College Football Recruiting 2013: The Top 5 Up-and-Coming Recruiting Schools

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst ISeptember 27, 2012

College Football Recruiting 2013: The Top 5 Up-and-Coming Recruiting Schools

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    If you follow recruiting every year, then you should know that there are the standard schools that consistently gobble up talent. From Alabama to USC to Texas to Florida to Ohio State and others, year in and year out the rich get richer in recruiting.

    Many schools look at the regular recruiting powers and aspire to join their ranks, but not many have the capabilities of doing so.

    For this read, we're going to look at five schools that just may have what it takes become one of the top-tier recruiting schools in college football.

5. Ole Miss

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    The Rebels have not been too relevant in the SEC for quite some time. Enter Hugh Freeze and his staff to roll up their sleeves and get to work at turning things around.

    Ole Miss won't win a ton of games this year, but based on how they're recruiting that is set to change soon. ESPNU ranks the Rebel's 2013 class at No. 21, with 18 commitments and four players inside the ESPNU 300.

    Freeze has shown that he will go after highly touted prospects, has good charisma and is a smart recruiter. Ole Miss will look to get talent around the South, but Freeze will reach out anywhere. Look for Oxford to become home to consistent top 25 classes.

4. Vanderbilt

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    Staying in the SEC, Vanderbilt has pretty much a laughing stock in college football for the most part. No highly ranked recruits went there, and the Commodores lost a lot of games.

    Well, James Franklin showed he was clearly ready to stop that and flirted with a top 25 recruiting class finish. This year Franklin has re-upped and ESPNU ranks his group No. 19 in the country.

    With Vanderbilt boasting exceptional academics, Franklin can pitch to recruits that they don't have to go to Stanford to attend a prestigious academic institution while playing big-time football. Vanderbilt is up-and-coming on the trail because they are on track to becoming the SEC version of Stanford.  

3. UCLA

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    Even though they lost to Oregon State last weekend, the ruins have shown vast improvement already under Jim Mora. The enthusiastic coach has his players excited, and as I predicted when he was hired, he has been a hit on the recruiting trail.

    Scout.com ranks the Bruins' class at No. 15, while ESPNU sits them right at No. 25. Mora knows he has the resources to compete on the recruiting trail with USC.

    Being in Los Angeles, having a campus that is literally down the street from the beach, very good academics and playing in the Rose Bowl for home games are all great resources Mora can rely on to build his program. Combined with a great staff of proven recruiters, I expect UCLA to ascend in the Pac-12 as we move forward.

2. North Carolina

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    North Carolina has no reason not to become a great recruiting school. What recruit can resist wearing that lovely Carolina Blue?

    In all seriousness, the Tar Heels have great resources to join the perennial recruiting powers. They sit in a great state that produces good talent, the play in a BCS conference, have good facilities and their university is solid academically.

    Larry Fedora realizes that and has sold 19 players on North Carolina so far this year. Out of those 19, five of them are inside the ESPNU 300 and I can really see Fedora positioning UNC inside the top 15 recruiting rankings year in and year out from now on.

1. Texas A&M

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    The Aggies have several perks to their program these days. The most apparent of the perks is the fact that they can go around the extremely talent-rich state of Texas and pitch to top prospects that they can stay in-state but play in the mighty SEC.

    Kevin Sumlin has an offense that is sure to attract elite talent at all of the skill positions, and his defense loves versatile athletes. The Aggies have a great fanbase, their stadium is always loud and their facilities are good.

    After finishing inside the top 10 last year on many lists, right now Scout.com gives the Texas A&M the No. 4 ranked recruiting class, while ESPNU has them inside the top 15, too. Texas has dominated Lone Star State recruiting for decades, but the time is coming when both the Longhorns and Aggies will be on a equal recruiting footing.

    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 & 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.