No conference signed more elite prospects than the SEC. Only three of the top nine players in this year’s class, according to ESPN’s rankings, have not agreed to go to an SEC school.
While Alabama just won its third national championship, and teams like Georgia and Florida finished the 2012 season with two losses apiece, it might be Ole Miss that has been the biggest winners of the day.
The Rebels landed some of the best recruits available, including the top defensive end, offensive tackle and wide receiver, according to ESPN. The nation’s No.1 overall recruit, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, picked Ole Miss over rival schools LSU and Florida.
"I feel like it's the right place for me," said Nkemdiche, who will play with his brother Denzel. "I feel like they can do special things, and they're on the rise.”
Ole Miss also signed top offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. He chose the Rebels over Alabama and Georgia, which were the two best teams in the SEC this past year. Tunsil is part of a class that will look to turn around a team that went 3-5 in the conference in 2012.
Despite losing some players to Mississippi, the national champs still had as good of a day as any team. According to rivals.com, Alabama has the No.1 recruiting class of 2013. They join Notre Dame, Ole Miss, and USC as the only teams to have at least five three-star commits.
Florida came close to making the national championship game in 2012, losing just one game in SEC play. Now, they’ve added the best cornerback available. Vernon Hargreaves III committed to playing for the Gators. Top running back recruit Kelvin Taylor will also play for Florida in 2013.
LSU and Georgia also have top classes, ranked fifth and 11th, respectively, by rivals.com.
The Tigers signed a number of defensive standouts for 2013, including Kendell Beckwith and Tre’Davious White. LSU went 10-3 this past season, finishing 14th in the final AP ranking.
The Bulldogs didn’t land any five-star recruits, but improved their team by landing potential stars like defensive backs Tray Matthews and Shaq Wiggins, as well as Tramel Terry, who can play both offense and defense.
Auburn gives the SEC its sixth team in the top 12 recruiting classes. Nkemdiche may be the top recruit on the defensive line, but Carl Lawson isn’t far behind him.
Along with Montravius Adams, the new class will look to improve an Auburn team that had a disastrous 2012 season. The Tigers didn’t win one SEC contest, just two years after they beat Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game.