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How new Power Five coaches fared in their first recruiting class

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins
Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins (AP Iimages)

New coaches are usually in a major time crunch from the time they are hired because of the Early Signing Period in December. If they don’t sign their top targets in December, they still have a little over a month before the Late Signing Period to adjust their plan and fill up their recruiting class with quality prospects. Here's a look at how the new Power Five coaches fared now that National Signing Day has come and gone.

MORE: Texas' Drew Mehringer named Recruiter of the Year

Colorado: No. 44 in the team rankings

New coach: Mel Tucker, former Georgia defensive coordinator

Previous coach: Mike MacIntyre, first recruiting class (2013) ranked No. 67

Breakdown: Tucker and his staff finished the Early Signing Period with 17 signees and did a good job filling holes in their class leading up to the February Signing Period. Their top priority was signing four-star receiver La’Vontae Shenault, giving this class another big-time playmaker from Texas. Most of the new additions that came in January and February were on the defensive side of the ball with former Florida State and Ole Miss defensive line commit Lloyd Murray picking the Buffs.

Farrell’s take: Tucker is known as a good recruiter and did a good job down the stretch taking over a Colorado team that wasn’t able to take full advantage of its Pac-12 title game appearance a few years ago. He has a challenge ahead of him, however, with the geographical disadvantage he has to overcome compared to other Pac-12 schools.

Grade: B

Georgia Tech: No. 43 in the team rankings

New coach: Geoff Collins, former Temple head coach

Previous coach: Paul Johnson, first recruiting class (2008) ranked No. 49

Breakdown: Georgia Tech signed 16 players in the Early Signing Period, but only added four in the last few weeks of the recruiting cycle. Those four, however, are some of the best in this class. Four-star running back Jamious Griffin was previously committed to NC State and was a highly sought after prospect in the last month of the recruiting cycle. Collins and his staff did a great job making sure he didn’t leave the state. Three-star defensive end Mike Lockhart emerged late in the recruiting process and quickly accumulated a lengthy offer sheet. Georgia Tech reeled in the Alabama native despite stiff competition.

Farrell’s take: Collins did a great job selling Griffin on staying home, as he’s a rare four-star who stays in state and chooses Tech. Recruiting will be interesting as Collins revamps the roster to his schemes, and it will take a few good recruiting years for Tech to fully adjust. For a transition class, this is a good one and he did a good job down the stretch.

Grade: B+

Kansas: No. 67 in the team rankings

New coach: Les Miles, former LSU head coach

Previous coach: Dave Beaty, first recruiting class (2015) ranked No. 66

Breakdown: Miles didn’t start out with much and made the most out of the Early Signing Period, but there was a lot of work to do in the remainder of the 2019 recruiting cycle. The Kansas staff pulled off a big commitment in the form of four-star defensive end Steven Parker out of Texas. Of the rest of the signees this week, three were also on the defensive side of the ball and four are listed as athletes. Miles is on his way to rebuilding this roster, and he has a decent base to start with in this class.

Farrell’s take: Miles is a very good recruiter, one of the best in the business, but he has his work cut out for him at Kansas. Winning and staying competitive will be the keys to recruiting success for Miles, although his connections in Texas and Louisiana will help. He should be able to upgrade recruiting for Kansas.

Grade: B

  Kansas State: No. 67 in the team rankings  

New coach: Chris Klieman, former North Dakota State head coach

Previous coach: Bill Snyder, first recruiting class (2009) ranked No. 92

Breakdown: Offensive players made up the majority of Kansas State’s signees in the Early Signing Period, but Klieman and his staff balanced out this class with a number of defensive additions this week. Three defensive backs and two defensive linemen signed with Kansas State this week, in addition to two more running backs and an athlete. Defensive tackle Matthew Pola-Mao, a high three-star prospect, is the highest-rated Kansas State signee, but it’s hard to find a marquee recruit in this class.

Farrell’s take: Klieman’s recruiting strategy will be interesting to follow after Bill Snyder’s reliance on JUCO prospects over the years. There will be plenty of schools coming into the Wildcats' backyard to poach recruits, so he will have to work his home state first. I expect things to be a bit bumpy at first, but settle down when he’s able to implement his recruiting style.

Grade: C

Louisville: No. 88 in the team rankings

New coach: Scott Satterfield, former Appalachian State head coach

Previous coach: Bobby Petrino, first recruiting class (2015) ranked No. 32

Breakdown: Satterfield had the least to work with in terms of recruiting out of any new Power Five head coach. The Cardinals only signed four prospects in the Early Signing Period and added just 10 more this week. Credit this coaching staff, though, for nearly doubling the number of three-stars they got in December, signing defensive ends Ja’Darien Boykin and Zach Edwards as well as players like Renato Brown, Allen Smith, Jamel Starks and Jalen Mitchell.

Farrell’s take: This is not a pretty class at all, but it’s not all on Satterfield, obviously. He was left with a mess to clean up and did a solid job doing so, but the Cardinals couldn’t push much higher in the rankings. I’m not sure how he will be as a recruiter since this is a new ballgame for him and a new level, but I expect a much better class in 2020.

Grade: C

Maryland: No. 72 in the team rankings  

New coach: Mike Locksley, former Alabama offensive coordinator

Previous coach: D.J. Durkin, first recruiting class (2016) ranked No. 39

Breakdown: Hopes were high for Locksley and his staff, but some of the flips people expected the Terps to pull off didn’t come to fruition. Six players signed with the Maryland in December and they ended with 17 in this class. Locksley pulled off a signing day surprise when he got four-star quarterback Lance Legendre to sign with Maryland instead of Florida State and landed important pieces like defensive back Cortez Andrews and Anthony Booker. The Terps are hoping unsigned Rivals100 DB Nick Cross ends up picking them, but even without Cross, Locksley and his staff put together a solid group for the Late Signing Period.

Farrell’s take: Locksley is known as a great recruiter, and I expect it to be much harder for teams to pull kids out of Maryland than it has been in recent years. He did a brilliant job getting Legendre with a late push over FSU and he’s made things tough for Cross when it comes to a decision. Maryland will finish much higher than 72 next year.

Grade: B

Miami: No. 35 in the team rankings

New coach: Manny Diaz, former Temple head coach and Miami defensive coordinator

Previous coach: Mark Richt, first recruiting class (2016) ranked No. 23

Breakdown: Mark Richt put together a decent recruiting class in the Early Signing Period, but abruptly announced his recruitment on Dec. 30. Manny Diaz returned to Miami as head coach after a days-long stint as head coach at Temple and secured three new signees. One of those three new recruits was Rivals250 DB Christian Williams. Diaz flipped him from Alabama, but also fought off LSU, and now Williams is the second-highest rated prospect in this class. Defensive tackle Jared Hunte out of New York City and quarterback Peyton Matocha out of Texas also signed with the Canes, but there were some others that had Miami as a finalist that went a different direction.

Farrell’s take: Williams was an important get for Miami, as the Hurricanes needed a win, but losing out on Mark-Antony Richards and Khris Bogle hurt. Diaz has been better in the transfer portal than he has been in the high school ranks, but there has been a new excitement regarding Miami among recruits since he returned, and things weren’t going well with Richt this year.

Grade: B

North Carolina: No. 31 in the team rankings  

New coach: Mack Brown, former TV analyst and Texas head coach

Previous coach: Larry Fedora, first recruiting class (2012) ranked No. 44

Breakdown: Mack is definitely back, and he kept the momentum going from the Early Signing Period to the end of the 2019 recruiting cycle. The Tar Heels signed 6-foot-8, 280-pound in-state lineman Wisdom Asaboro even though there were many other schools chasing him. Linebacker Eugene Asante also signed with North Carolina, which was a bit of an upset considering about a month ago it looked like Asante was a shoo-in to sign with Virginia Tech. There were also two more defensive prospects to sign with North Carolina, as well as offensive lineman Ty Murray.

Farrell’s take: Brown, like Miles, is known as a great recruiter, but unlike Miles he has a lot to work with at UNC. The Tar Heels have long been thought of as the sleeping giant of the ACC, and if Brown can keep some of the top players in state, as he did with quarterback Sam Howell, then he can get things done. He did a good job down the stretch and big things are expected next year.

Grade: A

  Ohio State: No. 21 in the team rankings  

New coach: Ryan Day, former Ohio State offensive coordinator

Previous coach: Urban Meyer, first recruiting class (2012) ranked No. 4

Breakdown: After a big haul in the Early Signing Period, Ohio State had a relatively quiet signing day in February. The Buckeyes lost Rivals250 offensive lineman Doug Nester to Virginia Tech, but Day landed Rivals250 offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi and three-star offensive lineman Dawand Jones to replace him. As a whole, this Ohio State recruiting class isn’t as highly ranked as the last few, but the Buckeyes do have one of the best average star ratings per recruit, so there is a lot of quality in this class.

Farrell’s take: Replacing a legend isn’t easy and Day will have to live with the recruiting comparisons to Meyer. However, Day is a very good recruiter and should have a lot of success in 2020 and beyond. This was a small class for Ohio State, which is why it’s ranked so low, but the quality is there and Ohio State hasn’t whiffed on any massive targets since Day took over.

Grade: A

Texas Tech: No. 63 in the team rankings

New coach: Matt Wells, former Utah State head coach

Previous coach: Kliff Kingsbury, first recruiting class (2013) ranked No. 51

Breakdown: Texas Tech did its damage in the Early Signing Period, and only signed four more prospects this week. Only one of Wells’ new additions was a three-star (athlete Alante Brown) and the rest are two-stars. This class does feature four-star defensive end Gilbert Ibeneme and 10 three-stars, but there is a lot of work to be done in the future to get this roster to a point where the Red Raiders can consistently compete.

Farrell’s take: This will be interesting to follow, as Wells is taking a huge step up in recruiting and the Texas landscape is as crowded as it’s ever been. He will need to show an exciting product on the field to take recruiting to the next level.

Grade: C

West Virginia: No. 46 in the team rankings

New coach: Neal Brown, former Troy head coach

Previous coach: Dana Holgorsen, first recruiting class (2012) ranked No. 48

Breakdown: Brown made a big run at in-state five-star offensive lineman Darnell Wright, but it wasn’t enough to get him on board. West Virginia did sign three new three-stars in addition to the 16 signees the Mountaineers got in the Early Signing Period. Bringing in defensive back Tavian Mayo, defensive tackle Jordan Jefferson and wide receiver Rashean Lynn helped elevate this recruiting class to a respectable level that should give Brown a solid foundation for the future.

Farrell’s take: Brown is also taking a huge step forward in recruiting, and he has done a solid job so far, but 2020 will be big. West Virginia doesn’t have a great home base for talent, so the Mountaineers will need to win on the road and hit the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Texas hard.

Grade: B