As a kid, well a younger kid that is because I'm not that old, I grew up watching a lot of Pac-10 football. Of course now the conference has expanded to the Pac-12, but it's still a very good football league. On the national level, it gets a lot of heat for not being "tough" enough and has a reputation as a passing conference.
However, this conference requires each school's roster to be full of athletic and speedy players. How does one get those types of players to sign with their school? By recruiting them!
Pac-12 recruiting is very competitive, and many of the moves a school and its head coach make in regard to filling out its staff have to do with recruiting ability. Each school has a staff that features a couple assistant coaches who coach a position, but whose value to the program is that they really shine on the recruiting trail.
As we continue our "ace recruiter" series, let's go to the Pac-12 and look at each program's top guy on staff they sick on their top desired prospects.
For the Wildcats, Rich Rodriguez has a certain way he wants to do things and certain kinds of players who fit his offensive scheme. With a setup like that, a head coach goes with the assistant he trusts the most and for Rich-Rod, that's Magee.
The RB coach and co-offensive coordinator for 'Zona has been with Rodriguez since the old West Virginia days and followed him for that temporary run in Ann Arbor. Magee knows what Rodriguez likes and knows the kind of player who fits what their program wants to do on the field.
Todd Graham is in charge in Tempe, and he has given the responsibility of running the day-to-day operations of the Sun Devils' recruiting to Long.
It's obvious that Graham understands he must mine prospects from nearby California while still making sure he gets the top recruits from Arizona. Per Rivals, Graham had Long as the point on Priest Willis and Chans Cox.
Long delivered Cox, and I'm sure Willis probably liked what Long was pitching too, though he signed with UCLA.
Sacks coaches the defensive line for Sonny Dykes and knows where to go for talent on the West Coast. Sacks coached at Nevada for over a decade, so he has ties in the Pac-12 region.
Rivals reported earlier this year that it was Sacks who flipped four players once Dykes brought him to Berkeley late in the 2013 recruiting cycle. Keep an eye on Sacks under Dykes' regime at Cal as we move forward in Pac-12 recruiting.
As I said in the intro, a lot of assistant coaching hires in the Pac-12 have to do with recruiting. Mike MacIntyre is in his first year in Boulder and needed to bring some guys on his staff who know the West Coast well.
Sure, MacIntyre knows the region since he was the coach at San Jose State, but getting a guy like Walters—who played at Stanford and has ties to the region—was a shrewd move.
Walters has also recruited at places like Texas A&M and NC State, so he'll be depended on to make raids all over for the Buffs.
Part of the reason Oregon has such a big presence on the California recruiting trail is thanks to Pellum. He's been at the school for almost forever since his playing days as a Duck.
From Mike Bellotti to Chip Kelly to now Mark Helfrich, it's Pellum who is leaned on to lead the Ducks' California recruiting, especially in the Los Angeles area.
Frost is now the offensive coordinator and is a fast-rising recruiter who really gets after it on the recruiting trail too.
Nearly half of the Beavers' recruiting class in 2013 was brought in by Seumalo, and this was perhaps the easiest pick in the Pac-12. Mike Riley leans heavily on Seumalo year in and year out, and he never fails.
Seumalo will go after a player anywhere, whether it be on the high school trail, JUCO ranks or even his own home. He's gotten two of his sons to sign up to play in Corvallis, and I wouldn't be shocked if Seumalo recruited his grandsons to be Beavers too.
Sanford helps coach the QBs and WRs for David Shaw, but he really shines bright when it's recruiting time. He's a young coach with high aspirations who understands how to really recruit at a special place like Stanford.
The Cardinal program has high academic standards. Sanford does a great job of finding kids who excel in the classroom, but also have the talent to keep Stanford among the best teams in the Pac-12.
Angus McClure, Noel Mazzone and Taylor Mazzone could also be considered for this role too. Jim Mora knew when he took the UCLA job that he had limited experience as a recruiter.
So he hired a staff that not only could coach, but who were great recruiters—and it's proven to be a great move. The Bruins have signed some great classes under Mora and his staff, and I think a recruiting giant has woken up.
Klemm was phenomenal last year, as he signed nine players. Martin is known on the recruiting trail all over and is right at home in Westwood because he's from Los Angeles.
Orgeron is one of the more well-known assistant coaches and recruiting coordinators in college football. He has a scratchy voice, is loud, fiery and recruits love him.
Anytime USC wants a big-time recruit, it's Orgeron who has his hand in the Trojans' involvement. He absolutely loves recruiting and was one of the key cogs during the Pete Carroll-era legendary recruiting classes.
Martin coaches the WRs for Lane Kiffin, and it's his ties to the South that really come through on the recruiting trail. Martin is not afraid to go head-to-head with an SEC school for a recruit, and has had some well-publicized battles.
Johnson is a Ute at heart and is one of the youngest FBS QB coaches and offensive coordinators that I can remember.
His youth and energy work well for Kyle Whittingham, and his passion for the Utah program and university is felt by recruits.
Hill coaches running backs and special teams and also is a Ute at heart. He brought in five recruits to Utah last year and is already working on adding more in 2014.
Lupoi is a Pac-12 guy through and through, as he played at Cal in the 2000s. He was the ace recruiter for Jeff Tedford and had the Bears all set for a top-10 class in 2012, only to bolt for Washington and for Cal to fall down the rankings.
Lupoi makes a great first impression on recruits and their parents and really is skilled at building relationships with them. He's tireless and relentless, and it's very hard to tell him "no."
Mike Leach really wanted Sebastian LaRue last year, and it's telling that he had Volero be the point man in the Cougs' efforts to land the talented WR recruit. Volero coaches outside linebackers for Wazzu and appears to be Mike Leach's ace recruiter right now.
I would also list Jim Mastro as honorable mention here.
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 and Cleveland Browns.