clear
Monday August 3rd, 2015 9:12AM

SEC still on top on recruiting trail anyway

By The Associated Press
The Southeastern Conference is still reigning supreme on the recruiting trail.

Florida State ended the league's seven-year stranglehold on the national title, but Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU & Co. have been racking up wins in the living rooms of top prospects from across the country.

The Crimson Tide is poised to bring in another top-rated recruiting class on Wednesday's national signing day. Six SEC rivals also have built top 10 classes, according to the 247Sports composite rankings of the major recruiting sites.

"It's kind of a rich get richer kind of thing," said JC Shurburtt, national recruiting director for 247Sports.

Based on the rankings, the SEC is cleaning up. ESPN.com has four SEC classes ranked in the top 5: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 4 LSU and No. 5 Tennessee.

ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill thinks the Pac-12 stands the best chance of closing the gap on the SEC on Wednesday.

Six of ESPN.com's eight highest rated prospects, and 25 of the top 50, have signed or committed to SEC teams. Five of the 15 prospects with five-star ratings are Alabama bound, including offensive tackle Cameron Robinson and defensive end Da'Shawn Hand. Luginbill calls it "a sensational class" that might be Nick Saban's best with the Crimson Tide.

"It may be one of the best classes of offensive line personnel regardless of program and regardless of year," he said.

Here are five things to watch from the SEC on signing day and beyond:

TOP AVAILABLE: Several top uncommitted prospects could wind up in the SEC. That includes Gardena, Calif., cornerback Adoree' Jackson, who lists Florida, LSU, UCLA and Southern California among his finalists. The top-rated outside linebacker, Auburn (Ala.) High School's Rashaan Evans, has listed Auburn, Alabama and UCLA as his final choices. New Orleans five-star wide receiver Malachi Dupre's list includes Alabama, LSU, Florida State and UCLA. Shurburtt thinks Evans is the unattached prospect that could have the biggest immediate impact in the SEC. He expects him to join five-star linebacker Tre' Williams at Auburn.

RUNNING BACKS GALORE: SEC teams are hoping they've found future successors to departed star runners like Auburn's Tre Mason and LSU's Jeremy Hill. Four of 247Sports' composite's five five-star running backs appear bound for the SEC, including Georgia commits Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. LSU has top overall prospect Leonard Fournette and Auburn's biggest offensive pledge is Racean "Roc" Thomas of Oxford, Ala. "Leonard Fournette, he's one of the best running back prospects in 10 years," Shurburtt said. "You look at it from that standpoint, the running back talent in the league is already very good, and it's just getting better."

BEYOND BORDERS: SEC coaches have gone well beyond their own states and regions to snare recruits. Alabama is expected to pull in players from at least 15 states. Texas A&M went beyond its own talent-rich state to pull in wide receiver Speedy Noil from New Orleans and quarterback Kyle Allen from Scottsdale, Ariz. Both are the No. 1 prospects at their positions, according to multiple recruiting sites. Kentucky dipped into Ohio for 11 commitments. And those are just a few examples of the SEC coaches' travels. "In a way it's not fair," Shurburtt said. "The SEC schools are in the part of the country that produces the most talent. The numbers back that up, and yet they're able to go and cherry-pick guys in other states that are not SEC states."

POSITION LEADERS: If recruiting rankings are like draft boards, where teams rank players overall and at their position, then the SEC has plenty of first-rounders. Seven SEC pledges are rated the best at their position in the composite rankings out of the 14 spots where the No. 1 guy has committed. Shurburtt said that's sometimes a better gauge than just the number of stars by a player's name.

PASSING FANCY: Gone are quarterbacks Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger. It's not easy to come right in and start at quarterback in the SEC, but five of 247Sports' top six pro-style quarterbacks are entering the league. They've all already enrolled, including Texas A&M's Allen, Florida's Will Grier, Alabama's David Cornell, Georgia's Jacob Park and Kentucky's Drew Barker.

It could make for some interesting competitions.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 7 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 7 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 7 months ago )
Sports
Jackets, Mississippi St. clash in Orange Bowl
No. 10 Georgia Tech has the nation's second-ranked rushing offense. No. 8 Mississippi State has held seven of its 12 opponents under 125 yards on the ground.
5:04PM ( 7 months ago )
Ole Miss defense braces for TCU offense in Peach Bowl
Mississippi and TCU were part of the playoffs story in 2014. Each team was part of the chase. Each team fell short of the coveted semifinals.
5:01PM ( 7 months ago )
Kiffin shining again after season of redemption
Lane Kiffin was modest in his goals and complimentary about the team he'll be facing in the Sugar Bowl. He went on and on about how much he's learned from Nick Saban, while insisting it's no big deal when his boss yells at him. Very un-Kiffin-like, you might say.
11:02PM ( 7 months ago )
College Sports
Matt Ryan feeling as young as ever in new scheme
Now in his eighth training camp with the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan says he has never felt better physically before the start of the season.
12:04PM ( 2 hours from now )
Peterson, Teheran lead Braves past Phillies 6-2
Jace Peterson had three hits, including a three-run home run, and Julio Teheran pitched seven strong innings to lead Atlanta to a 6-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
9:59AM ( 46 minutes from now )
Post Race Notes: More heartbreak for Joey Logano
Joey Logano had the dominant car at Pocono, leading 97 of 160 laps, but the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford ran out of fuel and ran out of luck at the same time on Sunday afternoon.
By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
8:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
John Isner wins Atlanta Open for 3rd straight year
John Isner won the Atlanta Open for the third straight year, beating Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday at Atlantic Station.
6:02AM ( 3 hours ago )
Matt Kenseth wins at Pocono
Matt Kenseth, the unexpected winner of Sunday’s Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway, had to do a double take.
By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
8:26PM ( 12 hours ago )