SEC spotlight: Which school is recruiting king at each position?
The SEC expanded to 14 teams starting with the 2012 season. So starting with that first season of being a 14-team league in recruiting through the current 2018 classes that are being assembled, we determine which schools have recruited best at each position.
It's sort of like splitting hairs to pick a true champ at this position but Georgia gets the nod based on landing back-to-back five-stars in the 2016 and 2017 classes in Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm. The duo has set Georgia up for years to come at the position and if some prognosticators are to be believed the school is also in line to land a commitment from five-star Justin Fields in 2018. That would be the first time in Rivals.com history a program has landed three consecutive five-star signal callers.
In addition to Eason and Fromm, Georgia also signed four-star Jacob Park in 2014 and while he didn't pan out with the Dawgs, he's now the starter at Iowa State. Class of 2013 four-star signee Brice Ramsey didn't live up to his ranking but was also a major recruiting win the for the Bulldogs at the time. Texas A&M and Alabama have signed several four-stars over the last five years, but Georgia gets the nod at the quarterback position.
RUNNING BACK: Alabama
The Tide seem to nab one or two of the nation's best running backs every year and that has certainly been the case dating back to the 2013 recruiting class. Alabama's current roster features an impressive stable of highly ranked backs, including five-stars Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and Najee Harris as well as former four-stars Brian Robinson, B.J. Emmons and Chadarius Townsend.
Since 2013, Alabama has also signed future NFL draft picks Alvin Kamara (who completed his career at Tennessee), and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, not to mention a few other four-star prospects such as Tyren Jones and Desherrius Flowers, who have since transferred.
WIDE RECEIVER: Alabama
Once again the Tide get the nod at this position based on the number of elite receivers the school has signed over the period. The group is highlighted by five-stars Calvin Ridley (2015) and Jerry Jeudy (2017) but also includes a deep group of four-star talents such as Robert Foster, Trevon Diggs, Cameron Simms, Henry Ruggs and Devonta Smith. Several of those players were direct recruiting victories over other SEC schools, making them an ever bigger accomplishment.
As the Alabama offense has evolved in recent years it's become much more wide receiver friendly and the school's ability to recruit elite players at the position has increased as well.
Ole Miss also has a loaded stable of wide receiver talent while Texas A&M and Tennessee have also recruited the position well over the past five years.
Alabama has won a lot over the last decade and that is largely because of its dominance in the trenches. From 2013-17, the Crimson Tide have signed 35 linemen that were ranked four- or five-star prospects by Rivals.com.
Cameron Robinson started as a true freshman on the offensive line, then was drafted in the first round in 2017. Jonah Williams, a five-star, is the next high draft pick on the offensive line. Jonathan Allen was the man the last few years on the defensive line and he went in the first round a couple of months ago too.
The next star there may be Daron Payne at tackle or LaBryan Ray at end. The Crimson Tide is loaded up front on both sides of the ball, and as long as they keep recruiting at this level on the offensive and defensive lines, they will continue to be tough to beat.
In 2017, Alabama inked four of the top 14 outside linebackers in the country, led by Dylan Moses. The cycle before that, the Crimson Tide signed two five-star linebackers, Ben Davis and Lyndell Wilson, both from their home state. Shaun Dion-Hamilton and Rashaan Evans both played big roles in Alabama's success last season and that pair headlined the Tide's 2014 class. Each is likely to get drafted in 2018. Reuben Foster was the No. 1 inside linebacker and the No. 13 prospect in the country in 2013, and after leading the Tide defense the last two years, he was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft in April.
Alabama has recruited size, speed and power at this position the last five years. It has shifted more to speed and a little smaller linebackers in the last year or two, to adjust to the spread offenses, but Nick Saban is still reeling in elite talent on the second level.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Florida
Numerous schools made strong cases for this position, including Alabama and LSU, but we had to go with Florida. Some have been referring to Florida as DBU in recent years due to the play of its secondary and how the Gators have placed numerous defensive backs into the NFL.
Quincy Wilson and Jalen Tabor were two of the top cornerbacks in the country the last two seasons, and both were drafted in April. Vernon Hargreaves III was a five-star cornerback and Keanu Neal was a four-star safety in the 2013 class, and both have made big impacts early in their NFL careers after being first-round picks. Safety Chauncey Gardner could be the next defensive back to be drafted out of Gainesville (Fla.). The former Rivals100 prospect will be a leader in the Gator secondary this fall.