The Top 10 Most Heated College Football Recruiting Rivalries Today

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst ISeptember 19, 2012

The Top 10 Most Heated College Football Recruiting Rivalries Today

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    The heated and vastly passionate rivalries are one of the great elements of college football. Fanbases, schools, teams and coaches compete against each other year in and year out to beat one another.

    A lot of focus is put on the games,—and rightfully so—but it's not just on the field where rivalries develop.

    The recruiting trail is home to many rivalries that spill out from the field. Other rivalries emerge in recruiting due to programs going after many of the same prospects and trying to get as much talent as possible for their teams. 

    This read will give you the top 10 college football recruiting rivalries in the game today.

10. Texas vs. LSU

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    You would be surprised how often these two bump heads on the recruiting trail. With Texas being such a hotbed for talent, neighboring LSU often comes into the Lone Star State looking for talent.

    Last year, Texas turned the table on the Tigers when it went into Louisiana and took Torshiro Davis from LSU's clutches. This year has been no different; both schools battled for Ricky Seals-Jones, before Texas gave up on him earlier this month. 

9. USC vs. Oregon

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    USC is the perennial lead dog program of the Pac-12, but Oregon feels times have changed.

    The Ducks have shown they are not scared to go toe-to-toe with USC for any prospect, highlighted by them taking De'Anthony Thomas away from the Trojans.

    These two teams are usually among the top in the conference, and their rivalry does cross over into the recruiting fold. Oregon knows California is a great hotbed for talent and vigorously will attack USC's territory by trying to convince prospects to come to Eugene.

    The Ducks have been successful at times, which makes this a great rivalry.

8. South Carolina vs. Clemson

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    This one got really heated a few years back when each team was vying for Jadeveon Clowney. Clemson really thought it had Clowney, but of course, the Gamecocks won out.

    The Palmetto State rivals simply don't like each other, and they bump heads on the recruiting trail almost daily. This rivalry will never end, and many Carolina-region prospects are forced to weigh both schools against each other, which creates a well-heated rivalry between the two programs. 

7. Texas A&M vs. Texas

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    With the state being so large and home to other great schools, the Longhorns also find themselves having rivalries with many of their in-state foes, notably Texas A&M.

    Texas fans often feel they are the superior program to the Aggies, who have shown they are not intimidated by Texas on the recruiting trail. Both programs could land top classes this year, and the rivalry will only heat up.

    Kevin Sumlin is quietly establishing himself as a great recruiting head coach, while Mack Brown has been doing right in Austin for more than a decade. 

6. Notre Dame vs. Big Ten

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    The Irish are not part of the Big Ten Conference, but sit smack dab in the middle of Big Ten country. That means they go after many prospects Big Ten schools go after, and this has created rivalries with most of the conference.

    Most notable are the rivalries with Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State, among others. Even this cycle has been pretty heated, as the Irish won out for OLBs Jaylon Smith and Alex Anzalone over Ohio State, and they got Steve Elmer to commit over Michigan.

5. Florida State vs. Alabama

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    This is an interesting rivalry because FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher is part of the Nick Saban coaching tree. Fisher has adopted many recruiting methods that Saban practices and is detailed in his evaluations of players.

    Thanks to QB Dameyune Craig, Fisher's team has piped some good talent away from Saban's Alabama program over the past few years, such as Chris Casher and Jameis Winston, among others.

    Even this year, OT Austin Golson is an Alabama native who's headed to Tallahassee. 'Bama has gotten great talent such as Eddie Williams and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from Florida, so this rivalry goes back and forth. 

4. Florida vs. Florida State

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    The Seminoles know that, while they can go to Alabama, they also have to pay a huge amount of attention to what Florida is doing. Their archrival always has been a great recruiting school, and there have been memorable battles between the two.

    Will Muschamp has proven he's going to be a force on the trail in Gainesville, so FSU knows it will have to be on its A-game at all times.

    If you're a highly touted prospect in Florida, chances are you will be heavily recruited by both of these schools in a heated race.

3. USC vs. The Rest of the Country

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    USC not only will recruit up and down the Pacific—the Trojans established themselves as a national recruiting juggernaut in the early part of the last decade. 

    They got Mike Williams from Florida, Jeff Byers and LenDale White from Colorado, John David Booty from Louisiana, Fred Davis from Ohio and Dwayne Jarrett from New Jersey, just to name a few. Even this year they have commitments from studs like Kenny Bigelow of Maryland and Jalen Ramsey of Tennessee.

    The entire country knows that, no matter where their school and recruiting territory may lay, USC is a looming threat—and this is not well-liked anywhere on the trail. 

2. Michigan vs. Ohio State

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    This isn't just a rivalry on the field, folks—both of these schools also recruit many of the same prospects.

    Ohio State and Michigan don't like each other at all, and that also is apparent in recruiting.

    Cam Burrows and Mike McCray II are two top-notch recruits and high school teammates. However, Burrows is committed to Ohio State while McCray will be a Michigan man.

    That shows you just how parallel and close each program's recruiting plans are every year. If you think the rivalry only comes during the week these two play one another each year, you're sadly mistaken. 

    This rivalry lasts 365 days a year, and a huge part of that is thanks to recruiting. 

1. The Entire SEC

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    The rivalries inside the SEC are almost insanely passionate. Some of the stories I've heard about SEC coaches trying to get an advantage in recruiting are just downright shocking.

    It's a nasty, mass-conference rivalry among all of the programs that involves negative recruiting, nasty rumor-spreading, psychological warfare and a lot of money spent to get the best talent.

    None of these programs like each other in the slightest way. It's a super-competitive conference, and it only increases on the recruiting trail. With it now being a 14-team conference, that will only add gas to the fire and make things even more crazy.

    The clashes the SEC has with all of its programs pitted against each other easily makes for the most heated rivalry in college football and college football recruiting.


    Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS).

    A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to, and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a college football and NFL draft magazine.