Is Alabama en route to its seventh Rivals.com Recruiting Championship in the
last eight years? Very likely.
Does it seem like the SEC is dominating the recruiting landscape? With five of
the top seven teams in the current Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings coming from
the SEC, that is a clear "yes."
However, there is hope for other programs, because certain factors help the SEC
top the rankings at this time of year.
1. Prospects from the West Coast generally don't commit as early as Southeast
prospects. Nine of the 23 five-star prospects are committed. Take out
commit Josh Rosen, a five-star quarterback from the Los Angeles area and six of the
other eight five-star commitments are from the Southeast and none of them are
signal callers. Compare that with another fact: California has 13 prospects in the
Rivals100 -- nine of them are not quarterbacks. Of those nine, only one
is committed. The highest ranked commitments at this time are happening out of
the Southeast, while the West Coast studs are far more likely to wait things
out. This bodes well for USC, which plans to take a full class this year,
and are in play for many of California's top prospects. The Trojans sit currently at
No. 9, and hold the nation's second best points per commitment (let's call it
PPC) number at 136.75. UCLA (130.7) has a gaudy PPC as well but will likely
sign a smaller group in February, hurting its chances at a top five class.
2. The Midwest is down in talent this year. Powerhouse recruiting programs such as
Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame are no strangers to going national in order
to build highly ranked classes. They'll certainly have to do that this year.
Dominating the Midwest recruiting landscape isn't going to result in a top five
class. Michigan will likely sign well below 20, but all three programs will need
their summer camps and official visits in order to bring in elite out-of-region
talent and build their commit lists. It shouldn't be too concerning that Ohio
State has just two commitments, and it also wouldn't be a surprise to see
Urban Meyer make a huge charge up the rankings as National Signing Day approaches.
Notre Dame has just eight commitments, but a very strong PPC number at 116.6 --
fifth among teams in the top 25 of the rankings. Don't rule out the Buckeyes or
the Irish in the race to get into the top five.
3. Fighting Texas Aggies.Texas A&M, which ranks No. 7 in the team rankings,
is faring better than
any other program in the talent-filled Lone Star State, which in turn is helping the SEC
strengthen its influence at the top of the team rankings. Fifteen of the 31
Texas prospects in the Rivals250 are committed and the Aggies have commitments
from five of those, with Baylor being next best with three.
Penn State is one of the stories of the year. Bill O'Brien really did an amazing job
during Penn State's turmoil, but James Franklin is taking it to another level.
The Nittany Lions have the nation's number two class thanks to success in the
Mid-Atlantic area -- a long-standing pipeline and strategy for Penn State
-- as 12 of the program's 15 commits hail from the Maryland/D.C., New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania
regions. Throw in Rivals100 offensive lineman Sterling Jenkins from Pittsburgh and Rivals250
linebacker Josh Barajas from northern Indiana, and you have one of the best classes
Surprise at the top of the SEC East. If you're thinking of
which team has the best class in the SEC East, you would go with Florida or
Georgia, right? Maybe Tennessee building
off last year's top five class? Negative on both! Its
South Carolina. The
Gamecocks have had good success over the years, but it has been quite awhile
since we've seen them ranked this high in the team rankings. They finished
sixth overall in 2007, and also had
a top 10 finish in 2003. But their highest finish since 2007 is No. 12 in 2009.
The Gamecocks have never finished with the best class in the SEC East division.
With varying number of commitments from team to team, a good number to consider is points per commitment (I call it PPC) to determine if your favorite team is on track to finish high in the rankings. Here are the numbers for the teams currently in the top 25 of the Rivals.com recruiting rankings.