Without fanfare, assistants win recruiting battles

National signing day has become a major event on the college football calendar, with marathon-like television coverage and server-crippling Internet traffic allowing fans to welcome their teams' next wave of talented players. While head coaches are front and center on signing day, the seeds of the recruiting class are planted much earlier by people much further down the chain.

Texas' Mack Brown, Florida's Urban Meyer and USC's Pete Carroll are wonderful leaders and outstanding recruiters, but without their assistant coaches, they would be hard-pressed to achieve the success they have. The assistant coaches are the ones who pound the pavement and lay the groundwork for each class.