It’s funny how much National Signing Day can affect a program’s momentum — for better or worse. A strong push that vaults a team up the recruiting rankings breeds confidence for coaches, players and fans alike, while a subpar haul injects doubt throughout the program.

Maybe it’s because there are no games from February until September. Or, with 25 or so new faces every year, there’s room to be inspired. That recruiting class could have the next Cam Newton. Or Derrick Henry. Or A.J. Green. You get the idea.

So, with college football’s most important non-playing day in the rear view mirror, let’s look at the SEC’s momentum rankings.

Remember I said momentum rankings, not power rankings. There’s a difference. Well, at least after the top team on the list:

1. Alabama

Winning a national championship would probably generate enough momentum to put the Crimson Tide atop this list, but that’s not the only reason. A strong close from Nick Saban and his staff in the days leading up to Signing Day vaulted the 2016 class from barely in the top 10 to No. 1 in the 247Sports composite rankings.

Nabbing a pair of five-star linebackers on Signing Day — Ben Davis and Mack Wilson — was crucial for the Tide, which has some big-time shoes to fill on that side of the ball in 2016.

2. Tennessee

The Volunteers had a solid recruiting class, ranking seventh in the SEC and 14th nationally. They signed only 21 players, in part because they didn’t need more than that. It’s a young roster for coach Butch Jones, and one that returns 17 starters from a decisive Outback Bowl victory.

There’s plenty of quality in the incoming group, however, with the nation’s top-rated dual-threat quarterback (Jarrett Guarantano), the nation’s top-rated JUCO prospect (DE Jonathan Kongbo) and a top-five safety (Nigel Warrior).

Toss in a six-game winning streak and emphatic bowl win to finish 2015 and you have a team on the rise (again).

3. LSU:

What a difference two months can make, huh? Les Miles went from dead man walking near the end of the regular season to the architect behind the nation’s third-best recruiting class.

The only thing that didn’t go right was losing touted quarterback prospect Feleipe Franks to Florida (more on him later). The Tigers did land a pair of five-star defensive prospects (CB Kristian Fulton and DT Rashard Lawrence) and found a quarterback prospect close to home with Zachary native Lindsey Scott.

There’s plenty of talent returning in Baton Rouge — headlined by Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette — and an entire offseason to tinker with the offense.

4. Ole Miss

Ole Miss will be heavily represented near the top of the 2016 NFL Draft (T Laremy Tunsil, WR Laquon Treadwell and DL Robert Nkemdiche), but coach Hugh Freeze may have found more than a few capable replacements in the nation’s sixth-best recruiting class.

There’s the quarterback of the future (five-star prospect and early enrollee Shea Patterson), a potential replacement for Tunsil (Gregory Little) and a bevy of options at receiver.

The Rebels have some holes to fill, including four starting slots on the offensive line, but with (arguably) the SEC’s best returning quarterback in Chad Kelly, it may not be wise to bet against them.

5. Georgia

A messy end to the regular season culminated in the firing of longtime coach Mark Richt. The team clipped Penn State in the TaxSlayer Bowl and then waited 10 days for the Kirby Smart era to get fully underway.

Smart and his new staff wound up with the nation’s seventh-best recruiting class, which was augmented by keeping five-star quarterback Jacob Eason committed.

He became the most talented quarterback on the roster when he unpacked his bags last month, and he’ll get every chance to be the starter in 2016.

He’s not the only big name arriving, either. Five-star tight end Isaac Nauta (also an early enrollee), five-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. and four-star receiver Riley Ridley are players to watch this fall.

6. Florida

As hot as the Vols were at the end of last season, Florida was on the other end of the spectrum. A stout defense failed to overcome an anemic offense and the team sputtered down the stretch, losing its final three games. It was so bad that the quarterback late last year, Treon Harris, is moving to wide receiver this spring.

Franks is part of a four-way derby for the quarterback job this spring, along with Kyle Trask and transfers Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby. No matter how that race shakes out, the Gators have plenty of newcomers on the way, including a dozen early enrollees, to help bolster the roster for 2016.

7. Auburn

Florida hardly has the market cornered in wide-open quarterback races. The position was a source of constant frustration for coaches and fans alike last season.

Enter John Franklin III, a former Florida State recruit and highly touted JUCO transfer with blazing speed (4.38 40-yard dash time) and a big arm. He’ll get the chance to beat out last year’s starters, Jeremy Johnson and Sean White.

Franklin is just one piece of a top-10 recruiting class that features five-star defensive end Derrick Brown and four-star receivers Nate Craig-Myers and Eli Stove. It’s the sort of weaponry that can help coach Gus Malzahn recapture the sort of offensive magic he had a few seasons ago.

8. Arkansas

A steady effort netted the Razorbacks a top-25 class that should fill holes all over the roster. Five-star defensive end and early enrollee McTelvin “Sosa” Agim is the jewel of the class, but other players like four-star running back Devwah Whaley and four-star guard Jake Heinrich also could help early.

Arkansas will need to replace, among others, its quarterback, running back and tight end before next season. The quarterback race, featuring Austin Allen, Rafe Peavey, Ty Storey and USC transfer Ricky Town, should be especially interesting this spring.

9. South Carolina

A pessimist would say that a 3-9 team that had the 10th-best class in the SEC would be better placed at No. 14 on this list. An optimist would point out that Will Muschamp and this staff took a 2016 class that was on life support with 12 commitments — and not all of those firm — on Dec. 7 to a 26-man class that almost cracked the top 25 nationally.

Muschamp and a staff full of respected and proven recruiters did a remarkable job saving this class, which helps them fill the talent gaps that exist all over the roster.

Four-star quarterback Brandon McIlwain could win the starting job, while four-star defensive tackle Stephon Taylor and four-star JUCO corner JaMarcus King should provide immediate help to two trouble spots on defense.

10. Texas A&M

The Aggies had a rough December, with the transfer of five-star quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray. A bowl loss to Louisville didn’t make anyone feel better, but embattled coach Kevin Sumlin still managed to haul in a top-20 recruiting class.

Justin Madubuike could be the next great rush end in College Station, while four-star tackle Kellen Diesch and four-star corner Travon Fuller were also nice gets. Graduate transfer Trevor Knight is the favorite to win the quarterback job, and much of the team’s fortunes — not to mention Sumlin’s job security — will depend on how quickly he can shake off the rust after sitting last season at Oklahoma.

11. Mississippi State

With only 12 seniors, the Bulldogs didn’t need a large recruiting class. What they got was an 18-man group that finished 11th in the league’s recruiting rankings. Landing five-star DE Jeffery Simmons on Signing Day kept this class from ranking even lower, and he chose Mississippi State over Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss.

Two other four-star prospects, Marquiss Spencer and Kobe Jones, should offer depth for the defensive line.

The losses are few, but one was the best quarterback in school history. Replacing Dak Prescott, or at least softening the blow a bit, will be a much bigger concern for the program in 2016 than this recruiting class will.

12. Vanderbilt

As 2015 wore on, the Vanderbilt defense got better and better. Unfortunately, the offense did not. That led to a 4-8 campaign for coach Derek Mason, who went looking for help on the recruiting trail.

The Commodores finished 54th in the recruiting rankings — last among SEC teams — but signed 20 players, including a few who could help right away, like four-star corner and early enrollee Joejuan Williams. Improved quarterback play is the key for this team in 2016, and three-star recruit Deuce Wallace is already on campus to push the incumbent, Kyle Shurmur.

13. Kentucky

Patrick Towles’ transfer was a blow for the Wildcats in December, so they went looking for quarterback help in this recruiting cycle.

In all, the team signed 25 players and wound up with the league’s 12th-best class.

JUCO transfer Stephen Johnson II will join the quarterback race, as will early enrollee Gunnar Hoak. Both will push Drew Barker for the starting job.

Tackle Landon Young, a five-star recruit with some services, should immediately figure into the offensive line rotation, and four-star recruits Drake Jackson and Kash Daniel should offer help on defense.

14. Missouri

Last season was memorable for all the wrong reasons for Missouri fans.

The Maty Mauk saga, a near-player boycott and the forced retirement of coach Gary Pinkel were all distractions off the field while the Tigers fielded one of the worst offenses in college football between the white lines.

Coach Barry Odom is the man charged with taking the program forward, and he started with a class that ranked 13th in the SEC, 52nd overall.

Four-star JUCO running back Natereace Strong should figure into the running back mix, as should late signee, JUCO quarterback Jack Lowary. There will need to be a few more of those patented Missouri “diamonds in the rough” in this modestly ranked recruiting class for the Tigers to climb in the SEC standings this fall.