SEC National Signing Day Primer

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The SEC is so fertile with high school talent, it is almost sickening. Four different SEC schools currently have more five-star commitments than the Big 12 has as a conference. The success on the field may not have netted a national championship the past couple of seasons for the SEC, but the conference continues to be a leader in the recruiting game.

Alabama is playing on a different playing field when it comes to recruiting despite some changes on the coaching staff this offseason. Regardless, the Crimson Tide are well on their way to another recruiting national championship. SEC West rivals LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn are putting together great classes as well, but they tend to get overlooked by Alabama’s efforts. In the east, Tennessee continues to be a program on the rise with a very impressive class being put together brick by brick. Georgia continues to do well, as you might expect.

Current Rivals SEC Team Rankings (as of February 1, 2015)

1. Alabama

2. Tennessee

3. Georgia

4. texas A&M

5. LSU

6. Auburn

7. South Carolina

8. Mississippi State

9. Arkansas

10. Ole Miss

11. Missouri

12. Kentucky

13. Vanderbilt

14. Florida

The Top Recruit

DT Kahill McKenzie (Concord, CA): Tennessee

For the moment, no SEC school has landed a bigger commitment in the Class of 2015 as Tennessee with Kahill McKenzie… literally. McKenzie is the nation’s sixth-ranked player and measures in at 6′ 4″ and 340 pounds to be the top defensive tackle in the country. He is the prized recruit for Butch Jones at Tennessee, where the Vols have come on very strong in this recruiting cycle.

Recruiting Battle To Watch

Auburn and Florida are going down to the wire for the number one recruit in the nation, defensive end Byron Cowart of Seffner, Florida. The top player in the nation according to Rivals has visited both schools in the past month, and no others. Although Alabama could be in the mix, as well as Florida State or Clemson and Georgia, the decision is highly expected to be between Auburn and Florida. Florida could really use a boost in the recruiting rankings with Jim McElwain getting a late start on the process, but former Gators head coach Will Mushcamp is now at Auburn as defensive coordinator and that could be a big factor.

Florida has nowhere to go but up

The pains on the field experienced by Florida the last few years have been a drain on recruiting in this recruiting cycle. A coaching change can have a negative impact on the situation as well, and the extended uncertainty over the status of Muschamp as head coach at Gainesville did not help the cause. In steps McElwain, a former Nick Saban assistant with a solid knowledge of how to recruit in the SEC. Like Michigan in the Big Ten, McElwain and his staff in Gainesville are allowed a free pass in the Class of 2015, but dramatic improvements must be made starting in 2016 with a  full recruiting calendar. The Gators will not be on the bottom of the SEC recruiting rankings for very long.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”