Every Heisman Trophy campaign comes from humble beginnings. Dedication and attitude are developed during youth football, before physical and mental maturity transform boys into young men at the high school level.
Many of the perceived 2014 Heisman contenders carved out reputations as elite playmakers at early stages, receiving plenty of interest from collegiate recruiting departments. Piles of letters arrived first, eventually followed by formal scholarship offers.
The choices these prospects made on national signing day sent them down a path toward stardom that could ultimately lead to the winner's podium in Manhattan this December. Now established college standouts, the fates of their quests for individual glory and overall program success hang in the balance each week for the next four months.
Before we focus on what lies ahead for these difference-makers in 2014, let's take a look back to simpler times, when the national spotlight didn't shine nearly as bright.
Here's a review of the recruitment processes that put these Heisman hopefuls in position to excel.