From a letter written by Keith Babb, who is a scout with the National Collegiate Scouting Association:
As of today, most D1-A schools have offered scholarships to 95% of their 2009 recruiting class. Right now, the top 500 football players identified in this country have offers from at least 50 schools each. The top 10 schools have not offered that great a percentage because they can wait longer because of their big names. The big time programs identify 60% of their recruiting class by the end of their HS sophomore season. The remainder are identified by the end of junior year. You’re absolutely right, the junior year is critical for the power conference programs (Pac10, Big 10, Big 12, ACC, SEC, Big East). Senior year is too late. (By the way, an interesting historical fact is that this trend was started by Joe Paterno at Penn State in 2002. Other college coaches quickly followed Joe Pa’s lead.) It’s a fact of life.
There is a lot of other interesting stuff he brings up about how the recruiting process works now. Take a moment and read it.