Now that I have time to reflect (and sleep) on the 2012 National Signing Day classes around the Southeastern Conference, I'm ready to hand out some letter grades and a final ranking of the conference.
When I say 'final' rest assured that this really couldn't be further from the truth. We'll not truly know how these recruiting classes fared for years to come.
1. Alabama - Just about every media outlet that grades National Signing Day ranked the Crimson Tide No. 1. I'm no lemming, but also not a Contrarian or smarter than any of those guys. I love what Alabama did at linebacker and tailback. Grade: A
2. Florida - Sure, losing five-star cornerback Tracy Howard to Miami stunk. But the Gators still did a great job of beefing up their defensive line, and while not a sexy class, Florida made some moves that will surely make 2012 a better season than 2011. Grade: A
3. Georgia - Now that linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons has finally signed, it's easy to give the 'Dawgs a high grade. Georgia helped strengthen its defense considerably and running back Keith Marshall should do great things. One of which, hopefully, will be to push rising sophomore Isaiah Crowell to excel. Grade: A
4. Texas A&M - The Aggies did well in their first real taste of National Signing Day as a member of the SEC. I'm looking forward to seeing skill players Thomas Johnson (wide receiver) and Trey Williams (running back) in action this fall. Grade: B
5. South Carolina - Shaq Roland is going to fit in nicely with a huge wide receiver class headed to Columbia next fall. South Carolina needed to beef up that position with Alshon Jeffery leaving for the NFL. It was also interesting to see 12 signees from the state of Georgia this year. Not only is South Carolina beating Georgia on the field, but now is hurting the 'Dawgs by stealing home-grown recruits. Grade: B
6. LSU - Quarterback Jeremy Liggins was a big get (pun intended) for the Tigers. But the 2012 signing class will be judged by how well the five linebackers fare. LSU is losing its entire starting linebacking corps and needs some immediate help. Grade: B
7. Auburn - The Tigers needed to beef up their offensive line and did just that. Auburn got five big men up front in this year's signing class and two are already enrolled and will go through spring practice. I also believe Auburn added some great depth in the defensive backfield, landing three recruits. Joshua Holsey, a four-star from Georgia, should help immediately. Grade: B
8. Tennessee - The Volunteers did a great job of landing an outstanding wide receiver class on Wednesday. Led by junior-college receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee added four four-star targets for quarterback Tyler Bray to choose from. Grade: B
9. Mississippi State - The Bulldogs didn't make much of a splash on offense, but landed a great pass rusher in four-star defensive end Denico Autry. Autry is one of five ends and three defensive tackles that will help Mississippi State rebuild its defensive line. Grade: C
10. Arkansas - The Razorbacks could have moped around all day after losing wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to Missouri. Instead Arkansas regrouped and pulled in four others, including D'Arthur Cowan and Keon Hatcher who should develop nicely. Grade: C
11. Vanderbilt - The Commodores signed what many believe to be their best recruiting class ever. Andrew Jelks was an impressive signing for the offensive line, which should make running back signee Brian Kimbrow very happy. Grade: C
12. Missouri - Wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was the pick of the 2012 National Signing Day litter. But Missouri didn't do enough after him to grade well. The coaching staff is doing damage control with statements that there are hidden gems in the rest of the class, but that kind of wordsmithing doesn't fly in the SEC. Grade: C
13. Kentucky - I suppose running back Justin Taylor thought that too many ball carriers had already signed at Alabama. Taylor flip-flopped to Kentucky on Wednesday and joined Dyshawn Mobley as part of a good tailback haul for the Wildcats. Grade: C
14. Ole Miss - The first signing class from coach Hugh Freeze wasn't splashy, and lacked star power, for sure. He only used 19 scholarships in this signing class which means he has six to hand out in December for early enrollees. Grade: D