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Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Top SEC recruiting rivalries

By Derek Tyson

From year-to-year the Southeastern Conference is full of recruiting battles. This year it appears that Alabama and LSU could have some of the best recruiting battles we've seen in a while. Here's a closer look at the five top recruiting rivalries in the SEC.

1. Alabama - LSU
This has become one of the hottest rivalries on the field in the country, and it is quickly becoming the biggest recruiting rivalry in the nation. Over the last few years there have been some epic recruiting battles between the two schools, including those over safety Landon Collins and linebacker Kwon Alexander.

This year is no different. The No. 3-ranked player in the country, OT Cameron Robinson, spurned the home-state Tigers and committed to Alabama. Will others follow suit? The Tigers and Crimson Tide are in a battle for the No. 1-ranked player in the country, Leonard Fournette, and several other prospects, including safety Laurence Jones, defensive back Marlon Humphrey, wide receiver Malachi Dupre and defensive tackle Gerald Willis III.

With so much high school talent residing in Louisiana and Alabama, this rivalry is sure to continue in the future.

2. Florida - Georgia
Much like LSU and Alabama, there have been plenty of recruiting battles between these two schools.  There is plenty of talent in Florida and Georgia, and both teams travel, with regularity, into enemy territory to recruit some of the top prospects in the country.

Over the last few years there have been strong battles for players like defensive end Jordan Jenkins, running back Keith Marshall and outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons -- all three of whom signed with Georgia. There's no question the Bulldogs have gotten the better of the Gators with regards to the top recruits in Georgia, but the Gators have won their fair share of battles too. Florida signed top Georgia prospects such as Demarcus Robinson and Trenton Brown last year.

There are also top targets both schools are after this year. Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter, linebacker Raekwon McMillan and offensive tackle David Sharpe, all top-15 players in the country, are strongly considering both schools.

3. Auburn - Alabama
One of the most fascinating rivalries on the field also has been a great rivalry in recruiting. Over the last five years, Alabama has dominated college football recruiting. Auburn hasn't done as well in that time period but did finish with the Nos. 4 and 3-ranked classes in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

The Tigers went head-to-head with the Crimson Tide for defensive end Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams and won out in spite of a coaching change. Alabama, on the other hand, beat out Auburn for defensive linemen Dee Liner and linebacker Reuben Foster, who is from Auburn.

It appears new Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has the Tigers headed in the right direction, which should lead to even more great recruiting battles between the two schools.

4. South Carolina - Georgia
This is one of the newer rivalries on the recruiting trail. Both schools have battled for players such as running back Mike Davis, who chose the Gamecocks over the home-state Bulldogs. South Carolina currently has commitments from three prospects from the Peach state, including Bryson Allen-Williams, who also had an offer from Georgia.

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, have commitments from South Carolina native Jacob Park, the No. 6-ranked dual threat quarterback in the country. Georgia also landed Tramel Terry from Goosecreek (S.C.) in its 2013 class.

On the field, the Georgia/South Carolina game has become one of the top games in the SEC East every year, and the recruiting battles are starting to heat up off the field as well.

5. Ole Miss - Mississippi State
Over the years, these two schools have had some great in-state recruiting battles. Though Ole Miss ended up with the No. 5 recruiting class in the country, the two schools had quite the battle over defensive end Chris Jones, who eventually signed with the Bulldogs.

Ole Miss and Mississippi State also fought hard over ESPN 300 defensive back Antonio Conner, and the Rebels eventually won that battle. This year the teams will be fighting over wide receiver Jesse Jackson, who likes both schools.

The state of Mississippi is underrated as far as the amount of talent it produces year in and year out, and these two schools will continue to battle it out for its top recruits. If Mississippi continues to have recruiting classes like last year, however, it will find itself having more recruiting battles with the likes of Alabama and LSU.