Season 20 SEC Recruiting Recap

LightningDragon · April 9, 2024


By: Cole Mantell (@lightningdragon)

National Signing Day has passed, teams have restructured, and we have a good idea of what each roster will look like in the CFSL heading into Season 20. There’s a lot to talk about with each team revamping in different ways. Some teams are either expansion teams who needed 26 scholarship players, or teams with very few graduations and only need a few scholarship players. Thus, we will not be grading each team on the same scale. Instead, we’ll simply go through each conference, recap each team’s strengths and weaknesses in recruiting, and point out some underrated signings for the talent coming in.

The last conference to recap is the SEC. The SEC was the toughest conference in the nation last season, and it looks to be much of the same for Season 20. Kentucky reigns as National Champions, followed by the traditional heavyweights in teams like Alabama and LSU. But top to bottom, as of now, the SEC remains the best conference by talent in the CFSL. Teams are listed in alphabetical order, and signings are current as of April 8, 2024. “Total Signings” refer to both transfer and freshman recruits.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Total Signings: 3

Biggest Signing: 5-star QB Johnny Ray Davis

Underrated Signing: 5-star DT JJ Dowd

While small in size so far, Alabama still has some elite talent as usual to bring in for Season 20. The class is centered around freshman QB Johnny Ray Davis. Davis comes from the northeast (Gloucester, MA) to the south, and talk about a culture shock. Still, if he can manage Alabama BBQ he’ll fit right in. He’s joined by two defensive recruits so far, including the one transfer, DT JJ Dowd. The younger brother of Jon, JJ spent two seasons at Notre Dame before transferring to Alabama. He’ll make a big impact for a team with Championship aspirations.

Auburn Tigers

Total Signings: 14

Biggest Signing: 5-star DT Cody Higdon

Underrated Signing: 5-star HB Thomas Scally

With the exception of expansion teams, no one has signed more players than Auburn under new AD Justin Duke. Many granted are guys coming over from Texas with him. But not all. Auburn enters Season 20 with maybe their most talented roster ever, and had a class of almost all 5 stars to support that roster this cycle. 5 Star DT Cody Higdon is one of those Texas transfers to Auburn, coming over for his sophomore season. He’s a monster on the front lines, and should jumpstart the Auburn pass rush. As for the freshman class, replacing departing HB Storm Odie is no easy task. 5 Star HB Thomas Scally, from Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, looks to be that guy with Linwood Faulk III.

Florida Gators

Total Signings: 1*

Biggest Signing: 4-star WR Dyllan Reed

Underrated Signing: N/A

Very similar to Oklahoma State in my BIG XII recap, we know that this is not the only guy Florida will sign. Dyllan Reed is a great player, but he isn’t that good. Again, I limited myself to only talking about guys with official LOIs registered with the league office, so we will have to wait on the other reported signings for Florida until a bit later. But as for the one guy we do know who will be heading to Gainesville, Reed is certainly a big piece. Florida has a history of passing, and while we don’t know for sure if that will continue under a new AD, I’d bet on it. Just like Oklahoma State, keep an eye on this roster as we wait for more news.

Georgia Bulldogs

Total Signings: 6

Biggest Signing: 5-star OLB King Harris

Underrated Signing: 5-star SS Tyrell Trust

UGA has a smaller class so far, and while there are some great guys to talk about here, I think the Bulldogs aren’t quite done yet. King Harris is probably the biggest name you know on the team from recruiting this cycle. Harris is the brother of former CFSL WR Malik Harris. He’s from Greenville, North Carolina, and chose to head to Georgia instead of the in-state team. He’ll make an impact immediately as a freshman. Also on defense, Tyrell Trust comes over from LSU and stays in the SEC as a sophomore transfer. He’ll lock down the pass for a team that is in a pass-happy conference, especially with a historically pass-happy rival.

Kentucky Wildcats

Total Signings: 10

Biggest Signing: 5-star QB TJ Cunnington

Underrated Signing: 5-star OLB King DeMoura

Kentucky returns from a championship parade with a class of only 5 Stars so far. While they did get a new Generational Talent, because he is also a coach I did not include him in the biggest signings for the team. TJ Cunnington, out of Billings, Montana, instead is the easy choice. The QB should be an impact player following in the footsteps of many great QBs who’ve played for the Wildcats in recent years. The expectations are great, and so are the challenges for him. King DeMoura is a lockdown defensive signing too. He’s from Boston, Massachusetts, and is going to be a versatile weapon for a long time for the Wildcats too. This is a foundational class for the returning champions, as one era in team history finishes and another begins.

LSU Tigers

Total Signings: 4

Biggest Signing: 5-star QB Beau Dale

Underrated Signing: 5-star FS Carlos De Leon

While it is a small class in size, the biggest headline is again at Quarterback. Beau Dale will play his Senior season at LSU after three seasons at SEC rival Florida. The Tigers will count on a pure passer to pass some more as LSU again tries to contend for the SEC. He’s joined by another transfer, FS Carlos De Leon. De Leon joins LSU via two seasons at Notre Dame and one at Boise State. His specialty at both schools was in tackles. A big safety who can cover and tackle is huge for a defense, and that’s what LSU is counting on for De Leon’s last season of eligibility.

Tennessee Volunteers

Total Signings: 1*

Biggest Signing: 5-star QB Sterling Verdugo

Underrated Signing: N/A

Just like Florida and Oklahoma State, you know the line by now. We know Tennessee will land more players. In fact, as of the time of writing, they have a few guys who are likely being onboarded into the locker room as I write. Unfortunately, for this article, I only have one guy I can talk about for now. However, he’s the center of the class and going to bring in talent through this late recruiting period. Verdugo is from Hilliard, Ohio, and going to be an instant hit in Knoxville. It’s a tall task to face the Curse of the Volunteer. But if anyone is up to finally leading Tennessee to a win, it’s the QB who won back-to-back state championships in High School in Ohio. Look out for Sterling Verdugo.


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