The Top 5 New Sheriffs on the 2013 College Football Recruiting Trail

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IJuly 11, 2012

The Top 5 New Sheriffs on the 2013 College Football Recruiting Trail

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    In college football recruiting, we have our normal powerhouse recruiting schools like Alabama, USC, Florida, Texas and more. Year in and year out, these schools haul in the best classes and sit a top the recruiting rankings.

    Well, a good portion of that is thanks to their coaches. The Nick Sabans, Lane Kffins, Mack Browns, Jimbo Fishers and even now Dabo Swinneys are known on the trail and have big time pull.

    For this read, I'm going to give you five new sheriffs that are establishing themselves well on the recruiting trail side of things college football.

5. Larry Fedora (North Carolina)

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    Fedora has a ton of energy and enthusiasm to really get things going on Chapel Hill. I've called the UNC program a sleeping giant in the past, and Fedora is showing that he feels the same way.

    Right now, the first-year coach has a top 25 recruiting class per ESPNU and is really bent on locking up talent inside the Tar Heel State.

    Fedora has 11 pledges, and three are inside the top ESPNU 300. Clearly, there is a new sheriff in the Carolina region. 

4. Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss)

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    Ole Miss sits in a football state, and there is talent for it to pipeline into Oxford. Look for Freeze to start doing just that as well, reaching out nationally for prospects. 

    A former offensive coordinator, Freeze is a talented coach with good charisma that should eventually pay off in recruiting. He was very close in landing Robert Nkemdiche this year, and I think he'll get Antonio Conner before Signing Day.

    Freeze has a 14 commit class, and six are 4-star prospects, per ESPNU.

3. Bill O'Brien (Penn State)

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    Well, so much for Penn State struggling in recruiting due to the Jerry Sandusky situation, Joe Patern's passing and Bill O'Brien having very little experience as a head coach and recruiter.

    O'Brien did the smart thing by keeping recruiting ace Larry Johnson, Sr., not only to coach his DL, but as his main recruiting coordinator.

    O'Brien has netted himself 14 commits, with five being inside the ESPNU 300. QB Christian Hackenburg leads a group that includes eight 4-star prospects. 

2. Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M)

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    Sumlin did well last cycle in 2012, as he really worked hard in keeping together most of Mike Sherman's top 10 class while adding pieces of his own.

    Now, the Aggie class is all Sumlin and his staff's doing. Per ESPNU, they have a 24 commit class, with six inside the ESPNU 300.

    As they move into the SEC and lock up with the likes of LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Georgia, Sumlin is going to have to show he can constantly recruit with some dominant rival SEC sheriffs.

1. Brady Hoke (Michigan)

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    Yes, I know Hoke showed last year that he had "new recruiting sheriff" ability. Yet this year has been his coming out party because it proves that last year was not an aberration.

    Hoke has the No. 1 class in the country, and he is re-stocking the Michigan roster with elite talent. He's also basically told the country that if you want to recruit in the Midwest, you're going to have to deal with him, as that is going to be his main territory while in Ann Arbor.

    Hoke has recruited so well over the past two cycles that I'll go as far as to say that he is on pace to join the elite recruiting head coaches of college football in the very near future.

    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, and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL draft magazine.