College football recruiting is traditionally dominated by programs such as Alabama, Florida, USC, Texas, Michigan, LSU, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida State, among a few others.
Not much will likely change, as those programs are dominant. However, on the horizon are several schools who could join the ranks of the elite in the coming years. These programs are up-and-coming recruiting schools that have what it takes to start consistently assembling great classes.
A rejuvenated SEC program has a new coach who has infused fresh energy into the program's recruiting efforts. A Big 12 team is steadily climbing the recruiting ladder, while an ACC program is starting to reach its recruiting potential.
The Rebels brought in their best class in school history in 2013, as head coach Hugh Freeze and his staff had a banner recruiting year.
Ole Miss has never been considered a juggernaut recruiting school, but that may change soon. As the 2013 cycle concluded, many chalked the Rebels' success up to sheer luck and doubted they'd come close to repeating their recruiting performance in 2014.
Well, Ole Miss has a top-12 recruiting class this year, per the 247Sports recruiting rankings. The 2013 class appears to have been a breakthrough for Freeze, as the Rebels are now respected on the trail.
Look for Ole Miss to continue its ascent up the SEC pecking order in the coming years.
North Carolina has always been a program that had the potential to be an elite recruiting school. It has solid facilities, good academics, is in a talented region and is a member of a BCS conference.
Former head coach Butch Davis did an admirable job recruiting, and current head coach Larry Fedora has kept hope alive in Chapel Hill. Fedora brought in a good 2013 recruiting class and now has a top-25 group in the works, says 247Sports.
The Tar Heels are getting more and more confident on the trail. Soon, they will have the pull to consistently battle ACC recruiting powers such as Florida State, Clemson and Miami for prospects.
New head coach Mark Stoops has already shown what he can do as a recruiter in 2014. Kentucky sprinted out of the gate at the start of the cycle and currently has the No. 16 class in the nation, according to 247Sports.
Stoops has plucked a good amount of talent from native and nearby Ohio, plus he has connections throughout the South stemming from his days at Florida State. The chance to get early playing time at an SEC school and play in a good offensive or defensive scheme has resonated well with recruits on the trail.
Although it will have to annually play and battle conference foes such Alabama, Florida, LSU and Texas A&M among others for prospects, Kentucky is definitely on the rise as a recruiting program.
There was a time when Tennessee was considered more of a recruiting juggernaut than Alabama, but that seems like a lifetime ago.
Now, the program has an upstart feel to it under the direction of new head coach Butch Jones, who appears to be exactly what the program needed, recruiting-wise.
Jones has infused a renewed sense of passion into the program's recruiting efforts, which has resulted in constructing the No. 3 class in the 247Sports recruiting rankings.
He has great energy, is thorough and disciplined in his approach and has a plan for the program. His staff has done a great job of evaluating players, and recruits seem to have taken a liking to the new vibe at Tennessee.
Jones will get the Vols back among the top SEC recruiting schools within the next three years.
The Bears have several things going in their favor for them to reach the top of the Big 12 recruiting mountain.
First, Texas is not as powerful as years past, and then Oklahoma is also not as dominant in its own right. Third, Baylor has developed some flair and "coolness" due to its ability to score a ton of points and play a fun brand of football, which is catching the attention of recruits.
And lastly, the Bears reside in Texas, which is among the most fertile states for prospects.
It will have to pay head coach Art Briles more money soon if he's to stay in Waco long-term, and if he does, then Baylor has an excellent shot to firmly establish itself as a serious big-time recruiting school.