The Norman Transcript

National Sports

February 4, 2014

SEC still leads all comers — in recruiting battle

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — 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.

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.

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