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May 31, 2011

Conference rankings: SEC tops for new talent

MORE: Team recruiting rankings | 2011 Rivals150

The SEC was the recruiting winner of the conferences in 2011. Seven teams from the conference rank among the nation's top 30 recruiting classes. Nine five-star prospects and 26 players ranked in the Rivals150 signed with a school from the SEC.

Rivals.com recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Eric Bossi break down and rank the recruiting efforts of each conference for the early signing period.

Conference Rankings
1. SEC | 2. Big East | 3. ACC | 4. Big 12 | 5. Pac-12 | 6. Big Ten

1. SEC
The SEC is the top 2011 recruiting conference with seven teams in the top 30. Kentucky once again has the top recruiting class in the country with four five-star prospects: Marquis Teague, Mike Gilchrist, Anthony Davis and Kyle Wiltjer. The top prospect coming into the conference and not going to Kentucky is shooting guard Brad Beal, who is headed to Florida.

Alabama and Arkansas have impressive classes, which rank No. 5 and No. 7 nationally. Trevor Lacey, a five-star prospect, leads a trio of top 50 prospects from Alabama that headline the Tide's class. B.J. Young and Ky Madden headline the Razorbacks' class.

Five-star prospect Rodney Hood is the jewel of Mississippi State's nationally ranked class, while elite shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is responsible for Georgia's No. 25 ranking.

Florida and Vanderbilt are the other two SEC teams who are nationally ranked.

Ranking the classes (national rank)
1. Kentucky (1)
2. Alabama (5)
3. Arkansas (7)
4. Mississippi State (12)
5. Florida (25)
6. Georgia (26)
7. Vanderbilt (30)
8. Tennessee
9. LSU
10. South Carolina
11. Auburn
12. Ole Miss

Top signees at each position
PG Marquis Teague, Kentucky
SG Bradley Beal, Florida
SF Mike Gilchrist, Kentucky
PF Anthony Davis, Kentucky
C Kyle Wiltjer, Kentucky
The 2011 recruiting story in the Big East, as well as nationally, is the powerful nine-man class reeled into St. John's by Steve Lavin. California center Norvel Pelle is the highest ranked of the bunch. Shooting guard Nurideen Lindsey is arguably the top junior college prospect in the country. And D'Angelo Harrison, Jakarr Sampson, Maurice Harkless, Amir Garrett and Dominique Pointer are all four-star prospects.

Also in the top 10, Louisville has a five-star in Chane Behanan and three four-star prospects in its five-man class.

Syracuse has a couple four-stars - Rakeem Christmas and Michael Carter-Williams - as does Georgetown with forwards Otto Porter and Tyler Adams. Connecticut and Pittsburgh, who joins Syracuse and Georgetown in the top 20, have an elite prospect each. Pittsburgh's Khem Birch is a top shelf defender and rebounder. Connecticut's DeAndre Daniels is a sharp shooting wing with length and a versatile skill set.

Despite being overshadowed by St. John's, Rutgers has a nationally ranked class with four ranked prospects out of its six-man haul. West Virginia has the final nationally ranked class out of the Big East.

Villanova, Cincinnati, DePaul and Marquette landed outside the national top 30, but each will bring four-star prospects into the conference.

Ranking the classes (national rank)
1. St. John's (3)
2. Louisville (9)
3. Syracuse (16)
4. Connecticut (17)
5. Georgetown (18)
6. Pitt (20)
7. Rutgers (24)
8. West Virginia (28)
9. Villanova
10. Cincinnati
11. DePaul
12. Seton Hall
13. Marquette
14. Notre Dame
15. Providence
16. USF

Top signees at each position
PG Nurideen Lindsey, St. John's
SG Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
SF Wayne Blackshear, Louisville
PF Khem Birch, Pittsburgh
C Norvel Pelle, St. John's
3. ACC
As is typically the case, Duke and North Carolina stand above the rest of the ACC on the 2011 recruiting front. Ranked No. 2 nationally, Duke landed the No. 1 prospect in the country, Austin Rivers, to go with four-star prospects Quinn Cook, Michael Gbinije, Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee.

Right behind Duke at No. 4 is North Carolina with the five-star inside/outside tandem of James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston. Versatile forward Dorian Finney-Smith is the top prospect in Virginia Tech's nationally ranked class. Florida State also made the national rankings with a four-man class that includes three four-stars.

Four-star prospects Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia), Nick Faust (Maryland) and Bernard Sullivan (Clemson) enter the conference next year as well.

Ranking the classes (national rank)
1. Duke (2)
2. North Carolina (6)
3. Virginia Tech (13)
4. Florida State (23)
5. Clemson
6. Maryland
7. Virginia
8. Georgia Tech
9. Boston College
10. N.C. State
11. Wake Forest
12. Miami

Top signees at each position
PG Quinn Cook, Duke
SG Austin Rivers, Duke
SF P.J. Hairston, North Carolina
PF Dorian Finney-Smith, Virginia Tech
C James McAdoo, North Carolina
4. BIG 12
Give Rick Barnes and his staff at Texas a lot of credit. Having suffered through the recruiting saga of five-star DeAndre Daniels, the Longhorns rallied to lock up five-star point guard Myck Kabongo when he wavered. Kabongo teams with three four-star prospects from within the Lone Star State to give Texas the top class in the conference and one that ranks 8th nationally.

For No. 14-ranked Baylor, Quincy Miller is an top 10 prospect and four-star Deuce Bello is one of the most athletic prospects in the country. Oklahoma State lands right behind Baylor at No. 15 with elite five-star prospect LeBryan Nash and four-star scoring guard Cezar Guerrero.

On the strength of several spring signings, Kansas is the final nationally ranked team from the Big 12.

Outside of the nationally ranked classes, Texas A&M is the only Big 12 team with a four-star prospect in its class.

Ranking the classes (national rank)
1. Texas (8)
2. Baylor (14)
3. Oklahoma State (15)
4. Kansas (29)
5. Texas A&M
6. Texas Tech
7. Kansas State
8. Iowa State
9. Oklahoma
10. Missouri

Top signees at each position
PG Myck Kabongo, Texas
SG Ben McLemore, Kansas
SF LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State
PF Quincy Miller, Baylor
C Jonathan Holmes, Texas
5. Pac-12
Leading the way for the Pac-12 is Arizona, which landed an impressive four-man class that is ranked No. 4 nationally. Five-star prospects Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson are the top point guard and shooting guard entering the Pac-12. A couple four-star interior prospects round out the class.

Outside of Arizona, the Pac-12 experienced limited recruiting success in 2011. Washington (No. 20) and Oregon (No. 21) are the only other nationally ranked teams from the Pac-12. Both have dynamic five-star prospects in their classes with Washington landing power point guard Tony Wroten and Oregon landing sharp shooter Jabari Brown.

Arizona State, UCLA and Stanford were each able to land a four-star prospect, while conference newcomer Colorado registers in the top half of the conference rankings with two ranked prospects in its four-man class

Ranking the classes (national rank)
1. Arizona (4)
2. Washington (19)
3. Oregon (22)
4. Arizona State
5. Colorado
7. Stanford
8. USC
9. Utah
10. Washington State
11. Oregon State
12. California

Top signees at each position
PG Josiah Turner, Arizona
SG Nick Johnson, Arizona
SF Jabari Brown, Oregon
PF Sidiki Johnson, Arizona
C Angelo Chol, Arizona
At No. 10 nationally, Ohio State leads the way for the Big Ten's four nationally ranked recruiting classes. The Buckeyes feature four four-star prospects, including LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson, Shannon Scott and Amir Williams.

Bruce Weber and his staff at Illinois continue to do a fine job of protecting the home turf by landing a class in which four players - Tracy Abrams, Mycheal Henry, Mike Shaw and Nnanna Egwu - are from the state and ranked as four-star prospects.

In East Lansing, Tom Izzo has landed a five-star prospect in Branden Dawson and has his team in the national rankings. Indiana is the other nationally ranked team from the Big Ten and has the highest ranked prospect entering the conference with in-state star Cody Zeller.

Michigan landed a four-star prospect, and Minnesota signed two ranked three-star prospects.

Ranking the classes (national rank)
1. Ohio State (10)
2. Illinois (11)
3. Michigan State (21)
4. Indiana (27)
5. Michigan
6. Minnesota
7. Wisconsin
8. Nebraska
9. Iowa
10. Purdue
11. Penn State
12. Northwestern

Top signees at each position
PG Shannon Scott, Ohio State
SG Dwaun Anderson, Michigan State
SF Branden Dawson, Michigan State
PF Cody Zeller, Indiana
C Amir Williams, Ohio State

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