Over the last eleven seasons, there has been one common denominator: Alabama gets all the five star athletes they would like and the other thirteen teams choose from the rest. Besides Georgia in the 2018 recruiting class, no other team in the SEC has recruited the way Alabama has.
In the 2014 class, Alabama recruited six five star athletes. That is twice as many five star players as the next close team, Texas A&M.
Myles Garrett, defensive end at A&M, had an outstanding career rushing the quarterback in his three seasons. Garrett left A&M after his junior season to pursue his dream in the NFL. Quarterback, Kyle Allen, stared many games as a freshman and sophomore but ultimately transferred to Houston after battling another five star freshman quarterback, Kyler Murray, who also transferred to Oklahoma but looks to start after sitting behind All-American, Baker Mayfield. A&M also had another three five-star athlete haul in the 2015 class, with Murray, Speedy Noil and Daylon Mack. All six players left the program due to the NFL, graduation or transferring out.
Three seasons later, a team finally unseated Alabama as number one in the SEC recruiting rankings, Georgia. Under third year head coach, Kirby Smart,
this guy knows everything about Alabama after being their defensive coordinator for several seasons. Smart has taken everything he has learned under legendary coach, Nick Saban, and put it to work. Overall, Smart has led Georgia to a 21-5 record in two seasons and with this recruiting haul, one would not be surprised if he pushes for another SEC Championship and College Football Playoff Appearance once again in 2018.
A team that has underachieved the past four seasons would be the Louisiana State University Tigers from Baton Rouge. The Tigers have compiled ten, five star athletes, which is third most behind Alabama and Georgia.
Leonard Fournette, Malachi Dupree, Clifton Garrett and Jamaal Adams all had exceptional careers but for one reason or another could not push LSU to the top by the time they left for the NFL or graduation. In 2015, Kevin Tolliver and Tyron Johnson signed with the Tigers as well but by the time their respective careers ending, these six players never led the Tigers to more than 9 wins in a season.
As for the most overachieving team in the SEC, Mississippi State has made a living off of bringing in a huge sleight of three star athletes and developing them to be some of the best players in the nation. Former head coach, Dan Mullen, recruited potential All-American candidate, Nick Fitzgerald and developed him into the next great SEC dual threat quarterback. Mullen has had a rich history working with quarterbacks like Tim Tebow, Chris Leak and Dak Presscott. Fitzgerald however was the 812th rated player in the country, 23rd rated dual threat quarterback and 68th best player overall in the state of Georgia. Fitzgerald has defeated the odds against him and the strong armed, dual threat quarterback has made a name for himself as a Bulldog. Other three stars that were developed well under Mullen’s watch were Keith Mixon, Justin Johnson, Darryl Williams among others.
After compiling stats, comparing recruiting classes and then looking at the classes compared to records we came up with a chart of the ultimate over and underachievers in the SEC the past four seasons.
Alabama: 23 overall five star players, 75 overall 4 star players, 27 overall three star players, average record: 13-1
Georgia: 18 overall five star players, 65 overall 4 star players, 42 overall three star players, average record: 10-2
LSU: 10 overall five star players, 66 overall four star players, 45 overall three star players, average record: 8-4
Auburn: 5 overall five star players, 68 overall four star players, 50 overall three star players, average record: 8-4
Texas A&M: 6 overall five star players, 50 overall four star players, 64 overall three star players, average record: 8-4
Florida: 3 overall five star players, 43 overall four star players, 66 overall three star players, average record: 7-5
Tennessee: 2 overall five star players, 53 overall four star players, 78 overall three star players, average record: 7-5
Ole Miss: 3 overall five star players, 31 overall four star players, 81 overall three star players, average record: 7-5
South Carolina: 39 overall four star players, 86 overall three star players, average record: 6-6
Arkansas: 1 overall five star player, 22 overall four star players, 90 three star overall players, average record: 6-6
Mississippi State: 1 overall five star player, 22 overall four star players, 92 overall three star players, average record: 8-4
Kentucky: 19 overall four star players, 102 overall three star players, average record: 6-6
Mizzou: 1 overall five star player, 8 overall four star players, 113 overall three star players, average record: 7-5
Vanderbilt: 8 overall four star players, 84 overall three star players, average record: 5-7
According to the data, the SEC West overachiever is Mississippi State. The Bulldogs look to make a run through the gauntlet of the SEC led by the most overachieving player in the country in quarterback, Nick Fitzgerald.The SEC East overachiever is obviously, Missouri. With quarterback, Drew Lock, the Tigers are poised to make a run at the SEC Championship for the the third time in seven years as a member of the SEC.
If the SEC teams turned out to be as good as their recruiting rankings are, the conference standings would look like this compared to how I see it going down.
Five Year Recruiting Rankings
SEC West My Prediction
Auburn-89.82 Mississippi State
Texas A&M-89.24 Texas A&M
Ole Miss-87.84 Arkansas
Mississippi State-86.55 LSU
Arkansas 86.23 Ole Miss
SEC East My Predicitons
Florida-89.09 South Carolina
South Carolina-87.52 Florida