Credibility is everything on the recruiting trail.
Some coaches have it. Others, not so much.
Some are in the process of gaining it, while others are one negative news story, comment or loss away from losing it.
If a coach does not have credibility on the recruiting trail, then how can a recruit be comfortable about giving said coach his commitment? Recruiting is a two way street, and recruits want to know that you're going to deliver on what you say.
There are recruits out there that want to know that a coach is a good guy with morals, and that he'll treat them like family. Others find credibility in wins and losses. Some judge credibility based on the number of championship rings that a coach has on his fingers.
It's measured in many ways, but there's one thing that's certain: Every coach wants it, but not every coach has it.
Based on this rather loose criterion, here are the 10 current college football coaches with the most credibility on the recruiting trail:
I debated putting Brady Hoke on this list, but he does have one extremely credible quality about him: He believes.
You can point to the fact that he hasn't won anything of substance, and you can say that he's more of a motivator than a coach, but I don't think that matters when you realize how his enthusiasm and dedication to the program impacts recruits.
He believes that in order to play at Michigan, you have to be a "Michigan Man", and he believes in that program with his whole heart.
Hoke probably bleeds maize and blue, and that type of respect, admiration and excitement for a program really plays well on the recruiting trail.
Hoke can get recruits to believe in Michigan just as much as he does, and that my friends, is credibility.
I've read a lot of great things about coach Mark Richt as a person, and in my personal opinion, that gives him a lot of credibility on the recruiting trail.
You have to remember this about recruiting: These players are not only picking a football team, but they're picking a family. This is the group of people that they'll spend the next four to five years of their lives with, and they will be connected to the organization forever.
The coach often times sets the tone of that family, and knowing Richt is in charge can sway over some recruits—especially ones that are looking for a good family atmosphere.
In 12 seasons at Georgia, Richt has amassed a 118-40 record and a 8-4 bowl record.
Jim Mora is doing great things on the recruiting trail at UCLA, and it could be argued that he has the Bruins set up to pass the USC Trojans as the marquee football program in Southern California.
That's presumably the goal at least, and Mora is doing a terrific job both on the field and on the recruiting trail.
What really establishes Mora as credible is the fact that he's coached in the NFL, where he experienced some success. He coached the Atlanta Falcons from 2004-2006 and left with a record of 26-22 with one playoff win.
The real credibility in recruiting comes from the fact that he knows the NFL. He can tell recruits exactly what it takes to get to the NFL. He knows what the expectations are, he knows what coaches are looking for in the draft, and he has a very real sense of what it will take for a college football player to make it to the next level.
That's invaluable information for a recruit, and it's instant credibility.
Frank Beamer has been at Virginia Tech for 20 years. His record is 216-104-2, and he's coached in 20 bowl games, winning nine of them.
I could stop writing at this point and the slide would be complete.
Anybody who has success at something for a long period of time should be deemed credible, and being the head coach at Virginia Tech is no small feat.
Beamer has had a ton of success, and he's probably forgotten more football than I could ever dream to know.
As a recruit, how do you not pay attention when Beamer calls?
Add on to that the fact that he, like Richt, is also reportedly a very good guy, and you've got yourself an extremely credible recruiter.
Bill Snyder has coached at Kansas State for 21 years, and that's considering the fact that he retired after the 2005 season and came back in 2009.
Snyder is considered to be the sole reason that Kansas State football is relevant and successful, and he alone is the face of that program. He's racked up a 170-85-1 record with the Wildcats, including a 6-8 bowl record.
He's known for not being flashy on the recruiting trail. He recruits hard-working character guys. He also is keen on recruiting JUCO players.
Snyder is considered a "leader of young men," and that term alone carries immense credibility.
If you're being recruited by Snyder to play football at Kansas State, then consider it an honor.
Mack Brown is one of the most well known coaches in college football.
Notoriety equals credibility on the recruiting trail.
Despite his struggles as of late, Brown has had Texas on top of the college football world for quite some time. Texas is an extremely prestigious college football program, so to be the head coach there one would assume you have to be an extremely good coach and recruiter.
Again, there's more credibility.
He's been with Texas since 1998 and has an extremely impressive 150-43 record with the Longhorns, including 10 bowl wins and a national championship win in 2005.
Rings also equal credibility, and that will be a trend for these next few coaches.
Bob Stoops has been coaching at Oklahoma for 14 seasons, and the Sooners have made 14 bowl appearances during that time period. He's one of the most well known coaches in college football.
Two of his bowl appearances were for the national championship, and one of them garnered Stoops with a championship win.
He has a 149-37 record at Oklahoma and he's coached two Heisman winners.
How's that for credibility?
I would love to sit down with Steve Spurrier and talk football with him for even just 20 minutes. I can only imagine how much one could learn from "The Old Ball Coach."
Spurrier is one of the better known coaches in college football, and you better believe that gives him some major credibility on the recruiting trail.
He's essentially a staple of SEC football.
He's coached college football for 23 seasons. Three of those seasons were with Duke, 12 were with Florida and the rest at South Carolina. His total record as a college coach is 208-77-2, and he's coached in 19 bowl games, winning nine.
He led Florida to the 1996 national championship. He has also won the Heisman trophy, in 1966.
Finally, Spurrier has NFL experience (albeit not a great experience), as he was the head coach of the Washington Redskins from 2002-2003.
Urban Meyer is thought of as one of the best offensive minds in football. He's also considered to be one of the best recruiters, especially when it comes down to crunch time.
He has two national championships under his belt, and he led Ohio State to a perfect season in his first year with the program. Without a doubt, Meyer is one of the best coaches in college football.
Meyer has a 116-23 overall record. He's coached in eight bowl games and has won seven of those bowl games. He's also coached Tim Tebow at Florida, which could be looked at as a fun fact or an extra bit of credibility.
If you're an elite recruit, especially offensively, then you want to be recruited by Meyer.
I can't think of a more credible statement to make.
He's the real deal.
Nick Saban is arguably the best coach in the modern era of college football.
He's a brilliant football coach, a straight to the point recruiter, and he has built up Alabama's program, turning it into a dynasty.
Until further notice, Alabama should be considered one of the main contenders to win the national championship on a yearly basis. Saban will recruit you, coach you, put you in the position to succeed, watch you succeed and he may even send you to the NFL when all is said and done. Speaking of NFL, he also has head coaching experience in that league.
Alabama has now won three national championships in the past four seasons. He also led LSU to a national championship win in 2003.
If wins, a winning environment and the potential for more winning means credibility, then there is no coach in college football right now that has more of it than Saban.