Recruiting is so crucial to a team's success. It sets a program up to have great teams for years to come and gives teams the luxury of reloading, not rebuilding.
Every program recruits hard year after year, but not every single recruiting cycle is kind.
Sometimes, as a program, you can go after prospects who just are not feeling your pitch that year. A rival school could be enjoying a hot year, though, which in turn weakens your recruiting. And many other reasons can come about that will see you endure a down recruiting cycle.
This year, while many of the traditional recruiting powers are once again flexing their muscle, there are several programs that are not meeting their own standards in recruiting. For this read, let's examine the top five schools that are recruiting way below standards.
I'm sure you're asking yourself, "Why is Kansas on a list like this?" Well, because it is coached by Charlie Weis, who was a great recruiting head coach at Notre Dame.
The Jayhawks recruited in terrible fashion under former coach Turner Gill, so I thought Weis and his track record would provide a spark on the trail. That hasn't happened this year, though. Fox Sports Next ranks Kansas' class 71st in its rankings.
What happened to California? At one point last year, the Bears sat pretty with a potential top 10 recruiting class and were red hot on the recruiting trail. Then it all came crashing down, and the Bears fell out of my top 25 rankings.
Cal has shown throughout the years that it can haul in solid Pac-12 recruiting classes. It has great academics, and the program has had success under Jeff Tedford.
This year, recruiting is not going too well, though. Fox Sports Next has the Bears at No. 46 in its rankings. That is not up to standard and code in Berkley.
I really liked what the Badgers did on the recruiting trail last year, and I even had them inside my top 25 rankings for awhile. But this year, the season hasn't gone like many thought it would, and neither has recruiting.
Wisconsin doesn't much pizzazz or spark to this class, unlike last year's. Fox Sports Next ranks the Badgers' class 37th, which is below their standard. Bret Bielema and his staff will need to finish strong.
The Beavers are not usually among the top recruiting schools in the Pac-12, but this year, they find themselves unbeaten and ranked in the Top 10 of the major polls.
I have them on this list because they are not recruiting like a Top 10 team. Mike Riley wants to join the big boys, so let's hold him up to their standards. Fox Sports Next ranking your class a low 66th is not the standard of a Top 10-ranked team.
The Sooners are not having a bad recruiting year at all, so it's not like they're recruiting terribly. In fact, ESPNU has them inside its top 25 recruiting rankings right now.
For me, I just expect more out of Oklahoma. Being ranked No. 18 on the Bristol board isn't up to the Sooners' standards. Oklahoma is usually among the top 10 programs in recruiting, so this could be looked at as a down year for Bob Stoops on the trail.
His class is great for 2013, and many of his commitments are certainly future starters, but this class doesn't match up strongly with previous Sooner classes.
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.