Here is the cold, hard truth about recruiting rankings in college football: They matter. Championship standard bearer and three-time national championship winning coach Urban Meyer knows this.

Today during the first day of the Early Signing Period Meyer made the obvious admission when asked if he looked at recruiting rankings during his days on top at the Universities of Florida and Ohio State. “Of course,” was the simple response.

There are certain programs who develop lesser high school talent beautifully and compete with some of the best teams in the country—and there are other programs with advantages in scheme and strategy that allow them to punch way out of their weight class—but the brass tacks in major college football are that teams with best players consistently do the most winning at the highest level. They compete for and win the most championships, and everything else is the exception that proves the rule.

Today is the first day of the next recruiting cycle for football programs across the country, and what’s best to realize sooner than later is that recruiting in certain critical ways is destiny, though maybe your program will be the one to force the exception. May it be so.