Georgia grabs top class after five-star flip, followed by Alabama

By Ralph D. Russo AP College Sports Writer
Posted 8:12PM on Wednesday 20th December 2023 ( 4 months ago )

The Southeastern Conference, currently chasing its fifth consecutive national championship, racked up another collection of talent and a couple of five-star quarterbacks on Wednesday.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart is bringing in the nation's top-ranked class, just ahead of playoff-bound Alabama at No. 2, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. The early signing period runs through Friday.

Two of the top three high school quarterbacks in the composite rankings have landed at SEC schools, with No. 1 Julian Sayin already practicing at Alabama ahead of the Rose Bowl against Michigan and Florida nabbing No. 3 DJ Lagway.

Hugh Freeze's first full-year recruiting efforts at Auburn are paying off with a class ranked seventh, followed by LSU (11th), Tennessee (13th) and Florida (16) and Texas A&M (17). Eleven of the 14 SEC teams rank in the Top 25.

And that doesn't count incoming SEC members Texas (No. 6) and Oklahoma (No. 8), who led the way in the Big 12.

The Georgia Bulldogs led the way most of the season on the field and brought in another top class. The group is led by No. 3 overall prospect cornerback Ellis Robinson IV out of IMG Academy in Florida. Five-star linebacker Justin Williams is also a Top-10 recruit. The Bulldogs also flipped No. 1 safety and 14th-overall prospect KJ Bolden from Florida State.

Georgia reloaded with big men, signing six players on both the offensive and defensive fronts.

Alabama's class is led by Sayin and No. 1 athlete Jaylen Mbakwe while five-star wide receiver commitment Ryan Williams hasn't yet signed. The Tide flipped running back Kevin Riley from Miami, and signed Dre Kirkpatrick Jr., whose dad played for Nick Saban at Alabama and in the NFL.

Freeze added some big reinforcements for a struggling passing game and overall. He landed five-star, in-state wide receivers Cam Coleman and Perry Thompson, along with four-star quarterback Walker White. Defensive lineman Amaris Williams flipped from Florida. None of the Tigers' last three classes had ranked higher than 18th.

LSU's Brian Kelly kept six of Louisiana's top seven recruits in state, led by tight end Trey'Dez Green and safety Dashawn McBryde. Tennessee's Josh Heupel pulled a five-star receiver (Mike Matthews) out of Georgia and a five-star edge rusher (Jordan Ross) from Alabama.

Florida also signed five-star defensive lineman LJ McCray. Missouri got a huge pickup in keeping edge rusher Williams Nwaneri, the nation's No. 2 prospect, in state.

Mississippi's Lane Kiffin's most obvious recruiting successes have come via the transfer portal, but he landed top junior college wide receiver Deion Smith and in-state linemen William Echoles and Kamarion Franklin.

Robinson committed to Georgia back in February. The league's top-rated recruit is a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder who started the past two seasons for IMG Academy after transferring from Iona Prep in New York. He played in only five games as a junior due to injury but still had eight interceptions.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban meet after the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game in Atlanta, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

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