Why is West dominating? Since 2013, Alabama has signed more 5-, 4-stars than entire SEC East ... and trend isn't slowing down in 2017
Since a Tim Tebow-led Florida Gators squad claimed victory in the 2008 SEC Championship Game en route to winning a national championship, the SEC West has rattled off eight consecutive titles.
That run of dominance has been largely the result of success by three programs — Alabama, LSU and Auburn.
The Crimson Tide have won five conference titles in that span (including the past three), while the Tigers have won a pair and LSU claimed victory in 2011.
The elite SEC West programs are clearly in the midst of a golden era on the field, and that success can be attributed to their success off the field.
When it comes to recruiting the nation’s top athletes, the SEC West (particularly Nick Saban and Alabama) is dominating. Since 2011, the Crimson Tide have put together the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class every year, according to 247Sports.
Thanks to those incredible classes, the SEC West has the clear advantage when it comes to bringing in talent from across the country.
Here’s how each division’s recruiting classes have stacked up since the 2013 season (rankings courtesy of 247Sports.com):
2013 Recruiting Class
SEC West: 14 5-stars, 63 4-stars
West teams in Top 10 recruiting: 5 (No. 1 Alabama, No. 6 LSU, No. 8 Ole Miss, No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 10 Auburn)
SEC East: 2 5-stars, 44 4-stars
East teams in Top 10: 1 (No. 3 Florida)
2014 Recruiting Class
SEC West: 14 5-stars, 62 4-stars
West teams in To 10: 4 (No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 LSU, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 6 Auburn)
SEC East: 4 5-stars, 53 4-stars
East teams in Top 10: 3 (No. 7 Tennessee, No. 8 Georgia, No. 9 Florida)
2015 Recruiting Class
SEC West: 12 5-stars, 76 4-stars
West teams in Top 10: 3 (No. 1 Alabama, No. 6 LSU, No. 8 Auburn)
SEC East: 6 5-stars, 44 4-stars
East teams in Top 10: 2 (No. 4 Tennessee, No. 5 Georgia
2016 Recruiting Class
SEC West: 11 5-stars, 69 4-stars
West teams in Top 10: 4 (No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 LSU, No. 5 Ole Miss, No. 9 Auburn
SEC East: 3 5-stars, 40 4-stars
East teams in Top 10: 1 (No. 8 Georgia)
2017 Recruiting Class (through Tuesday)
SEC West: 6 5-stars, 50 4-stars
West teams in Top 10: 4 (No. 1 Alabama, No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 9 Auburn)
SEC East: 2 5-stars, 32 4-stars
East teams in Top 10: 1 (No. 3 Georgia)
Of note, in every single year since 2013, Alabama has had at least as many 5-star recruits as the entire SEC East.
The Crimson Tide landed six 5-star recruits in 2013, five in 2014, six in 2015, three in 2016 and four thus far in the 2017 recruiting class.
For perspective, Alabama’s total of 24 5-star athletes is nearly triple what LSU and Georgia have been able to do in that time period (nine each).
That kind of dominance under Nick Saban has clearly paid off, as the Crimson Tide are the only team to play in all three College Football Playoffs and have a chance to repeat as national champion.
It doesn’t appear that Saban’s success on the recruiting path is slowing down, either.
Nick Saban has commitments from three of the top 9 players in the country. In total, the Tide have four 5-star recruits and 15 4-stars in their 2017 class and there’s still plenty of time before everything is said and done.
The East doesn’t have a commitment from anyone in the top 25 and has just four in the top 50.
If the SEC East can’t land a few more top prospects in the coming weeks, Alabama’s 2017 class will be helping it continue to win SEC championships starting next season.
Flipping the script
So, what will it take for the SEC East to dethrone Saban’s Alabama program?
Well, to answer that question, just look at Florida’s 2006 class, which included 5-star commits like Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin.
That class, signed by coach Urban Meyer and his staff, ranked No. 2 nationally, but was the top class in the SEC.
Tebow and Harvin contributed to the Gators’ 2006 national championship team and starred on the 2008 national title team.
There might not be a direct line from recruiting rankings to AP rankings, but there clearly is a relationship.
Until the SEC East teams begin to bring in more of the nation’s best athletes, the West’s dominance is likely to continue.