The southeast produces a ton of high school football talent. Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and now Tennessee have emerged as recruiting hotbeds to go along with Georgia, Florida and Texas.
And while all that talent has helped boost where some SEC teams rank in the national recruiting picture—10 teams are currently in the top 25 of 247sports composite ranking—some of that talent can now be poached away by other schools.
This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, as a number of stars who grew up in the SEC geographical footprint went else to play their college football. Deshaun Watson grew up 45 minutes from the University of Georgia. Jalen Ramsey played at Tennessee powerhouse Brentwood Academy. Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan left Georgia to go play for the Buckeyes.
And like every year, the 2017 recruiting cycle has its share of players who will be leaving SEC Country to player their college football elsewhere.
5-star WR Tee Higgins, Oak Ridge Tn., Clemson commit
Tennessee has three 5-star recruits in the 2017 recruiting cycle. Higgins is the highest-rated commit of the three but he is the only one leaving the SEC. Higgins committed to Clemson back in July despite living just 30 minutes from Knoxville. With the number of talented wide receivers Clemson has churned out, DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins and future first-round pick Mike Williams, it’s somewhat understandable why the 6-foot-4 Higgins would want to go to Clemson.
5-star QB Davis Mills, Norcross, Ga., Stanford commit
Stanford has shown in the past that it’s willing to go a long way to get its quarterbacks. Andrew Luck played his high school football in Texas, and former starter Kevin Hogan played his high school football in Virginia. The Cardinal went to Georgia this time to get Mills, who happens to be the No. 1 ranked quarterback for the 2017 class. Norcross is about an hour from the University of Georgia, but Bulldogs fans shouldn’t be as worried about missing out on Mills. The Bulldogs have a commitment from the country’s No. 4 quarterback commit in Jake Fromm.
5-star CB Shaun Wade, Jacksonville, Fla., Ohio State commit
While it’s impossible for Florida, or Florida State or Miami for that matter, to lock down Florida, missing out on a 5-star recruit from Jacksonville has to sting for the Gators. Wade committed to Ohio State on the night it won the national championship in 2015. Despite a heavy pursuit from Florida and Alabama, Wade ultimately stayed with the Buckeyes.
4-star S Isaiah Pryor, Bradenton, Fla., Ohio State commit
While Pryor spent his senior season of high school at IMG Academy, he spent his previous seasons playing at Archer High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. Since Urban Meyer took over the Ohio State program, the Buckeyes have been able to come into the state of Georgia and pluck away some of its top players.
4-star DB A.J. Terrell, Atlanta, Ga., Clemson commit
Much like the state of Florida, it’s impossible for Georgia fans to expect to get every commit, especially those in the Atlanta area. Terrell is the state’s No. 6 rated player and he is also one of Clemson’s two defensive back commits from the Atlanta area. The Tigers are also considered the favorites to land safety Xavier McKinney, the state’s No. 8 ranked player who hails from the Atlanta suburb of Roswell.