The SEC is the most competitive conference college football has to offer. In fact, some would argue tooth and nail that the SEC is more competitive than several NFL divisions. From the intense rivalries within the conference, the insanely passionate fanbases, great coaching and fiercely competitive recruiting, this conference has it all.
Many prospects in the South grow up a fan of the SEC and dream of playing in the conference. With the South being so rich with talent, many of the schools don't even leave the region for recruiting.
However, with some prospects, playing in the SEC is not such a big deal. They get a feel for other schools in other conferences and figure they are better off by not playing in the SEC. For this read, I'm going to give you the top prospects from the South who are better off by staying away from SEC football.
Harris is a big 6'1", 210-pound safety from Florida that also can play some outside linebacker. He's at his best when attacking ball-carriers towards the line of scrimmage, squeezing down into the box and being physical vs. the run.
He has his share of options in the SEC, with Florida being a major player based on my thinking. However, I think Harris could be better off at Texas.
The Gators have a loaded secondary, so playing time could be hard to come by early on in Gainesville. He could head over to Texas and more easily become an All-Big 12 SS/Rover.
An athletic and long receiver from Kentucky, Quick stands 6'1" and weighs 175 pounds. He's the state's best prospect and great prospects from the Bluegrass State do have a recent history of escaping the SEC clutches, notably Lamar Dawson to USC.
Right now, it doesn't appear as if the SEC will be home to Quick. 247Sports.com shows Louisville as his favorite school along with Ohio State being next.
It appears Quick thinks he's better off not catching passes in SEC country.
Golson is a 6'6", 284-pound OT prospect from Alabama that spurned Alabama and Auburn, two great SEC schools.
I think this was a good choice for specific football reasons and playing style. The SEC is a power conference that prides itself of physical play, especially in the trenches.
Golson's blocking style is more of a wall-off, positional style that I think will fit nicely at Florida State. This was a great football decision.
McQuay is coming down the home stretch of his recruitment and a decision likely could come next month. An athletic and rangy safety, the 6'1", 185-pound Florida native has the makings of a great free safety.
He can play in the SEC, but McQuay wants to break into the music industry as an audio engineer after his playing days are done. USC has a great audio engineering school and it is in Los Angeles, which will immensely help him get into "The Biz."
Playing in the SEC would be cool, but if McQuay wants to set himself up for the both football and life afterwards, then USC is his best choice.
Another Florida prospect, Cunningham is a 6'1", 175-pound receiver that has a knack for making the tough catch. He isn't a burner, but can work the intermediate level of the defense and move the chains.
247Sports.com lists Alabama as an SEC option, but it appears Miami and Stanford are his two favorites. Cunningham could spurn the SEC for the Canes with early playing on his mind, or the education at Stanford could win him over.
Nkemdiche made his own decision to commit to Clemson and he has stuck with honoring his commitment.
Ole Miss will be in the mix until the end, but with him being from Georgia, he could have easily chosen an SEC school and called it a recruitment.
I applaud him for making his own decision, and he's even used some of his leverage to help his teammates get attention too. Clemson's defense will utilize his powerful skill set well, and he'll be great in the ACC.
Williams is from Baton Rouge in Louisiana, which is the central location for everything that is LSU Tigers football. LSU is one of the very best SEC programs and among the elite national programs in college football nationally.
The Tigers want the 6'4", 230-pound defensive end to stay home and play with them, but it seems Williams is looking to leave SEC territory.
247Sports.com shows Miami and Florida State as LSU's main threats, and Williams could easily end up in Coral Gables or Tallahassee and not Baton Rouge.
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 & 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 WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.