Finishing a recruiting cycle with the No. 1 overall class doesn't necessarily guarantee the success of a program, but it certainly does point to a very bright future.
As always, a coach will be judged by what his team does on the field—and ultimately wins and losses—but in college football, recruiting can be vitally important.
In fact, success on the field usually comes as a by-product of success on the recruiting trail.
The 2013 college football recruiting class is extremely talented, and we've seen programs emerge with some very impressive classes.
That doesn't necessarily mean that the Crimson Tide will finish No. 1 though.
The world of college football recruiting is all about momentum and that can often change quickly.
With that in mind, here are the three strongest contenders to finish with the No. 1 overall recruiting class:
Like I said, the Crimson Tide are currently ranked No. 1, and they have a pretty good chance of holding on to that ranking. According to Rivals.com, Alabama's two 5-star commitments are tight end O.J. Howard and defensive end Jonathan Allen, but this is a class that also features athlete/running back Derrick Henry and now Foster, both of whom are considered to be 5-star recruits, according to 247Sports.
No matter what, this is a very strong class.
If 'Bama does hold on to the No. 1 ranking, it will be because of the recruits it brings in after Foster.
5-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil has Alabama in his top two, and 5-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams has the Crimson Tide in his (unofficial) top five, both according to 247Sports. Another recruit with Alabama high on his interest list is 5-star safety Vonn Bell, who is down to Tennessee, Ohio State and 'Bama (247Sports).
If Nick Saban and his staff can land one or more of these elite recruits, they should be able to hold on to the No.1 spot.
The Trojans have had the No. 1 ranked class for much of this recruiting cycle, but now USC is ranked No. 2 (Rivals) behind Alabama.
That said, Lane Kiffin's class still features five 5-star recruits, according to Rivals, and it can easily surpass Alabama to recapture the No. 1 spot. USC is still in the top two (247Sports) for 5-star safety Max Redfield, who is actually a former USC commitment, so if the Trojans can get his commitment back, USC's class will be even more impressive.
The only issue here is that USC will have to out-recruit Notre Dame for Redfield, but if Kiffin can bring him back into the mix, the Trojans should be able finish No. 1.
The Fighting Irish just recently received a commitment from 5-star running back Greg Bryant, and they already had a commitment from 5-star outside linebacker Jaylon Smith who is the No. 1 outside linebacker in the 2013 class, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
The Fighting Irish are still high on the interest lists of multiple elite recruits, like the aforementioned Redfield, 4-star running back Tarean Folston (top two), 4-star cornerback L.J. Moore (top two) and 4-star strong-side defensive end Alquadin Muhammad (favorite). Notre Dame is also in the top seven for 5-star cornerback Priest Willis, all according to 247Sports.
If Kelly can add a few more highly ranked recruits, Notre Dame has a good chance to finish No. 1.