Rivals.com Top 25 recruiters
The Letters of Intent have been faxed and now we take a look at which assistant coaches did the best work on the recruiting trail throughout the class of 2016. Headlined by Rivals.com’s Recruiter of the Year, Clemson’s Brent Venables, here are the top 25 recruiters for the class of 2016.
Rivals.com National and ACC Recruiter of the Year
BRENT VENABLES, Clemson
Buzz: Clemson’s defensive coordinator is Rivals.com’s Recruiter of the Year for the 2016 class after landing five-stars Tre Lamar and Rahshaun Smith and assisting fellow assistant Robbie Caldwell on five-star Dexter Lawrence. He also used his ties in Kansas to land two of the Sunflower State’s top three prospects in Xavier Kelly and three-star safety Isaiah Simmons, while being the lead recruiter on four-star Trayvon Mullen, three-star linebacker Jamie Skalski and others.
More Rivals.com top recruiters (listed alphabetically)
MIKE BLOOMGREN, Stanford
Buzz: Stanford ended up with the No. 18 class in the country and Bloomgren was involved in most of their top-rated signings. He teamed with Lance Anderson to grab five-star Curtis Robinson and teamed with a couple other coaches on Rivals100 quarterback K.J. Costello. Bloomgren was the lead on four-star Devery Hamilton, who the Cardinal flipped late from Michigan, and he landed a total of five offensive linemen in locales as diverse as Maryland and Hawaii.
TIM BREWSTER, FSU
Buzz: Florida State nearly pulled out its first team recruiting title, falling less than 100 points shy of Alabama and finishing second. Brewster expanded the Seminoles’ recruiting footprint by landing prospects from both coasts and getting into Texas as well. That Lone Star State pick up was a big one on Signing Day, getting Rivals250 linebacker Dontavious Jackson despite strong competition from Alabama and Texas.
KENDAL BRILES, Baylor
Buzz: Briles’ recruiting credentials have already been well established in past classes, but he furthered his reputation by bringing in some of Baylor’s top recruits in the nation’s No. 17 ranked class for 2016. While being the lead recruiter for four-stars Tren’Davian Dickson, Devin Duvernay and Kameron Martin, Briles also assisted in landing four-star offensive tackle J.P. Urquidez and three-star athlete Donovan Duvernay.
JAMES COLEY, Georgia
Buzz: What makes Coley’s efforts so impressive is he helped Georgia sign a top 10 recruiting class despite being hired just one month prior to National Signing Day. Coley was key in keeping four-star Javon Wims committed through the coaching transition, then he picked up a commitment from three-star Tyler Simmons, maneuvered the Riley Ridley drama to get him to Athens and played a role in the Bulldogs' biggest Signing Day pick up, five-star Mecole Hardman Jr.
KERRY COOMBS, Ohio State
Buzz: Coombs handles both the Cincinnati and Detroit recruiting territories, two regions that have been fruitful for the Buckeyes under his leadership. He took Rivals100 offensive tackle Michael Jordan away from in-state schools Michigan and Michigan State, while also securing a commitment from Rivals100 tight end Jake Hausmann early in the process. Coombs finished by flipping three-star Rodjay Burns from Louisville in January and assisted on several more four-star signings.
DAMEYUNE CRAIG, Auburn
Buzz: Besides his co-offensive coordinator responsibilities, Craig is also the wide receivers coach and pulled in a deep class of highly-ranked pass catchers, headlined by Nate Craig-Myers, the No. 3 ranked prospect at the position in 2016. Craig was also the lead recruiter for three-star cornerback Jayvaughn Myers, who announced on National Signing Day, and even got a passer to distribute the ball to his new wide receiver talents by landing John Franklin III out of junior college.
Bo Davis, Alabama (Rivals.com SEC Recruiter of the Year)
Buzz: Alabama rallied to sign the No. 1 class for the seventh time in the last nine years, and Davis is getting a lot of credit for the Crimson Tide's success in 2016. Alabama’s defensive line coach landed the biggest prize on Signing Day with five-star Ben Davis. He also had notable success in neighboring Mississippi, signing three of the Magnolia State’s top 12 prospects despite heavy competition from in-state schools and other SEC programs.
KERRY DIXON, Florida
Buzz: Florida’s wide receivers coach stockpiled talent at his position in this 2016 class and helped the Gators reel in the No. 14 ranked class nationally. The Houston native used those ties to flip Rivals100 wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland on Signing Day. He was the lead recruiter on four additional four-star wide receivers who signed with the Gators, while providing an assist on three-star defensive end Jachai Polite.
BARNEY FARRAR, Ole Miss
Buzz: Farrar is a unique case on this list because his title is Assistant A.D. of High School and Junior College relations, but he is part of the Rebels' recruiting staff in place of assistant coach Dan Werner. Farrar was responsible for two of Ole Miss’ most impressive recruiting victories: flipping Rivals100 defensive tackle Benito Jones from Alabama and snagging Starkville, Miss., native A.J. Brown right from under rival Mississippi State’s nose on Signing Day.
JEDD FISCH, Michigan
Buzz: Fisch is Michigan’s quarterbacks coach and identified Rivals250 passer Brandon Peters as the guy he wanted, then went out and landed him. He then went out and landed several top receivers for Peters including Florida tight end Nick Eubanks, who surprised many recruiting observers when he chose the Wolverines in late January. In total, Fisch was either the lead recruiter or assisted in seven of the Wolverine’s receiver additions.
RODNEY GARNER, Auburn
Buzz: Auburn landed a top 10 class with a strong finish on National Signing Day, which included landing Brown, the No. 17 ranked prospect in 2016. Garner was the lead recruiter for Derrick Brown, as he was for Marlon Davidson, the Tigers' other five-star defensive linemen, and the other defensive linemen in the class. Garner also gave an assist in getting four-star linebacker Tre Threat and four-star safety Marlon Character.
OSCAR GILES, Houston (Rivals.com Group of Five Recruiter of the Year)
Buzz: Houston landed the first five-star prospect to sign with a Group of Five program since 2008 and finished with the No. 44 overall class in 2016. Giles partnered with fellow assistant Corby Meekins to earn Oliver’s commitment last spring, then fended off schools that tried to sway the five-star prospect late in the process. If that was not enough, Giles then went out and was able to get Rivals250 wide receiver Courtney Lark late in the process.
ROBERT GILLESPIE, Tennessee
Buzz: Gillespie is in his first year as Tennessee’s recruiting coordinator and really took his job seriously, hitting the trail hard this year and securing several top recruits for the Volunteers. He makes the list in large part, though, for coming out on top in one of the most dramatic battles down the stretch, and that was with five-star JUCO defensive Jonathan Kongbo. He also teamed with assistant Larry Scott to reel in Rivals100 cornerback Tyler Byrd during Signing Day week.
HARRY HIESTAND, Notre Dame
Buzz: Notre Dame’s offensive line coach primarily focuses on recruiting his position, but what is remarkable about his effort in 2016 is that he went into the state of Ohio in a year immediately following Ohio State winning a National Championship and took two four-star offensive linemen from the Buckeyes. Hiestand then went down to Florida and landed another four-star in Parker Boudreaux, who had an extensive offer list.
BRIAN JEAN-MARY, Texas (Rivals.com Big 12 Recruiter of the Year)
Buzz: Probably no team had a better one-day start to the signing period than Texas, and Jean-Mary was a key reason for the Longhorns' National Signing Day haul. He was the lead recruiter on nine of Texas’s 2016 signees – including Signing Day pick ups Chris Daniels, Jeffrey McCulloch and Marcel Southall – and assisted on several more. One of Jean-Mary’s biggest assists was on five-star linebacker Erick Fowler, where he joined head coach Charlie Strong for a meeting with the Fowler family days before his commitment.
CURTIS LUPER, TCU
Buzz: TCU finished with the No. 21 ranked class in 2016 and Luper was in on most of the Horned Frogs' top-rated recruiting victories. He was able to keep four-star Houston defensive end Isaiah Chambers in-state and also assisted in doing the same with four-star athlete Sewo Olonilua. Luper also won some battles outside of the Lone Star State, including going into Iowa to land JUCO wide receiver Taj Williams.
TOSH LUPOI, Alabama
Buzz: Lupoi is known as one of the best recruiters on Nick Saban’s staff, and he delivered again in 2016 en route to another No. 1 ranked overall class. Lupoi’s biggest pull came on National Signing Day when he convinced five-star Washington, D.C. native Terrell Hall to sign with the Crimson Tide. He went back out to the East Coast to grab four-star Trevon Diggs, then landed the No. 1 running back in 2016, Emmons, and assisted Mario Cristobal on five-star offensive tackle Jonah Williams.
TEE MARTIN, USC (Rivals.com Pac 12 Recruiter of the Year)
Buzz: Martin is a yearly staple on these lists. This year he helped head coach Clay Helton overcome staff changes and land another top 10 class for the Trojans. Martin was the lead recruiter on both of USC’s five-star commitments as well as several four-stars in California. He also gave a big assist down in the Southeast, where USC would convince three players to leave SEC/ACC territory and play in the Pac-12.
CHRIS PARTRIDGE, Michigan (Rivals.com Big Ten Recruiter of the Year)
Buzz: Partridge is the former high school head coach of Rashan Gary, but even with that built-in advantage the Wolverines had a fight to the finish to land 2016’s No. 1 overall player. His ties to New Jersey also allowed the Wolverines to land five of the top eight players in the Garden State. The newly-appointed linebackers coach then assisted on Michigan’s success at Flanagan High School in Florida, three-star athlete Khaleke Hudson and others.
BRADLEY DALE PEVETO, LSU
Buzz: LSU held the top spot in the team rankings late in the process, and finished with the No. 6 overall class. The key was keeping home-state talent in Louisiana, and Peveto was a key contributor there while also nabbing a pair of defenders from Texas. Rivals250 prospects Eric Monroe and Rashard Lawrence were his biggest pick-ups, and he also received and held early commitments from Lewis and Thornton.
JEFF SCOTT, WR, Clemson
Buzz: Scott is Clemson’s wide receivers coach, but he ends up being a factor in most of their offensive targets. This year he helped the Tigers roll up the nation’s No. 5 ranked recruiting class by landing several four-star skill position prospects. He kept Rivals250 running back Tavien Feaster in-state, then went into neighboring North Carolina for a pair of four-stars and down into Florida for Rivals250 wide receiver T.J. Chase.
ZACH SMITH, Ohio State
Buzz: The highlight of Smith’s haul for the fourth-ranked Ohio State recruiting class was getting Rivals100 wide receiver Binjimen Victor out of South Florida and away from the in-state programs and pretty much the rest of the country. Smith also kicked off the recruitment of five-star defensive end Nick Bosa and gets a solid assist in that recruitment. Smith is often assigned the difficult areas to recruit and comes away with big steals year after year for the Buckeyes.
RICK TRICKETT, Florida State
Biggest gets: Four-star offensive guard Landon Dickerson, four-star offensive tackle Mike Arnold, four-star offensive tackle Josh Ball, four-star offensive tackle Jauan Williams, four-star athlete Carlos Becker
Buzz: Florida State’s offensive line coach was critical in signing the Seminoles No. 2 ranked class in 2016. Six offensive linemen set the foundation for the class and Trickett was the lead recruiter on all, including Landon Dickerson, a Rivals100 offensive guard who announced his decision on Signing Day.
“Rick Trickett really knocked it out of the park. This is the best offensive line class they have had in the history of Florida State,” said Warchant.com’s Michael Langston.
SCOTT WHITE, UCLA
Buzz: UCLA just missed out on the top 10, but made a run on National Signing Day by landing a half dozen prospects. The biggest prize was brought in by White and that was five-star linebacker Mique Juarez. In fact, UCLA’s linebacker haul is the most impressive of all their positions and White was the lead recruiter on three other four-star linebacker wins. He also brought in two kickers to bolster the Bruins' special teams.