Power Ranking the Best Recruiting Closers in College Football
As a recruiter, you always want to be finishing on recruits and closing recruitments with commitments. That's what your job is when it comes to recruiting. Closing takes a special "it" factor, and not every great recruiting coach is a great closer.
Some coaches rely on heavy pursuit and persistence as recruiters. They formulate relationships early in the process and just stay on a recruit patiently but persistently until he commits to the coach and the program.
Other coaches are simply great closers. They know how to either talk to a recruit on the phone, have a private meeting with the recruit or simply are magical during the in-home visit.
The greatest recruiting closer of all time is probably none other than Bobby Bowden. Bowden was legendary at entering a player's recruitment in January and closing out top commitment after top commitment, which gave Florida State those legendary recruiting classes.
Since we're on the subject of recruiting closers, and this is the year 2013, let's take a look at some of the best recruiting closers right now in college football recruiting.
7. Mack Brown
Brown isn't known as a closer who works his magic late in the process as Bobby Bowden did. Brown often chooses to close during the early stages of recruiting.
Texas begins recruiting juniors in the summer before their junior years and starts offering players in the fall through the spring. Brown identifies which junior prospects he likes and invites them to junior days in February.
There is where we see the closing magic happen, as Brown collects a slew of commitments at his junior days thanks to his closing ability. Usually, Texas is done with recruiting when the summer comes.
6. Brian Kelly
Does anyone notice that usually when a recruit takes a visit to South Bend, he ends up committing shortly after?
For example, Greg Bryant really did not have the Irish on his radar last year, but he took a visit and ended up committing. Max Redfield really liked USC and Oregon; then he tripped to South Bend and basically committed before he left.
Eddie Vanderdoes falls in the same category, and let's not forget the Irish closed on Gunner Kiel two years back. Brian Kelly is an underrated closer, but to me, he's one of the best right now.
5. Jimbo Fisher
Jimbo Fisher has had big shoes to fill in replacing Bowden, but he's been pretty good at doing so thus far. Fisher has FSU back as a national recruiting power, and he's shown to be a solid closer.
Last year, Fisher closed well by landing 5-star OLB Matthew Thomas, flipping stud CB Jalen Ramsey from USC, and also taking DL DeMarcus Walker from Alabama and DT Keith Bryant from rival Miami at the end of the 2013 cycle.
Even before last year, Fisher closed late by landing Ronald Darby and Tim Jernigan. It's clear Bowden taught Fisher a few closing tricks.
4. Will Muschamp
Will Muschamp is quickly becoming one of the very best recruiting head coaches in college football, if he isn't already there. He's shown to be a great recruiter at Florida, and his ability to close should not to be questioned.
Last year, Muschamp closed on LBs Matt Rolin and Alex Anzalone, flipping them from South Carolina and Notre Dame, respectively. Muschamp also closed the deal on WR Demarcus Robinson and sold DL Jay-nard Bostwick on UF late.
His biggest get was CB Vernon Hargreaves III, after Muschamp had him take an unofficial trip to Gainesville in the middle of the year. Muschamp quickly closed the deal on Hargreaves shortly thereafter.
3. Hugh Freeze
Right now and today, as you think about closing, how can you not have Hugh Freeze on a list like this after the way he closed in 2013?
He started by closing out on WR Laquon Treadwell down the stretch; then on national signing day, all Freeze did was close on recruits like Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil, Austin Golson and Antonio Conner.
We haven't seen anyone close like that since Mariano Rivera in his prime.
2. Nick Saban
The Nicktator is a very good closer, and it's one of the great qualities he has that makes him an exceptional recruiting head coach. Saban has lost his share of assistants over the years, but he still signs great class after great class.
In 2013, Saban closed recruitments like LB Reuben Foster, DT A'Shawn Robinson and somehow convinced four elite RB recruits to all sign in the same class.
Saban also pried DT Dee Liner from Auburn and earlier closed on WR Robert Foster. Once a recruit meets and talks with Saban face to face, Saban usually ends up getting his signed letter of intent.
1. Urban Meyer
If 30 is the new 20, then Urban Meyer is the new Bobby Bowden. Ohio State immediately saw his closing ability pay off when he was hired toward the end of the 2012 recruiting cycle.
Down the stretch that year, Meyer plucked and closed on studs like DE Noah Spence, DT Tommy Schutt, OL Joey O'Connor and DE Se'Von Pittman.
This year, all Meyer did was close the 2013 recruiting year with big splashes like S Vonn Bell, CB Gareon Conley, RB Dontre Wilson, and LBs Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell.
He's the No. 1 closer in the game today.
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.
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