A few SEC recruiting classes got boosts from JUCO transfer signings this week, some of which could make an immediate impact in 2017.
Wednesday marked the beginning of the signing period for JUCO transfers. Nearly every team in the conference had a spot on the roster where a JUCO signee could step in and help right away in 2017. And then, of course, there’s the Alabama Crimson Tide, whose roster probably has the fewest weaknesses in college football and still managed to sign two of the top 4 JUCO recruits in the country.
From dynamic pass rushers to one extremely talented quarterback, the SEC hauled in some major talent Wednesday, and some signings are still on the way.
Here’s a look at the top 5 JUCO signings in the SEC so far:
5. OT D’Marcus Hayes, Georgia
Georgia has seriously ramped up its recruiting efforts since Kirby Smart took over. The Bulldogs have the third-ranked class for 2017, and they landed another top prospect this week with the signing of OT D’Marcus Hayes from Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. Georgia has been desperate for some help on the offensive line this season. The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Hayes should give the Bulldogs some much-needed talent up front.
4. TE Jeremy Patton, Arkansas
Talented, athletic tight ends are crucial to Arkansas’ offensive philosophy. Former Razorback Hunter Henry and now Jeremy Sprinkle are perfect examples. With Sprinkle graduating after this season, the Hogs are bringing in 4-star prospect Jeremy Patton from Arizona Western. At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, he has the size to be a dynamic weapon for Austin Allen in the passing game. The Razorbacks were able to fend off the advances of USC and others to get him to sign.
3. S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State
Mississippi State got good news Wednesday when 4-star DB Johnathan Abram announced he’d be signing with the Bulldogs.
I'm staying HOME! I decided to rep my state rather go away again! ?MSU
— Johnathan J. Abram (@AbramJohnathan5) December 14, 2016
Abram had taken official visits to LSU, Ole Miss and South Carolina as well. The former Georgia defensive back is the No. 1 JUCO safety in the country and No. 10 prospect overall. The 4-star prospect has the talent to compete for a starting job right away for the Bulldogs.
2. DE Isaiah Buggs, Alabama
Alabama grabbed two of the four highest-rated JUCO recruits in the country in Mississippi Gulf Coast DE Isaiah Buggs and City College of San Francisco OT Elliot Baker. But the Buggs signing is more impressive since Alabama was able to steal him away from LSU. The Tigers had long been favored to land the 4-star lineman from Ruston, La. Yet, the Crimson Tide swiped him at the last moment to add to an already talent-rich defense.
Baker had been committed to Alabama since June, so his signing was no shock. But landing Buggs, the No. 2 JUCO prospect in the country, was a coup for the Crimson Tide.
1. QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Auburn signed the No. 1 JUCO recruit in the country on Wednesday in QB Jarrett Stidham. The former Baylor quarterback had been going to school at McLennan C.C. in Waco, Texas, but hasn’t played college football since last season. He’s expected to enroll next week and begin participating in practice before the Sugar Bowl.
A 4-star recruit, Stidham will compete for the starting job in 2017 and could finally offer the Tigers some stability at the position. Some think he could already be the conference’s best quarterback, and if he is, the Tigers may be title contenders in the SEC West again.
All ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite unless otherwise noted.