When we sit down to iron out our Top 25 Poll each year at Athlon Sports, we are trying to project the final year-end standings not build a preseason power poll. It might be a small and subtle difference but an important one to acknowledge.
Sure, this may seem early, but some college football teams are already starting spring practice. Before you know it, we'll have our football Saturdays back and another journey to the College Football Playoff will have begun. For that reason, you need a primer for those early, non-conference games.
Recruiting is the foundation for winning national championships, competing for CFB Playoff berths or winning at a high level in college football. While recruiting rankings aren’t 100 percent accurate, there is plenty of truth in the rankings and evaluations by the experts. It’s no secret what a program needs in order to win big at this level.
Finding or developing a quarterback is no easy task for any college football coach. This position is one of the hardest to evaluate in high school, and quarterbacks often transfer early in their career in search of more playing time if they are entrenched behind a proven starter. Needless to say, quarterbacks are the position likely providing the most headaches for coaches throughout the year.
Recruiting may be the lifeblood of a college football program, but developing the incoming talent and maxing out the potential of a roster is a big reason why some coaches thrive and others will fail. At Ohio State, Urban Meyer and his staff continue to excel in both categories, which is why Ohio State routinely has the most talented roster in the conference.
The 14 teams in the Big Ten rarely recruit a hefty number of junior college prospects each season, but there are a handful of names joining the conference expected to make an impact in 2017. Ohio State lost three key members from its 2016 secondary, and former Alabama cornerback Kendall Sheffield should compete for a starting job after a year in the junior college ranks.
With National Signing Day in the books, the focus for the 2017 college football season shifts to spring practices and upcoming offseason workouts. While most freshmen won’t arrive until the summer, a handful of incoming recruits already hit campus prior to spring ball.