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Monday, February 6, 2012
SEC gets four top recruiting programs

By Edward Aschoff

The SEC's dominance in college football was seen once again with the conference's sixth straight national championship back in January, but it all begins with a solid foundation.

That means teams have to go out and get a decent group of players. Well, in a recent project between ESPN The Magazine and RecruitingNation that complied recruiting classes from the last five years (2007-11), the SEC showed its muscle ... again.

The mad scientists behind the project "re-tallied the scores after signing day and ranked the schools based on total number of ESPNU 150 recruits (there have been 900) hauled in over the past six years" and came up with the top 10 recruiting programs. Four of the 10 came from the SEC.

Florida took the No. 1 spot, getting 66 ESPNU signees since 2007. Forty-two of them came from the state of Florida. Alabama ranked fourth, grabbing 51 ESPNU 150 members. Alabama has done the most with its ESPNU talent, winning two national championships (2009, 2011) since 2007, while Florida has one (2008) and has a 15-11 record in the last two seasons.

Note: ESPNU 150 prospects ATH Davonte Neal (Scottsdale, Ariz.), ATH Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md.) and OT Jordan Diamond (Chicago, Ill.) remain unsigned as of the publication of this insider story.

Here's a look at the four SEC programs that made the top 10:

1. Florida (66 ESPNU 150 signees since 2007)
"Over the past six years, Florida has been without question the No. 1 destination for elite prospects. The Gators have grabbed 66 ESPNU 150 recruits from 13 different states, none more surprising than Pennsylvania, where they signed the state's top recruit in 2010 (DT Sharrif Floyd of Philadelphia) and the nation's No. 2 TE in 2012 (Colin Thompson of Warminster). This year also marked a first for UF, when Will Muschamp ventured into North Carolina for the Gators' top two commits, No. 1 OT D.J. Humphries (Charlotte) and No. 4 DE Jonathan Bullard (Shelby)."
4. Alabama (51)
"The Tide signed the most ESPNU 150 recruits in 2012 (13), but they actually didn't gain the most ground from Year 5 to Year 6 (check the Seminoles). Still, Nick Saban's domination of the Southeast (43 of his 51 signees came from seven SEC states) is unmatched. He's also managed to expand his reach into Maryland for the nation's No. 3 (2011 OT Cyrus Kouandjio of Hyattsville) and No. 20 (2012 ATH Cyrus Jones of Baltimore) prospects. Beating out Les Miles for 2012's No. 1 S Landon Collins (Geismar, La.) was just another day at the office."
T-7. Georgia (40)
"Mark Richt doesn't have to go outside the Peach State often, but North Carolina once again proved to be fertile recruiting ground for an out-of-state program. The nation's No. 2 RB Keith Marshall (Raleigh, N.C.) joined four Georgia natives and No. 5 OT John Theus (Jacksonville, Fla.) to help form the Bulldogs' second consecutive top-10 class. As for those two recruits from Missouri (QB Logan Gray and TE Aron White, teammates from Columbia), they never quite lived up to their billing."
T-7. LSU (40)
"The Tigers' three-year run of top-10 classes ended in 2012, though they were only down one ESPN 150 recruit from 2011 to 2012. Miles saved face by convincing No. 3 OLB Kwon Alexander (Oxford, Ala.) to leave behind Auburn and Alabama. But surprisingly, LSU was shut out of Texas for the first time in the six years we've kept score."