The SEC is the prime location for the nation's top recruits right now and there's a reason why.
Education and great facilities are great contributing factors that can help sway a high school kid, but top athletes generally want to win. Ah, winning, yeah that's expected in this conference.
Sure, you can get into the facility talk and all of that, and maybe that is important to some student athletes. But for the most part, winning and the style of play are generally the main focus for those 4- and 5-star studs.
The SEC as a whole has that, but what separates each school in the SEC? What is each school's main recruiting pitch?
What's that? Nick Saban couldn't make out the words you were saying because he was distracted by his four championship rings glistening in the light.
It's simple really. You come to Alabama, and you win a national championship. The numbers don't lie.
Three out of four years? Yeah, no one can dispute that. And when players choose to come and play for Saban and the Crimson Tide, they know the odds are ever in their favor.
"A Hunger Games reference? Really bro?" Some loudmouth begins a furious typing pace on the comment section below.
Like the fictional Hunger Games, the battle for the SEC crown is a relentless challenge that tires the body and the mind. The same can be said about playing for Saban. But hey, results speak for themselves, right?
Recruiting Pitch—Ground and Pound
Adapt or die.
Alabama is winning championships with a ground-and-pound mentality, and LSU went 13-1 the previous season with the same type of play. Time to immolate?
Arkansas decided to bring in a coach that's been successful (68-24 in his head-coaching career) with that same mentality. Bret Bielema will bring a toughness to Arkansas that should help the Hogs compete in the SEC West.
But why would recruits choose to play for Arkansas over Alabama and LSU? You can't out-Alabama, but if Bielema can make his recruits believe they can compete with them and show off Arkansas' incredible vision for athletic facilities, he just may land top recruits.
Recruiting Pitch—Rebels with a Cause
Let's get a little psychological here. What's most important in the state of Alabama? Football. No arguments there.
Which two teams are the most popular in the state? Well, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers are pretty well-known.
One of those schools has recently become a dynasty. Hint, it wasn't Auburn. So let's try an unorthodox pitch here. Instead of trying to compete with the tradition and accolades of Alabama within the state (no school could really compare around the country), Gus Malzahn should take a different approach.
Malzahn should embrace the underdog role and make his recruits believe in bringing Auburn back on top of Alabama. It's easy to be just another face in the crowd at Alabama, but it's a completely different ordeal to come to Auburn and lead the Tigers to victory against the already-established empire, Alabama.
Winning is the name of the game right? Don't make me link Herm Edwards to this article. "Hello?!"
It never gets old, does it? Edwards was absolutely right though. You play to win the game, and Florida is a winning program.
Before Urban Meyer went 8-5 with the Gators in 2010 and Will Muschamp went 7-6 with them in 2011, the Gators won two national championships and went 48-7 in a span of four years.
And now that Muschamp has the Gators back on the right track with an 11-2 record in 2012, winning is simply an accurate description for the University of Florida.
Recruiting Pitch—The NFL
Like most SEC schools, Georgia produces NFL talent. It's a common trend around the SEC, but Mark Richt has somewhat of an upper hand on every school right about now.
You see, from April 25-27, nearly the entire defensive unit will be selected.
Obviously, that's exaggerated, but Jarvis Jones, John Jenkins, Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams are all highly-touted prospects entering the draft.
So many athletes dream of making the big time, and turning pro is an easy pitch for Richt to sell right now with so many players from the defensive side of the ball making the jump.
Recruiting Pitch—Tiger Stadium
There may not be a better place to watch any sporting event than LSU's Death Valley.
Tiger Stadium is everything they say it is and more. A night game in Death Valley really can't be described because you can't do it justice.
There are many seats in college football's greatest venue, but none may be better than right in the middle of LSU's raucous student section. Dances, phrases and hand movements are all calculated and organized like Catholic mass.
And for those three to four hours, worship takes place. LSU is the only premier school in the state of Louisiana, and when the stadium fills up with 93,000-plus people, insanity will ensue. Who wouldn't want to play in such an environment?
Recruiting is all about using your greatest advantages. For Kentucky, there are none better than its basketball program.
Let's be real—football doesn't pay the bills at Kentucky.
So use the basketball program to benefit the football one. Joker Phillips said at the 2012 SEC Media Days that basketball head coach John Calipari would allow recruits to come in and greet the players.
This could have a great impact on the minds of recruits, and who knows, ol' Mark Stoops could steal a few great prospects by using this tactic.
Recruiting Pitch—Dan Mullen
For Dan Mullen, his greatest recruiting pitch just may be himself.
Mullen has a wealth of knowledge in college football, and he was able to coach one of the greatest college football players of all time, Tim Tebow.
Don't worry, no Tebow ribs here. Don't want to butt-fumble any New York Jets' jokes. Getting back to the matter at hand—Mullen is a great football mind that knows how to win and develop his talent.
Though Mississippi State has plateaued the past couple of years (7-6 in 2011, 8-5 in 2012), he is still capable of elevating the Bulldogs to the next level. He'll, of course, need to convince top recruits to help him do so.
Recruiting Pitch—Spread Offense
The spread offense is so appealing to a skill player coming out of high school.
Who doesn't want to develop into a star in a flashy offense? Heck, all the cool kids are doing it nowadays.
So maybe Gary Pinkel's first year in the SEC didn't exactly go accordingly (5-7, 2-6 in SEC play). He still has something going for him—his wide-open offense.
The spread offense attracts the minds of high school football players much like chocolate cake entices a chubby kid. It's simply irresistible.
Recruiting Pitch—Win the Day
Don't change a thing, Hugh Freeze. Your philosophy seems to be working to perfection right now.
Not only did Freeze lead Ole Miss to a 7-6 record, but he's also putting together one of the league's best recruiting classes of 2013.
The Rebels are at No. 19 on ESPN's rankings after Laquon Tradewell chose to play at Ole Miss. This is a tremendous pickup by Freeze and his coaching staff, and he's certainly beginning to change the culture in Oxford.
So don't make any audibles to your recruiting game plan, Freeze. Continue to "win the day" by preaching your message and your vision of a national championship-contending Ole Miss program.
Recruiting Pitch—Play for a Legend
Let's not be coy—Steve Spurrier is the man. He's always been the man, and he'll continue to be the man as long as he coaches college football.
Spurrier is a college football icon that will always speak his mind. First of all, who wouldn't want to play for somebody like that?
Second of all, look at what Spurrier has accomplished in his college football career. He's won a national championship and nine conference championships. It's safe to say the man knows how to coach.
But more importantly, he led his club to an 11-2 record in 2012, as well as coached athletes such as Ace Sanders and Jadeveon Clowney. So who wants to be molded into the next superstar?
Want to be a part of something special? Ressurect one of the greatest programs in the country: Tennessee.
What? Don't think it's one of the best football programs anymore? Oh, how quick we are to forget. Less than a decade ago, Tennessee was battling for the top spot in the SEC East on an annual basis and in 1998, this team won a national championship.
So let's go back to the golden years of Tennessee football for a second when Phil Fulmer, Peyton Manning and Al Wilson ruled the land of the SEC. All three names are pretty historic in Tennessee because of it.
Who's destined to become the next legend? Which incoming freshman will be responsible for resurrecting this prestigious program?
Texas A&M—Style of Play
Oh Kevin Sumlin, somehow you make football seem even more fun. Don't get it twisted—football is one of the most exhilarating sports to play.
But when Sumlin dials up his offensive plays and uses Johnny Manziel to absolute near perfection, you can't help but want to play for a coach like that.
Plus the Aggies are on a roll. In Texas A&M's first season in the SEC, Sumlin led his team to an 11-win season, including a Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma.
Oh yeah, and he had a Heisman-winning quarterback. No big deal. Any future Heisman winners want to come and play in Sumlin's successful system?
Recruiting Pitch—Future 30 for 30
This is by far the coolest recruiting pitch out there, and being the mastermind he is, James Franklin actually uses it.
It was said during Vanderbilt's 38-24 bowl victory over NC State that Franklin tells recruits that they can go to Alabama, Florida or LSU and be just another great player in the program's rich history. But then he follows that up with an alternative. Instead of playing at any of those schools, they can be a part of a revolution at Vanderbilt.
Such a revolution that fans will be talking about if for years, and 10 to 20 years from now, they'll be seeing themselves on an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary. Pretty sweet, huh?
It's an easy pitch—come to Vanderbilt, get a good education and be a part of the revolution.