Kevin C. Cox
The conference's defensive fronts only got better on signing day.
Just before National Signing Day, we took a look at how the SEC had been cleaning up among defensive line recruits. Now that the dust has largely settled, it's time see how things finished in the end.
A quick recap: these counts are from the Rivals.com player rankings for DTs, weakside DEs, and strongside DEs. A few players are still uncommitted, which is not unusual for this time. I don't know the details on all of them, but a few are due to uncertainty about grades. There also is the point that NSD merely begins the signing period, so players have some time still to mull things over, and they don't even need to sign anything other than a financial aid agreement with their eventual schools.
Here is how the distribution went with all of the ranked defensive linemen:
A whopping 31% of the 136 ranked defensive line recruits ended up at SEC schools. That's more than the next two largest leagues, the Big Ten and ACC, combined. The conference may pick up a couple more depending on how things shake out with the remaining uncommitted guys, as most of them are considering SEC schools. The 42 total comes out to an average of three highly rated defensive line prospects per school. The next highest is the Big Ten at 1.92 per school.
And here is how the league did with the top 10 players in each position category:
It's not even fair anymore. The conference's members hauled in over half of these players, landing more than three times the next-highest league. That next-highest league was the Big Ten with five, but as you can see, that's mostly just the top two recruiting schools there cleaning up.
If strong defensive line play is the foundation of the conference's strength, then that strength isn't going to atrophy any time soon.