Starting strong and building momentum in recruiting is crucial, but nothing is more important than being able to close on the recruiting trail.
Anybody can get a commitment in the spring, but it's the great recruiters who can land prospects with a ton of interest in other major programs once national signing day draws nearer.
If there's a time during a recruiting cycle that you want your program to be hot, it's midway through the season and heading into December. This is when recruits really start to pay attention both to games and to recruiting pitches, knowing that their final decision is just a few months away.
Come January, the best of the best programs start to distinguish themselves on the recruiting trail. By February we usually have a pretty good indication of what programs are going to clean up shop and come away with impressive classes.
Of course, there's always a surprise program or two though.
With all of that in mind, here are five programs that I predict will finish strong on the 2014 recruiting trail.