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From small towns to the big time: A look at SEC players making the jump

small-town football to the SEC
COURTESY OF RABUN COUNTY (GA.) HIGH SCHOOL

SEC football is a big business, but there’s still a place for small towns — and we don’t mean the likes of Starkville or College Station or Oxford. We mean really small towns.

SEC teams recruit nationally, but there’s always going to be a place for the small-town high school stars on its teams — just as is the case in every FBS league. Yes, Miami, Houston and Atlanta produce numerous high-level players. But you still can find key SEC players in places such as Cross City, Fla., Macon, Miss., and Tiger, Ga., where Friday nights in the fall at Rabun County High (pictured above) are a huge deal.

Here’s a team-by-team look at small-town high school stars who could play big roles for their SEC teams this fall.

BEN DAVIS, by Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

Alabama

LB Ben Davis, Gordo (Ala.) High: Yes, Alabama brings in players from all over the nation. But there’s still a route from small towns to the reigning SEC champion, and Davis is just one example. His hometown of Gordo – about 25 miles northwest of Tuscaloosa and about the same distance from the Mississippi border – had a population of only 1,750 at the most recent census. Davis redshirted last year, but as the nation’s top linebacker prospect out of high school, he has a chance to follow in the path of Tide stars such as Reuben Foster, C.J. Mosley and Dont’a Hightower.

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