Expect SEC commitments to come in flurries as spring football practice begins this month.
Visits to campuses across the region always lead to several early announcements.
Schools that have undergone a coaching change, like Tennessee, should certainly benefit.
Prospects can watch tape of Derek Dooley's teams at Louisiana Tech but before they see him at least direct a practice, they won't have much of a grasp on his coaching style.
UT has some ground to make up with its third coach in little more than a year. The Vols haven't yet secured a commitment for the 2011 class. UT once had three highly touted 2011 prospects, but coaching changes caused them all to de-commit.
A ranking of where the other SEC schools stand as spring begins:
1. LSU - Wow. The Tigers have nine commitments. All are from Louisiana.
UT fans know one well. Defensive tackle Anthony Johnson from O. Perry Walker High School in New Orleans was once a UT commitment, but changed his mind shortly after Frank Wilson left UT for LSU.
Johnson is a player to watch. He's likely the top prospect in Louisiana and one of the best in the region - if not the nation.
2. Alabama - The Crimson Tide have four commitments for 2011 thanks to two February pledges: junior college defensive end Quinton Dial and linebacker Shannon Brown.
As expected, three of Bama's four commitments are from within its borders. That's not a surprise. With a national championship in hand, Bama should do well in-state.
3. Georgia - The Bulldogs are off to a strong start, with four commitments for 2011, all are from the Peach State.
Offensive lineman David Andrews, linebacker Amarlo Herrera, defensive back Corey Moore and athlete Chris Sanders should give fretting Georgia fans something to feel good about.
4. Arkansas - After a disappointing close to the 2010 class, the Razorbacks are hoping to muster some momentum. Three commitments for the 2011 class helps.
Junior college defensive lineman Robert Thomas should contribute this season. Quarterback Brandon Allen and Demetrius Dean from Fayetteville (Ark.) High School provide a foundation from just down the road.
5. Mississippi State - The Bulldogs are offering scholarships early, as evident by their four commitments. At least two of those pledges seem like marginal SEC prospects.
The early highlight for State is linebacker C.J. Johnson from Philadelphia, Miss. Johnson is one of the top linebackers in the region and held scholarship offers from most every school in the SEC, including UT.
6. Auburn - The excitement around Auburn's 2010 class helped it land two 2011 prospects in the days before National Signing Day: junior college defensive back Izauea Lanier and offensive lineman Spencer Region (6-foot-6 and 330 pounds).
7. Florida - While the Gators' 2010 class seemed to rally around ailing coach Urban Meyer and his uncertain future, 2011 prospects are taking a wait-and-see approach.
Florida has only two early commitments, well below what one would expect from such a talent-rich state and championship-contending program.
8. Kentucky - The Wildcats don't seem to be suffering a setback from their coaching transition. Of course, former head coach-in-waiting Joker Phillips provides plenty of stability.
The Cats have commitments from Louisville athlete Jon Davis and Lexington offensive lineman Darrian Miller.
9. (tie) UT/Vanderbilt/Ole Miss/South Carolina - Four SEC schools don't have a public commitment.
The Rebels' futility is disappointing for a school with such a strong in-state talent base.
The same can be said for South Carolina. One has to wonder when Steve Spurrier's coaching future - or lack thereof - begins to hurt the Gamecocks' recruiting. Call it the Bobby Bowden effect.
It's not unusual for Vanderbilt to start slow. Coach Bobby Johnson is used to selling that program all year long.
It's hard to knock UT's recruiting. The Vols didn't just undergo a coaching change in January; they underwent a philosophy change.
Dooley isn't going to flippantly throw out scholarship offers like other coaches have been known to do.
Dave Hooker covers recruiting. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.