ESPN's Luginbill says doing battle with the SEC a way of life for Clemson, FSU

'The king of the hill is the SEC...You have two conferences and 24 teams all battling for the deepest player pool'

Spencer Benton celebrates after Chandler Catanzaro kicks the game winning field goal against LSU

Photo by Mark Crammer

Spencer Benton celebrates after Chandler Catanzaro kicks the game winning field goal against LSU

SEC vs. ACC.

If you live in these parts, it's hard to escape the comparisons, or the competition.

The SEC is college football's undisputed kingpin. The ACC, chiefly because of a shared geographical footprint, strives constantly to keep pace.

Many of the schools in the ACC, which soon will stretch from the Canadian border to the Everglades, have carved out recruiting niches up and down the eastern seaboard.

Clemson and Florida State stand as the exceptions.

The Tigers and Seminoles compete in the ACC, but they operate in an SEC world, with SEC budgets and SEC-like fan bases, clashing on the field as often as scheduling allows and going head-to-head for the some of the best talent in the country, centered in the recruiting-rich Southeast.

At no time is that more obvious than in the home stretch leading up to National Signing Day.

When Clemson introduces its new class of freshmen Wednesday afternoon, at least half of the newcomers will have been won in head-to-head battles with SEC schools. And most of the ones that got away will be headed to the SEC.

During a pre-signing day teleconference on Monday, ESPN director of recruiting Tom Luginbill offered his take on the predominance of the SEC in recruiting. He said Clemson is not alone in competing against the SEC for the nation's best players.

"I think to some degree everybody is," Luginbill said. Nobody likes to hear that, but that’s the reality of the situation. The king of the hill is the SEC. I referenced the region of the country in the South. You have two conferences and 24 teams all battling for the deepest player pool. If you take a look, you take a look at some of the premier players remaining – they’re all at premium positions. They’re at corner, linebacker, defensive line and the offensive line.

"Those positions that aren’t growing on trees, but if you want to win a championship – you better have them."

In striving to place themselves among the best of the best, Luginbill said Clemson and Florida State have brought the fight to the SEC.

"I do think Clemson battles that and I think FSU battles that," Luginbill said. "Miami to some degree battles it. It’s going to continue down that path until somebody knocks them off the mountain.

"It’s perception, perception, perception. In my opinion, it’s the single biggest thing that Texas A&M has going for them – more so than an 11-2 season and a Heisman Trophy. Right now their affiliation with the SEC is playing bigger than anything else."

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Comments » 3

TUN writes:

Even if we don't land any of these top recruits we are aiming for, we already have an outstanding group of student athletes coming in for the 2013 season. This is a really good looking group of players. Dabo and company have done a fantastic job of bringing to our great university some of the very best players in the country and these young men will keep our winning tradition alive.

lhaselden writes:

You have two conferences and 24 teams all battling for the deepest player pool...... or 28 teams? or did he cut out BC, Mizzou, Syracuse and Pitt?

KIMOSAMI (Inactive) writes:

The SEC has the best the, and have for the last few years. But everything, including athletic conferences, run in cycles.

It wasn't too very long ago that South Carolina was a just about everybody. Vandy was to everybody. Mississippi State is known for being the second most irritating team to watch, because of the dumb cowbells(second only to Tennessee and the incessant Rocky Top). And the Bulldogs could barely eek out a victory in the spring game. Even Bama had a bad patch a few years, for a few years, ago. Auburn...same thing. Tennessee is what South Carolina used to be. And with one more torn ACL, Carolina will be what South Carolina used to be....God forbid.

Crow now, because it is inevitable that things will change. Sooner or later. But they will change.

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