15 College Football Coaches Who Are the Best Recruiters
The lifeblood of any college football program is the ability to convince talented high school and junior college players to sign with your school.
And the coaches who we routinely see in the top BCS games usually are the ones who recruit the best.
In this piece, we'll take a look at some newcomers such as Brady Hoke, Kevin Sumlin and Jim Mora. They may not have been at their respective schools long, but they've made a major impact on their school's recruiting efforts and have a lot of respect on the trail already.
Not to be outdone by the new kids on the block, old guards like Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops and Steve Spurrier will also be on this list. Remember, this is not a rankings rundown, but rather a simple grouping of the best head coaches in college football who have brought in the most talented classes in the recent recruiting cycles.
Here are the 15 best recruiting head coaches in college football.
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Stoops routinely has the Sooners among the best in the Big 12 every year. The Sooners are also consistently among the top teams in the hunt for the crystal football, thanks to having great players.
Stoops raised the recruiting pull of the Sooners almost immediately upon his arrival more than 10 years ago and has a solid strategy. While he understands he must keep his in-state fence strong, Stoops has constructed countless pipelines into nearby talent-rich Texas.
He's one of the best in the business.
Mark Richt, Georgia
Richt knows he's in a state and region that practically grows talent on trees, and you can bet he reaps the benefits from it. Georgia is built on Peach State talent and getting players from other states in the South.
The Dawgs played in the SEC title game last year, and their roster is full of future NFL players. That's a testament to Richt's ability to convince good players to come to Athens.
Lane Kiffin, USC
Kiffin isn't the most well-liked head coach in the country, but he's one of the best recruiters nonetheless. He helped build many of the top USC classes under Pete Carroll and is skilled at evaluating talent and fostering relationships.
USC has recruited well during Kiffin's tenure as head coach, and while many focus on the de-commitments of its 2013 class, the talent that the Trojans did sign still was exceptional.
Kiffin has helped USC expand its recruiting reach. Now the Trojans are able to recruit both in California and nationally.
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
Listen, it's not easy to recruit at South Carolina. First, the Gamecocks don't exactly have the stature and winning tradition of Alabama, Florida, LSU and Georgia.
Second, those same schools are always lurking around the Palmetto State looking to steal recruits. And third, South Carolina also has to deal with rival Clemson.
However, Spurrier has the Gamecocks routinely in the top 25 in recruiting, a feat that has added significantly to his legend that began at Florida.
Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Clemson's Dabo Swinney has the ability to quickly strike up close relationships with recruits and makes a great first impression.
Clemson's campus is said to be gorgeous and the community shows a lot of support for Swinney and the program. The family feel of the Tiger program is said to be the one of the top draws for recruits.
Brady Hoke, Michigan
Well, now that Drake Harris is committed to Michigan, there's not much else anyone can criticize Hoke for as a recruiter. Before Harris' pledge, there were whispers that Hoke couldn't get a top WR prospect to Ann Arbor.
Hoke's proven he's one of the best recruiters in the nation, as he's scored two straight top 10 classes for Big Blue. Maybe he wasn't the first choice for Michigan when he was hired as head coach, but he's now in the first tier of recruiting head coaches.
Jim Mora, UCLA
When Mora was named head coach at UCLA, he seemed to be the perfect choice to awaken a program that was a sleeping giant. UCLA has more than its fair share of advantages and just needed the right coach to give the program a jolt.
So far, Mora has done that.
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
Sumlin, who has only been with the Aggies for two recruiting cycles. has been in the top 25 both years. He's off to a great start in 2014 recruiting as well and seemed poised to post his third consecutive top 25 finish.
Sumlin has many around the SEC nervous, as he has Texas A&M on the verge of becoming an recruiting juggernaut. That he can tell elite Texas recruits they can stay in their beloved state while still playing in the SEC is a huge advantage.
He doesn't have the track record of some of the other coaches on this list, but Sumlin still is among the best recruiting coaches in the nation.
Will Muschamp, Florida
Muschamp is a young head coach who may not have a long history of recruiting success, but his recent run warrants his inclusion on this list.
Florida hasn't missed a beat on the recruiting trail in his three seasons as lead Gator. Gainesville consistently celebrates elite classes every February, and Muschamp's energy and evaluation skills are two attributes that serve him well as a recruiter.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Recruiting at Notre Dame isn't easy. Aside from Notre Dame being Notre Dame, the Irish have to recruit nationally due to their location.
Kelly seems to have embraced the challenges of the Irish program and has excelled. He has Notre Dame back as one of the nation's most respected recruiting powers and has shown the ability to lure top talent to South Bend from all over the country.
Kelly has done a great job of mixing the past mystique and tradition of the program with some modern pizazz.
Mack Brown, Texas
Brown has been recruiting well at Texas since the late '90s. He has had a firm grasp on the talent in his state over the years, as his staff rarely goes out of state when searching for talent.
That strategy has helped Texas earn four BCS bowl berths under his leadership. The trend continues today, as Texas is one of the major powers on the trail. Brown will go down as one of the best to ever do it.
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
There was a little dip in the final years of Bobby Bowden's tenure in Tallahassee, but Fisher has re-energized the Seminole program.
Florida State is back as a justified recruiting juggernaut, and that is thanks to Fisher. He is big on evaluation and building relationships, as he uses many of the recruiting methods employed by Nick Saban. Fisher has a great staff of recruiters, and they annually get the job done.
Les Miles, LSU
Because he's witty, charming and likable, Miles is an effective recruiter, especially when he is able to have a personal conversation with a recruit. He immediately puts them at ease.
What's also a huge help for Miles on the trail is that he's loyal to his players. That sort of reputation spreads fast, as players love the thought of signing to play for a coach who they know has their back.
LSU's one of the premier programs in the country, and Miles' recruiting methods have helped to make it so.
Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Meyer was hired in the latter part of the 2012 cycle and Ohio State immediately shot up the recruiting rankings. Then they signed a top-five class in 2013.
That's because of Meyer and his dedication to recruiting. He attacks this part of the program with a tireless work ethic and a love for it.
The Buckeyes recruited well under Jim Tressel, but Meyer has taken them completely to another level.
Nick Saban, Alabama
When recruits see Saban, they see the NFL, which is what all of them want. It's not just getting to the NFL that recruits see in Saban, but also they know he and his staff will properly prepare them to make that jump.
He runs the program with a business-like mentality that is similar to an NFL organization. He's a proven winner, and Alabama is without question the premier college football program in the game today.
Saban recruited well at LSU, and his recruiting success at 'Bama has ensured his college football immortality.
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.