When Texas A&M accepted an invitation to join the SEC, it did so with the knowledge that it was going to have to step up its game across the board both on and off the field. That means that the Aggies have to consistently reel in top recruits every single year.
It is no secret that A&M does not currently have the depth on its team to compete with the top programs in the SEC like Alabama and LSU. Kevin Sumlin and his staff are tasked with assembling enough talent for the Aggies to beat those teams.
As the new program in the conference, they need to raise their talent level so they can establish themselves as a threat to win the conference title on an annual basis.
This is a look at why it is important for A&M to sign a top class in February of 2013.
When you are the new kid in school, sometimes you have to take on the toughest kid on the playground to ensure that other kids do not mess with you.
When you are the new program in the conference, it is imperative that you make a good first impression. Recruiting is just another area in which A&M is going to be judged by the regional and national media.
The Aggie coaches need to prove that they can recruit with the other top programs in the conference before they will earn the respect of the conference, media and fans.
According to Rivals, Alabama had the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in 2012 and 2011. In 2010 they had the No. 5-ranked class, and in 2009 it was No. 1 again. A&M now has to face Alabama every year.
If they want to be able to stay on the field with the Crimson Tide, they will need to bring in classes with the kind of talent that Alabama is bringing in.
It is great to bring a top-rated defensive lineman into your recruiting class. To consistently compete in the SEC, they need to bring in three to four top-rated defensive linemen every year.
Recruiting is simply one of the major pillars of a successful program. You need to recruit top talent to win big games. You need to win big games to make the fans happy and sell tickets.
You need to sell tickets to bring in revenue so you can build top facilities. You need to build top facilities in order to recruit top talent.
It is an endless cycle in which top programs are engaged. The goal is to get your program to the point where it is self-sustaining and will continue at a high level no matter who the head coach is.
In order to reach that level, you need to consistently recruit top athletes.
Ever since news got out that Texas A&M might defy the wishes of the University of Texas and join the SEC, the media in the state has predicted failure for the Aggies.
Many writers have said that the Aggies simply will not be able to compete in the new conference in 2012 or ever.
Signing a top-five recruiting class will signal to the local media that A&M's move to the best conference in the country was the correct one.
Aggie fans are ecstatic about the move to the SEC, and the excitement surrounding the program is at an all-time high.
It is easy to be excited during the offseason when everyone is undefeated. If the Aggies lose five or six games, some of the fans are going to lose faith in the coaching staff.
By reeling in a top class, the staff can reassure those fans that the future is bright and they should continue to support the program.
Great players want to go to programs where they think they can win and play with other great players.
High school recruits often try to judge the momentum of a program. If a program seems to be tailing off, they will not go there. If the trajectory of the program is positive, they will consider playing for it.
Signing a top-five class will signal to recruits that the trajectory of the A&M program is positive, so they should get on the train before it passes them by.