The trendy thing to do as a recruit these days is to make an early decision and commit to a school. I have a few theories as to why early commitments are becoming the norm in college football recruiting.
For starters, schools are offering more and more junior prospects scholarships and building relationships with them sooner. In turn, recruits are more comfortable with coaches earlier in the process and are committing sooner.
My next theory is that coaches are using the "if you don't commit now, we might not have any room for you later" line more and more. So recruits are almost getting pressured into committing early.
My last theory is that recruits find it cool these days to show up at camps and combines in the summer with their committed school's gear on. Recruits also may actually enjoy recruiting for their future schools, a la Shane Morris last year.
Whichever theory you may agree with, the following five prospects in the 2014 class are likely to follow the trend of making an early decision.
Hood is one of the top RBs in the 2014 class and rushed for over 3000 yards and 48 TDs as a junior. He's from North Carolina and already stands 6'0" and weighs 212 pounds.
Rivals.com reports that Hood has a top three of Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State.
Hood is expected to make a decision pretty soon and even used the term "early as possible' when recently taking to Rivals.
Barker is a 6'4" QB who weighs over 200 pounds. He's among the 10 best field generals in the country right now for 2014 and has a wealth of offers.
From the Blue Grass State, Barker could end up at schools like Kentucky, Tennessee, Miami, Louisville, South Carolina or North Carolina.
Scout.com reports Barker is aspiring to make a decision this spring.
Davidson is expected to be a Gamecock by just about everyone, including myself. He's a 6'0" 170-pound speedy WR prospect with a high ceiling.
He's from the Palmetto State, South Carolina lands a lot of guys named "Shaq" and Rivals.com reports he's visited Columbia several times already.
There's been a lot of anticipation about an early commitment from Davidson and I wouldn't be shocked if he pledged to Steve Spurrier soon.
Spain is a 6'6", 275-pounder from North Carolina. He's tough, he battles and he may be able to become a David Diehl-type of LT in college.
I mean that Diehl, when he plays LT for the Giants at times, isn't the most athletic LT, but he has solid technique, length and good grab strength. Spain compares to Diehl in some ways.
CarolinaBlue says South Carolina is a big leader for Spain and projects him to commit to the Gamecocks this spring.
Michel is on Leonard Fournette's heels for No. 1 RB honors in 2014. From Florida, Michel is a 5'11', 205-pound rock toter who has bell-cow ability.
Michel has good speed, strength, quickness, instincts and also helps out in the passing game. He recently revealed to Scout.com that he wants to get his decision out of the way and it could as early as the spring.
Keep an eye on Notre Dame, Miami and Georgia in particular.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He 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 (formerly 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.