The 5 Best Recruiters Up for Head Coaching Jobs

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IDecember 6, 2012

The 5 Best Recruiters Up for Head Coaching Jobs

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    As AD, when you are embarking on the process of hiring the head coach of your football team, one of the many important and critical characteristics your hire must have is to be a great recruiter.

    This year, there have been several high-profile job openings.

    Programs like Tennessee and Colorado are still looking for a coach, while Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky, Cal and NC State have made hires.

    In this piece, we'll look at the five best recruiters that are up for head coaching jobs during the hiring season.

5. Butch Jones

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    Jones had a chance to get the Purdue job, then Colorado made a run at him.

    He's pretty much turned down both schools, and now has accepted the Tennessee job according to ESPN..

    Jones was  solid in Cincinnati, and recruited about as well as one can in that area. Don't forget, Jones was really working on Adolphus Washington last year.

    Jones knows how to recruit the solid talent in the state of Ohio, along with parts of the South. Giving him the resources that a high-profile BCS program like Tennessee  can provide, he may be a home run hire for the Vols on Rocky Top.

4. Mark Stoops

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    Stoops already got the head coaching job at Kentucky, and out of all the new coaching hires, he has the best experience at recruiting big-time prospects.

    He's learned plenty about how to hunt big game at Florida State, and I'm sure he'll use a lot of what Jimbo Fisher does in recruiting while in Lexington.

    Stoops could be the man to jump-start UK football. His experience of bringing in elite talent at a program like Florida State will serve him well.

3. Bobby Petrino

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    Hiring Petrino would bring some "clutter" because of his baggage, but the guy is a winner and is one of the best offensive play-callers in football—college or the NFL.

    Aside from that, Petrino can recruit and is a good evaluator. He can survey the landscape, attack areas where he knows he can get talent from, coach them up and win your program some games.

    As an AD, with Petrino, you understand that he has skeletons in his closet (like all of us do), yet you know he can run a program and win.

2. Butch Davis

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    I don't know if Davis will get a job this hiring season, but we all saw what he did as a recruiter in Miami, and again at North Carolina.

    If I were in charge at South Florida, he'd be a guy on my short list.

    Davis has great experience recruiting in Florida, has the confidence to challenge Will Muschamp and Jimbo Fisher for prospects, and has also won a lot of games.

    Tennessee and Colorado would be wise to consider Davis.

1. Kirby Smart

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    I thought Smart would have been target No. 1 over Gus Malzahn for the job at Auburn, but the Tigers went with the offensive guy.

    Tennessee could be the school where Smart gets his shot, but he seems fine staying at Alabama a little longer.

    Smart is a disciple of Nick Saban and has helped build some of the best recruiting classes in recent memory.

    Not only is Smart the defensive coordinator at Alabama, he is also one of Saban's best recruiting lieutenants.

    It's no shock that Smart is the guy Saban has assigned to recruit Robert Nkemdiche, per Rivals.com. O.J. Howard and Tyren Jones are Smart's commitments, as were Courtney Upshaw, Adrian Hubbard, DeMarcus Milliner, Eddie Williams, Dillon Lee and Kenyan Drake.

    He's the top recruiter up for a head coaching job this year, without question.

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He 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 (formerly 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.