8 Best Closers on College Football Recruiting Trail

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IDecember 13, 2013

8 Best Closers on College Football Recruiting Trail

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    It's closing season in college football recruiting.

    Former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden is the best closer ever, as he was widely known for his ability to convince prospects to commit to playing for the Seminoles in December, January and early February.

    Closing the deal on recruits to secure commitments is a skill that only the best recruiting head coaches have. With Bowden gone, a new group of closers have established themselves on the recruiting trail. 

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State

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    Although Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher has a national title on his mind, he's still hustling hard on the recruiting trail. He just got a pledge from 4-star JUCO offensive tackle Chad Mavety, plus he's battling Alabama for a certain 5-star cornerback.

    Last year, Fisher closed with late commitments from players such as linebacker Matthew Thomas, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive tackle Keith Bryant. 

Dabo Swinney, Clemson

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    Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is one of the hardest-working head coaches on the recruiting trail. He's passionate about it, which trickles down into his staff.

    Swinney closed well last year, as cornerback MacKensie Alexander and guard Tyrone Crowder picked Clemson late in the process. Swinney also beat out several other big programs for linebacker Tony Steward at the 11th hour of the 2011 cycle. 

    He'll need some of that closing magic to finish strong in 2014. 

Butch Jones, Tennessee

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    Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is still relatively new to the major recruiting scene, but he's already proved he has a closer's mentality.

    He had started closing season with a bang, as he recently picked up commitments from 4-star receiver Josh Malone and 4-star defensive tackle Charles Mosley. Last year, Jones closed out with significant pledges from quarterback Joshua Dobbs and receiver Marquez North.

    Jones may be almost out of room for any more 2014 prospects, but he's earned the right to be labeled a closer. 

Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss

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    With four commitments since November, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze has begun another round of closing on the recruiting trail.

    His best recent commitment is from 4-star receiver Markell Pack, whom Freeze flipped from Florida State. However, the true reason why Freeze is on this list stems from what he did last year.

    All he did was close the deal with elite prospects such as defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, safety Tony Conner and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. All three players made an impact at Ole Miss this past season. 

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is also getting a jump on closing season.

    The Fighting Irish have received three commitments since November, including 4-star cornerback Nick Watkins and 3-star safety Drue Tranquill, who flipped from Purdue.

    Kelly also closed 2013 with late commitments from safety Max Redfield, running back Greg Bryant and running back/athlete Tarean Folston. He also got a late pledge from Eddie Vanderdoes on national signing day, but Vanderdoes eventually ended up at UCLA. 

Les Miles, LSU

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    Closing season is when LSU head coach Les Miles really makes his presence felt in recruiting. With in-home visits being a big part of the late stages of the recruiting cycle, Miles' charm and personality help him to make a great impression on a recruit's family.

    He just secured a commitment from 4-star athlete Darrel Williams, and more are sure to come. Last year, Miles closed the deal late in the cycle with defensive tackles Maquedius Bain and Greg Gilmore, linebacker Kendell Beckwith and defensive end Tashawn Bower.

    Plus, don't forget how Miles shocked many people by closing the deal with outside linebacker Kwon Alexander on national signing day in 2012.   

Nick Saban, Alabama

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    Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been closing well since his days at LSU. However, he's taken it to another level in Tuscaloosa.

    He has an incredible 2014 recruiting class, which should get even better before national signing day thanks to his closing ability. He also closed sensationally in 2013 with late commitments from linebacker Reuben Foster, defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson and running back Alvin Kamara.

    That's just the tip of the iceberg of examples that show how great a closer Saban has been through the years.

Urban Meyer, Ohio State

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    Anyone who doubts the closing ability of Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer needs to look at what he did in 2012. 

    Remember, he was hired late in the recruiting cycle that year. However, he came away with commitments from defensive tackle Tommy Schutt and defensive ends Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Se'Von Pittman.

    Running back Dontre Wilson, safety Vonn Bell and linebacker were late additions in the 2013 cycle. Look for Meyer to close strong in 2014.

    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.