10 College Football Coaches Who Are the Best at Out-of-State Recruiting
The first objective of recruiting in college football is to lock down your state. However, the best recruiters are skilled enough to excel at out-of-state recruiting.
Some schools have the advantage of having a brand that is recognized all over the country, which helps entice recruits from outside their state to sign with them. Other schools have great recruiters who utilize their relationships on the trail to get in good with prospects who are not from the area where their program resides.
No matter what it is, the game of college football has several coaches who can reach outside their state's borders for a talented player.
Butch Jones, Tennessee
Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is becoming a terrific recruiter for the Volunteers. Jones is in a state that doesn't produce as much elite talent as others around it, so he often goes outside his borders for recruits.
In 2014, Jones' class featured recruits from Alabama, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Ohio, Kansas, Florida, Maryland, California, North Carolina, Illinois, Georgia and Texas.
That's some serious out-of-state recruiting.
Yes, Ed Orgeron currently is out of coaching and recruiting. However, he's still one of the best in the game at recruiting out of state.
Orgeron has done most of his recruiting damage at USC, where he often was the key recruiting coordinator who put together some of the best classes of this century. The Trojans routinely piped prospects from New Jersey, Louisiana, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Arizona and Texas, among others.
All thanks to Orgeron.
Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Clemson is in South Carolina, which is a state that puts out a solid amount of talent each year. However, that's not enough for head coach Dabo Swinney and his staff.
Swinney has collected 11 commitments so far for 2015, and seven of them are from outside South Carolina. In fact, the headliner of the Tigers' class is 5-star offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt, who is from Georgia.
Also, don't forget former stud receiver Sammy Watkins is from Florida.
Lane Kiffin, Alabama
Alabama head coach Nick Saban may like Lane Kiffin's coaching ability, but Kiffin's ability to recruit certainly didn't hurt his chances when vying for the offensive coordinator position in Tuscaloosa.
The former USC head coach may not be the most beloved person in the game, but he's still a great recruiter—especially out of state.
Alabama has put Kiffin in charge of elite out-of-state talents such as 5-star cornerback Iman Marshall, 5-star linebacker John Houston, 5-star defensive end Byron Cowart and 5-star receiver Christian Kirk.
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
The main foreign state Stoops raids on a routine basis is nearby Texas, which happens to be where all three of his 2015 out-of-state commitments are from. Stoops also got former running back Adrian Peterson from the Lone Star State.
Stoops also signed six players from California and two from Arizona in his 2014 group.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
No disrespect to the state of Indiana, but it's not among the nation's best when it comes to churning out football prospects.
Notre Dame signed 23 players in 2014, and 21 of them were not from Indiana.
David Shaw, Stanford
Stanford head coach David Shaw refuses to sit back and look only around California for recruits who can be admitted into his alma mater.
Shaw and his staff love to search around the the nation for players who fit the mold of what they're looking for at each position. Stanford's top player in its 2014 class is 5-star defensive end Solomon Thomas, who is from Texas.
The Cardinal also got 4-star running back Christian McCaffrey from Colorado, plus 4-star tight end Dalton Schultz is from Utah. In 2013, Shaw got linebacker Peter Kalambayi from North Carolina and tight end Greg Taboada from Georgia, and quarterback Ryan Burns is from Virginia.
Nick Saban, Alabama
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has a terrific staff of recruiters, but he's still the key. Saban knows how to evaluate talent and project how players fit into his program better than many other coaches in the country.
He combs over the state of Alabama for talent well, but Saban also reaches to every corner of the country to find a great player.
The five highest-rated early enrollees in Alabama's 2014 class were from outside the state, as was 5-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Virginia), 4-star offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher (Iowa) and 4-star linebacker/defensive end Christian Miller (South Carolina).
To go "back in the day," Saban got Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mark Ingram from Michigan.
Tee Martin, USC
USC head coach Steve Sarkisian made a shrewd move in the early stages after his hiring by retaining receivers coach Tee Martin.
Martin, who played at Tennessee, has a great presence on the recruiting trail around the South. He helped get underrated 3-star cornerback Lamont Simmons out of Florida in 2014.
USC has charged Martin with going after many out-of-state recruits yet again for the 2015 cycle. Damien Harris, a 5-star running back from Kentucky, 3-star Maryland native and receiver Jabari Greenwood and 5-star Florida pass-rusher Byron Cowart are among Martin's top targets.
Urban Meyer, Ohio State
In 2014, Meyer plucked 5-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan from Georgia. He got 4-star playmaker Curtis Samuel from New York, while 4-star receiver Johnnie Dixon is from Florida and 4-star cornerback Damon Webb is a Michigan native.
The year before that saw out-of-state recruits such as safety Vonn Bell (Georgia/Tennessee), defensive lineman Joey Bosa (Florida), cornerback Eli Apple (New Jersey), linebacker Mike Mitchell, quarterback JT Barrett and running back Dontre Wilson (Texas). Tight end Marcus Baugh (California) and linebacker Trey Johnson (Georgia) leave their native states to cross the Ohio border.
Ari Wasserman of the Northeast Ohio Media Group wrote in Oct. 2013, "Let’s remember that Meyer has brought Ohio State into the South and won some crucial recruiting battles that once had an SEC victory written all over them."