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Three-Point Stance: Recruiting in the SEC, Tampa, Alabama

In this edition of Three-Point Stance, national analyst Ryan Wright covers the recruiting impact of Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC, the rise of recruiting talent in the Tampa (Fla.) area, and how the state of Alabama is one of the country's best recruiting spots.

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CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

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CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100


1. Texas, Oklahoma joining SEC will impact recruiting in the Southeast. 

The Texas Longhorns went into Florida to land RB Cedric Baxter.
The Texas Longhorns went into Florida to land RB Cedric Baxter. (Kid Ryno/

The college teams that do the best recruiting in the Southeast see the translation to wins on the field. The success of Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and even Ohio State in recent years can be tied in part to their success signing players from the states of Alabama, Georgia and Florida. With Texas and Oklahoma making the move to the SEC, fans of those two schools can expect that recruiting footprint to expand deeper into the Southeast, which will likely translate to wins.

Texas and Oklahoma fans will rightly state that both programs recruit the entire country. An argument could also be made that there’s enough talent in Texas alone for both teams to be great. But being able to consistently recruit the Southeast is now a legitimate option. Coaches can pitch playing the likes of the Crimson Tide, Gators and Bulldogs at a blueblood program with great tradition and history - as opposed to a Saturday in Manhattan or Ames.

Texas got a steal in the 2023 class by landing two Orlando, Fla., prospects in four-star running back Cedric Baxter and offensive tackle Payton Kirkland. Oklahoma hit the Sunshine State hard, as it landed six 2023 prospects, highlighted by four-star linebackers Lewis Carter and Phil Picciotti. With both programs making the move to the nation’s best conference expect more players from the Southeast to take visits to both programs, with both becoming legitimate landing spots for some of the best in the region.

Time will tell how strongly the new SEC members affect recruiting in the Southeast. Teams that could be impacted include Penn State, Louisville and Michigan. Even Florida schools such as FSU and UCF could feel the squeeze.

The already-tough recruiting battles in the area just got a lot tougher.

RELATED: Texas' 2023 recruiting class | Oklahoma's 2023 recruiting class




2. Recruiting talent in the Tampa area is on the rise. 

Eddy Pierre-Louis
Eddy Pierre-Louis (

Amazing what can change in just a couple of years. There were only four players hailing from the Tampa area rated as four-star prospects in the 2021 class. In the 2022 class, there were five. Showing some signs of improvement, the 2023 class produced six players with a four-star or better ranking, led by five-star Alabama signee Keon Keeley.

Jump to the 2024 cycle and there are already 12 players from Tampa high schools rated as four-stars. The list includes Eddy Pierre-Louis, Tavoy Feagin, Terrance Moore, Peter Pesansky, Xavier Porter, Booker Pickett, Rod Gainey, Terek McCant, Bredell Richardson, Zycarl Lewis and Anthony Carrie with other prospects rated as 5.7s that could get that bump to four-star status.

Miami and Orlando are understandably important stopping points for top college football programs, but players in the Tampa area are turning the spotlight their way and forcing coaches to take notice.


3. State of Alabama continues to be a recruiting hotbed. 

Anquon Fegans
Anquon Fegans (Nick Lucero/

Another fruitful area for college coaches to invest recruiting time in is within the state of Alabama. The 2023 class produced 24 players ranked as four-stars or better, topped by five-stars Peter Woods, Keldric Faulk and Yhonzae Pierre. The 2024 in-state class is working toward similar results, with 19 four-stars identified.

Hot on the trail of the upperclassmen are the 2025 guys. Entering the 2022 high school football season, Rivals rated 10 players in the state of Alabama as four-star prospects in the 2025 class. After another brilliant season on the gridiron even more have been identified as top prospects. As for who will join players like Anquon Fegans, Alvin Henderson and Ryan Williams in the four-star club, that will have to wait until Rivals releases the next 2025 rankings in March. Until then, rest assured the state of Alabama is one of the country's top hotbeds for college football talents.

For comparison, the state of California currently has 12 four-stars in the 2025 class.