College Football: The Top 8 Reasons the SEC Dominates the Recruiting Rankings
National Signing Day is upon us, and, as usual, the national recruiting class rankings are filled with teams from the Southeastern Conference.
As many as nine conference schools will grace the rankings list of recruiting websites all over the web.
That means that nearly 40 percent of the top 25 recruiting classes in the entire nation (from a base of over 116 teams) will be from the SEC.
Some might call that dominant.
How have the programs in the SEC been able to thrive in recruiting as a whole as compared to the rest of the conferences?
This slideshow will detail why SEC programs are winning consistently in the recruiting season...
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High school players can be attracted to big name coaches at big name programs, there is no doubt.
However, it may be the parents who are most swayed by the "celebrity" of some of the high profile coaches visiting their living room and promising to take care of their child in college.
When it comes to top coaches and high profile head men, and the top recruiters in the business, the SEC has no equal.
In a recent ESPN Magazine article the writers polled current top recruits from all over the nation and those recruits voted Alabama's Nick Saban and Auburn's Gene Chizik as the top recruiters in the country.
On top of that kind of recognition, the fact remains that the Southeastern Conference programs pay to get elite coaches.
As a matter of fact, according to BusinessInsider.com, 10 of the top 20 highest paid college football coaches in the entire country reside in the SEC.
The SEC also employs six of the top 12 winningest coaches in BCS conferences heading into 2012.
If you want to play for a big time recruiter, a big time coach and a winning coach, odds are you could land in the SEC.
Big and Loud Stadiums
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When recruits visit colleges in the fall to see the big games, they are many times drawn to the bigger, louder and crazier stadium atmospheres.
It gets them hyped up and wanting to be a part of the special scene unfolding in front of them.
The SEC has seven of the 14 largest stadiums in the country and houses many of the loudest venues as well.
According to the Business Journal, 11 of the top 25 programs in annual college football attendance reside in the Southeastern Conference.
When an SEC staff brings in a recruit to their stadium, odds are it's a big game, a full stadium and a loud and fun experience.
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Top recruits want to play in the NFL.
Many of them have dreams of playing at the pro level and are looking for the best school to get them there.
The SEC has excelled in getting players into the National Football League.
As a matter of fact, more players from the SEC have been drafted to the NFL than any other conference in the nation for five consecutive years.
There has now been 132 straight rounds of the NFL draft that an SEC player has been selected.
Maybe most important, there have been 64 straight drafts in which at least one player from the SEC was selected in the first round.
Cam Newton was the most recent No. 1 pick and thrived in his first year with Carolina. This kind of success doesn't go unnoticed by blue-chip prep stars.
As an elite recruit, your chances of making the NFL are stronger in the SEC than anywhere else.
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In case you have been on another planet for the last six years, it is worth noting that a team from the SEC has won the national championship each of the last six seasons.
Top recruits that list "winning" as important in their search for the right program will be obviously drawn to the Southeastern Conference.
Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Florida have raised the crystal trophy over the past six seasons and helped raise the recruiting results of an entire conference.
Not even on that list are major programs with winning traditions like Texas A&M, Tennessee and Georgia and top schools that have put together double-digit win totals in recent years like Arkansas, Missouri and South Carolina.
If you want to win games and have a shot at winning championships, your best bet may be in the SEC.
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Many top athletes are passionate about their sport, and that resonates with other passionate people.
On recruiting visits and in the media, elite recruits can see the passion that exudes from fans in the SEC.
You won't find more engaged or passionate fans than you will find at Southeastern Conference programs.
Andrea Adelson of the Orlando Sentinel recently wrote, when asked about passion in college football, that, "cheering for the Tide is a way of life. Football is discussed every single day of the year, from recruiting to coaching to play-calling to expectations."
In the same article, Dean Jones of the Baltimore Sun agreed when he stated, "Nothing compares to what happens in the Southeastern Conference."
Read more on what these two had to say about passionate SEC fans here.
Recruits and their families are aware of this year-round obsession with college football in the SEC, and for many of them, that type of spotlight is exactly what they are looking for.
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If a recruit chooses an SEC program, he knows he will be on television very often.
This is a powerful recruiting tool each SEC school uses to draw talent into the conference.
A TV contract the SEC signed in 2008 (effective 2009 through 2024) included an SEC Game of the Week on CBS each fall Saturday and ESPN having rights to every other SEC home game, displaying the majority of them on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU and accessible on ESPN GamePlan and ESPN360.
In 2009 Stewart Madel, senior college football writer at Sports Illustrated wrote:
Sorry, Big Ten fans, but the SEC has trumped your conference yet again. This time, though, it didn't happen at a BCS bowl game. This time, SEC teams are invading the Big Ten's own turf—and storming Big 12, Pac-10 and ACC country while they're at it. The SEC will begin an unprecedented assault on our nation's television sets. The 2009 season marks the beginning of a new 15-year, $2.25 billion contract with ESPN, which coincides with a 15-year, $825 million deal with CBS. At the SEC's preseason Media Days in Hoover, Ala., this week, league and ESPN officials unveiled the details of their new arrangement, and this much is clear: Whether you're in Alabama or Arizona, Michigan or Mississippi, you're about experience a deluge of SEC football.
See the entire Mandel article on the power of the SEC TV contract here.
The TV exposure he spoke about has unfolded over the past four years and made the SEC the most televised college football conference in America.
If you are a top recruit that wants national exposure, the SEC is the place to be.
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Most of the top recruits in the country come from the South.
The weather is more conducive to the sport, and the focus on football is greater in the Deep South than it is anywhere else in the country.
As a prime example, ESPN.com's Paula Lavigne recently wrote an article about top talent in the South and wrote,"In 2010, census data show about 37 percent of people in the United States lived in the South, but in the same year, about 53 percent of the top recruits came from there."
When your region has that strong share of the talent pool in its own backyard, it stands to reason that those Southern schools, especially the major programs in the SEC, would garner most of these top players.
Not to mention, if you were an elite recruit, would you rather spend a recruiting visit in October in Nebraska, Minnesota or Maryland, or in sunny Florida or Louisiana?
The SEC has the upper-hand in football geography and is reaping the rewards.
College football recruiting can get expensive for schools looking to get commitments from elite players.
On average, those schools that spend the most are proving to be racking in top recruits more so than the others.
The SEC makes up six of the top eight programs that are spending the most on recruiting in the entire country.
Furthermore, seven of the top 11 most profitable football programs in the nation reside in the Southeastern Conference.
That money gives the SEC programs the ability to build things like impressive weight rooms, better locker rooms, luxury recruiting centers and big fancy recruiting weekends.
Money matters in college football, and the SEC as a whole has more to spend than any other conference.