When it comes to recruiting, Georgia is the recruiting epicenter of the SEC.

Buoyed by having the SEC Championship game in Atlanta every year since 1994 and a large group of conference alumnus in the state, Georgia has been the hot spot for the SEC when it comes to grabbing top high school football prospects.

Georgia borders four SEC states — Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, which house six programs. With Kentucky and Mississippi in close range at least 10 SEC programs are expected to get significant portions of their recruiting classes in Georgia annually.

But how dominant has the SEC been in Georgia?


Over the past five years, the top player in the state has gone to an SEC program.

  • 2016 DT Derrick Brown (Auburn)
  • 2015 DT Trent Thompson (Georgia)
  • 2014 DE Lorenzo Carter (Georgia) — Clemson QB Deshaun Watson was the No. 4-rated player in the state.
  • 2013 DL Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss)
  • 2012 LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (Georgia)

Over the past five years, more than 66 percent of the top 50 prospects in the state have gone to SEC program. In 2013 alone, nine of the top 10 Georgia prospects signed with SEC programs. In 2012, 16 of the top 20 recruits picked the SEC, including 11 of the top 12.

So who’s winning the race in the state of Georgia?

Georgia Bulldogs

To no one’s surprise, Georgia cleans up with the home-field advantage with 74 percent of its recruits over the past five years coming from the home state. Unfortunately it seems like more time is focused on Georgia’s home state misses like Watson, Nkemdiche and Raekwon McMillan and others, but the fact is the Bulldogs hit far more than they miss in Georgia.

Auburn Tigers

The Tigers tend to lean on Georgia a little more than their state rivals because there still aren’t enough top-level prospects in Alabama to fill classes at both schools. Auburn has signed 41 prospects from Georgia in the past five years and it’s been elite prospects like Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams, Nick Ruffin and most recently Brown.

South Carolina Gamecocks

Right behind Auburn, South Carolina has signed 40 prospects from Georgia in the past five years, including running back Mike Davis and linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams. Former coach Steve Spurrier loved to taunt the Georgia Bulldogs, but he loved recruiting the state of Georgia, even in his days at Duke and Florida. Six players from the Peach State signed with the Gamecocks two weeks ago and expect Will Muschamp to be aggressive on the recruiting trail in Georgia in the future.

Tennessee Volunteers

Some of the best players during Tennessee’s strongest run of football in the past 30 years came from Georgia. Over the past five years, the Volunteers have signed 28 players from the state, including running back Alvin Kamara, who started his career at Alabama and quarterback Josh Dobbs. Like Auburn and South Carolina, there usually isn’t enough SEC-quality talent in Tennessee to fill a recruiting class. The Vols are particularly strong in North Georgia but recruit well across the state.

Ole Miss Rebels

The 2013 signing of Nkemdiche put Ole Miss on the map nationally as a team to be respected on the recruiting trail. But the Rebels had success with other prospects in the state like cornerback Kendarius Webster. The Rebels haven’t signed big numbers out of Georgia, but the ones they do sign are quality players.

Alabama Crimson Tide

In recent years Alabama has benefitted from more depth in-state and shifted its recruiting interests west to Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Still, there’s no denying Alabama’s footprint in the south and with Georgia prospects like running back Kenyan Drake and linebacker Adonis Thomas.

However, the SEC doesn’t get every talented player from Georgia. Here are some of the outsiders to keep an eye on:

Clemson Tigers

The Tigers are enjoying a nice run as one of the America’s “hot” teams and they can credit a lot of that success to their strong recruiting in Georgia and Florida. Everyone wanted Watson in 2014, but Clemson snatched up the Gainesville, Ga., prospect and almost won a national title in 2015.

Florida State Seminoles

Given the Seminoles’ location — just 30 minutes south of Thomasville, Ga., — the southern part of the Peach State is a spot that Jimbo Fisher and his staff focus on regularly. From landing defensive back Greg Reid in 2009 and linebacker Terrance Smith in 2011, Fisher focused on Georgia early in his coaching tenure at FSU and has refocused on the state in the past two years.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Vonn Bell and McMillan were some of the early recruiting coups for Urban Meyer’s staff. The Buckeyes won’t get a ton from Georgia — they signed just one prospect in the past two classes — but they will be in the mix for top recruit out of the state annually.

USC Trojans

In 2016, the Trojans signed two Top 20 players from Georgia — offensive lineman E.J. Price and wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe. Keep an eye on the Trojans as recruiting ace Tee Martin, a former Tennessee quarterback, is always lurking around the southeast.