College Football Future: Top 5 SEC recruits for 2020

The NFL has the NFL Draft, College Football has the recruiting process. Both are designed to fill football rosters with the talent to succeed over the coming years. They define the future of a program. In a new series “College Football Future”, we take a look at the best new kids on campus starting with the top 5 SEC recruits for 2020.

With it’s self proclaimed reputation as the best conference in the nation, it is unsurprising that the SEC has a history of recruiting success.

That is no different for 2020. Seven of the top 10 programs in the 247 Sports team recruiting ranks live in the Southeastern Conference, with just Clemson, Texas, and Ohio State coming from other conferences. Georgia, Alabama, LSU, and Texas A&M all have multiple recruits in the Top 25.

So who are the best players to head from high school to the SEC?

Bryce Young - QB - Alabama

top 5 sec recruits
Photo Credit: USA Today
  • High School: Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA)
  • National Ranking: 2
  • Positional Ranking: 1
  • Height: 5'11
  • Weight: 183lbs

As one star quarterback walks, well hobbles, away from the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tua Tagovailoa, another walks through the door of Bryant-Denny Stadium in the form of Bryce Young.

Young makes the Top 5 SEC recruits for 2020 as the number one quarterback in this recruiting cycle, and the second ranked player in the nation as per 247 Sports. 

A true dual threat quarterback, Young put up 13,250 passing yards and 1084 rushing yards during his high school career. He contributed 178 touchdowns as he led Mater Dei to a State Championship in 2018 and to the State Championship Game as a senior. 

Young was the voted the High School Quarterback of the Year and Maxwell Offensive Player of the Year for his performances during his senior year. He showcased his accuracy through 2019 with a 72.6% completion percentage.

Young chose Alabama over USC despite hailing from California. Although he is set to start the season as a backup to Mac Jones, there is a strong chance he could unseat Jones as the starter sooner rather than later if Alabama aren’t turning over the opposition in their usual dominant manner.

What he says: 

“I felt that Alabama was the best fit for me. I love the football program and how committed everyone there is. It reminds me a lot of how it is here at Mater Dei, how focused everyone is on being great.”

What they say:

“I mean, the guy was outstanding as a high school player. Very mature, very smart. Good leader. Played in a great program. Has high expectations for himself, as well as what the team should accomplish. I just absolutely love the guy.” – Nick Saban

Kelee Ringo - DB - Georgia

top 5 sec recruits
Photo Credit: Brady Klain (The Republic)
  • High School: Saguaro (Scottsdale, AZ)
  • National Ranking: 4
  • Positional Ranking: 1
  • Height: 6'2
  • Weight: 205lbs

With four 5* and fifteen 4* commits in 2020, Georgia sits on top of the recruiting pile for this cycle. They could have had several players in the Top 5 SEC recruits however Kelee Ringo is the best of them.

Ringo had a number of offers from teams in the SEC including Alabama, Auburn, and Florida but committed to the Bulldogs back in December. 

The number one cornerback in the nation will fit right in with an experienced Georgia secondary that is once again set to be a part of one of the best defenses in College Football.

He brings a blend of speed, prototypical size, and a eye for the ball as evidenced by his 3 interceptions during his senior season. He’s also not afraid to get stuck in with 31 tackles and four tackles for loss in 2019. Add in 13 offensive touchdowns, and you begin to get the picture of the type of do-it-all potential Ringo brings to the Bulldogs.

In order to prepare for his freshman campaign Ringo has been working out with All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and going up against NFL wide receivers DK Metcalf and Josh Gordon. 

What he says:

“Kirby Smart knows what he wants to do with the program and on all of my visits in the DB meetings, he just told me that he was going to coach me hard and develop me and I am looking forward to that,” 

What they say:

“He’s got great feet, got great hips. He’s got tremendous speed. Got great length. He’s got the instincts of a great cornerback. He’s what I have heard described as a unicorn. They don’t make them like Kelee. That is what makes him so unique and so special.” – Jason Mohns (High School head coach)

Arik Gilbert - TE - LSU

top 5 sec recruits
Photo Credit: USA Today
  • High School: Marietta (Marietta, GA)
  • National Ranking: 5
  • Positional Ranking: 1
  • Height: 6'5
  • Weight: 253lbs

The capture of Arik Gilbert was seen as a major coup for LSU when he committed to the Tigers over Georgia and Alabama back in October. It was highly anticipated that the Georgia native would stay close to home but was wooed by the Tigers turnaround under Coach O.

There aren’t many players like Arik Gilbert. With his ability to play tight end and linebacker, combined with a background of basketball excellence, the guy is simply a stud.

After securing 1760 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior he was voted the Gatorade National Player of the Year. Not only was he the first true tight end to win the award but he was also the highest ranked tight end in 247 Sports history.

With LSU losing a plethora of talent to the NFL Draft, including both starting tight ends, Gilbert will have the opportunity to make a signficant impact for the Tigers, securing his position as one of the top 5 SEC recruits for 2020.

What he says:

“LSU was just the school that I saw myself at. That place just felt right. It felt different than all of the others.”

What they say:

“Obviously we can use him at tight end but we can split him out at “X” and we can get some mismatches with this kid, especially in the redzone. He’s going to be a nice target there for Myles Brennan.” – Ed Orgeron

Jordan Burch - DT - South Carolina

Photo Credit: Dwayne Mclemore
  • High School: Hammond School (Columbia, SC)
  • National Ranking: 8
  • Positional Ranking: 2
  • Height: 6'5
  • Weight: 275lbs

He may have kept them waiting, but the Gamecocks were finally able to announce the signing of Jordan Burch in February, ending months of speculation that he may renege on his commitment. 

The capture of Burch is a spectacular success for South Carolina, especially when you consider that they have to recruit in state against the ACC powerhouse that is Clemson.

The number two ranked defensive tackle has the potential to be one of the top 5 SEC recruits with an ability to make an immediate impact at a program that went 4-8 in 2019. He is the highest rated recruit for the program since Jadeveon Clowney in 2011.

Burch had a highly productive high school career at Hammond, logging 19 sacks over the last two years. He can line up at defensive end and tackle, and showcased versatility as a productive running back.

What he says:

“Every visit I took it felt like a home visit. I love the coaching staff. I love the people there. It’s in town. I don’t think I could’ve made a better decision.”

What they say:

“He is a wonderful person and I’m excited that he will be part of the Gamecock family. Jordan is an explosive athlete, extremely smart and versatile player who can do a lot of things on the football field and I can’t wait to coach him.” – Will Muschamp

Gervon Dexter - DT - Florida

Photo Credit: Hudl
  • High School: Lake Wales (Lake Wales, FL)
  • National Ranking: 12
  • Positional Ranking: 3
  • Height: 6'6
  • Weight: 286lbs

Head coach Dan Mullen had never recruited a 5* prospect in his tenure at Florida, until now. Gervon Dexter had offers from nearly every college but remained true to his original commitment to the Gators. He now looks to cement his place as not only one of the top 5 SEC recruits but one of the great Florida defensive lineman.

Dexter is a man mountain. He is listed as 6’6 here, but some recruiting sites have him measured at 6’7. 

He put that size to great use at Lake Wales High School. With a surprising quickness for a man of his size, he was dominant at the high school level. He racked up 35 tackles for loss and 18 sacks in his senior season alone. 

He played both inside and out on the defensive line at Lake Wales. That versatility should see him make an immediate impact for a Florida team that have aspirations of challenging in the SEC in 2020.

What he says:

“I am just big on loyalty, and I am right here in Florida. There wasn’t a need to go out to Alabama or go to Georgia when I can get the same thing at Florida. I want to win a National Championship.”

What they say:

“We’re going to coach him, develop him, help him continue to grow, but Gervon is a guy who can come in and be one of those guys that can change games by himself.” – Dan Mullen

Mock Draft

OLIVER HODGKINSON

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WRITER

OLIVER HODGKINSON IS A COLLEGE FOOTBALL WRITER FOR THE TOUCHDOWN. HE ALSO WRITES ON THE NFL FOR THE PRO FOOTBALL NETWORK. YOU CAN HEAR HIS OPINIONS ON ALL THINGS COLLEGE FOOTBALL AS ONE THIRD OF THE COLLEGE CHAPS PODCAST.

You can find out more about SEC football in George Somerville’s excellent weekly column “Saturdays in Athens” right here.