The SEC doesn’t always sell itself, or does it?
Nine SEC schools were ranked in the top 25 of college football’s easiest recruiting jobs, as compiled by ESPN.
The SEC dominated the rankings, with more than twice as many schools in the top 25 as any other conference. The Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 had four schools each in the top 25, while the ACC had three (four if partial member Notre Dame is counted).
UGA took the No. 1 spot overall given the rich recruiting talent in the state of Georgia and the minimal competition for in-state prospects. Additionally, UGA has state-of-the-art facilities and a noticeable pipeline from college to the pros.
LSU landed at No. 5, and for similar reasons to UGA. LSU regularly produces NFL talent and has little competition for Louisiana prospects. The university also has a passionate fan base and superb facilities, which makes it all the more attractive to prospective recruits.
Right behind LSU at No. 6 is Alabama. The Crimson Tide would presumably rank first in terms of college tradition, but must compete with other programs for its in-state talent.
Florida took the No. 7 spot. Like Alabama, the Gators must compete with the likes of Florida State and Miami, among a host of other statewide schools, for their recruits. However, Florida boasts a well-known brand and can recruit is one of the most loaded prospect bases in all the country.
Auburn came in at No. 11. Like the other SEC schools included in these rankings, Auburn is a national brand. The university also a seven-figure budget to recruit nationwide, which helps when the Tigers must compete with Alabama for in-state talent. Also notable is that Auburn has made two national championship game appearances, including a title, in the past five years.
Next on the list is Texas A&M at No. 12. Similar to the situation in Florida, Texas A&M must compete with the likes of Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech and a handful of other nearby programs for in-state talent.
Tennessee makes it appearance on the list at No. 16. Unlike some of the other states mentioned, Tennessee is not as loaded with in-state talent. However, the Volunteers’ rich tradition looms large when it comes to recruiting, and they also have the fan base, facilities and recruiting budget to lure in blue-chip prospects.
Ole Miss came in at No. 24 on the list. The Rebels have seen an uptick in recruiting since the arrival of Hugh Freeze, although the program has a long ways to go to secure commitments away from its other top SEC West rivals. Mississippi has a decent talent base, but Ole Miss also has to compete with another SEC program in its own state for those players.
Arkansas rounds out the top 25. The state of Arkansas is not rich with talent, but Arkansas has somewhat of a monopoly on the top prospects there. Arkansas also produces NFL talent, which helps to overshadow its lack of SEC championships. The Razorbacks’ success this past season seemingly has the program going in the right direction, and that has been evident on the recruiting trail.
Mississippi State just missed the top 25 at No. 28, while the other SEC schools checked in at No. 34 (South Carolina), No. 36 (Missouri), No. 54 (Kentucky) and No. 58 (Vanderbilt).
The ESPN recruiting job rankings took into account schools’ geography and recruiting territory, recruiting and football budgets, facilities, NFL alumni and other intangibles such as winning traditions, gameday experiences and academics.