We're only a few days away from the start of the college football season, and everyone appears to be locked and loaded to get a good jump out of the gate. This promises to be another exciting season, and the entire football world is on the edge our seats.
To put another recruiting spin on things, for this piece I'm going to take the AP Top 25 preseason poll and give you one commitment each team had to have. It may not be the class headliner or a high-profile recruit, but it's going to be a commitment the program had to get for this 2013 recruiting cycle.
Let's get started!
Commitment: Kyle Bolin, QB
Bolin had to be a Cardinal because Charlie Strong is trying to establish that he and his program will be a force in Kentucky. Bolin hails from Lexington, which is exactly where UK resides; if Strong wanted to really show the Wildcats he means business, taking a good prospect right from under them was needed.
Commitment: Ryan Finley, QB
It is said that a recruiting theory many coaches subscribe to is you must land a QB every class. You can never have enough great QB prospects on your roster to develop.
Well, Boise State has its QB this year in the 6'4", 180-pound Finley, who comes from Phoenix. Look for Finely to come in and redshirt a year to learn the system, then bide for a job.
Commitment: Kelvin Taylor, RB
Taylor is a family legacy commit due to his father being a former Gator great. He is a super-productive RB prospect, and Florida had to land him.
Credit Will Muschamp and Brent Pease for not screwing things up and wrapping up Taylor early in the process.
Commitment: Tanner Wood, LB
Really any and every commitment is needed for KSU due to its poor recruiting luck over the past several years. I'm going with Wood because he's the highest-rated recruit in the class.
Commitment: Ryan Burns, QB
The Cardinal have QBs on their roster, but none are game-changing types. Josh Nunes is fine, as will be Kevin Hogan and Evan Crower.
Yet, Burns has a higher ceiling and more potential than they do. He's a 6'5", 220-pound pocket passer with deceptive athleticism and is one of the 10 best QBs in the country.
I'm going to use this chance to speak about a commitment TCU has to have: DT Justin Manning, who hails from nearby Dallas.
The Horned Frogs are out to show they are a BCS recruiting program, and it's crucial they get the highly touted 6'2", 275-pound Manning to stay home. He's a great talent who has offers from many great programs.
If TCU wants to prove it is expanding its talent pool on the trail, Manning's commitment is a must-get.
Commitment: Vincent Taylor, DT
Let's face it: Oklahoma State isn't really a great defensive team. Yet the Pokes do want to improve on defense, and landing more talent on that side of the ball is going to be huge going forward.
Getting a solid DT such as the 6'3", 250-pound Taylor was needed this class. Mike Gundy got him and is on his way to rebuilding his defense.
Commitment: Jalin Marshall, ATH
If you notice in Urban Meyer's spread option offense, there is always a player who can play WR/RB and Wildcat QB. This was at its peak when Percy Harvin did it at Florida.
Well, for Meyer to continue that trend, he needed a player to do it at Ohio State. That player more than likely will be Jalin Marshall.
Commitment: Christian Lacouture, DT
Lacouture comes right from Lincoln, and Big Red couldn't let him escape their grasp.
Bo Pelini also is trying to bring back the Black Shirt defense, and if he wants to continue his efforts, he's going to need good players on defense, right?
The 6'5", 250-pound Lacouture is a good way to keep the Black Shirt resurgence going.
Commitment: Kendall Fuller, CB
Frank Beamer and Bud Foster knew they could not screw this up. Fuller is too good of a player, plus he is fairly local to VA Tech and has brothers on the roster.
Virginia Tech had to get Kendall Fuller, and it succeeded.
Commitment: A'Shawn Robinson, DT
Texas has had some great DL play over the years, and the Longhorns need to get back to that.
The 6'4", 305-pound Robinson could be just the guy to pick up the slack for Mack Brown and Manny Diaz's defense.
Commitment: Robert Nkemdiche, DE
I know, I know—too easy, right?
Well, put yourself in Clemson's shoes. You're in South Carolina and have to deal with the likes of Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Auburn and Florida for regional prospects—plus your rival can boast SEC membership over you.
Then, you have Florida State in the same conference. So, you need to get a commitment that will show those guys you are a force, too.
Robert Nkemdiche gives the Tigers that.
Commitment: Damion Terry, QB
The Spartans are starting the post-Kirk Cousins era, so they're going to need another QB waiting in the wings.
At 6'3" and 210 pounds, Terry has dual-threat skills that will help the Spartans offense down the road. Getting a young QB to tutor but who also had dynamic athleticism was important for Mark Dantonio's team this cycle.
Commitment: Rob Wheelwright, WR
The Badgers can run the ball as well as anybody, but we never hear a ton about their WR play.
Getting a smooth WR such as the 6'2", 170-pound Wheelwright—who has great RAC skills and big-play potential—will help the passing game in Madison.
Commitment(s): Darrien Howard, LB; De'Asian Richardson, DT
You know with Dana Holgorsen at the helm, WVU is going to be scoring points. Holgorsen is an offensive mastermind, and he'll always work out ways to put points on the board for the Mountaineers.
So that leaves the defense, which is going to need players who can hold leads. Howard at MLB and Richardson at DT is a good start.
Commitment: Hunter Henry, TE
The Hogs needed a headliner, a player in this class who would make other recruits take notice and realize it's still cool to go to Arkansas.
Henry is from the state and also is a legacy recruit. Arkansas had to get him sewn up for all three reasons mentioned above, and it did.
Henry should do well in Fayetteville.
Commitment: Larenz Bryant, OLB
The Gamecocks are really adding more speed and athleticism on defense, which is right up Bryant's alley. He's a 6'2", 210-pound OLB who can play all three downs, which will fit in well in Columbia.
Commitment: Shane Morris, QB
Big Blue is moving back to its foundation and fundamentals, which is the traditional way of offense and defense. Denard Robinson is a Rich Rodriguez type of recruit, so a top-flight pocket passer is going to be needed moving forward.
It's pretty hard to find anyone who fits Michigan's program better than Shane Morris.
Commitment: E.J. Levenberry, LB
The 'Noles needed to add multiple linebackers in this class, as that was a need position. They have commitments from five players who could possibly play LB for them.
That list includes the 6'2", 230-pound, run-stuffing Levenberry, who picked the Noles over Michigan and is the best LB commit in the FSU class.
Commitment: Tramel Terry, ATH
Georgia is using this cycle to add more linebackers and receivers. While Terry could play CB, his speed and RAC skills may be too good not to deploy at the WR position.
The South Carolina native is extremely fast, elusive and agile, and his playmaking ability will be loved in Athens.
Commitment: Thomas Tyner, RB
From Oregon and maybe the fastest player in the country?
Yeah, the Ducks need you and are going to come hard after you.
That fits the recruitment of Thomas Tyner, and the 6'0", 218-pounder is locked up with the Ducks. He just needs to get and stay healthy.
Commitment: Hatari Byrd, S
The Sooners have enjoyed a great run of SS-Rover-OLB type of defensive backs, from Roy Williams back in the day to now with Tony Jefferson, so you know they wanted another player of that type in this cycle.
The 6'2", 200-pound Byrd fits just that bill and was a great commitment to get.
Commitment: Jeryl Brazil, CB
With the Honey Badger gone, the Tigers CB depth chart is very skilled, but very young. With both Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne having recent success, CBs are become a prime position for Les Miles.
Landing the 5'10", 175-pound Brazil to come help cover SEC WRs is a great commitment, and one that has become more vital since Tyrann Mathieu's departure.
Commitment: O.J. Howard, TE
Tight ends in the 'Bama offense aren't excellent Antonio Gates and Jermichael Finley types. I recently wrote a column about how the Tide are upgrading their offensive firepower, and Howard is exactly what the doctor ordered.
At 6'5" and 225 pounds, his athleticism, speed and pass-catching ability will give Alabama a weapon it has lacked in the seams.
Commitment: Ty Isaac, RB
The Trojans came into this cycle with a desperate need for RBs, so getting the super-talented, rare-sized and skilled Isaac was crucial.
At 6'3" and 220 pounds, Isaac comes from Illinois and can play RB in a traditional offense while also being able to split wide and play some WR at times.
USC's class is awesomely talented all around, but Isaac was the most important commitment.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS).
A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a college football and NFL draft magazine.