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May 23, 2014

SEC leading the way in team rankings

MORE: Rivals100 | Rivals250 | RCS Headquarters

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.

THREE FACTORS

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 UCLA 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.

[ PHOTO GALLERY: Top 10 Recruiting Classes ]

MORE FROM THE RANKINGS

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 thus far.

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.

[ THE LIST: Class of 2015 Team Recruiting Rankings ]

POINTS PER COMMITMENT RANKING
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.
PPC RANK TEAM ACTUAL RANK POINT PER COMMIT
1 Alabama 1 156.1
2 USC 9 136.75
3 UCLA 23 130.7
4 Georgia 12 125.5
5 Notre Dame 15 116.6
6 Texas A&M 7 113.3
t7 South Carolina 5 111.9
t7 Michigan 24 111.9
9 Penn State 2 111.4
10 Florida State 8 110.3
11 LSU 6 110.1
12 Auburn 4 109.6
13 Clemson 3 107.6
14 Nebraska 10 98.8
t15 Tennessee 11 98.1
t15 Arkansas 22 98.1
17 North Carolina 18 91.6
18 Baylor 20 89.9
19 Kentucky 21 89.8
20 Miami (FL) 13 88.8
21 Texas 17 82.5
22 West Virginia 19 81.7
23 TCU 16 80.5
24 Northwestern 25 78.0
25 Mississippi St. 14 75.0



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