Tennessee Football: 5 Best Recruiters the Vols Could Hire as New Coach
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Tennessee has been without a head coach for a week now, and the rumors have been swirling about potential candidates since before Derek Dooley was fired.
Based on the reports of many media members, Tennessee would like to have a new head coach in place sometime during the upcoming week.
Whoever takes over the job in Knoxville will have less than two months to hold onto current recruits and work on getting new ones into the fold. So which potential coaches would be the best recruiters for the University of Tennessee? Let's take a look.
Disclaimer: in order to be selected for this list, a coach must be a legitimate candidate.
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Strong was finally given his head coaching opportunity three years ago by the University of Louisville. During that time, he has improved the Cardinals to the point where they won 10 games this season and will play in the Sugar Bowl.
The 52-year-old coach spent 16 years on staff at the University of Florida and created numerous ties within recruiting circles inside the state. While his recruiting classes at Louisville have yet to crack the top 25, he has been able to convince quite a bit of talent from the state of Florida to migrate north.
Strong signed 10 4-star athletes in his first three signing classes at Louisville, six of which hail from the Sunshine State.
While some may look upon the lack of a top 25 class as a major problem, one must remember that he was recruiting these players to Louisville and not an SEC school.
Given Strong's ties to the SEC and the state of Florida, he could do some damage on the recruiting trail for the orange and white.
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Fisher has been in Tallahassee since 2007, working as the head coach since 2010. As a head coach, Fisher has put together three signing classes. None of those have finished outside of the top 10, including the No. 2 class in 2011.
Obviously, Florida State has a very large recruiting base to pull from with all of the high school talent in Florida. Being one of the major in-state schools gives it an edge over the competition.
Fisher, however, has been a great salesman during his time at FSU. Additionally, he has spent time during his coaching career working in the SEC. The 47-year-old spent six seasons as the quarterbacks coach at Auburn and seven more as the offensive coordinator at LSU.
Ties to the state of Florida plus previous SEC coaching experience give Fisher an edge on most of the other candidates in terms of recruiting.
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Golden was hired two years ago to take over the Miami program only to have a scandal rock the program shortly after he had taken the job.
Against all odds, Golden elected to stick around in Coral Gables and take on the challenges that would be thrown his way.
His first Miami class was not particularly strong, but given a full year to assemble a signing class, Golden pulled in the ninth-best class in the country.
With all of the potential sanctions that university is currently facing, he was still able to convince some of the top high school talent in the country to sign up for four years. A coach that can sell that program can surely succeed on the recruiting trail in the SEC.
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After failing as an NFL head coach, the younger Mora took to the college game and took over in Los Angeles.
He immediately turned in a top 15 class and is in the process of putting together another one.
Mora's name carries instant credibility because of his NFL background, and that would be a major selling point for him on the recruiting trail. Mixing his NFL pedigree with a program like Tennessee that has churned out a large chunk of NFL talent, and it would be a potentially deadly combination.
Plus, Mora has a commitment for the upcoming class from Christian Morris, a 4-star offensive lineman from Memphis. Tennessee has trouble getting top Memphis talent to travel across the state to play for the Vols, yet Mora has been able to talk a Memphis athlete into traveling out to Los Angeles.
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Smart is the only candidate on this list that isn't a current head coach in the college game, nor has he been a head coach at any point in his career. He is also the only non-head coach that has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the job.
During his career, Smart has worked at three different SEC schools (Georgia, LSU and Alabama) learning the ins and outs of recruiting inside the most cutthroat conference in college football.
On top of that, he's spent the last six seasons working at Alabama under Nick Saban and has been instrumental in constructing the Tide's recruiting classes.
While it's unknown how Smart would do on his own as a head coach, Saban's disciples have done a pretty good job on the recruiting trail in the past.