Every SEC Football Team's Ace 2015 Recruiter
Every head coach in college football has at least one assistant coach on his staff who is his "ace recruiter."
Ace recruiters are assistant coaches who are usually assigned to recruit the elite and most important prospects during a recruiting cycle. It can be a fluid position, as things can change year to year, depending on the recruiting plan.
As things are unfolding for the 2015 class, ace recruiters on SEC coaching staffs are starting to emerge. An offensive line coach has helped his team reach the No. 1 recruiting ranking in the nation, while a running backs coach is still maintaining his lofty status as his program's ace recruiter.
Ace recruiter: David Kotulski
Vanderbilt currently only has three commitments, and defensive coordinator David Kotulski is responsible for two of them.
Kotulski, who also coaches inside linebackers, helped the Commodores land 4-star cornerback Donovan Sheffield. Quarterback Kyle Shurmur, a 3-star passer, also was recruited by Kotulski. Although head coach Derek Mason's class is small, it's clear right now that his top recruiter also coordinates his defense.
Ace Recruiter: B.J. Anderson
Texas A&M is one of the nation's hottest recruiting powerhouses. The Aggies have the No. 5 class in the 247Sports rankings, and the No. 1 spot is possible by the end of this cycle.
Head coach Kevin Sumlin has a great staff of recruiters, but his best one right now is B.J. Anderson. Responsible for five of Texas A&M's 13 pledges, Anderson also dabbles in coaching the offensive line.
Ace recruiter: Mike Bajakian
Head coach Butch Jones is establishing himself as a formidable recruiter in the SEC, and among his top recruiters is offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian.
Not only has Bajakian been busy this spring with drawing up plays for the Volunteers, but he has also been finding talent to bring to Knoxville. He has secured five commitments, including one from 4-star athlete Jauan Jennings.
To show just how much Jones trusts Bajakian's recruiting ability, he has also tasked his offensive chief to help lure 5-star quarterback Torrance Gibson to Rocky Top.
Ace recruiter: Shawn Elliott
South Carolina isn't a flashy recruiting program, but it still gets a good amount of solid talent. The 2015 class is being built mainly by the hands of offensive line coach Shawn Elliott.
He can be credited with three of the Gamecocks' 11 commitments, including the pledge from 4-star cornerback Mark Fields. Head coach Steve Spurrier also has Elliott hunting top recruits such as 5-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey and 4-star defensive end Darian Roseboro.
When South Carolina signs another fine class next February, a big reason for that will be Elliott's work ethic.
Ace recruiter: Cornell Ford
Missouri has the No. 28 class in the country, per 247Sports. Head coach Gary Pinkel's top recruiter for 2015 right now is cornerbacks coach Cornell Ford.
A Toledo alumnus, Ford is responsible for three of the Tigers' eight commitments. He may coach in the secondary, but his two biggest finds are 4-star running backs Natereace Strong and Chase Abbington.
He is also the primary recruiter for 5-star defensive end Terry Beckner Jr., who is Mizzou's biggest recruiting target for 2015.
Ace recruiter: Greg Knox
Mississippi State has flown under the recruiting radar this spring. People need to check out the Bulldogs, as their class is No. 10 in the 247Sports rankings.
Out of the 17 recruits who have pledged to Mississippi State, five of them were recruited by running backs coach Greg Knox. The headliner is 4-star athlete Malik Dear, plus the Bulldogs also have a commitment from 4-star defensive end Timothy Washington.
Both of those players were recruited by Knox, who is also the primary recruiter for coveted 4-star defensive tackle Fletcher Adams.
Ace recruiter: Maurice Harris
He has netted four of Ole Miss' nine commitments, including 4-star running back Eric Swinney and 3-star cornerback Ugo Amadi. Head coach Hugh Freeze is also charging Harris with the responsibility of tracking uncommitted 4-star offensive tackle Drew Richmond.
Ace recruiter: Frank Wilson
Frank Wilson is one of the most feared recruiters in the SEC, and he is up to his old tricks once again this year. LSU has 12 commitments, and he is responsible for eight of them.
Ace recruiter: Vince Marrow
Head coach Mark Stoops can thank Vince Marrow for the recruiting surge. It shouldn't be surprising that Marrow's top commitment is 4-star tight end C.J. Conrad, as that is the position he coaches in Lexington.
Ace recruiter: Jeremy Pruitt
Georgia head coach Mark Richt made one of the shrewdest hires in all of football this offseason when he plucked Jeremy Pruitt from Florida State.
Sure, Pruitt is one of the best defensive coordinators in the country, but he is also an outstanding recruiter. While it remains to be seen how his defense will fare in Athens, he is off to a great start as a recruiter for the Bulldogs.
He has helped secure five of UGA's 11 commitments, including 4-star defensive end Chauncey Rivers and 4-star cornerback Rico McGraw. Pruitt is also Georgia's primary recruiter for important uncommitted prospects such as 5-star defensive end Josh Sweat and 4-star safety Rashad Roundtree.
Richt told the following to Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on March 4:
And after signing day, my thought was that the first thing Jeremy was going to do with that defensive staff was to gather them together and teach them the system. Well, the first thing he wanted to do was look at ’15 and ’16 kids together as a staff. He knew we were behind on the defensive side of the ball with making offers and seeing film because of what had happened (with the coaching changes).
Ace recruiter: Kurt Roper
Florida has several of the better recruiters in the SEC on its staff. However, based on how the 2015 recruiting cycle is going, the Gators' ace recruiter is new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
This is a bit of a surprise, but Roper is responsible for five of Florida's nine commitments. He convinced 4-star dual-threat quarterback Sheriron Jones to be a Gator, plus he helped lure speedy 4-star athlete Derrick Dillon to Gainesville.
Roper also is assisting with Florida's efforts to sign 5-star receiver George Campbell.
Ace recruiter: Tim Horton
The Tigers, who are No. 4 in the 247Sports rankings, have 15 commitments. Horton has helped with four of them, including 5-star JUCO running back Jovon Robinson and high-end 4-star athlete Kerryon Johnson.
Ace recruiter: Barry Lunney Jr.
With eight commitments, Arkansas has the No. 23 class in the 247Sports rankings. Out of their eight pledges, the Razorbacks can thank tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. for six of them.
He served as the primary recruiter for 4-star defensive end Jamario Bell and 4-star quarterback Ty Storey. Lunney also played a big role in Arkansas landing 3-star receiver Deon Stewart and 3-star defensive tackle Daytrieon Dean.
Will Gragg, an uncommitted 4-star tight end, is currently his top target.
Ace recruiter: Mario Cristobal
This was a tough call, as Alabama has perhaps the best staff of recruiters in the nation. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, running backs coach Burton Burns, linebackers coach Lance Thompson and receivers coach Billy Napier are all worthy of being ace recruiters.
However, offensive line coach Mario Cristobal is head coach Nick Saban's best recruiter right now. He has secured commitments from seven of 'Bama's 18 recruits.
Cristobal has deep connections in Florida, which helped him get 4-star athlete Shawn Burgess-Becker and 4-star receiver Calvin Ridley. He also was the primary recruiter for Minkah Fitzpatrick, a 5-star cornerback who committed to the Crimson Tide earlier this spring.
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.