Ranking the 2012 Recruiting Classes: The Offensive Lines and Running Backs
Published on: February 02, 2012 | Written by: Chad Gilbert
1. Georgia - Three out-of-state prospects helped launch UGA's offensive line class - this is a group that provides both depth and star potential. John Theus out of the Bolles School in Jacksonville (FL) is the headliner here.
2. Auburn - After an impressive OL haul last year, it seemed unlikely that Auburn would attract many top offensive linemen in 2012, but with the struggles up front during the past season this was still a position of need. Shane Callahan was a good pick-up out of Colorado, but the surprise of this group was stealing Patrick Miller from LSU. Avery Young added the exclamation point on NSD, and is the star of the AU class.
3. Florida - The Gators landed two stars in Jessamen Dunker and D.J. Humphries. Humphries, in particular, is among the top OL prospects in this class. Both players are already enrolled and on campus, which should help provide quality depth leading into the spring.
5. Alabama - Not a banner group of blue-chip players here, but if there's one thing Nick Saban does well, it's find versatility on both sides of the line. Two Brandons (Greene and Hill) form a book-end tackle combo that will contend for starting time down the road. The benefit for both is that while they're not instant-impact prospects, they could be very valuable in time, and they'll both likely redshirt as UA is loaded with veteran OTs.
6. South Carolina - Brock Stadnik and Joe Harris are both above-average prospects with high-major offers. Both have the physical tools to provide immediate depth, and Stadnik is an early-entrant.
7. Vanderbilt - Andrew Jelks is an athletic tackle prospect who made waves when he chose the 'Dores over the in-state Volunteers and a host of other big-time SEC programs. Lots of other big bodies in this class, as well, to provide a solid foundation for years to come.
8. Kentucky - A quantity-over-quality group for sure. The 'Cats will sign as many as six players who could project on the OL. The thought here is that at least one or two will likely move to the other side of the ball, but it's a group that can grow together and form a solid nucleus in a few years.
9. Arkansas - Jeremy Ward leads a solid group of big men.
10. Missouri - Evan Boehm, a massive tackle prospect from Lee's Summit, will be an anchor for the Tigers.
11. Texas A&M - An unremarkable group because of the numbers, but Germain Ifedi is the bellcow here and could push for time within a year or two.
12. Mississippi State - The Bulldogs are solid on depth with this group, but short on talent. It's a different story across the line of scrimmage, though, as they racked up on versatile defensive linemen.
13. Ole Miss - Hugh Freeze will be hard-pressed to find much to build a program around here, but from a sheer numbers standpoint, these guys will provide bodies and hopefully one or two emerge as legitimate players. He pushed hard to get in on some players nearby who were committed elsewhere, but it was too little too late for this class.
14. Tennessee - Where's the beef? Not much to write home about here. The good news is that the core of the Vols' current OL is young and talented. It will certainly be a position of need heading into the Class of 2013, though, as Dooley looks to backfill and assemble his line of the future.
1. Georgia - Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley make up the best tandem of any class at running back, perhaps in the entire country. They're both phenomenal prospects for Georgia's pro-style offense.
2. Alabama - TJ Yeldon and Kenyon Drake provide plenty of balance here as the Tide loads up at RB yet again. One of the top three backs in the country, Yeldon is a big, shifty runner.
3. Arkansas - Jonathan Williams is a nice prospect out of Texas who can make an impact, and the quality depth and versatility of multiple athletes in this class makes this a nice corps of runners.
4. Texas A&M - Trey Williams is a fantastic runner with speed who will burn SEC defenses down the road.
5. South Carolina - Mike Davis is a back with good size who will fill in well in the backfield providing another body behind Marcus Lattimore. Davis will wait in the wings to be "the man" but should eventually be a primary runner for the Gamecocks.
6. Tennessee - Davante Bourque and Quenshaun Watson are both capable runners who, with time, could make an impact on The Hill.
7. Ole Miss - Plenty of depth to spare in this group. So much so, that you wonder if a few of the backs in this class may not find other homes on the field once they arrive in Oxford.
8. LSU - With the glut of talent lined up in the backfield in Baton Rouge, there wasn't much room (or need) for another back in this class, but the rich got richer anyways. Jeremy Hill is a big back who addressed some off-the-field issues and returned to the program to provide even more depth for the best returning stable of horses in the conference.
9. Auburn - The loss of Yeldon to Alabama late in the process hurt, but Jovon Robinson is more than capable of stepping in and providing depth on his own. Even with the loss of Dyer, Auburn will have depth that most teams would envy, and Robinson is talented enough to push for some type of role soon.
10. Florida - Matt Jones is a huge back out of the Tampa area. We'll see if Will Muschamp leaves the big athlete at RB for the long haul.
11. Vanderbilt - Standing alone, Memphis' Brian Kimbrow is actually a very nice pick-up for Vanderbilt. The lack of any real depth (outside of unexpected position moves) is what keeps the 'Dores lower on the list.
12. Kentucky - Landing Justin Taylor on NSD came at the benefit of UK and the expense of Alabama and Ole Miss.
13. Mississippi State - With the loss of Vick Ballard, we thought MSU might try to land a big, bruising RB to fill the void he left, but they opted for speed over size here.
14. Missouri - This is a mediocre group for the most part. Little in the way of depth or star power.