The SEC is the best conference in the country for college football, and basically, if you win the conference title game then you're a shoo-in for the national championship game. One of the main reasons why the conference is so dominant, competitive and powerful is because of how great the recruiting is from top to bottom.
SEC recruiting can be pretty vicious and cutthroat, but even in a "down" year on the trail, the talent in the region is so good annually that a program can still pull a class of solid players. This year is pretty much no different, as many of the nation's best overall prospects hail from SEC country.
Not to make things too complicated or complex, this read will be pretty straightforward. We're simply going to rank the best 25 recruits in the 2014 class who are technically from SEC country.
The rich seem to get richer, and looking at these 25 players, you can see why the SEC is so tough each season.
Williams is from Alabama and is a 6'2", 228-pound LB who can do some good things on the field. He's got solid short area quickness, which allows him to quickly fill alleys against the run.
He shows good on-field awareness, flashes sideline-to-sideline speed and don't call this guy "not tough." Williams probably will come down to choosing between both in-state schools and should be a productive college 'backer.
A few years ago, Texas wouldn't have been considered "SEC Country," but with Texas A&M now in the league, it is now.
Thomas is a Texan who plays the DE position at 6'3" and just over 251 pounds. He's got good strength to stack blocks, anchor and press people off him to get clean and stop direct runs. He has some snap quickness and can menace the pocket as a pass-rusher.
He could spurn the SEC for Texas.
McDermott comes from a family of OL prospects and he may be the best of the bunch. He's a 6'6", 285-pound blocker from Florida who flashes technician potential.
McDermott can get out of stance quickly with solid leverage and play with some strength at the point of attack. He moves well as a pass protector and doesn't miss many punches during his deep sets.
He's committed to Miami.
North Carolina doesn't have an SEC school inside of it, but the SEC recruits this state pretty hard. Featherston is another talented Tar Heel prospect that the SEC is looking at.
He's a 6'7" DE who, although weighs just 215 pounds, has a high ceiling. Featherston is a good athlete who shows solid snap quickness, the reach to get to ball-carriers from a distance and his frame will easily fill out in college.
NC State could be a real challenge to any SEC team who wants him.
Playing QB currently for his high school squad, Noil is really tough to get a palpable feel for on tape as a WR. However, with his speed and elusiveness with the ball, he's definitely not behind the 8-ball.
A 5'10", 176-pounder from Louisiana, Noil has terrific speed on the field. He can dazzle as a runner and has very good creativity, wiggle and makes a ton of big plays.
I think he ends up at LSU.
If you like your safeties to have some good size to them, then you'll like the 6'2", 200-pound Jones. He's from Louisiana and can really make his impact felt on the back end.
Jones has great range, plays quickly and can cover TEs well. He's not afraid to quickly roll up to fill an alley and flashes some big hit ability. Jones can play the FS role, move over to SS and even play some Rover/OLB if needed.
Daub's a big LB who stands almost 6'4" and weighs around 235-240 pounds. Out of Florida, he's a big downhill-playing 'backer who's tough at the point of attack and plays physically when he takes on blocks.
Daub has good instincts and shows good short area quickness to get to ball-carriers in a hurry. He has the tools of a classic 3-4 ILB, but he could play strong-side OLB in a 3-4 scheme too.
Alabama and Florida State are the schools to watch and a decision could come soon.
Even though Scarbrough can play WR, the Alabama native and commit will likely stick to just RB in Tuscaloosa. He's already 6'2", 222 pounds, and his skill set fits best as a rock-toter more so than a pass-catcher.
Scarbrough has solid straight-line speed and runs with good strength. He shows some elusiveness at times and of course his experience catching the ball as a WR will help him impact the passing game.
A big reason why the SEC is such a physical league is because many of the top teams have great DL play. Clark would help an SEC team immediately, as he's a 6'2", 325-pound DT with some quickness.
He can two-gap due to his solid strength, has anchor ability to cause interior traffic and shows short area pursuit quickness. Miami may be tough to beat for the Florida native, but some SEC schools like him a ton.
Lane is also from Florida and is a 6'3" WR who weighs almost 200 pounds. Lane has a fantastic looking frame and shows good speed and hands.
He's a solid athlete who can weave around underneath traffic in his routes and has some separation quickness. Lane catches in crowds very well and has a very good catch radius.
Florida or Alabama could be two SEC schools he visits.
At 5'11" and 196 pounds, Thomas has chiseled arms and runs very hard each time he touches the ball. He shows a good burst to and through holes, can challenge defenders with power and has some long speed to pull away.
I really like Auburn's chances with him, but Alabama probably is not going to let its rival win him without a fight.
Grier is committed to Florida, so the North Carolina prospect is set to join the SEC next fall. He could be Florida's QB of the future, but before he comes to Gainesville the 6'3", 180-pounder has some records to break.
As a junior, Grier threw for over 5,700 yards and almost 70 TDs. He also rushed for over 800 yards, and his encore performance as a senior will be one of the national storylines in high school football this fall.
Yearby is from the South Florida and already has committed to Miami, so even though he's from SEC country, he won't be playing in the league for college.
SEC defenses can breathe a sigh of relief, as the 5'9", 191-pounder is tough to handle. Yearby is extremely quick and elusive with the ball and has good long speed to reel off big runs.
Miami may have found its next Duke Johnson.
Another Texan, Cannon is a 6'0", 160-pound WR who has good speed, can detach from coverage and has very good hands.
Cannon was very productive as a junior, evidenced by his 102-catch junior season. Cannon also flashes very good on-field awareness, as he can settle in coverage voids and move the chains.
He's still pretty wide open on the recruiting front.
As powerful a runner as there is in the country, Hood impresses more and more each time I watch him on tape. He is from North Carolina and stands 6'0" and 215 pounds.
Hood runs like a bulldozer and almost dares defenders to tackle him. He gets a ton of yards after contact, but he also flashes quick feet, buildup speed and some athletic wiggle at the second level.
Notre Dame, Michigan and North Carolina are three schools who I feel have a chance at landing him.
Georgia always produces great talent and McMillan is another high-rated Peach State prospect. The 6'3"LB weighs over 235 pounds and has solid athleticism and play speed.
McMillan is an instinctive second level defender who can shoot gaps, play big at the point of attack and his 152-tackle junior season tells me he's a maximum producer. It'll be Ohio State or Clemson, in my opinion.
Cook's from Florida and is a RB who I feel could be a flat out superstar at Clemson. He's got very smooth and fluid movement skills with the ball, is elusive and has a sharp burst when he sees a big play can be made.
I like his vision and instincts, along with his size at 5'10" and about 197 pounds. He could become lethal in the passing game on swing routes and screens.
A 6'3", 225-pounder from Texas, Scott is committed to Texas A&M and should go on to become a star in College Station. He's very athletic and instinctive, flows quickly to ball-carriers and can hit with force.
Scott also can rush the passer like DE and bends well around the pocket. He has great play speed, and there's no reason why this guy shouldn't be a difference-maker for Kevin Sumlin.
It's a special year in Tennessee this year and Hurd is the state's top player for 2014. He's a big back at 6'3" and 225 pounds who also shows some ball skills.
Hurd can attack a front seven coming downhill, runs to his size but has wiggle in his running style. He'll elude a defender when he can, but don't forget that at the end of the day Hurd is a strong runner who can power through tacklers.
The Vols have him locked up.
A natural and fluid player, Humphrey is a tall CB prospect from Alabama. His father played for the Crimson Tide in the late 1980s and Marlon is expected to follow suit.
At 6'1" and 175 pounds, he shows great anticipation and a natural feel for routes. Humphrey can stab quickly in his jams, mirror at the line and shows solid speed to carry pass-catchers vertically.
Robinson is from Louisiana and is basically a bigger and stronger version of Laremy Tunsil. He's 6'6", weighs 330 pounds and plays with a natural knee bend, which is a fantastic trait in OL prospects.
Robinson shows great deep set quickness, can beat rushers to the post and has the athleticism, agility and balance to dance with anyone. He's also a good run-blocker who has the strength to finish while also the quickness to get to the second level.
LSU and Alabama are the consensus favorites.
Carter's the best player from Georgia this year and would have held his own against Robert Nkemdiche and Carl Lawson last year.
At 6'6" and 232 pounds, his size, explosiveness at the snap, length and power are impressive. Carter can put his hand down as a traditional DE or stand up like a 3-4 OLB/Rush end.
He has all of the tools needed to be a great pass-rusher one day, but Carter also is outstanding vs. the run. He's still a bit open on the recruiting front.
No matter if you feel Brown is a big and physical press-corner or if you think he's a future safety, the guy's a baller. He's 6'0", 185 pounds, from Texas and has very good play smarts.
A tough DB, Brown relishes press coverage and has a good punch in his initial jam. He fights any WR he covers, has good recovery speed and a sharp burst to close plays.
Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU are three SEC teams who surely could get visits.
From Florida, Michel's the top player in the Sunshine State this year and he's an impressive prospect. He stands 5'11" and weighs a chiseled 205 pounds, but has great speed and quickness.
Michel can slash or use good power, showing the ability to vary his running styles. He's also not opposed to lining up in the slot and catching passes either.
He's a potentially special back, and Georgia, Notre Dame and the three Florida schools are in the hunt.
Some say Fournette is the best player in the country overall and I wouldn't argue against that. This guy is a living legend and one of the best prospects in recent memory.
He's just over 6'0" tall, weighs about 225 pounds and is the total package. Fournette has great speed, explosiveness, agility, vision, instincts, power, strength and also has excellent hands.
From Louisiana, Fournette could be a three-year-and-out player, and I'd be pretty surprised if he didn't end up at LSU.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He 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 (formerly 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.