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Nick Saban likes to tell a story about how when he was an assistant at Ohio State he couldn't buy gas in Michigan or even turn in a receipt from "that state up North" while on the recruiting trail. Pat Gazzola, who owns the legendary Catfish Hole in Fayetteville, Arkansas, is still heart-broken that former five-star receiver Dorial Green-Beckham selected Missouri over Arkansas. And who can ever forget the story about Reuben Foster, who signed with Alabama despite having an Auburn tattoo on his arm.

The rivalry games that dominate this week's schedule are a major part of what makes college football so great. But if you think matchups like the Iron Bowl, the Game, the Civil War and the Egg Bowl are only combated on the field, you're sadly mistaken. The same bitterness and hatred displayed on the field almost always carries over to recruiting when rival schools are fighting over the hearts and minds of 17- and 18-year-old superstars.

"You bet rivalries extend to recruiting," said Matt Dudek, Arizona's director of on-campus recruiting and player personnel. "They definitely do, especially because of your rival's close proximity. You're often recruiting the same high schools as your rival because it's in your backyard. You're often recruiting the same players because in most states there are only so many good players. You don't ever want to lose a recruit to the other school across the state."

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Updated recruiting class rankings

November, 26, 2014
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Success on the recruiting trail has given some programs much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and that includes a few teams whose recent triumphs have led to a rise in the class rankings.

One of those teams is UCLA, which, just prior to beating cross-town rival USC Saturday, were able to score a victory on the recruiting trail as well, landing a key in-state commitment. ESPN 300 DE Keisean Lucier-South became the Bruins?? fifth 300 prospect and first on the defensive side of the ball. A rangy and promising prospect, the top-five defensive end has the ability to give UCLA a defender that can create problems coming off the edge as both a run defender and likely more immediately as a pass-rusher.

Ole Miss also landed a key in-state commit in ESPN 300 OG Javon Patterson, a big and athletic prospect at the position, who combined with 2014 signee Rod Taylor, could allow the Rebels to anchor their O-Line with a formidable pair of guards.

Check out the full rankings here.
In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and count down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Eric Reid, No. 71 in 2010 class

Reid was one of the nations most highly sought safeties in the 2010 class out of Dutchtown High in Geismar, La. While programs such as Stanford and Tennessee extended offers to Reid, he committed to long time favorite LSU early in the process in March of 2009. Reid’s father was a three-time All-America hurdler at LSU, and is a member of the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Reid was a member of LSU’s Top 10 class in 2010 that included Tyrann Mathieu, Ego Ferguson, Tharold Simon, and Brad Wing.

As a freshman in Baton Rouge, Reid appeared in all 13 games, including three starts to end the season. He finished the season with 32 tackles and two interceptions.

Reid followed his impressive debut by starting 13 games as a sophomore earning second-team All-SEC honors after recording 76 tackles and two interceptions. In addition to his solid season on the football field, Reid was also on the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Reid's last season at LSU would prove to be his best. In addition to being voted team captain by his teammates and again being named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Reid was named first-team All-SEC and first-team All-American after a junior season that included 91 tackles and two interceptions.

Reid was selected in the first round, 18th overall, by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2013 NFL draft where he is in his second year as a starter. Reid was selected to the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl as a rookie.

Honorable mention: Dante Fowler Jr, No. 71 in 2012 class. Fowler was a long time Florida State commitment that flipped to Florida on national signing day in 2012 in one of the more talked about and heated Sunshine State recruitment in recent years. Fowler Jr. has garnered All-SEC honors since his arrival in Gainesville, and is projected to be a first-round selection in the 2015 NFL draft, should he forgo his final season of eligibility at Florida as expected. After Fowler Jr. is drafted, he will be the fourth prospect ranked No. 71 to be in the NFL joining Reid, Justin Boren and Ryan Miller. No. 71 in the 2011 class, Wayne Lyons, is also likely to join the group in 2015.
The Oklahoma Sooners must recruit the state of Texas effectively to maximize their ability as a program, and this is especially true in Dallas/Fort Worth and East Texas. On Tuesday night, Bob Stoops and staff scored big at North Mesquite High, picking up a verbal from ESPN Junior 300 offensive tackle Jean Delance.

LSU and Texas A&M have become bigger rivals on the field and in recruiting now that both are in the SEC. Plus, few programs are trending like Ohio State is on the field and on the recruiting trail.


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USC recruiting is in need of a significant shot in the arm after the Trojans’ performance at the Rose Bowl this past weekend. But the good news for USC fans is that the Trojans are in position to do just that, thanks to a handful of significant visitors who will be in town to watch USC host Notre Dame.

This weekend presents a slight departure from USC’s official visit plans for the past few years. In fact, the five official visitors scheduled this weekend appear to be more than USC hosted on in-season official visits during the 2012, 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes combined.


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Whether recruits are attending games this holiday weekend or watching on television, all eyes around the recruiting world will be focused on several rivalry games. From the Iron Bowl to the Egg Bowl there will be recruiting implications throughout the conference this weekend. Here’s a closer look at how these game might affect the top remaining recruits.


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#AskLoogs: Auden Tate's ranking

November, 25, 2014
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.
Auden Tate has been a guy we have gone back and forth on a lot. Wide receivers can often be the most difficult players to slot/rank because there are so many of them. So, in reality, what is the difference between the 59th and 74th or 105th 99th? We write more evaluations on receivers than any other position. With Tate and his measurables, we feel strongly that he could be a candidate to move inside to the slot or grow into an H-back, but top-end speed and explosiveness are a bit of a question when it comes to creating mismatches. Yes, his size makes him a mismatch on jump balls and as a red zone target, but he might not bring the same productivity after the catch in the open field. Keep in mind he will be coming off a knee injury as well.
Michigan and Ohio State have always fought for some of the same recruits. The Wolverines win some and the Buckeyes win some, and those recruiting battles have real implications on the field.

Each team could have used one or two more victories on the recruiting trail, so let’s take a look at a few current players recruited by both teams who could have made an impact for the opposing team in the big game on Saturday, and a few future battles that could impact games in the years to come.


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In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and count down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Chris Whaley, No. 72 in 2009 class

Whaley came out of Madisonville, Texas as a 6-foot-3, 245-pound athlete that had hopes of playing running back and his recruitment followed that path. Whaley picked Texas over Nebraska, Texas A&M, Florida State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State with the Longhorns being the long-time favorite of Whaley, and the Texas staff selling running back only to the 3A star. Whaley was part of a Texas 2009 class that included quarterback Garrett Gilbert, Alex Okafor and NFL draft first-round selection Kenny Vaccaro.

After a redshirt year in 2009, Whaley played in 12 games in 2010, including four at running back.

Whaley made the move to the defensive line following the 2010 season playing in 13 games in 2011 with one start, against Baylor. He totaled five tackles during his developmental season.

Whaley began to realize his potential as a redshirt junior in 2012 playing in 13 games, including nine starts totaling 22 tackles and four tackles for loss.

Whaley was a full-time starter in 2013 as a senior making nine starts before missing the final four games due to injury, but still was named All-Big 12 Honorable mention by the coaches after totaling 25 tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks.

Whaley went undrafted in the 2014 NFL draft, but signed a free-agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys. He is currently on the roster as a reserve/non-football injury.
The defending National Champion Florida State Seminoles will play host to arch rival Florida Gators Saturday with some of 2015 and 2016's top prospects in the Sunshine State and beyond in attendance.

When looking at the Seminoles, and some of the very key battles Florida State beat Florida on in recent years, it's a clear indication of how impactful difference-maker skill players can be, and how much the 2013 4-8 season for the Gators was a crushing blow to the current Florida offense.

Here are five battles that Florida State won, all of whom will be key players Saturday.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

November, 25, 2014
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As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. There was a big commitment, there were key visits and new offers over the weekend. Here's a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

November, 25, 2014
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The weekend that was in the ACC was filled with a number of key official visits, including a trio of ESPN300 prospects. While the news of Josh Sweat's visit to Florida State takes center stage for many, both Wake Forest and Georgia Tech picked up key commitments, as well as a 2016 quarterback giving his verbal to Virginia.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

November, 25, 2014
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Here is a look at all the most important recruiting action from this past weekend within the Big Ten conference.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

November, 25, 2014
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While Oklahoma picked up a junior college commit, Texas had a commit give his fans reassurance. TCU offered one of the fastest risers in recruiting, and Iowa State hosted several athletes, including one juco player who may now have the Cyclones atop his list of schools.

Here’s an in-depth look on Big 12 recruiting and how the weekend fared:


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