The Ole Miss Rebels had a recruiting cycle for the ages in 2013, and the program is set up extremely well for future success because of it.
Hugh Freeze and his staff did an excellent job of branding the program, building hype around it on the recruiting trail and pitching a bright future with elite recruits.
It was an epic recruiting year for Ole Miss, and one that put it on the map with Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame in regards to recruiting power.
This had to be extremely inspiring for other "second-tier" programs in big conferences. So often, it seems as if the strong only get stronger via recruiting, but Ole Miss proved that theory wrong and was able to compete with the best of the best.
If Ole Miss could do it, what's stopping another program from shocking the recruiting world next year?
Here are three programs who could be the Ole Miss of the 2014 recruiting cycle:
James Franklin is regarded as a very good recruiter, and that alone gives Vanderbilt the chance to be the Ole Miss of the 2014 class. This is a program that is slowly but surely building momentum, especially on the recruiting trail.
Vanderbilt's class was ranked No. 30 overall according to the 247Sports Composite. It featured four 4-star recruits including wideout Jordan Cunningham, who was a big signing day commitment for Vanderbilt and has star potential.
The Commodores went 9-4 in 2012 including a bowl win over N.C. State in the Music City Bowl. The next step for Franklin is to take the talent that he is recruiting and translate it into wins over big-time SEC opponents.
If Vanderbilt can snag a win or two against the likes of Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M or Ole Miss (Week 1) in 2013, that momentum plus Franklin's ability as a recruiter could make Vanderbilt one of the hottest recruiting programs in the 2014 cycle.
Notable 2014 recruits with offers from Vanderbilt: 5-star DE Da'Shawn Hand, 4-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter, 5-star safety Quin Blanding, 5-star running back Jalen Hurd, 5-star inside linebacker Kain Daub
I wouldn't call UCLA an elite college football recruiting program just yet, but that could certainly change during the 2014 cycle. Without a doubt, Jim Mora is doing an incredible job with the Bruins' program, and he has UCLA competitive both on the field and on the recruiting trail.
UCLA finished No. 9 overall according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, but the Bruins' ceiling has not yet been reached.
If the Bruins can put together another good year on the field and win the Pac-12 in 2013, they will be one of the hottest teams on the 2014 recruiting trail. Another win over USC would be especially big, as UCLA could establish itself as the new power in Southern California.
Mora had a ton of success as a recruiter in 2013, and that momentum will only continue to build.
UCLA could be one of the better recruiting programs in the country soon enough.
Notable 2014 recruits with offers from UCLA: 5-star ATH Jabrill Peppers, 5-star safety Edward Paris, 5-star inside linebacker Kain Daub, 5-star safety Quin Blanding, 5-star inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan, 5-star CB Tony Brown
Look out for the Washington Huskies on the 2014 recruiting trail, especially if they can find success and legitimately compete in the Pac-12 in 2013.
Steve Sarkisian is a big-name coach who garners attention from recruits, and his 2014 class finished No. 17 overall according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Sarkisian and his staff were able to land some important commitments from the likes of 4-star wide receivers Demorea Stringfellow and Darrell Daniels.
Just as with UCLA and Vanderbilt, the key for Washington will be producing on the field. If Sarkisian can lead his team to the top of the Pac-12 North, that would be a huge momentum boost for the program.
Washington needs to establish itself as a legitimate power in the Pac-12 North. If it can beat Stanford and Oregon in 2013, the Huskies would really be back on the map. Their showdown with UCLA will also be very big from a recruiting standpoint.
Huskies' recruiting was good this year, but it could be great in 2014 if Washington is able to translate recruiting success to on-field success.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!