The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

February 6, 2014

SEC dominates recruiting rankings once again

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

As 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. Other SEC teams in the top 10 included No. 2 LSU, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 6 Auburn, No. 7 Tennessee, No. 8 Georgia and No. 9 Florida.

"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).

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