Every top state school wants to keep its talent home. Nothing burns up a coaching staff–and the program’s fans–more than a top in-state product leaving home to go play for a rival. Here’s a look at the SEC’s 11 home states (Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee of course have 2 SEC schools a piece) and the top class of 2016 prospect in each state. We’ll break down how they’re ranked nationally and whether they’ll stay home or not.
- TOP PLAYER: Lyndell Wilson, LB, Montgomery
- NAT. RANK: No. 22 overall
- TOP SCHOOLS: Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee.
- STAYS IN STATE?: Yeah, a near lock.
- THE SKINNY:: Auburn seems like the early leader for this talented outside linebacker, but Alabama hasn’t offered yet and it’s very early in the recruiting game for this sophomore.
- TOP PLAYER: Austin Capps, DT, Star City
- NAT. RANK:: No. 31 overall
- TOP SCHOOLS:: Arkansas, LSU.
- STAYS IN STATE?:: Looks pretty good so far.
- THE SKINNY:: These are the kinds of kids Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema wants–and needs–to keep away from the other SEC West powers, like LSU for instance.
- TOP PLAYER:: Shavar Manuel, DE, Blake
- NAT. RANK:: No. 2 overall
- TOP SCHOOLS:: Alabama, Florida State, Miami.
- STAYS IN STATE?:: Very likely, but possibly FSU and not the Gators.
- THE SKINNY:: He’s the top-rated defensive end in the nation and Alabama and the national champion Seminoles love the kid. He attended junior day at Alabama, so that’s an indicator that the ‘Tide are at least in the mix, of course.
- TOP PLAYER:: Julian Rochester, DT, Powder Springs
- NAT. RANK:: No. 3 overall
- TOP SCHOOLS:: Auburn and Georgia.
- STAYS IN STATE?:: Maybe, but could leave.
- THE SKINNY:: This could turn out to be a true Auburn/Georgia battle and .
- TOP PLAYER:: Drake Jackson, OL, Versailles
- NAT. RANK:: No. 50 overall
- TOP SCHOOLS:: Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Purdue.
- STAYS IN STATE?:: Good chance for Wildcats.
- THE SKINNY:: Jackson was offered by Kentucky in November, the coaches came by to see him in December, he attended Kentucky’s junior day this spring and took another trip a few weeks ago. Its safe to say Mark Stoops’ staff has made an impression. He does have family connections to Purdue, so keep an eye on that.
- TOP PLAYER: Edwin Alexander, DT, Hammond
- NAT. RANK: No. 8 overall
- TOP SCHOOLS:: Committed to LSU.
- STAYS IN STATE?:: Yep.
- THE SKINNY:: These are the kinds of kids LSU needs to keep home and the Tigers did just that. The Tigers are already out to a good start with this class, nabbing Alexander, No. 5 prospect Stephen Sullivan and they also have inroads with No. 2 Willie Allen and No. 3 Kristian Fulton.
- TOP PLAYER:: Skylar Thompson, QB, Independence
- NAT. RANK:: n/a
- TOP SCHOOLS:: Mizzou, Kansas, Nebraska.
- STAYS IN STATE?:: Not sure yet.
- THE SKINNY:: Quarterback recruiting is a tricky deal, and Thompson is very early in the process. He is drawing early interest, that much is for certain, and as evaluations and rating shore up, we’ll have a better picture.
- TOP PLAYER:: DeKaylin Metcalf, WR, Oxford
- NAT. RANK:: No. 25 overall
- TOP SCHOOLS:: Committed to Ole Miss.
- STAYS IN STATE?:: Absolute lock.
- THE SKINNY:: Metcalf is an Ole Miss legacy, so there was little doubt he’d end up with the Rebels. He committed to the program nearly a year ago when he was just coming out of his freshman year. He’s a stud, and a nice kid too.
- TOP PLAYER:: Tavien Feaster, RB, Spartanburg
- NAT. RANK:: No. 14 overall
- TOP SCHOOLS:: Clemson, South Carolina, Florida State, North Carolina.
- STAYS IN STATE?:: Probably, but maybe not with the Gamecocks.
- THE SKINNY:: Feaster hails from the same area of South Carolina that Marcus Lattimore came from, and just like Marcus, he can catch the ball coming out of the backfield. He accounted for 2,318 all-purpose yards last year–734 coming from 48 receptions. He seems to be a Clemson lead so far.
- TOP PLAYER: Emmit Gooden, DE, Brownsville
- NAT. RANK: No. 100 overall
- TOP SCHOOLS: Committed to Tennessee.
- STAYS IN STATE?: Yep.
- THE SKINNY: Gooden’s been on board with the Volunteers for about two months and he’s a huge part of Tennessee’s class of three that’s already assembled. He, four-star TE Darel Middleton and ATH Dorian Banks give the Vols three in-state commitments already.
- TOP PLAYER: Greg Little, OL, Allen
- NAT. RANK: No. 1 overall
- TOP SCHOOLS: Texas A&M, LSU, Oklahoma.
- STAYS IN STATE?: Oh yeah, and Texas A&M looks like a true possibility.
- THE SKINNY: The nation’s No. 1 overall prospect in 2016 would be a monster pickup for the Aggies, and that’s exactly what Kevin Sumlin and his staff intend to do. He’s big, he’s quick, he’s physical … and he’ll make a great SEC offensive tackle.
Editor’s note: Saturday Down South’s references to ratings follow the 247Sports.com composite rankings.