USA TODAY Sports
The conference's competitive advantage will remain strong with the recruiting class of 2013.
The conference wars have largely died down in recent years as a general consensus about a lot of things emerged. One of them is that the SEC is indeed strong thanks in large part to its uniquely good defensive lines. Individual schools here and there outside the league put together defensive fronts that can match up, but top to bottom, no conference has better defensive line play than the SEC does.
With this year's recruiting classes, that advantage for the SEC is likely to continue. Rivals.com included 136 defensive line prospects in its DT, weakside DE, and strongside DE rankings. Here is where those players stand as of today with their commitments:
Sure, players can always have signing day flips, but enough of the uncommitted are considering SEC schools that the league is unlikely to lose its lead here. On a per-school basis, the SEC still leads here too with 2.57 top DL recruits per team. That figure is well ahead of the 1.91 per school of the second place Big Ten.
Let's focus now on the top ten players in each of the three position groups. Where are they set to sign?
When it comes to the cream of the crop, the SEC comes out even stronger. I ditched the Pac-12 label, because only USC has any commitments from this group. A similar situation exists in the Big Ten, where Michigan and Ohio State have four of the conference's five top DL commits. Meanwhile, eight SEC institutions have committed players among these top defensive line prospects. This is not a situation where two or three schools are cleaning up and raising the count for everyone.
Keep in mind that plenty of the uncommitted players are likely to sign with SEC schools, headlined by No. 1 overall and likely Ole Miss signee recruit Robert Nkemdiche. The story of National Signing Day is often about the rich getting richer, and that will be the case with the SEC and defensive linemen.