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The SEC’s dominance on the football field begins with recruiting.
Each year since 2006, the first year of the national title run, the SEC has continued to climb the recruiting rankings. Whereas other conferences have two or, at most, three schools that recruit at an elite level, the SEC has ten or more teams consistently producing top classes.
This year is poised to, stop me if you’ve heard this before, be the best recruiting haul in the history of the SEC.
Want to know why SEC teams are so good?
It’s the players, stupid.
Right now Rivals.com has ten of the top 21 classes in the country belonging to the SEC.
5. Texas A&M
15. Ole Miss
(Arkansas, Missouri, and South Carolina are 31, 32, 33, and Mississippi State is 37).
The other five major conferences combined have the same number of top 21 classes in the country as the SEC. (The ACC has six, the Big Ten has two, the Big 12 and the Pac 12 have one each).
247 Sports has ten of the top 22 classes hailing from the SEC.
7. Texas A&M
15. Ole Miss
(Mississippi State is 28, South Carolina’s 30, Arkansas’s 33, and Mizzou’s 34)
The other five major conferences have one more top 22 team than the SEC. The ACC has five teams, the Big Ten three, the Big 12 with two, and the Pac 12 with one.
The end result of this recruiting dominance?
The SEC sends more players to the NFL than any other conference because it recruits more good players.
It’s not rocket science.
While it’s difficult to predict exactly which five and four star players will be high draft picks, top level recruits are much more likely to be drafted than two or three star recruits.
It’s no coincidence that Nick Saban has stacked up the best recruiting classes in the country while sending the most players to the NFL over the past five years.
It’s a virtuous circle, players go to SEC schools because they believe this decision makes it more likely they will play in the NFL. Then the prophecy fulfills itself every spring at the NFL Draft and more kids want to play in the SEC to advance to the NFL.
Add in the fact that the SEC has won seven straight championships and there’s a justified perception that the SEC is the best football in the country.
And perception is recruiting reality.
What’s more, the league is just now starting to cash in on all the four and five star recruits who want to play in the SEC over every other conference.
Each of the past three years in recruiting the SEC has been better than the one before it.
The best analogy isn’t even from sports, it’s Google search. Why is Google search so good? Because everyone believes Google search is the best. And that very belief makes the Google search process more effective, becasue every time we use Google, we make its results better.
If you’re a sixteen year old kid right now the SEC has won every title in your formative years. You believe the SEC’s the best and then you make it so by deciding to go there and play.
SEC meet Google, Google meet the SEC.
That brand dominance expands the recruiting playing field, allowing SEC schools to steal top players from other geographic regions.
As an easy illustration, Outkick has already written about Kentucky and Mark Stoops going after the state of Ohio because the SEC brand is so strong.
Ten of Kentucky’s 25 recruits are from Ohio.
Kentucky’s ten Ohio commits is the same number of Ohio recruits as it had in its previous eight classes combined.
Kentucky has put together it’s best football recruiting class ever.
A rising SEC tide is lifting all boats.
After all, Alabama can only take 25 kids a year. Scores more kids than that want to play in the SEC. As a result, everyone is getting better players than they were before the national title runs.
Look out, college football, the SEC’s about to get even better.