Several of the top prospects from junior colleges signed letters of intent today, and the Alabama Crimson Tide has gotten off to a strong start when it comes to their 2017 class. The Crimson Tide signed two of the top four JUCO recruits in the nation. That’s a pretty strong class this season, but over the past years, there have been other SEC schools that have had to turn to the junior college pipeline more often. The junior college recruiting route has had varying results for them:
The Auburn Tigers signed Jarrett Stidham, the No. 1 ranked junior college recruit in the class of 2017. This isn’t unfamiliar territory for the Tigers. They are one of several SEC schools that have found success in recruiting junior college players. The Tigers won’t have the greatest number of JUCO recruits on this list, but they’ve gotten the most bang for their buck.
The Tigers signed the top JUCO recruit in three of the past four classes, and they might be the team that has seen the most dividends from JUCO recruits. A two-year stretch of recruiting classes changed the direction of the Auburn program. In 2009, Gene Chizik signed Alabama native Nick Fairley out of Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Miss. The following season, Cam Newton joined the Tigers. At the end of the 2010 season, Auburn had its first national championship in more than 50 seasons, and Newton and Fairley were the offensive and defensive players of the game, respectively.
Auburn’s 2009 class ranked No. 23 in the nation according to 247Sports. However, without the junior college talent, the class would’ve ranked 30th, according to the site’s class calculator.
The Tigers have had 12 JUCO recruits over the past five classes, including five in the 2013 class. Auburn added two more in Stidham and Salvatore Cannella on Wednesday.
Ole Miss Rebels
The Rebels’ JUCO recruits might not have had as much success as the Tigers’, but there has been a large number of them.
The Rebels name can be found attached to many of the top junior college recruits each season. Ole Miss has taken advantage of several of the top junior college football programs being located in Mississippi. In the past five recruiting classes, 18 of the Rebels recruits have come from junior colleges.
Ole Miss’ 2013 recruiting class, which was considered one of the strongest in school history, featured five junior college signees. That was also the class which featured high school signees Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell.
The Rebels also signed a trio of 3-star recruits today. Linebacker Brenden Williams and defensive end Markel Winters are the fourth-ranked junior college recruits at their positions, and cornerback Javien Hamilton is ranked No. 7 at his position.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State is another school that benefits from the in-state junior colleges. The Bulldogs signed six JUCO signees on Wednesday. It’s not their first time utilizing the junior college pipeline to load up on talent.
Mississippi State has signed at least two junior college players in each of the past five classes and a total of 14 during the stretch. The 2015 class consisted of four JUCO players, including a pair of 4-star recruits. One of those 4-star recruits was Martinas Rankin. Rankin played in all of the Bulldogs’ games this season and was offensive lineman of the week after the upset of Texas A&M.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.