Predicting How Each New BCS Head Coach Will Finish on 2014 Recruiting Trail
Coaching changes happen every year and they have a huge impact on a program's recruiting efforts. The previous coach and his staff spend countless hours putting together a class by recruiting and formulating relationships with prospects, only to get fired or leave the program. The committed recruits are left wondering who will be their coach and usually some even sign with other schools.
This year, among the BCS schools, we saw approximately 16 coaching changes and surely each school's recruiting will be deeply affected. For this read, we're going to just very quickly make a prediction on how each new coach will fare on the recruiting trail in 2014.
Some coaches are walking into a situation that needs a complete overhaul both on the field and in recruiting. Others are inheriting a program that requires for them to just not mess things up.
No matter the situation, recruiting at the BCS level can be tough. We're here to make some predictions for each coach's 2014 class.
Gary Andersen, Wisconsin
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Andersen comes over from Utah State and is now the new big Badger in Madison. He fits the profile of a Wisconsin guy and surely understands that he doesn't need to revamp too much.
Wisconsin isn't a sexy recruiting school and doesn't really get too many 5-star and high profile 4-star kids. However, Andersen is a passionate recruiter who will likely have the Badgers finishing around the top five in Big Ten recruiting this year.
Willie Taggart, USF
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The USF job must really have been an allure for Taggart, as he chose to bolt from his alma mater of Western Kentucky to head to Tampa.
I really believe Taggart has the charisma and work ethic to challenge Miami, Florida and Florida State for a few prospects. Taggart isn't going to sign a better overall class than any of the big three in Florida, but look for him to sincerely expand South Florida's recruiting reach.
Taggart will sign a better class than he did in 2013.
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
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Kingsbury is back in Lubbock and this time he won't be playing, but rather leading the Red Raiders from the sidelines. One of the most interesting notes of this hire is that Kingsbury has exclusive control over Texas Tech's uniforms.
He definitely will use that as a recruiting tool and due to Kingsbury's intelligence, moxie, confidence and high-octane offense, he should be able to bring in some solid talent.
I think it's possible that Kingsbury strikes a chord within the rich Texas talent base and uses that to bring in a top 25-30 class in 2014.
Butch Jones, Tennessee
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Jones arrives on Rocky Top after a solid tenure in Cincinnati. He's a very passionate and committed coach who I believe could be the right guy to turn things around for the Vols.
Jones is definitely going to combine his connections in Ohio and the Midwest with Tennessee's traditional connections in the South. The potential of merging those approaches is almost limitless.
Jones is already off to a great start this year by landing top studs like RB Jalen Hurd and S Todd Kelly Jr. It appears Tennessee is going to bring in a top 25 class, thanks to Jones and his staff.
Matt Rhule, Temple
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Temple hired Rhule away from the New York Giants, where he was an offensive assistant. Rhule really believes in the program, as he once was an assistant for Temple.
Located in Philadelphia and boasting good academics, Temple has some pluses. However, as we know, the Owls aren't a recruiting power and I doubt much will change on the recruiting front, even with Rhule at the helm.
Scott Shafer, Syracuse
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Syracuse saw its coach in Doug Marrone leave for the Buffalo Bills' head job. So they hired Shafer, but I doubt a huge impact will be made on the recruiting front.
Things have gotten very tough on 'Cuse, as far as recruiting goes. Getting players to come all the way up to upstate New York is tough and Shafer probably will sign a class that ranks between 45-50 in 2014.
Darrell Hazell, Purdue
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The Boilermakers hired Hazell and he now wants Ross-Ade stadium to be known as "The Furnace." Hazell has shown serious enthusiasm for turning things around at Purdue and he has a chance to do so.
I don't think Hazell will top Michigan or Ohio State in recruiting in 2014, but a top five B1G class is possible. Hazell has experience recruiting in the B1G due to his days at Ohio State.
Hazell will use his infectious energy, lessons learned from Jim Tressel and Midwest connections to bring in a pretty good "Purdue" class in 2014.
Mark Helfrich, Oregon
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Helfrich inherits a team and program that just needs the ship to be steadied and not much remodeling done. One thing he has done differently from Chip Kelly on the recruiting side is Helfrich has attacked the trail earlier.
Kelly didn't get off to fast starts on the recruiting trail and took a little time to really get going each year. Helfrich has had his staff offer prospects earlier this year and the results will definitely pay off.
Oregon still runs the same offense, has the same loud stadium, same excellent facilities and same brand. Helfrich will nestle the Ducks into the top 25 this year in recruiting.
Dave Doeren, NC State
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Doeren put NIU in a position to play for the Orange Bowl last year before bolting for Raleigh. I've always felt NC State was a sleeping giant program due to the available talent in the Carolina region, the South and Mid-Atlantic region.
There's a chance Doeren could be just the man to awaken the sleeping giant. I don't want to put a rankings prediction on him, but I truly feel Doeren will land DE Lorenzo Featherston and his 2014 class will be better than any class Tom O'Brien brought to NC State.
Mark Stoops, Kenctucky
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Stoops finally has a head job of his own, after re-building the Florida State defense. Kentucky finished with one of low-ranked classes in the SEC last year, as Stoops only had just a few weeks to put together his first group in Lexington.
However, even that class wasn't as bad as its ranking would lead you to believe. There's a chance Kentucky finishes with a top 25 class, but even if they don't I'd be shocked if they signed one of the worst classes in the SEC again in 2014.
Mike MacIntyre, Colorado
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I'm sure MacIntyre has a good plan for what he wants to do in Boulder, but I'm afraid he will quickly learn that the Buffalo job is a tough one. MacIntye may spring Colorado up a notch or two in the Pac-12 recruiting rankings, but he's not going to sign a top-tier class in 2014.
Nothing against him, just more to do with the specifics and challenges of recruiting and coaching at Colorado.
Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati
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Tuberville left Texas Tech for Cincy and some would say that's a backwards step. He had a good recruiting year or two in Lubbock, but Tuberville has never really consistently brought in top class after top class.
I just don't much changing at Cincinnati, recruiting-wise, with Tuberville at the helm. A top 25 class in 2014 would be a huge shocker.
Sonny Dykes, California
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Dykes takes over for Jeff Tedford and comes to Berkeley from Louisiana Tech. He runs an offense that really prides itself on passing the football and the skill position talent in California could be a good match.
Dykes flirted with a top 25 ranking in 2013, after just a few weeks of recruiting at Cal. This year, I wouldn't be too surprised if Dykes found a way to sign a top 25-30 class for the Bears.
Steve Addazio, Boston College
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Boston College hasn't been a recruiting juggernaut in years and Addazio isn't really going to provide much juice or jolt to change that. Now, I'm not saying he can't win at BC, because Addazio is a good coach.
But, I don't think he's going to be signing any classes with a slew of 4- and 5-star prospects. Addazio's 2014 class won't be too different from the typical BC class that's become the norm over recent years.
Bret Bielema, Arkansas
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Bielema shockingly took the Razorbacks' head-coaching job and left a pretty good one in Wisconsin. He seems game for the recruiting rigors in the SEC and has Chris Ash and Charlie Partridge as his top two recruiting coaches.
Arkansas' recruiting isn't on the level of Alabama's, Florida's or LSU's, but the Hogs do have some good things going for them and you can recruit at a pretty high clip in Fayetteville. I predict Bielema lands a top 20 recruiting class in 2014.
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
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Malzahn's going to recruit either at the same clip of Gene Chizik or just a hair below it. Alabama is still going to get a lot of good prospects, but Malzahn has a chance to still land a top 15-20 class on The Plains.
Many people around the South like him. He showed last year that he has some recruiting moxie and Auburn is still a top level program. His 2014 cycle shouldn't be a huge drop-off from normal Tiger recruiting.
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.