Who is Really Winning the SEC Recruiting Battle?

By Dan Irwin
Gene Chizik
John Reed – US Presswire

It’s easy to look at the lists and assume that the recruiting prognosticators have their art down to a science.  After all, following high school kids’ careers is more than a full-time job.

But there’s some major disparity between the lists on ESPN and Rivals.com.  Both have a different top team as far as the 2013 class goes.  Then on down the line there just isn’t much that’s consistent.  Rivals currently has the Alabama Crimson Tide as the top dog, while ESPN is siding with the Florida Gators.  But is it either of them?

Alabama’s class technically sits around their lone five-star recruit in tight end O.J. Howard, but the real gem of their class is quarterback Cooper Bateman.  In the video shown here, Bateman displays incredible foot speed and mobility as well as quite an arm.

Quality stuff.  Aside from Howard, Alabama currently enjoys the commitments of 12 four-star recruits, including Bateman.  Most of the key commits are on the offensive side of the ball.

As far as Florida goes, their five-star man is cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.  Hargreaves is currently ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect in the nation, No. 2 among defensive backs.  But the weapon of the Florida class is running back Kelvin Taylor.  Seen here in our next video, Taylor almost has LaDainian Tomlinson-like shiftiness, as well as being a complete north-south runner when a small lane presents itself.

Amazing is the first word that comes to mind.  But with that filed away and in your mind, think about this for a moment.  Alabama and Florida have two of the five overall five-star commits to the SEC so far.  Where are the other three?  All of them are with the Auburn Tigers.

Auburn’s class is not getting the pub that other top teams are, but their level of talent is staggering.  With three five-star recruits to help entice others to jump on board, Auburn’s February might ease all the pain of their lack-luster 2012 season.

You want defense?  Auburn’s 2013 class will have it.  Say hello to defensive ends Carl Lawson and Dee Liner, the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked defensive end prospects nationally.  Throw in the nation’s No. 1 ranked linebacker in Reuben Foster, and you’ve got a recipe for destruction my friend.

And for the nay-sayers who might point out that it’s not all about the defensive side of the ball, Auburn is about to say goodbye to their quarterback issues with 6’6″ Jeremy Johnson.  In our final clip, Johnson makes playing quarterback look like something he’s done since he was in the womb.  His calm and collected approach makes him a natural leader.  In the first highlight of the clip Johsnson throws on the run, the other direction to the middle of the field.  Take a look.

A tough, physical player, Johnson will bring true dual-threat capability to the Auburn offense.  Without question he’ll elevate the quarterback situation.  Mix this in with the stout defense the Tigers will be sporting, and they’ll be in line to win championships.  As the commits begin to pile in, look for Auburn’s class to finish ranked No. 1 in the SEC, and likely No. 2 in the nation to the USC Trojans.

Dan Irwin is an SEC football writer for Rant Sports.  Follow him on Twitter @ “danirwin_rant” or on his Facebook page at “facebook.com/danirwin.sports“.

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