's Josh Harvey-Clemons' life, not Woodrow's.

After all the drama, all's well that ends well for Georgia and Harvey-Clemons. The signed LOI came in early Thursday morning.

A quick thought on every recruiting class:

Alabama: Sick, sick, sick. Having to rescind scholarship offers to standout players at the last minute is a "rich man's problem."

Arkansas: Help on the defensive line should be able to contribute immediately.

Auburn: The late surge helped quality and quantity.

LSU: It's probably not the best idea to play eight linebackers at one time. But theoretically, LSU could.

Mississippi State: Defense wasn't a problem in the past, and apparently it won't be in the future.

Ole Miss: New head coach Hugh Freeze didn't have a lot of time...and it showed.

Texas A&M: A top 20 class in your first season as an SEC school? That'll work.

Georgia: Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall will provide nice insurance for the Bulldogs if and when Isaiah Crowell flakes out on his team again.

Florida: Open the door, and stud recruits just waltz on in. The 7-6 record didn't seem to have an impact.

Kentucky: Not great, but not bad...especially on the offensive line.

Missouri: DGB...that's all you need to know.

South Carolina: Shaq Roland will be the next big thing at wide receiver for the Gamecocks.

Tennessee: So Cordarrelle Patterson is going to be playing wide receiver with Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers? That's scary.

Vanderbilt: James Franklin is finally selling Vanderbilt that way it should have always been sold - SEC power and Ivy League education.

Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for He can be reached at, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee

2012 Offseason Three & Out Archive
Three & Out - February 2, 2012
Three & Out - January 23, 2012
Three & Out - January 16, 2012

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