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November 30, 2011

UK leads down year in SEC recruiting

MORE: Team rankings | Conference breakdown

Ranking the classes (national rank)
1. Kentucky (3)
2. Florida (19)
3. Mississippi State
4. Auburn
5. Arkansas
6. Georgia
7. Ole Miss
8. LSU
9. South Carolina
10. Vanderbilt
11. Tennessee
12. Alabama
Best by category
Best perimeter scorer: Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
Best low post scorer: Alex Poythress, Kentucky
Best passer: Braxton Ogbueze, Florida
Best shooter: Jordan Price, Auburn
Best rebounder: Alex Poythress, Kentucky
Best shot blocker: Willie Cauley, Kentucky
Best defender: Martavious Newby, Ole Miss
Most versatile: Malik Morgan, LSU
Best pro prospect: Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
Best speed: Braxton Ogbueze, Florida
Best motor: Martavious Newby, Ole Miss
Impact player: Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
Biggest sleeper: Anthlon Bell, Arkansas
Best at each position (top overall player in bold)
PG Braxton Ogbueze (Florida)
SG Archie Goodwin (Kentucky)
SF JaCorey Williams (Arkansas)
PF Alex Poythress (Kentucky)
C Willie Cauley (Kentucky)
Inside the Numbers
2- Teams from the SEC ranked in the top 25 nationally
12- Rivals150 prospects coming to the SEC
2- Five-star prospects coming to the SEC
8- Four-star prospects coming to the SEC
2- Three-star ranked prospects coming to the SEC
10- Number of states represented by Rivals150 SEC recruits
2- Recruits from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee each coming to the SEC, the most of any states
It has been a weak recruiting year for the SEC, with only two teams in the national team recruiting rankings.

Kentucky, however, hasn't missed a beat. The Wildcats aren't No. 1 (yet), but they do have the No. 3 spot in the national rankings. Five-star prospects Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress headline the class. Four-star 7-footer Willie Cauley might just be a sleeping giant.

Florida is the other team in the national rankings at No. 19. The Gators are expecting big things from four-star guards Braxton Ogbueze and Michael Frazier.

Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss are the other SEC schools with four-star recruits.

Kentucky wins recruiting battle

John Calipari won significant recruiting battles against in-state schools for his three recruits. Archie Goodwin, out of Little Rock (Ark.) Sylvan Hills, broke the hearts of the Arkansas program and its fans when he opted to be a Wildcat.

Alex Poythress kept Vanderbilt as well as Florida and Memphis in suspense until announcing for Kentucky the day he signed. Vanderbilt was the first school to offer Poythress, who is from Clarksville (Tenn.) Northeast High School and had invested an inordinate amount of energy into his recruitment.

Then Willie Cauley of Olathe (Kan.) Northwest High School rejected Kansas State amongst others in favor of Kentucky.

Athletic guards

As noted it has been a down year recruiting-wise for the SEC, but there will be a significant infusion of athletic perimeter players entering the conference next year. Both Goodwin and Poythress are high level athletes, and Poythress will spend time on the perimeter. Auburn signee Shaquille Johnson is a freak athlete. Martavious Newby can match up for Ole Miss against the best athletes in the country. Kenny Gaines, who is headed to Georgia, is also a versatile athlete in the mold of these recruits. And Malik Morgan (LSU), Michael Frazier (Florida) and Craig Sword (Mississippi State) are no slouches when it comes to athletic ability.

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