Best Head Coach/Assistant Coach Recruiting Combinations in College Football
Using the NFL as a model, in college football, the head coach is not only that but also is the general manager of the team. The assistant coaches do not just coach their positions, but also serve as area scouts for high school prospects.
Head coaches get all of the accolades and attention on signing day when press conferences are held to discuss each program's recruiting class. However, the people that do most of the leg work are assistant coaches.
You may not know many of the true top recruiters because they aren't head coaches or simply because they are not allowed to talk to the press. However, these guys are well known in the recruiting underworld and when they are aligned with the right head coach, serious results can come to fruition via recruiting.
Here are the best head coach-assistant coach recruiting combinations in the country right now.
Any Head Coach and Tosh Lupoi
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Remember last year when Cal had a top 10 recruiting class a few weeks before signing day? Well that was pretty much all thanks to Lupoi.
Once Steve Sarkisian snatched up the defensive line coach from Cal to join him in Washington, the Bears' class simply fell apart. Now, Lupoi is Sark's ace recruiter and has helped the Huskies get a potential top 25 class this year.
Lupoi is noted for being able to relate to players and strike great personal relationships with anybody.
Brian Kelly with Chuck Martin and Tony Alford (Notre Dame)
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Kelly has proven that he can recruit well at Notre Dame and two of his top assistants are his offensive coordinator Martin and running backs coach Alford.
These two can be credited for landing commitments like Greg Bryant, Tarean Folston, Hunter Bivin, Colin McGovern and Michael Heuerman.
With Notre Dame having a top five class on my board, Kelly will surely get most of the credit but he knows that these two are a big reason for the Golden Domers' recruiting success.
Kevin Sumlin with David Beaty and Clarence McKinney (Texas A&M)
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Kevin Sumlin has raided the recruiting trail for 34 commitments this year and he's done an excellent job of running Aggie recruiting. Yet, he owes a lot to David Beaty and Clarence McKinney.
Beaty is the wide receivers coach for A&M, while McKinney runs the running back room and coordinates the program's recruiting efforts. Both assistants work tirelessly and got players like Ricky Seals-Jones, Derrick Griffin, Reggie Chevis, Kameron Miles and LaQuvionte Gonzalez to commit.
A&M is a rising power and Sumlin would be wise to keep these two guys around.
Mark Richt with John Lilly and Rodney Garner (Georgia)
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Lilly is the Tight End's coach for UGA and Garner is the recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach. Both of these guys are great for Mark Richt and play large roles in luring talent to Athens.
This year alone they've notched commitments from talent like Shaq Wiggins, Tramel Terry, Reggie Davis, Tray Matthews and John Atkins.
Garner sets the recruiting plan each year and monitors everything, while Lilly and the rest of the Dawg assistants attack the trail.
Jimbo Fisher with Odell Haggins, Dameyune Craig & Rick Trickett (Florida State)
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Craig is the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator for Fisher at Florida State. He's the man that is responsible for why the 'Noles have done so well in Alabama, particularly in landing 2012 quarterback Jameis Winston.
Haggins, who coaches the defensive line, is known for evaluating prospects extremely well and striking great relationships with players and families. Trickett runs the offensive line for FSU and is one of the most convincing coaches in the country.
In fact, Trickett is probably the main reason why five-star tackle Laremy Tunsil is still considering FSU.
Urban Meyer with Luke Fickell and Mike Vrabel (Ohio State)
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Vrabel coaches the linebackers and it's been a little surprising how quickly the former NFL 'backer has become a great recruiter.
He helped get Noah Spence last year and this year commitments like Joey Bosa and Michael Hill are his guys and he also helped flip Gareon Conley.
Fickell is a devout Buckeye and goes around the recruiting trail selling the university and program to anyone who listens.
There's a reason Urban Meyer kept him around when he was hired and Fickell is known in the business to be an awesome recruiter. Meyer himself is one of the best recruiting head coaches of all time.
Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison (Michigan)
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When Hoke was hired, there were some questions about if he could recruit up to Michigan's standards. His first class was solid, but these last two haul have been outstanding.
Mattison is the defensive coordinator and part of the reason he came to Michigan from the Baltimore Ravens is because he loves to recruit.
Mattison can evaluate prospects well and does an excellent job of promoting the family feel to each recruit he targets.
Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron (USC)
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Orgeron coordinates USC's recruiting, coaches the defensive line and also serves as Kiffin's top assistant. He and Kiffin actually compete with each other on how hard they work in recruiting and these two are a lethal combo.
Kiffin is a former recruiting coordinator himself, so he loves this aspect of running a program as a head coach. The two were Pete Carroll's top two recruiting assistants when he was head coach and are the main reason why USC's recruiting has stayed among the elite in the nation after Carroll's departure.
Nick Saban with Anyone (Alabama)
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Saban does a lot of evaluating personally of prospects. Love him or hate him, the guy is a tireless worker and probably the best college head coach in the country.
Saban has had assistants like Will Muschamp, Jeremy Pruitt, Kirby Smart, Chris Rumph, Burton Burns and Jeff Stoutland among many others achieve recruiting glory under him.
While his assistants go do much of the leg work, Saban is the face of Alabama recruiting without a doubt and the results speak for themselves.
Will Muschamp with D.J. Durkin, Dan Quinn and Brian White (Florida)
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Muschamp made a shrewd move by quickly hiring Joker Phillips as his recruiting coordinator. Phillips will undoubtedly give another boost to Gator recruiting going forward.
Yet, Florida has several stars in the recruiting world between their special teams coordinator in Durkin, defensive chief in Quinn and running backs coach in White. While the whole staff gets after it in recruiting, these three guys have really gotten results for Florida this year.
Muschamp has great energy and also uses a lot of methods he learned from Mack Brown and Nick Saban when approaching recruiting. Throw all that in a pot, along with the combination of great recruiting assistant coaches and you see why Florida has the No. 1 class in the country right now.
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.