Perhaps the most fundamental strategy in recruiting is to lock up your local talent as a program. You must be strong in bringing in the top and most talented prospects who reside in your city, town, state and region.
You just have to.
I can't explain long enough how important it is to put a recruiting fence up around your territory. If you can't keep the talented recruits on your home turf at home on a consistent basis, then you're probably going to be a recruiting failure as a program.
Now, some programs like LSU, Texas, Ohio State and Alabama do an excellent job of keeping their fences consistently strong. It's hard to go into Louisiana, the Lone Star State, Ohio or 'Bama and get a prospect.
Other schools, well, things aren't so good. They are having trouble consistently keeping recruits home. Here are 10 that come to mind.
You make think this place is just a vacation spot, but it really is a spot for solid recruiting talent. Hawaii plays good ball around the state and the high school competition is pretty good.
Even before Norm Chow arrived, Hawaii was having recruiting problems in keeping top talent home.
Manti Te'o never really gave them a serious look a few years ago. Scott Pagano, Reeve Kohler and Isaac Savaiinaea signed elsewhere last year, and Marcus Mariota is a Duck, not a Warrior.
UH doesn't just have a leaky fence, a fence hasn't even been built yet.
The Hoosiers thought they had Gunner Kiel locked up, but he eventually ended up at Notre Dame and so did fellow Indy native Jaylon Holmes. Count Sheldon Day in this category too.
Tim Kimbrough and Elijah Daniel were upper-tier prospects from Indiana and didn't give the Hoosiers much of a sniff.
Even Kiaro Holts left the state for North Carolina, and to take it back even further, James Banks seemingly never took playing in Bloomington seriously.
Rich Rodriguez does have a commitment from Cameron Denson this year, so maybe 'Zona is beginning to build its fence a little bit.
But we'll see what happens with Kyle Allen, Mark Andrews, Jalen Brown and the likes. Casey Tucker has already opted to follow the Kris O'Dowd and Everson Griffen path to USC from the desert.
Last year, Priest Willis opted to sign with UCLA and Cole Luke went to Notre Dame, just like Davonte Neal. But the Sun Devils and Wildcats couldn't keep Reggie Daniels, Andrus Peat nor Connor Brewer in state.
The list goes on and on, aside from D.J. Foster.
Northwestern has a different set of standards academically, so things can be a little tougher for it on the trail, so I'll cut the Wildcats some slack.
The Illini, however, can't escape this list. In 2012 alone, they failed to get Wes Lunt, Dan Voltz, Tommy Schutt or Jordan Diamond. Last year, Ty Isaac, Laquon Treadwell, Ethan Pocic, Kyle Bosch and Logan Tulley-Tillman all snubbed Illinois.
Kyle Prater opted for USC in 2010, but has since came back to Northwestern.
These two schools make this list mainly because of one area: Las Vegas.
Any recruit that has an offer from an outside school, usually takes it over playing at UNLV or Nevada. From Steven Jackson to DeMarco Murray to The Grimble Brothers to even now with Nathan Starks, the top Vegas talent always seems to go elsewhere.
Every school in the country knows it can go into Las Vegas for a prospect it likes and come out with an easy victory.
Even though five of the top nine players from Kansas stayed in-state last year (247Sports), things haven't been too good for the Jayhawks or Wildcats.
Both Kansas schools are not recruiting juggernauts and neither poses a real fight when outside programs venture on to their grounds.
Blake Bell, Bubba Starling, Jordan Phillips, Tyler Matthews and Jerel Morrow are players who come to mind that both schools have struck out on. Even this year's top Kansas prospect Braden Smith isn't expected to attend either school.
Now, Georgia is a good recruiting program, but it has heard many whispers about not being able to keep top talent home.
In fact, top 2014 MLB Raekwon McMillan recently tweeted this about UGA, confirming what many of us have heard/believed. From letting Robert Nkemdiche, Carl Lawson, Alvin Kamara, Montravius Adams and Tyren Jones go last year to many of the recruits who escaped from the Peach State in years past, UGA has problems keeping kids home.
Even this year, Mark Richt is going to have fight Nick Saban tooth and nail for DE Lorenzo Carter.
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 and Cleveland Browns.