Best Coach vs. Coach Recruiting Battles Set to Take Place in 2014
This 2014 recruiting cycle should be another intense and competitive year of recruiting. There are so many variables that figure to play major roles in setting the scene for this cycle and one of those are the coach vs. coach recruiting battles.
There figures to be some heavyweight coaching slug matches for recruits until February 2014. Coach vs. coach recruiting battles can get heated due to personal rivalries between coaches, past history, rivalries between schools, recruiting the same players and being in close proximity to one another.
This read will look at several of the best coach vs. coach recruiting battles set to take place in 2014 college football recruiting. Some of the top coaches in the country are currently preparing for the upcoming 2013 season as well as looming slug fests with other heavyweight coaches on the 2014 recruiting trail.
Butch Jones (Tennessee) vs. Mark Stoops (Kentucky)
Both of these coaches are in their first full recruiting year and they're both looking to make a big splash immediately.
It's important in SEC recruiting to firmly plant your flag in year one so that the rest of the coaches know you mean business. With these two schools being pretty close to one another, they're bound to recruit many of the same players, notably QB Drew Barker.
It's going to be very interesting to see which of these two head coaches has the better recruiting class because Stoops and Jones will be going head to head for several recruits.
Dabo Swinney (Clemson) vs. the Coaches in the South
Clemson isn't in the SEC, but the Tigers recruit many of the same recruits that the SEC powers go after.
So SEC teams not only have to fend off their conference foes and national powers like USC and Notre Dame, but Clemson is another rival recruiting school.
Swinney is a passionate recruiter who's already gone into Miami and gotten top-tier RB prospect Dalvin Cook. He's a threat to many SEC schools and he figures to be battling many of them for recruits in 2014.
Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss) vs. Dan Mullen (Mississippi State) & the Rest of the SEC
There's a ton of talk about Ole Miss' staying power on the recruiting trail right now. Can the Rebels sustain the recruiting quality that they had last year? Or did Hugh Freeze and his staff get lucky?
Mullen certainly will not just let his main rivals have another banner year and become the "it" school in the state. So look for the Bulldogs and Rebels to be going head to head in a fierce manner in 2014.
The rest of the SEC also will be involved, as Ole Miss is making a lot of headway in many people's backyards. So SEC recruiting will only intensify in 2014.
Les Miles (LSU) vs. Mack Brown (Texas)
LSU's main recruiting approach each year is to lock up its state first and then reach around the other states in the South for more talent.
A state that it appears the Tigers are going to start reaching into deeper is Texas. Mack Brown surely won't like this, as he already has to deal with other schools coming into his state for recruits.
This year Les Miles' club has already taken Edward Paris, a talented DB from Texas. I don't think Miles is done in the Long Star State and that means some good LSU vs. Texas recruiting battles figure to take place this year.
Mack Brown (Texas) vs. Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M)
Brown's main recruiting rival used to be Oklahoma, but I believe right now that it's Texas A&M. The Aggies really have cranked up things in College Station and pose a major threat to Texas' recruiting empire.
The Aggies signed a higher ranked class than their big brother in 2013 and also had a top 10 class in 2012, too. So if they sign another higher ranked class than Texas in 2014, does that mean they're the new kings of the Lone Star State recruiting trail?
Right now, 247Sports ranks Texas A&M's class No.1 and Texas' class No. 2 for 2014 recruiting.
Lane Kiffin (USC) vs. Jim Mora (UCLA)
The Bruins got the best of USC on the field last season and followed it up with a higher ranked recruiting class for 2013. This 2014 class is critical for the Trojans, both on and off the field.
Jim Mora has the charisma and staff to challenge and oppose Lane Kiffin and USC's recruiting dominance over UCLA. The Bruins won't be backing down from USC for recruits in Los Angeles and on the West Coast.
This Trojans have to come back with a vengeance this year or UCLA be taking Los Angeles over full time and that's what Mora fully intends to do.
Urban Meyer (Ohio State) vs. Brady Hoke (Michigan) vs. Brian Kelly (Notre Dame)
Well, after the finish to the 2012 class and then the 2013 class, it's safe to say Urban Meyer is going to recruit all right for Ohio State (I'm being sarcastic by the way).
Naturally, the Wolverines and Buckeyes will be going after many of the same recruits and that will only continue the rivalry between both superpowers.
Enter Brian Kelly, who has Notre Dame back among the elite both on the field and on the the recruiting trail. The Irish will recruit nationally as well as going after many of the same Midwestern players Meyer and Brady Hoke will fight over.
Looks like we'll have several three-way recruiting showdowns in 2014 between these three coaches.
Al Golden (Miami) vs. Jimbo Fisher (Florida State) vs. Will Muschamp (Florida)
Muschamp won the annual "Big Three Florida Schools Recruiting Battle," as he signed the highest ranked class of the three.
This year, things could be different, as Golden has pried away James Coley, a stud recruiter, from Florida State to help juice up the 'Canes' efforts. Coley and Golden have already took RB recruit Joseph Yearby from Fisher.
All three schools know they pose serious threats to one another and will be recruiting many of the same players. This will be a three-man royal rumble between all three head coaches on the recruiting trail.
Nick Saban (Alabama) vs. Jimbo Fisher (Florida State) vs. Gus Malzahn (Auburn)
This battle royale figures to be the most intense recruiting run in the country this year due to the location of the three schools and the staffs.
Fisher hired away Jeremy Pruitt from Alabama to be the defensive chief at Florida State, so it's widely expected Pruitt will go after a lot of players in 'Bama's territory. Fisher also saw Malzahn take Dameyune Craig from the 'Noles staff to join Auburn as co-offensive coordinator.
Craig was known as an Alabama-raider during his days in Tallahassee and his presence is a threat to Saban's program on the trail.
Speaking of Saban, he's no stranger at recruiting Florida so Fisher will be tangled up with him for recruits too. All three programs will want to get talent from both Alabama and Florida, which will set up an intense three-school battle in 2014.
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.