The SEC is generally thought of as the best conference in college football, and when you go to the root of their success, it all starts with recruiting.
The best players in the country have a tendency to want to play in the SEC, but that's just because their schools have built and developed programs worthy of attracting those recruits. Coaches still have to pitch their programs—mainly against other SEC schools—but in general the SEC can sell itself.
Rivals.com currently has six SEC schools in the Top Ten of their rankings, but how many will occupy that part of the list when all is said and done for the 2013 college football recruiting season?
The schools that are close right now are South Carolina at No. 14, Vanderbilt at No. 15 and Tennessee at No. 20 overall on Rivals' rankings.
South Carolina has a big class already with 20 committed, but they don't have any 5-star players yet, which would really bump them up. 247Sports.com only has one 5-star on their target list and that's defensive tackle Montravius Adams. While he would be a big-time commit for them, 247Sports has them listed underneath a ton of schools including Auburn, Clemson and Alabama on his list with a cool interest. Even with the addition of one or two more 4-star prospects, I don't see SC moving up that much.
The next school that has a shot is Vanderbilt. According to Rivals the Commodores don't have any 5-star recruits, only three 4-stars and a whopping 18 3-star players. Considering the strength of their class comes from a plethora of 3-stars, it's tough to see them moving up that much. According to 247Sports, the Commodores are second on 4-star safety Leon McQuay III's interest, so if they can beat out Alabama for him, it would be a big boost. It wouldn't be enough to get them in the Top Ten though.
Finally, we have Tennessee at No. 20 on Rivals rankings. If there's one more SEC school that has a chance to move into the Top Ten, it would be the Volunteers.
There are multiple big-name recruits that have Tennessee right near the top of their interests list, and if the Volunteers can snag a few of them, I see them jumping up the rankings. 247Sports has Tennessee second on 5-star safety Vonn Bell's list, second on 5-star running back Derrick Henry's list and third on 4-star running back (5-star according to Rivals) Derrick Green's list.
If Tennessee is able to bring in at least one of these elite recruits, I see them being able to put themselves in the Top Ten.
I see Auburn's No. 9 ranked class featuring three 5-star players moving up the list with a few more additions. Georgia has a solid class with 28 current recruits and Texas A&M will definitely be strong enough to hold a Top Ten spot if they can get a commit from receiver Ricky Seals-Jones (who is 5-star according to 247Sports, 4-star according to Rivals), which I do see happening mind you. This would bump Ohio State, currently ranked No. 7, back a few spots, and if Tennessee can bring in one or two of those elite prospects, I see them getting a Top 10 ranking and pushing the Buckeyes to at least 11.
That would put seven SEC schools in the Top Ten when all is said and done. Alabama, LSU, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Texas A&M and Tennessee.
Seven out of 14 is not half bad. I'll take 50-percent in the top ten of recruiting if I'm the SEC.
There's still plenty of time for things to shake-up, but when all is said and done, I expect those seven SEC schools to be in the Top Ten of the Rivals.com recruiting rankings.