Staff continuity is one of the more underrated keys to success in college football. Keeping key assistants on staff is especially hard for teams that win at the highest level.
Alabama is finding that out this offseason.
Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland left Tuscaloosa to join Chip Kelly's staff on the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month, and former secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt left the Crimson Tide to become the defensive coordinator at Florida State in late December.
A third member of the Crimson Tide staff has decided to move on from T-Town, and it's a very key member.
Wide receivers coach Mike Groh has decided to take the same position with the Chicago Bears of the NFL, according to a report from BamaOnline.com. Florida State tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Billy Napier, who was hired by the Seminoles in January, will take over as Alabama's wide receivers coach.
Groh's departure will impact Alabama's recruiting.
Sure, Napier is no rookie when it comes to recruiting; but Groh is a flat-out stud. He was instrumental in flipping 247Sports.com 5-star lineman A'Shawn Robinson, 5-star wide receiver Robert Foster, 4-star defensive tackle Dee Liner, 4-star running back Altee Tenpenny and 3-star offensive tackle Brandon Hill.
Recruiting to Tuscaloosa isn't the hardest job in the world. After all, flash that crystal football and show the results from recent NFL drafts and recruits will understandably flock. However, when 18 of 247Sports.com's top 50 recruiters in the country are in the same conference and eight more are in the SEC's footprint in other conferences, it helps to have the top dog on staff.
This comes on the heels of the departures of Stoutland and Pruitt, both of whom were also critical pieces of Alabama's recruiting puzzle.
Stoutland's ties to South Florida were instrumental in landing wide receiver Amari Cooper in 2012. He was also the recruiter of record for recent signee Leon Brown, who will likely step in for D.J. Fluker at right tackle for the 2013 Crimson Tide. Stoutland was replaced by Mario Cristobal, which is a fantastic hire for head coach Nick Saban and company, both for schematic and recruiting purposes.
Pruitt was named one of the nation's top 25 recruiters by Rivals.com in 2012 and was a big part of Alabama's recruiting success along the gulf coast in the Florida panhandle, Alabama and Mississippi.
Is Alabama going to drop back to the middle of the pack in the SEC as a result of Groh's departure?
Of course not.
However, his departure, coupled with the departure of two other key assistants, certainly will have an impact on the Tide's recruiting efforts moving forward. Well, at least until the new recruiting rules allow the support staff to recruit starting on Aug. 1.