College Football Recruiting: 15 Influential Recruiting Assistant Coaches
As they should, head coaches get pretty much all of the credit for everything that transpires in a program. Aside from wins, head coaches also get credit for great recruiting classes.
However, it's really the assistants that do most of the leg work in recruiting. They're the ones going out school to school, hitting the roads and back channels looking for the next great player to lure to their program.
For this read, I'm just going to list 15 assistant coaches who play a vital role in recruiting at their school.
Jeff Scott, Clemson
Scott is Clemson's receivers coach and is one of the major reasons why the Tigers have increased their recruiting profile.
Clemson has two consecutive top 10 classes working right now, and Scott has brought them recent acquisitions such as Tony Steward, Charone Peake, Travis Blanks and Patrick Destefano.
His prime target this year is Kendall Fuller.
Trooper Taylor and Tommy Thigpen
Auburn has recruited very, very well under Gene Chizik, and that's thanks to Taylor and Thigpen.
Recently, Taylor has landed players like Zeke Pike, Jordan Diamond, Ricardo Louis, Ricky Parks, Quan Bray, Greg Robinson and Shon Coleman.
Thigpen was key in landing Enrique Florence, Darrion Hutcherson, Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy.
Lance Anderson, Stanford
Anderson not only coaches outside 'backers on The Farm, he coordinates the entire Cardinal recruiting efforts each year.
He personally brought Noor Davis and Andrus Peat to Stanford last cycle and has been an instrumental and influential figure in helping the Cardinal land great talent the past couple of seasons.
Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama
Pruitt works closely with Nick Saban, who is a DB coach by trade, and takes recruiting very, very seriously. Pruitt is the secondary coach for the Tide and does a great job.
On the trail, he has nabbed Chris Black, TJ Yeldon, Eddie Williams and Brent Calloway, among others, since coming to Tuscaloosa.
His prime target this year is Demarcus Walker.
Frank Wilson, LSU
Wilson is the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator for Les Miles. Rivals.com named him its "Recruiter of the Year" in 2011.
Zach Menttenberger, La'El Collins, Anthony Johnson and Jarvis Landry are all players for LSU that Wilson brought in.
Oh, he also brought in some unheralded DB who is now called the "Honey Badger."
Dameyune Craig, Florida State
Jimbo Fisher comes from the Nick Saban school of recruiting, and Craig is his right-hand man at FSU.
The QB coach of the Seminoles, Craig has been great at going into Alabama and taking away prospects from Auburn and UA.
He's landed players like Austin Golson, Justin Shanks and Jameis Winston and might be public enemy No. 1 in the Yellowhammer State.
Luke Fickell, Ohio State
Storm Klein, Ryan Shazier, Corey Brown and Dorian Bell are just a few players that Fickell has landed for OSU.
He also helped Urban Meyer seal the deal with Noah Spence and recruited Cameron Heyward in 2007.
Anytime Meyer has his eyes on a big target, he will likely deploy Fickell to work on the kid until a commitment is made to the Buckeyes.
Tosh Lupoi, Washington
Lupoi is a great recruiter and has now moved on to Washington from Cal. He coaches the defensive line, but hitting the trail is really where his value comes in.
He played a vital role in the recruitment of Jordan Payton, Shaq Thompson, Arik Armstead, Ellis McCarthy and several others.
Todd Barr, Viliami Moala, Mustafa Jalil, Brennan Scarlett and Keenan Allen are all players at Cal that Lupoi got commitments out of.
Kirby Smart, Alabama
It's only a matter of time before Smart leaves Tuscaloosa to be a head coach. I wouldn't be shocked if this is his last season as defensive chief for Alabama because Smart is that good of a coach and recruiter.
He got Reuben Foster to commit early and is the main recruiter for Robert Nkemdiche.
Kenyan Drake and Dillon were his gets last year, and he helped seal the deal early with Eddie Williams.
Smart was also instrumental in getting Courtney Upshaw to come to Alabama.
Todd Grantham, Georgia
When I worked with the Browns in the summer of 2007, Grantham was the defensive coordinator, and his animated coaching style has translated well to the recruiting trail in Athens.
In 2011, Ray Drew, Kent Turene and Johnathan Jenkins were all players Grantham landed for the Dawgs. He was also instrumental in the acquisition of Josh Harvey-Clemons.
Larry Johnson Sr., Penn State
The best hire Bill O'Brien made on his staff was the quick move to retain ace recruiter and defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr.
Johnson has been a staple of PSU football for years and has gotten players like Adam Breneman this year, along with Jared Odrick, Navarro Bowman and Aaron Maybin in the past.
If you're a big-name recruit and Penn State is on you, surely Johnson is playing the prime role in luring you to Happy Valley.
I'll go out on a limb and say that Johnson Sr. likely played a big role in recruiting his son to PSU, too.
Ed Orgeron, USC
Orgeron has been probably the most key figure in USC recruiting since the Trojans resurrected themselves in the early 2000s.
In both stints in Los Angeles, Orgeron has put together some of the best recruiting classes in the country.
The talent that the Trojans have assembled over the years via recruiting has been a direct effect of the recruiting prowess and reach of Orgeron, who serves as the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for USC.
Odell Haggins, Florida State
Haggins was the main coach instrumental in prying E.J. Levenberry away from the grip of Michigan a few weeks ago.
He coaches defensive line for the Seminoles and is a heck of a recruiter. Last year, Ronald Darby, Eddie Goldman and Dalvon Stuckey were Haggins' finds.
Timmy Jernigan and Karlos Williams were Haggins' top commits in 2011. The list can go on and on here, as Haggins is one of the best in the biz.
Greg Mattison, Michigan
Mattison was formerly the defensive coordinator for the Ravens and also has experience as an assistant at Notre Dame. Hiring him at Michigan was a genius and shrewd move by Brady Hoke.
Mattison got DeVeon Smith to commit this year, and last year he snatched up Kyle Kalis, Tom Strobel, Terry Richardson, Royce-Jenkins-Stone, Chris Wormely, James Ross and Jarrod Wilson.
Mattison is also credited with being the prime recruiter for Tim Tebow when he was at Florida.
D.J. Durkin, Florida
Durkin was named Rivals.com "National Recruiter of the Year" for his recruiting efforts in 2012 for the Florida Gators.
He coaches linebackers in Gainesville, but he landed Brian Poole, D.J. Humphries, Jessamen Dunker, Rhaheim Ledbetter, Johnathan Bullard and Dante Phillips last cycle.
This year he's working on Tyrone Crowder, while also holding a commitment from Daniel McMillan.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a college football and NFL draft magazine.
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