CFB Recruiting 2013: 6 First-Year Coaches Who Could Have Top-25 Classes
Being a head coach in Year 1 at a program is always a tough task. You are basically coaching the old coach's players, whom you did not recruit. In many cases, those players likely don't fit your scheme and need to be introduced to a whole new way of doing things.
However, many coaches jump at the chance to take over a program, and recruiting in Year 1 can either go really well or really badly. I want to use this Labor Day to focus on the recruiting that is going really well for first-year head coaches. I have identified six of them who could end up with a Top-25 recruiting class.
Come inside to take a quick look at the six and see how they are doing on the trail.
6. Larry Fedora (North Carolina)
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Fedora is in Year 1 as the top coach in Chapel Hill. He has a great amount of enthusiasm, and it has netted good results on the recruiting trail in his first full cycle.
The former Southern Miss coach has 18 commitments right now, and his class is led by DT Greg Webb, CB Brian Walker and QB Mitch Trubisky.
ESPNU currently ranks Fedora's class No. 16 in the country.
5. Rich Rodriguez (Arizona)
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Rich-Rod has resurfaced in the desert, and he's doing pretty well on the recruiting trail for his first time pounding the west back channels for prospects. Rodriguez is at Arizona and is installing his way of doing things in Tucson.
Scout.com ranks his class No. 18 in their rankings, and it is led by 6'1", 170-pound CB Derek Babiash. With 25 commitments, Rodriguez has done a great job of getting players who fit his systems and could find himself speaking about a Top-25 class next February.
4. Jim Mora Jr. (UCLA)
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Mora got the Bruins off to a great start Aug. 30 by blasting Rice. Scout.com ranks Mora's 2013 class 23rd overall, which comes on the heels of the No. 12 class he landed for UCLA last year.
This 2013 class is a smaller group at just 11 commitments, but seven of the pledges are 4-star recruits. I like OLB/DE Deon Hollins Jr. as a pass-rusher, Craig Lee is a good RB and Erik Bunte is a big 6'7", 310-pound OL with good upside.
3. Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss)
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Freeze isn't the biggest Steve Spurrier fan these days, but better vibes are going to be felt in Oxford going forward. The Rebels have a coach whom I think can do a solid job for them.
With 18 commitments and four being inside the ESPNU 300, Freeze has the No. 21 class in the country, per ESPNU, right now. Led by WR Dannon Cavil and QBs Devante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan, this is a great group for Ole Miss.
2. Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M)
Sumlin left Houston to take the gig in College Station, and due to the Hurricane Isaac, he has yet to coach the Aggies in their first game.
Sumlin will now lead the Aggies out for their first game versus Florida this Saturday in what figures to be one of the best matchups of the weekend. Sumlin's recruiting has gone pretty well for 2013, where his class is ranked No. 13 by ESPNU. WRs Derrick Griffin and Laquvionte Gonzalez lead a group that also features DT Isaiah Golden, among others.
1. Urban Meyer (Ohio State)
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Meyer has lit up the Buckeyes' recruiting and has a Top-Five class for 2013, per ESPNU. He has a slew of studs in his class, including ATH Jalin Marshall, CBs Eli Woodard and Cam Burrows, along with promising QB J.T. Barrett.
Meyer will look find a good balance of getting speed from his old Florida grounds and connections, along with still making sure homegrown Ohio talent is funneled to him in Columbus.
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.