College football recruiting is a roller coaster every year. That's one of the reasons why covering it is so much fun. Many shocks and surprises happen throughout every recruiting cycle and they can come suddenly or in a gradual lead-up.
With this 2013 recruiting year, there are several programs that are having surprising classes. Not all surprises are good ones, as some of the classes on the following lists are surprising because of how sub-par they are.
This slideshow will focus on the top seven most surprising recruiting classes of the 2013 recruiting cycle. I hope you like surprises!
The Sooners have had a surprising recruiting year, as usually OU is among the top 10 recruiting schools in the country.
This year, ESPNU ranks them at No. 21 and there is a chance they could slip out of the final top 25 recruiting rankings in February.
Bob Stoops has a solid but not spectacular class of 13 commitments. The Sooners' headliner is stud RB Keith Ford, but overall this is not Oklahoma's most highly touted class under Stoops.
The Bulldogs routinely are a middle-of-the-pack SEC recruiting school, not a school that you think of when projecting the top 25 recruiting classes.
Well, Dan Mullen is changing our recruiting perception of MSU as Scout.com surprisingly ranks his class 17th. Mullen has a good 20-man class led by QB Cord Sandberg, DE Chris Jones and OT Jake Thomas.
If Mississippi State can hold onto 4-star RB Kailo Moore then they could stick in the top 25 this year.
The Cardinals have a 9-0 record and sit 9th in the BCS Standings for this week, so Charlie Strong should be a happy man, correct?
The defensive-minded head coach can't be pleased with Louisville's recruiting this year. Strong's program has just nine commitments and is on pace to finish outside the top 50 this year. Getting James Quick, a 4-star WR prospect from Kentucky, would help jolt the Cardinals' recruiting.
Matthew Thomas or no Matthew Thomas, Al Golden has done a good job of recruiting this year, especially when you consider the fact that everyone in Coral Gables knows tough sanctions are coming from the NCAA in due time.
Golden has the country's No. 18 ranked class, per ESPNU. It's a small class at just 11 commitments, but studs like QB Kevin Olsen, RB Alex Collins, DT Keith Bryant, TE Travis Johnson and CB Artie Burns are committed.
This a surprisingly solid class for the Canes.
Maybe you thought last year was a fluke and that James Franklin was a one-year recruiting wonder. All Franklin has done this year is continue the success he endured last recruiting cycle.
That's a huge surprise.
The Tigers are 2-7 overall and have lost all six SEC games so far this season. Their season is done like dinner and Gene Chizik may be fired at the conclusion of it.
So one would expect their recruiting class to be virtually non-existent and any commitments that they have to be jumping ship. That couldn't be further from reality, as Auburn has a top 10 recruiting class in the works.
Led by 5-star stud LB Reuben Foster, DE Carl Lawson and DT Dee Liner Auburn has 17 commitments and a super-talented recruiting class.
How's that for a surprise?
Earlier on this list I had Mississippi State as a positive surprise in recruiting this year. So what's the one thing that could spoil the Bulldogs recruiting surprise?
None other than seeing their Egg Bowl rivals in Oxford also enjoy a surprisingly good recruiting year. New coach Hugh Freeze has things working for the Rebels and many recruits have come away impressed by his recruiting pitch.
From Robert Nkemdiche to Laremy Tunsil to Antonio Conner, Freeze has impressed some of the nation's top prospects. He has 21 commitments to date and ESPNU has his class inside their top 25 recruiting rankings.
That's a huge surprise since not only is Freeze in his first year for the Rebels, but Ole Miss has been a recent losing program and their recruiting has been dreadful.
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.