Recruiting is the lifeblood of every college football program, similar to what the draft is for NFL teams. Signing day has become a major production, just as the NFL draft has. Recruiting takes up the majority of a college football coach’s time. How many times have you heard about bowl games (extending them) and the CFB eating up into recruiting time for coaches? All you have to do is ask their wives. The latest trend is early enrollees. Kids are entering school in January in order to participate in spring practice. Those 20 practices can be the difference between playing as a true freshman and redshirting the first season. It is also the reason why so many freshmen make an immediate impact. I think the concept of the early enrollee came from coaches who were worried they would lose talent to teams that would start them immediately versus sitting a year at a major program. It is also why so many juniors are ready for the NFL much more quickly than in years past. There are several recruiting services out there. I prefer Rivals. They seem to be more stringent in how they award their stars and I’ve noticed a correlation between their team rankings and how teams actually perform on the field. Having a bunch of 4-star and 5-star recruits is great, but it doesn’t mean much if you can’t turn that potential into production. Two coaches who couldn’t do that, Lane Kiffen (USC) and Mack Brown (Texas), are no longer at their respective schools. One guy who could with lesser recruits, Bill Snyder (Kansas St), has his name on the stadium. On my spreadsheet, I have a spot for recruiting rankings over the last 4 years. I have another for coaching (turning those numbers into wins). These, along with returning starters, are the most important factors I use when handicapping the 1st month of the college season, due to the major personnel turnover most programs suffer year in and year out. Master this, and develop a system of your own, will enable you to take advantage of line errors that are aplenty early in the season. It will also enable you to build your bankroll with less risk until the odds-maker catches up, usually sometime in early October.