Ranking top 5 JUCO factories in producing SEC talent
Recruiting at the junior college level has become just as important, if not perhaps more important, than recruiting at the high school level in the modern era of college football.
Junior college prospects, albeit a much more limited population of players than at the high school level of the game, have all competed at a higher level, and have all had time to grow and develop physically while also taking on the challenges of college academics.
Sometimes a JUCO product needed time to get his grades in order; other times he just needed some seasoning before making the leap to major college football.
Whatever the case, certain junior colleges have established a reputation as promising football factories, and you'd better believe these are the first places schools from the power conferences look when seeking new talent to restock their rosters.
With National Signing Day now two weeks behind us, SDS ranks the top JUCO football factories of the last five years as far as producing SEC talent is concerned.
5. Blinn College (Texas): Although it's easy for a small school like Blinn to get lost in the shuffle in an enormous football state like Texas (enormous in both size and magnitude), the little junior college has produced some big time talents, and that trend is only more likely to continue now that the SEC has Texas ties in the form of Texas A&M. The results produced by Blinn products vary, but the school routinely puts out talent that major programs covet. (Noteworthy SEC product: Cam Newton.)
4. Garden City (Kan.) Community College: As a member of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC), one would think a school like Garden City would cater more to Big 12 schools. However, a number of Garden City products have made their way to the SEC in recent years, as one of the most prominent programs in a prominent JUCO league has produced talents too appealing for the SEC to ignore. (Noteworthy SEC product: Nick Marshall.)
3. Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College: Another member of the Kansas league, Hutchinson routinely battles Garden City for the title of top program in the state. Both programs have sustained success on the gridiron, and more importantly from an SEC perspective both programs continue to prove they are as good in player development as they are at winning ballgames. (Noteworthy SEC product: Cordarrelle Patterson.)
2. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College: Gulf Coast (let's call it that for short) often produces more SEC talent than most other junior colleges throughout the country, and yet it's not even the most dominant program in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges. The program is a testament to the strength and depth of Mississippi's junior college league, which as a whole has become a fertile breeding ground for SEC talent. (Noteworthy SEC products: D'haquille Williams, Derrick Moncrief, John Jenkins.)
1. East Mississippi Community College: The Lions have won three of the last four junior college national championships, so its' not exactly difficult to understand how they assumed the No. 1 spot in these rankings. EMCC produced six of the top 50 junior college prospects in 247Sports industry composite rankings for the 2015 class, more than any other school in the nation. (Noteworthy SEC products: Jarran Reed, D.J. Pettway, Za'Darius Smith, Justin Cox, Denico Autry, Bo Wallace.)