Urban Meyer and 6 College Football Coaches Who Love to Poach Committed Recruits

David LutherFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2012

Urban Meyer and 6 College Football Coaches Who Love to Poach Committed Recruits

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    New Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer came under attack early on for his poaching tactics, and the battle seemed to only gain steam as the days and weeks passed.

    It finally came to a head when committed Michigan recruit Logan Tuley-Tillman received a letter from Ohio State. Without even bothering to open the letter, Tuley-Tillman torched it in a symbolic act to signify to the world that The Rivalry is as bitter as ever.

    After Tuley-Tillman posted a picture of the burning of an unopened Ohio State stationary envelope on Twitter, the Ohio State Nation began oozing class with death threats and issuing bounties.

    This got us thinking.

    Besides Urban Meyer at Ohio State—who apparently upset the Big Ten recruiting applecart—which FBS coaches love to troll the early commit lists of other schools for poachable high school talent?

    How many other coaches are being “unethical, in the end,” to quote Michigan State's Mark Dantonio?

    Here's our listing of the six other coaches who love to poach committed recruits.

Nick Saban

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    It's no secret that Nick Saban is one of the very best recruiters in the nation.

    Apparently, even he thinks so.

    Saban, believing that he can do no wrong, spent 90 minutes Skyping with a Georgia 2013 commit, quarterback Brice Ramsey.

    And just so we don't think Saban is alone in trying to poach Ramsey, Urban Meyer has also been in contact with the four-star quarterback from Kingsland, Georgia.

Lane Kiffin

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    College football recruiting in California is essentially a microcosm of the larger college football world.

    While there are some top national recruits that find their way to USC, UCLA, Stanford and Cal, there's enough talent in the Golden State to fill out most rosters with some jaw-dropping talent.

    So is it any surprise to find stories about USC trying to poach players from Berkeley?

    We'll give Kiffin a little bit of a pass, though. He's still dealing with NCAA sanctions that limit the number of scholarships he can hand out per year.

    With a limit of 15 recruits for 2013, USC needs to be very, very picky with who eventually signs those letters of intent.

    But you'd think a program like USC, with a coach like Kiffin, could find 15 amazing future football stars who were still uncommitted.

Mack Brown

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    When Mack Brown received a nice contract extension, even after the past couple of lackluster seasons, it put any rumors of his retirement to rest—for now.

    But when when UT's The Daily Texan comes out with an article entitled “Brown proves contract extension justified by hauling in top-notch recruiting class,” it makes you wonder what about that recruiting class was so special.

    Turns out part of the reason was the poaching of several recruits from programs besting Texas' 13-12 record over the past two seasons.

    Sure, Brown finagled his way to a No. 2 Scout.com recruiting class rankings (behind only Michigan) and found himself with a contract extension that now runs through 2020.

    But it's how he got those recruits that is raising eyebrows.

Bill O'Brien

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    It didn't take long for new Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien to make a few recruiting waves.

    And he didn't even have to leave the state of Pennsylvania to do it, either.

    Even before 2012's National Signing Day was in the books, O'Brien was already working to steal away some top commits from other programs, including Pitt QB commit Chad Voytik.

    That didn't work out in favor of the Nittany Lions, as Voytik signed with the Panthers, but it gave us a very early glimpse of how recruiting will be handled under the O'Brien regime in Happy Valley.

    But what separates O'Brien from Meyer at Ohio State is the fact that O'Brien's poaching seems to be limited to non-Big Ten programs...for now.

Jimbo Fisher

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    Florida State is one of the biggest programs in the nation, so it's no surprise that some of the top recruits from the talent-rich state of Florida have the Seminoles at or near the top of their respective lists.

    Apparently some recruits like to nail down a “safe school” while they wait for a better gig to come along. And some coaches don't take too kindly to that.

    During the 2011 recruiting cycle, Geogia Tech rescinded Tre Jackson's scholarship offer after the verbal commit began drawing interest from Jimbo Fisher at Florida State.

    Interest is one thing, but once you commit to Georgia Tech, Paul Johnson thinks that should be the end of your recruiting journey.

    After Fisher invited Jackson to Tallahassee, Johnson cut Jackson loose.

    Jackson later signed his LOI with Florida State.

Steve Sarkisian

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    One thing that upset the Big Ten coaches so much about Meyer's poaching was the fact that it was Big Ten on Big Ten violence.

    We all know the SEC is a cut-throat environment and the Big Ten is a stuffy, arm chair-laden cigar smoking room by comparison. But, if we had to guess, we would have placed the Pac-12 more in line with the Big Ten's cognac-sipping mentality than the beer-can-against-the-forehead beliefs of the Southeastern Conference.

    When it comes to Washington's Steve Sarkisian, we were apparently mistaken.

    Sarkisian made some waves out West when he poached the defensive line coach, Tosh Lupoi, from Cal.

    That has led to top defensive recruit Shaq Thompson (ranked No. 16 on the ESPNU 150 list) to switch his commitment from Cal to Washington.

    Because he was able to go one step further—poaching a coach that led to the poaching of a top, blue chip recruit—Sarkisian gets a special mention on our list.