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December 2, 2009

Harris headlines incoming SEC talent

MORE: Conference recruiting breakdown | VOTE: SEC's top class? | ACC breakdown

Ranking the classes (national rank)
1. Tennessee (4)
2. South Carolina (16)
3. Florida (18)
4. LSU (20)
5. Ole Miss
6. Arkansas
7. Kentucky
8. Alabama
9. Vanderbilt
10. Auburn
11. Georgia
12. Mississippi State
Best by category
Best perimeter scorer: Andre Stringer, LSU
Best low post scorer: Tobias Harris, Tennessee
Best passer: Trevor Releford, Alabama
Best shooter: Andre Stringer, LSU
Best rebounder: Patric Young, Florida
Best shot blocker: Patric Young, Florida
Best defender: Rickey Scott, Arkansas
Most versatile: Matt Derenbecker, LSU
Best basketball IQ: Matt Derenbecker, LSU
Best pro prospect: Tobias Harris, Tennessee
Best speed: Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
Best motor: Stacey Poole, Kentucky
Impact player: Tobias Harris, Tennessee
Biggest sleeper: Dundrecous Nelson, Ole Miss
Best at each position (top overall player in bold)
PG: Dundrecous Nelson, Ole Miss
SG: Jordan McRae, Tennessee
SF: Stacey Poole, Kentucky
PF: Tobias Harris, Tennessee
C: Patric Young, Florida
Inside the Numbers
4 - Teams ranked in the top 25
20 - Rivals150 prospects coming to the SEC
1 - Five-star prospect coming to the SEC
13 - Four-star prospects coming to the SEC
6 - Three-star prospects coming to the SEC
11 - Non-ranked prospects coming to the SEC
6 - Recruits from Florida coming to the SEC, the most of any state
16 - States represented by SEC recruits
There isn't much separation between the No. 2-ranked conference through the No. 5-ranked conference, but the SEC gets the edge with four teams ranked nationally and a total of seven four-star recruits among the other eight schools. Tennessee holds the No. 1 spot in the conference with a class led by elite power forward Tobias Harris. Darrin Horn has put together an impressive five-man class at South Carolina, which comes in at No. 2 in the league. At No. 3 in the SEC, Florida boasts a pair of athletic four-star prospects in Patric Young and Casey Prather. LSU is the last nationally ranked SEC squad with a class headlined by a couple of four-star recruits. Ole Miss' class, which missed out on a national ranking, also has a couple of four-star recruits.

Best recruiting battle

It's not easy to land an elite prospect who visits the last seven schools on his list. Tennessee, however, fought the hard fight and outlasted Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Syracuse and West Virginia to land Tobias Harris on the last day of the early signing period.

Signing Harris, the No. 5-ranked prospect in the Rivals150, catapulted Tennessee to the top of the SEC team recruiting rankings and to No. 4 nationally.

Strength in pairs

While Harris, Jordan McRae and Trae Golden give the Volunteers a talented trio coming in next season - three other SEC classes are composed of dynamic duos.

Florida, at No. 3 in the SEC and No. 18 nationally, will welcome athletic, bruising big man Patric Young and athletic, versatile wing Casey Prather.

At No. 5 in the SEC, Ole Miss will find use for the dynamic inside/outside duo of Demarco Cox and Dundrecous Nelson. Cox is a 6-foot-8, 285-pound skilled big man who takes up space. Nelson is a dynamic athlete who could be Ole Miss' next high-scoring guard.

Alabama beat out Oklahoma for Trevor Releford, one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country at the point guard position. Releford is joined in the Alabama recruiting class by Charles Hankerson, a bruising wing who is also a high-level playmaker.

Deep classes

South Carolina and LSU both cracked the national rankings thanks to the depth of their classes. South Carolina, the second-best class in the SEC and No. 16 nationally, has a five-man class headlined by the four-star duo of electric point guard Bruce Ellington and long, athletic power forward Damontre Harris.

Sticking right with fellow second-year SEC coach Darrin Horn, Trent Johnson lured a top-20 national recruiting class to the Bayou. LSU's four-man class is led by jack-of-all-trades wing Matt Derenbecker and dynamic long-range scorer Andre Stringer.

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