It is a fact that because most of the football programs in the Southeastern Conference are located within the borders of top talent-producing states, then it is paramount to recruit your own state at a high level in order to have enough talent to be successful.

With very few outliers (perhaps the Missouri SEC East title-winning teams, which were not built on corralling the Show Me State talent), successful teams in the league recruit their state well, regardless of the number of talented players that come out of it.

It’s no secret, for example, that Vanderbilt had several high-level Tennessee players when James Franklin took the Commodores to three straight bowl games.

But with that being said (and obvious), where are the key spots for SEC programs to hit out-of-state?

ALABAMA — Georgia

The Crimson Tide recruits all over the country, so that’s essentially the key area outside of Alabama, but if you had to pick one state, the eastern neighbor, where Bama battles UGA and others for elite prospects (and now former assistant Kirby Smart), would be the top choice.


Because of proximity and history, the Lone Star State will always be paramount to the Razorbacks from a recruiting standpoint. The Dallas Metroplex, east Texas and greater Houston in particular are key.

AUBURN — Georgia

You could go Florida here, too, as the Tigers have a long history of pulling talent out of the Sunshine State, but because of the proximity of Auburn’s campus to greater Atlanta and the success the Tigers have had there (No. 1 Georgia prospect Derrick Brown in the recently-completed cycle), it’s the Peach State.

FLORIDA — Georgia

The Gators don’t need to go out-of-state but every so often (even though they do), but if there is one state that’s important, it’s the talent-rich Peach State to the north. Getting prospects like Antonneous Clayton out of Georgia this cycle helps, too.

GEORGIA — The Carolinas

You include both Carolinas here for the Bulldogs because A.J. Green and Richard Seymour (South Carolina) are two good examples, along with Todd Gurley (North Carolina). These two states both border Georgia and both are important should the Bulldogs need to venture outside of their own state.

LSU — Texas

Landing top talent out of Texas has been a gradual process for Les Miles and his staff, but it’s starting to become an every-cycle type of deal. The Houston area in particular is very good to the Bayou Bengals.


Mark Stoops and his staff landed 13 prospects out of the Buckeye State this cycle and have landed 40-plus during their tenure in Lexington. Ohio is a top five talent-producing state and Kentucky is the closest SEC school to the state, so it makes perfect sense.


The Bulldogs also do well in Louisiana when going out-of-state, but because Starkville isn’t all that far from the Yellowhammer State and Mississippi State often is more active than most out-of-state programs in Alabama, this makes sense.

MISSOURI — Illinois

The St. Louis suburbs that are located in the state of Illinois are prime recruiting ground for Mizzou. It’s in-state, really. Outside of Greater Chicago, the state is one where the Tigers should do well. You can also throw Texas in here, along with Florida and Georgia, in addition to the Kansas City area in the state of Kansas.

OLE MISS — Texas

This is a new thing and credit Rebels coach Hugh Freeze from looking at student population demographics (there are a bunch of kids from Texas that go to college at Ole Miss) and thus recruiting the state accordingly. The Dallas Metroplex in particular is a key out-of-state area for Ole Miss and has been very good to the Rebels of late.

SOUTH CAROLINA — North Carolina

The Gamecocks were hit-or-miss in Tar Heel State under Steve Spurrier- landing players like Melvin Ingram and Chris Culliver- but never establishing a consistent recruiting presence in the state. Under Will Muschamp, who recruited North Carolina well as the coach at Florida, it will be  a priority- South Carolina will have five coaches working North Carolina moving forward.


The Vols are a national recruiting program, but the Peach State- Atlanta, which is right down I-75 from Knoxville- in particular is paramount. There have been plenty of great players at Georgia to play at Tennessee and re-opening the pipeline has been one of the many great things Butch Jones has done on the recruiting trail since taking over the Vols.

TEXAS A&M — Louisiana

The Aggies don’t have a major need to leave the state of Texas, but when they do, Louisiana makes total sense and has been good to Texas A&M.


The Commodores have to go national for prospects and have done a good job of doing so under Derek Mason, but if there’s one key talent pipeline state-wise, it’s Georgia. Atlanta is four hours from Nashville, so it makes sense.