5 College Football Coaches Who Have Lost Their Recruiting Touch
Recruiting is almost as important to a program as winning games is. Landing a great class year in and year out has to be among the top priorities for a head coach, especially in the major conferences.
If a program wants to compete annually for BCS conference titles, BCS bowls and to get in the title game, then they must have a roster of exceptional talent. The way to get talent is through recruiting, so a coach must have a really good "recruiting touch."
There's two sides to every coin, though, so there are some coaches who are leading programs today that may not have a good recruiting touch and may have even lost it.
Here are five coaches who fit that profile right now.
Charlie Strong, Louisville
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Strong is the head coach at Louisville, but he made his recruiting hay during his days at Florida. As the Gators defensive chief, he helped bring in some memorable classes.
It was expected that he would ignite Louisville recruiting, but Strong hasn't exactly done that just yet.
Sure, he's brought in prospects like QB Teddy Bridgewater, DB Gerod Holliman and WRs James Quick and Richard Benjamin, but Strong hasn't really brought in an impressive class as a whole.
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Dantonio signed what ESPNU ranks as the 35th-best class in the country this year. The Spartans never have been a recruiting juggernaut, but Dantonio's touch on the trail was once solid.
That touch now continues to dissolve, as both Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer clearly have the Midas Touch on the recruiting trail.
Dantonio needs to find a way to get a jolt for MSU on the recruiting trail because if not, then the talent difference between the Spartans when compared to Michigan and Ohio State will be too great to overcome for years.
Gary Pinkel, Missouri
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
In 2012, Pinkel really brought in a solid class and it looked like he had found his recruiting touch. There was the helicopter trip to see Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation's No. 1 prospect, and his signing with the Tigers.
Pinkel also used his touch to lure QB Maty Mauk, C Evan Boehm and LB Donavin Newsom to sign with Mizzou. We figured that his 2013 class would be another good class.
We were wrong, as Pinkel's touch was not present in 2013. The Tigers signed what's generally considered the second-worst recruiting class in the SEC.
Maybe 2014 will be more like 2012.
Lane Kiffin, USC
Harry How/Getty Images
Kiffin is one of the top recruiting head coaches in the country and has always shown a good recruiting touch. Yet in 2013, it clearly was gone, and it may not come back.
The Trojans had the No. 1 class in the country last summer, then they got rocked by de-commitment after de-commitment. At least seven players during the 2013 cycle committed to USC only to back off that pledge and sign elsewhere.
The Trojans' class was still good, but USC is accustomed to signing "excellent" recruiting classes. The dying recruiting flame could be because Kiffin and trusted aide Ed Orgeron have lost their touch as recruiters.
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
R. Yeatts/Getty Images
Did you know that, according to the ESPNU, for recruiting class rankings over the past five recruiting years/classes, Oklahoma only has one top-10 class? The Sooners had the nation's No. 5 class in 2010.
To add to that, this 2013 class was the lowest-ranked class of the past five years, as ESPNU ranked it 20th.
That's clear evidence that Bob Stoops may be losing his recruiting touch. Oklahoma's classes have been strong but not up to the classic OU standards that we've become used to during Stoops' tenure in Norman.
His recruiting touch may be fading from him.
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.