Power Ranking the 8 Best Pac-12 Recruiting Coaches in BCS Era
The Pac-12 conference is one of the more competitive leagues in college football, and that intensity spills over to the recruiting trail. When a school hires a new head coach in the Pac-12, one of his first tasks is to hire a staff who can get it done as recruiters as well as on the field, because the 11 other teams can poach prospects.
The BCS era in the conference has been dominated by USC, as the Trojans had what was essentially a monopoly on both the Pac-12 title and the recruiting trail. But other schools have enjoyed recruiting success in their own right thanks to good recruiting head coaches.
The Pac-12 has undergone coaching changes, and you'll see some relatively new names like Steve Sarkisian and Jim Mora on this rankings list. Of course Pete Carroll is somewhere on this list, but we'll also look at some of the earlier BCS-tenured coaches like Mike Bellotti and Bob Toledo who recruited well.
Here are the eight best recruiting coaches in the Pac-12 BCS era.
8. Mike Bellotti, Oregon
Notable Recruits: Haloti Ngata, Kellen Clemens, Dennis Dixon, Ed Dixon, Jonathan Stewart and Kenny Rowe
Mike Bellotti helped usher the Ducks into the BCS era; he stepped down as head coach in 2008. He had three top 25 classes and insisted on the Ducks having a recruiting presence in Southern California.
Oregon's recruiting reach wasn't where it is now under Bellotti, but it wouldn't be where it is now without Bellotti blazing the trail.
7. Jim Mora, UCLA
Notable Recruits: Ellis McCarthy, Jordan Payton, Aaron Porter, Devin Fuller, Asiantii Woulard, Priest Willis, Tahaan Goodman and Johnny Johnson
The only reason Jim Mora is ranked at this slot is because he's only signed two recruiting classes in Westwood. Surely, on the pace that he's on right now, he will ascend up the board over time.
Mora has a great staff of assistants who pound the bricks for prospects, and Westwood isn't a bad place to be at all. Look for the Bruins to contend for Pac-12 titles and sign top-25 classes routinely under Mora's tenure.
6. Steve Sarkisian, Washington
Notable Recruits: Sione Potoa'e, Kasen Williams, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Shaq Thompson, Cyler Miles, Jeff Lindquist, Troy Williams and Darrell Daniels
Sark is from Southern California, played at BYU and cut his teeth as an assistant at USC so he knows how to recruit out west. He's been at Washington since 2009 and made a shrewd hire last year when he lured Tosh Lupoi from Cal to be his DL coach.
Lupoi is one of the best recruiters in the country, and the move has paid off for the Dawgs as they've brought in back to back highly ranked classes.
5. Chip Kelly, Oregon
Notable Recruits: Cliff Harris, DeAnthony Thomas, Colt Lyerla, Byron Marshall and Arik Armstead
Chip Kelly came to Eugene as offensive coordinator from New Hampshire in 2007 and became head coach in 2009. He took the Ducks' program to another level and expanded Oregon's recruiting reach into Texas.
Kelly's fast-paced offense, Oregon's facilities and uniform combinations were all great draws for the coach as a recruiter. He may not have signed an abundance of 5-star recruits, but Kelly consistently signed classes who fit what he wanted to do on both sides of the ball, and he won with those players.
4. Bob Toledo, UCLA
Notable Recruits: Marcedes Lewis, Matt Ware, Jarrad Page, Drew Olson, Matt Moore, Robert Cleary, Junior Taylor, Paul Mociler, Manuel White and Tab Perry
Bob Toledo's BCS-era tenure at UCLA was short-lived, as he was ousted in 2002. However, he did enjoy a good amount of recruiting success in Westood before and after the BCS system came into effect.
Toledo's best class came in 1999, when he signed a great class that had players like J.P. Losman, Jerry Owens, Bernard Riley, Akil Harris and Marcus Reese. The Bruins had talent during Toledo's tenure, and that was because he could recruit with anyone.
3. Rick Neuheisel, Washington/UCLA
UCLA Notable Recruits: Rahim Moore, Datone Jones, Aaron Hester, Johnathan Franklin, Morrell Presley and Xavier Su'a-Filo
Rick Neuheisel wasn't able to get his alma mater over the hump as a head coach, but he did sign great classes at UCLA in 2008 and 2009. His boldness helped the Bruins get some attention on the trail, and Slick Rick scored some good talent.
Washington Notable Recruits: Nate Robinson, Kenny James, Isaiah Stanback, Reggie Williams, Charles Frederick and Casey Paus
As head coach in Seattle, Neuheisel made some noise as a recruiter. He went across the country to Florida to get Frederick and convinced Williams, a 5-star WR to stay home in a fierce battle. Washington signed several top-25 classes in the early 2000s under Neuheisel.
2. Lane Kiffin, USC
Notable Recruits: Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, Hayes Pullard, George Farmer, Marcus Martin, Aundrey Walker, Max Browne, Su'a Cravens and Leonard Williams
Lane Kiffin knew what he was doing when he came to USC in 2010 because he was an assistant at the school in the 2000s. Kiffin helped coordinate some of the best recruiting classes of all time during those early years and has since recruited at a high clip as head coach.
USC continues to be one of the most dominant programs on the recruiting trail in the game today. The Trojans not only recruit well out west but also have proved they can get a recruit from anywhere in the country.
1. Pete Carroll, USC
Notable Recruits: Shaun Cody, Mike Williams, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, LenDale White, Jeff Byers, Everson Griffen, Kris O'Dowd, Lawrence Jackson, Mark Sanchez, Joe McKnight, Taylor Mays, Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga
This wasn't even close, as Pete Carroll was the obvious and clear-cut pick for No. 1 honors on this list. He came to Troy in 2001 and left in 2009 as one of the best recruiting head coaches of all time in the sport.
Carroll signed an array of national No. 1 classes that featured players who went on to play in the NFL. He put USC back on the map, and his enthusiasm and energy worked tremendously well on the trail.
The best recruiting head coach in the BCS era for the Pac-12 is unquestionably Pete Carroll.
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.