Southeastern Conference reaps rewards of national signing day yet again

February 5, 2014 

  • Ranking the classes

    How classes stacked up according to 247Sports.com's composite rankings, which equally weigh the ratings of all the major recruiting services, plus a look at Rivals.com's rankings (as of 8 p.m. Wednesday):

    Top 25

    247 Rivals

    Alabama 1 1

    LSU 2 2

    Ohio State 3 3

    Florida State 4 4

    Texas A&M 5 6

    Auburn 6 9

    Tennessee 7 5

    Georgia 8 8

    Florida 9 7

    Notre Dame 10 11

    Southern Cal 11 10

    Miami (Fla.) 12 12

    Stanford 13 14

    Oklahoma 14 15

    South Carolina 15 16

    Mississippi 16 19

    Texas 17 20

    Clemson 18 13

    UCLA 19 18

    Michigan 20 31

    Oregon 21 26

    Kentucky 22 17

    Arizona State 23 21

    Penn State 24 24

    Michigan State 25 22

    North Carolina 29 23

    Virginia Tech 27 25

    Others

    Arkansas 30 29

    Mississippi State 38 41

    Missouri 39 35

    Vanderbilt 46 50

    Louisville 47 46

    Indiana 51 37

    Marshall 64 64

    Cincinnati 67 63

    Western Kentucky 86 76

The Southeastern Conference dominates recruiting as thoroughly as it rules the rest of college football.

As national signing day came to a close Wednesday, SEC schools filled seven of the top nine spots in the 247Sports Composite recruiting rankings, which equally weigh the ratings of all the major recruiting services. Last year, seven SEC programs ranked among the top 13 teams.

Alabama led the way by finishing atop the team standings for a fourth consecutive year.

"It's the nature of our conference," Tennessee Coach Butch Jones said. "That's why it's the most competitive conference in the country."

The SEC landed most of the top talent in its own territory and made an impact across the country.

According to the 247Sports Composite, SEC schools landed the No. 1 prospect in the state in such non-SEC areas as Arizona (Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen), Iowa (Alabama offensive tackle Ross Pierschbacher), Illinois (LSU linebacker Clifton Garrett), Oklahoma (Alabama quarterback David Cornwell), Virginia (Alabama defensive end Da'Shawn Hand) and Wyoming (Florida offensive tackle Taven Bryan).

The country is getting smaller," LSU Coach Les Miles said. "It is smaller with the technology. Phones are computer devices. Planes fly more efficiently and you can travel more efficiently. That's what's going on. Guys want the opportunity to play at the best programs. They want to go to places where they can play as freshmen. They want to go to places where they can show their skills to the NFL. Those schools have those advantages and that's where the players want to go."

And even though the SEC must replace departing star quarterbacks Johnny Manziel, A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger, it's reloading quite well. Six of the top eight pro-style quarterbacks in the 247Sports Composite signed with SEC schools: Allen, Will Grier (Florida), Cornwell, Jacob Park (Georgia), Drew Barker (Kentucky) and Sean White (Auburn).

Strong holds on to Texas class

Texas Coach Charlie Strong barely had a month to accept his new job, move to Austin and somehow hold together the Longhorns' 2014 recruiting class after Mack Brown's sudden departure.

The former Louisville coach did it, keeping together a class recruiting experts rank among the best in the Big 12.

Strong spent the past month re-recruiting and "re-selling" Texas to the players who had committed to the Longhorns when Brown was the coach.

"A very intense couple of weeks," Strong said. "We had to sell ourselves. When a new staff comes in, the recruit has to be comfortable with you."

Notes

■ Southern California's first signing day with Steve Sarkisian as coach could not have gone much better. Three of the highest-rated players that entered the day undecided picked the Trojans: 360-pound offensive lineman Damien Mama from Bellflower, Calif.; five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson from Gardena, Calif.; and five-star athlete John "JuJu" Smith from Long Beach, Calif.

■ New Penn State coach James Franklin ended up signing a top-25 class that included five players who had been committed to Vanderbilt when Franklin was there.

■ Franklin's departure crushed Vanderbilt's class, though new Commodore's coach Derek Mason did manage to lure one stud recruit, defensive end Nifae Lealao from Sacramento, Calif., away from his old school, Stanford.

Ranking the classes

How classes stacked up according to 247Sports.com's composite rankings, which equally weigh the ratings of all the major recruiting services, plus a look at Rivals.com's rankings (as of 8 p.m. Wednesday):

Top 25

247 Rivals

Alabama 1 1

LSU 2 2

Ohio State 3 3

Florida State 4 4

Texas A&M 5 6

Auburn 6 9

Tennessee 7 5

Georgia 8 8

Florida 9 7

Notre Dame 10 11

Southern Cal 11 10

Miami (Fla.) 12 12

Stanford 13 14

Oklahoma 14 15

South Carolina 15 16

Mississippi 16 19

Texas 17 20

Clemson 18 13

UCLA 19 18

Michigan 20 31

Oregon 21 26

Kentucky 22 17

Arizona State 23 21

Penn State 24 24

Michigan State 25 22

North Carolina 29 23

Virginia Tech 27 25

Others

Arkansas 30 29

Mississippi State 38 41

Missouri 39 35

Vanderbilt 46 50

Louisville 47 46

Indiana 51 37

Marshall 64 64

Cincinnati 67 63

Western Kentucky 86 76

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