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Surprise, the SEC West is loading up on elite defensive recruits again

Welcome to The Crootletter (sign up to get this in your inbox every morning!). I'm Bud Elliott, SB Nation's National Recruiting Analyst, and in this space I'll be sharing news, rumors and musings on the world of college football recruiting.

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The SEC West is the most talented division in college football, and the gap between it and any other division is widest on defense. It landed more top talent over the weekend.

Auburn picked up four-star linebacker Tadarian Moultry, a 6'2, 225-pound thumper from Birmingham (Ala.) Jackson-Olin with offers from Alabama, Ole Miss and the rest of the SEC West. I also like Auburn's chances with three-star linebacker Kenny Britt of Oxford (Ala.), a player I believe could be in line for a bump to four stars down the road after he showed well at the Atlanta Nike Camp. Auburn's recruiting will be interesting to monitor this year and will likely be more heavily tied to on-field success (or lack thereof) than the typical school thanks to questions about Gus Malzahn's future.

While Ole Miss missed out on Moultry, it added a pair of talented defensive linemen. The Rebels beat out Alabama, Florida and LSU for 2016 (yes, the class that signed in February) JUCO defensive end Josiah Coatney. At 6'5, 285, Coatney has four years to play three and is eligible to play immediately, which is good for Ole Miss' efforts to replace Robert Nkemdiche. The Rebels also picked up four-star defensive lineman Bryan Jones, of Baton Rouge (La.) Madison Prep. The important thing to note here is that while Texas, Texas A&M and Tennessee have offered, LSU has not. If the Tigers do offer, this could get interesting.


A very talented defensive end committed to Clemson via a hilarious video. We called it "an Old Spice Man commercial" in the woods. Well done, Logan Rudolph. Also, Clemson is recruiting like it is going to stay around as an elite college football program.

Remember Ryan Kelley, the four-star Arizona QB who decommitted from Oregon? He's now committed to Arizona State. I believe this is a perfect pairing of school and bro-ish haircut. He's also quite talented. Arizona State has now been able to secure four-star quarterbacks in recent classes, as he joins Brady White from the 2015 class.

Burnt Orange Nation says the recruiting war between Charlie Strong and Kevin Sumlin is already over. I'm not willing to declare anything over until the seasons play out. It's possible neither school is going to win.

Check out my college football recruiting podcast!

Houston is going to be pretty good again and the class of the AAC, it looks like.

Maps of college football fandom!