Ask Farrell: Who could recruit well enough to turn around FSU quickly?
The information flow coming out of the Florida State job search has slowed to a crawl in recent days as the decision-makers hunker down and work behind-the-scenes to find the new Seminoles coach.
The rumors about former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops persist. The 59-year-old who finished 190-48 but who surprisingly retired prior to the 2017 season is the top target for Florida State, but it remains unclear if this is an incredibly serious pursuit or a pipe dream at this point.
Mark Stoops is another legitimate candidate as he has helped make Kentucky a difficult out and a serious player in the SEC East, but he might not be at the highest level of the coaching search at this point.
Fleck just signed a new deal in recent days, but FSU might have more money to offer and he could be the hottest coach right now in college football. Campbell’s Iowa State team almost pulled a shocking comeback at Oklahoma last weekend and he’s turned the Cyclones around quickly, an almost-impossible coaching job.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables seems high on the wish list. Although he has no head coaching experience, he has been an elite defensive coach for two decades. He would also bring with him the vigor and energy needed to recruit in the most competitive environment in college football – fighting Florida and Miami for in-state recruits and fending off Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and others.
Louisiana-Lafayette coach Billy Napier, FAU’s Lane Kiffin and others could also be under consideration.
When it comes to recruiting elite talent and then developing those players to compete for conference championships and a shot at the College Football Playoff, we ask Rivals National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell who would be the best hire for the Seminoles and what exactly does the new coach need to bring to Tallahassee to quickly turn the program into a contender again?
“Let’s be clear, this will not be a difficult turnaround with the right coach. All the pieces are in place for a two-year plan to get FSU back competing with Clemson. And the right coach is Bob Stoops. Stoops will have to say no before FSU moves on to anyone else.
"The second-best option would PJ Fleck, but that’s tricky with his new extension and potential buyout. However, Fleck would kill it on the recruiting trail. But what do I realistically think it will be? Watch for Matt Campbell here. He’s a very good coach but I’m not sure how well he’d recruit. If Campbell ends up at FSU I’m not sure how quick the turnaround would be as opposed to Stoops or Fleck. This will be an interesting search for sure.”