Late January into early February is a critical time for college football programs. Although championships are still won on the field severa; months later, the three-week stretch between the end of the NCAA recruiting dead period and National Signing Day on (usually) the first Wednesday of February is critical. Most elite recruits pledged their services many weeks ago but a handful always remain, including defensive tackle Rashan Gary and linebacker Ben Davis, who, as of Jan. 26, had not committed. Gary is the No. 1 overall player in the Rivals250 for 2016. Davis checks in at No. 5.
The pair and fellow blue chip prospects will forever be known as the elite of the elite and will be watched closely for remainder of their football career. Will they be mentioned in the same breath as former top 10 recruits who are flourishing in the NFL (Julio Jones, Keenan Allen, Sheldon Richardson) or those who even the most diehard fans can barely recall (Darrell Scott, Kyle Prater, Ray Drew)?
As we approach National Signing Day, let's look back at the top 10 players from the last eight recruiting classes (via Rivals).