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Where The Talent Came From: SEC Signing Day 2014 (Part 2)

where the talent came fromEarlier today we showed you a full breakdown in table form of where each school went to land its talent this year.  Below, we’ll break things down a bit more simply, school by school and state by state.

Let’s start with the states producing the most SEC talent in 2014.  The league added — as of this moment — 344 new athletes.  Sixty-five of those were from outside the SEC footprint.  That means 279 of the league’s 345 newcomers are from the SEC region.  That’s 81.1% of all the new talent entering the conference.  Wonder why the SEC is so strong every year?  Because its 14 schools averaged fewer than five outsiders a piece this season.  Homegrown talent, folks.

So which states in the SEC zone produced the most newcomers?  Here the list…


  SEC State   SEC Newcomers   Thoughts
  Georgia   52   A lack of FBS schools allows SEC rivals to mine the state for talent
  Florida   50   More talent overall, but FSU, Miami, USF, UCF, etc to compete with
  Mississippi   38   Totals boosted by the number of junior colleges in the state
  Texas   36   16 to A&M so other 13 SEC schools just pulled 20 from the state
  Alabama   27   The state’s best are typically gobbled up by Alabama, Auburn
  Louisiana   25   LSU, for the most part, keeps the cream of the crop at home
  Tennessee   17   The state’s numbers have been on the rise as HS football improves
  S. Carolina   13   Clemson grabs a good number of players from this state
  Missouri   11   One would think the St. Louis metro area would produce more talent
  Arkansas   6   Traditionally a talent-poor state
  Kentucky   4   The SEC’s poorest state for talent each year


Alright, so what about the schools?  Where did the programs go to bring in the biggest chunk of their new 2014 talent?  Here’s the answer…


  School   Leading Talent State   % of Total Class   In-State Talent   % of Total Class
  Alabama   AL (7 of 27)   25.9%   7 of 27   25.9%
  Arkansas   AR & FL (5 each of 24)   20.8%   5 of 24   20.8%
  Auburn   GA (10 of 23)   43.4%   7 of 23   30.4%
  Florida   FL (14 of 24)   58.3%   14 of 24   58.3%
  Georgia   GA (11 of 21)   52.3%   11 of 21   52.3%
  Kentucky   OH (11 of 28)   39.2%   4 of 28   14.2%
  LSU   LA (12 of 23)   52.1%   12 of 23   52.1%
  Miss. State   MS (15 of 23)   65.2%   15 of 23   65.2%
  Missouri   MO (8 of 28)   28.5%   8 of 28   28.5%
  Ole Miss   MS (14 of 26)   53.8%   14 of 26   53.8%
  S. Carolina   SC (9 of 21)   42.8%   9 of 21   42.8%
  Tennessee   TN (10 of 32)   31.2%   10 of 32   31.2%
  Texas A&M   TX (16 of 22)   72.7%   16 of 22   72.7%
  Vanderbilt   GA (5 of 22)   22.7%   3 of 22   13.6%


Not a lot of surprises on that there list, huh?  Texas A&M (72.7%), Mississippi State (65.2%), Florida (58.3%), Georgia (52.3%), LSU (52.1%) and Ole Miss (53.8%) all brought in the majority of their new additions from inside their own home states.  Massive advantage if you’ve got it.

Three SEC schools landed most of their talent from a neighboring state.  Auburn grabbed 43.4% of its newcomers from Georgia.  Kentucky went out of the SEC footprint entirely with Ohio producing 39.2% of the Cats’ new talent.  Vanderbilt’s best talent-producing state was Georgia, but that number was rather low (22.7%).

Also, Arkansas got as many players out of Florida (20.8%) as it did its own state.

In terms of worst home-state performance, Vanderbilt takes that prize (just 13.6% from Tennessee).  The Commodores recruit nationally due to their academic requirements, but James Franklin had made progress in the Volunteer State, especially in the mid-state/Nashville area.  Derek Mason will want to rebuild those connections.

Kentucky (14.2%), Arkansas (20.8%) and Alabama (25.9%) also scored poorly (numerically speaking) in terms of in-state recruiting.  Kentucky and Arkansas make the list because they have little home grown talent to chase.  Alabama is on the list because Nick Saban’s so perfected the Tide’s recruiting that he could sign the top players from Utah, the Ukraine or Uranus if he desired.

Winding this exercise down, we believe Georgia will continue to be the go-to state for SEC schools due to the fact that there is so much talent and only so many in-state FBS programs.  If Kentucky clears out and focuses instead on Ohio each year that would be a plus for those other schools that need Georgia prospects to survive.  However, Georgia State in Atlanta is now in the FBS and their admission requirements aren’t as stringent as Georgia’s or Georgia Tech’s.  Laugh if you like, but the Panthers have the making of a USF or UCF and they could start chipping away at the number of athletes leaving the Peach State for the SEC.

Texas’ talent pool remains largely untapped to schools not named Texas A&M or LSU.  No one else in the SEC signed more than two players from the Lone State State.  Keep an eye on this one as the number of Texas signees heading to the SEC should grow over time.

Tennessee was once one of the worst talent-producing states in the SEC, along with Kentucky and Arkansas.  In recent years, however, there’s been an uptick in the amount of high school football players landing D-1 scholarships.  If that trend continues it could help both Tennessee and Vanderbilt build themselves up.

As for Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri, it’s clear that the schools in those states will continue to have to travel to find recruits.  For Kentucky that means Ohio (and we would suggest they push into talent-rich Virginia as well).  For Arkansas, that should mean Texas, but the Hogs have instead hit up Florida hard the last two years.  For Missouri, the Tigers will continue to build inroads into East Division states like Florida, Georgia and even Tennessee.  They might want to try to re-open a couple of their old Texas spigots as well.

One last note — The SEC Network launches in August.  Depending on who carries it and who watches it that channel could have a major impact on SEC recruiting.  We don’t expect to see major dividends next February, but from that point forward… who knows?  Just keep in mind that this was the final class of the pre-SEC Network era.  So we’ll have something new comparisons to make a year from now.


(CORRECTION — All numbers have been updated to reflect one missed player: an Arkansas signee from Louisiana.)

(UPDATE — Ole Miss’ decision to release DJ Law from his LOI is reflected above.  The Rebels have lost one recruit, as has the state of Florida from our tally)



Kansas City, MO produces a higher caliber talent than St. Louis. They have problems keeping them in state.


It's a quibble, but Arkansas' class has 24 members.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator


Thank you.  Good catch.  I had to double-check my spreadsheet three times this morning to find that I'd typed in a 3 rather than a 4 for Arkansas' list.  Had the correct number in our overall Signing Class Rankings, just hit the wrong button in the "Where the Talent Came From" pieces.

Corrected on both now.



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