The SEC’s stronghold on college football was broken this past season, when Florida State rose up to the challenge and snapped the league’s remarkable streak of seven straight BCS champions. The sport’s premier conference may have temporarily been knocked off the top of the mythical mountain. Still, it appears that the league is set to quickly bounce back and remain a dominant force for the foreseeable future, especially when you consider the amount of elite young talent that will soon be joining the fold.
The conference is already revered as a recruiting juggernaut, and that reputation is likely only going to continue to grow in the coming years.
Although 2015 recruiting classes won’t become officially solidified until next February, the SEC is already well on its way to flexing its muscles and asserting its top-dog recruiting status yet again. The league currently has a whopping nine schools ranked in 247Sports’ Top 25 class rankings, including six schools—Alabama (1), Texas A&M (2), South Carolina (5), Tennessee (6), Auburn (7) and Mississippi State (10)—that are ranked in the top 10.
As if that wasn’t enough, the SEC has already come bursting out of the gates and built up a huge early lead in the race to land top prospects from the 2016 class.
16 players in 247Sports’ Top 100 composite prospect rankings for 2016 have already announced their commitments thus far. Of those 16 players, 10 have pledged their services to SEC schools, including the No. 1 overall prospect: OT Gregory Little, who committed to Texas A&M in June.
Little, who was dubbed “the complete package” by his high school offensive coordinator Jeff Fleener, is obviously the most high-profile commitment. But he isn’t the only 5-star prospect from the 2016 class who wants to compete in the SEC.
Jacob Eason, a 5-star QB from Lake Stevens, Washington, and Ben Cleveland, a 5-star OT from Toccoa, Georgia, both recently announced their commitments to Georgia following the team’s “Dawg Night” event.
— J_Eason10 (@skinnyqb10) July 19, 2014
Feels great to officially be a Georgia bulldog! #CommittedTotheG
— Big Country (@BenCleveland74) July 19, 2014
The Bulldogs aren’t the only SEC team that has reeled in multiple commitments from high-profile prospects in the 2016 class.
Besides building a potential top-10 class for 2015, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has also been hard at work assembling his 2016 class. The Volunteers have already picked up four commitments for 2016, including pledges from two 4-star prospects: OT Ryan Johnson (Brentwood Academy, Tennessee) and TE Darel Middleton (Powell HS, Tennessee).
Alabama already has commitments from an impressive trio of highly touted 4-star prospects: ATH Demetris Robertson (Savannah Country Day School, Georgia), CB Shyheim Carter (Kentwood HS, Louisiana) and DT Benito Jones (Wayne County HS , Mississippi). Robertson (39), Carter (44) and Jones (97) are all ranked in 247Sports’ composite Top 100.
Craig brings Auburn’s total number of commitments for the 2016 class up to three, which matches the totals of both Florida and Ole Miss.
The Rebels also can boast a commitment from an elite WR recruit. Hometown star DeKaylin Metcalf (Oxford HS, Mississippi) has been committed to the program since last June.
LSU, Kentucky and Mississippi State have also each picked up multiple commitments from the 2016 class as well. The Tigers’ duo is the most impressive, as it’s comprised of 4-star QB Feleipe Franks (Wakulla HS, Florida) and 4-star WR Stephen Sullivan (Donaldsonville HS, Louisiana), who are both ranked in the top 50 of 247Sports’ composite rankings.
It likely won’t be long before more highly-ranked prospects from the 2016 class announce their intentions to join the SEC as well.
5-star LB Keion Joyner (Havelock HS, North Carolina), 5-Star DT Rashan Gary (Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS, New Jersey), 5-Star RB Tavien Feaster (Spartanburg HS, South Carolina), 5-star LB Lyndell Wilson (Carver HS, Alabama) and 5-Star DT Edwin Alexander (St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Louisiana) are just a few of the heralded prospects who have expressed serious interest in SEC schools.
With so much top-notch talent stockpiled in the league already, and with so many blue-chip prospects waiting in the wings in both the 2015 and 2016 recruiting classes, it looks like the SEC is going to hold onto the title of “most loaded conference in college football” for years to come.