Rivals.com top 25 recruiters of 2017
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 2017. Headlined by Rivals.com’s Recruiter of the Year, Ohio State's Kerry Coombs, here are the top 25 recruiters for the class of 2017.
NATIONAL SIGNING DAY 2017: Farrell Awards | Winners and losers | Coombs is the Rivals Recruiter of the Year
Rivals.com National Recruiter of the Year
KERRY COOMBS, Ohio State
Biggest Get: Kendall Sheffield
Coombs has always been known as Ohio State’s primary guy in the very important southwest Ohio area, where he used to be a high school coach. But in recent years, he has made his presence felt in regions outside of the state borders, most notably Detroit, where he has stolen several top prospects from the backyard of the Buckeyes' rival to the north. Coombs was not able to orchestrate another Detroit theft in this 2017 class, but he went down into Florida for four-stars Isaiah Pryor and Marcus Williamson while also giving an assist on five-star Shaun Wade. He also assisted with five-star Jeffrey Okudah, while adding more help for his defensive backfield in four-stars Sheffield and Amir Riep.
More Rivals.com top recruiters (listed alphabetically)
AAZAR ABDUL-RAHIM, Maryland
Biggest get: Kasim Hill
Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin was the 2012 Rivals.com National Recruiter of the Year, so he knows what it takes to be a top recruiting assistant. Abdul-Rahim was one of the first hires he made when he got to College Park. The on-field results have not been there yet for the Terrapins, but they brought in the No. 17 class in 2017 and Abdul-Rahim was a big reason for that. Besides Hill, Maryland’s defensive backs coach was also involved with signing four-stars Anthony McFarland, Deon Jones and Marcus Minor along with three-stars Camaron Spence, Lawtez Rogers, Tayon Fleet-Davis, Johnny Jordan, Alex Woods and Fofie Bazzie.
DERRICK ANSLEY, Alabama
Biggest get: Xavier McKinney
Ansley was instrumental is snatching McKinney away from Clemson, who many saw as his longstanding leader. He’s also credited for five-star offensive lineman Jedrick Wills. Ansley did work inside the state of Alabama, as well, helping land Rivals250 wide receiver Henry Ruggs and four-star linebacker Markail Benton. He gets credit for an assist when it comes to sealing the commitment flip of Daniel Wright, who spurned in-state Florida State in favor of the Crimson Tide.
BILL BEDENBAUGH, Oklahoma
Biggest Get: Tyrese Robinson
Bedenbaugh has put together very solid back-to-back offensive line recruiting classes the past couple of years. This year's bell cow may be Robinson as a punishing interior lineman, but closing late on Louisiana offensive tackle Adrian Ealy really rounds out this year's group nicely. When you see how quickly his recruits from last season got onto the field, his ability to identify and utilize talent has been very impressive
MIKE BLOOMGREN, Stanford
Biggest get: Walker Little
Stanford signed only 14 prospects in an expected small class. but the Cardinal loaded up and Bloomgren, among others, was involved in landing two five-star offensive tackles who could be immediate stars. He went up to Washington to get Foster Sarell, who was considering the Huskies, Notre Dame and others and then headed to into Texas for five-star Walker Little, who selected Stanford over the in-state Longhorns. Stanford will run the ball, and behind Sarell and Little it should continue to be incredibly successful.
JAY GRAHAM, Florida State
Biggest get: Cam Akers
Florida State landed two five-star running backs (Cam Akers and Khalan Laborn) this cycle, which is an impressive accomplishment when you consider how badly players want early playing time. FSU’s running back class has the potential to be an all-time great group.
ODELL HAGGINS, Florida State
Biggest get: Marvin Wilson
Recruiting to Florida State isn’t exactly working in the mines, but Haggins has done what the Noles expect of him nevertheless. Haggins had a hand in landing Marvin Wilson, which was a bit of a Signing Day surprise. He was also an instrument in landing explosive receiver D.J. Matthews and five-star running back Khalan Laborn.
KEITH HEYWARD, Oregon
Biggest get: Deommodore Lenoir
It was a hectic final few weeks for the new Oregon staff, and coach Willie Taggart was responsible for getting out and landing a lot of the Ducks' top signees, but Heyward played a big role as well and was a big factor in Lenoir's decision. The high four-star knew Heyward from the coach's days at USC, and Lenoir said that Heyward being on staff would play a big role in his thinking. A previous Oregon commit, Lenoir again picked the Ducks over Nebraska and Mississippi State. Heyward was also key in the recruitment of Jaylon Redd, a four-star speedster who was looking around late but ended up in Oregon's class.
JIMMY LAKE, Washington
Biggest get: Keith Taylor
Wide receivers coach Bush Hamdan was also under serious consideration because he landed some key wide receivers, but we're picking Lake because he did a phenomenal job signing three four-star defensive backs in Keith Taylor, Brandon McKinney and Elijah Molden. Taylor and McKinney are especially long, athletic and talented on the back end, and Molden is a smart ballhawk who can contribute in many ways.
TOSH LUPOI, Alabama
Biggest get: Najee Harris
Lupoi’s West Coast connections were vital in helping Alabama land No. 1 overall prospect Najee Harris. Lupoi was vital to expanding the Tide’s reach nationally this season to supplement the talent the program lands from its home region every year. Lupoi is a mainstay on lists of this nature for a reason.
DEMETRICE MARTIN, UCLA
Biggest get: Darnay Holmes
Martin is one of the nation's best recruiters and needs to be credited for landing a phenomenal group led by five-star Darnay Holmes. There were some built-in advantages there since Martin was considered family by Holmes because Martin grew up with Holmes' father, Darick, but USC and Ohio State played significant parts in his recruitment and the five-star could have ended up elsewhere. Martin also worked on UCLA's other five-star signee, defensive end Jaelan Phillips, plus he loaded up at defensive back with Quentin Lake, Jaylan Shaw and Morrell Osling III.
BRYAN MCCLENDON, South Carolina
Biggest get: MJ Webb
The former Georgia assistant has always handled the city of Atlanta, and he had success once again in the 2017 class. He played a major role in helping land four-star defensive lineman Aaron Sterling on National Signing Day and also helped nab early enrollee defensive tackle MJ Webb. He also helped assist on the Gamecocks' impressive wide receiver haul of OrTre Smith, Shi Smith and Chad Terrell, all Rivals250 prospects.
CHRIS PARTRIDGE, Michigan
Biggest get: Jordan Anthony
Partridge has been known for his recruiting prowess since coming to Ann Arbor with Jim Harbaugh two years ago, and he turned in another huge effort for the Wolverines' No. 4 ranked class in 2017. The former head coach at Paramus Catholic, Partridge went back to the New Jersey-area school to land Rivals100 linebacker Drew Singleton. He bolstered the linebacker corps with five-star Jordan Anthony while also being key for four-star offensive center Cesar Ruiz, four-star wide receiver Brad Hawkins and four-star defensive end James Hudson. He gave a late assist on Michigan’s big, five-star National Signing Day pull of Aubrey Solomon.
SAM PITTMAN, Georgia
Biggest get: Isaiah Wilson
There's no doubt offensive line was a weakness for Georgia in 2016, and Pittman was in charge of rebuilding the group going forward. He hit the recruiting trail and did exactly that. The headliner of the class was five-star Isaiah Wilson, but Pittman also landed four-stars Netori Johnson, Andrew Thomas and D'Marcus Hayes. Elite prospects speak highly of Pittman, and his transition to recruiting in the state of Georgia has been impressive.
GLENN SCHUMANN, Georgia
Biggest get: Jake Fromm
Schumann had a major impact on Georgia's class, starting with helping land Rivals100 safety Richard LeCounte, whose early commitment set the tone for the entire 2017 class. Other prospects Schumann played a big part in recruiting include four-star linebackers Nate McBride and Jaden Hunter as well as five-star quarterback Jake Fromm. Schumann was tasked with helping Georgia lock down the in-state talent, and he did a very good job of doing exactly that.
JEFF SCOTT, Clemson
Biggest get: Tee Higgins
Clemson had a very small 2017 recruiting class but had the fourth best average stars per commit ranking in the nation. The Tigers signed three five-star prospects, and Scott was responsible for two of them in wide receiver Tee Higgins and quarterback Hunter Johnson. Scott also led the recruitments of Amari Rogers, a Rivals250 wide receiver, and Blake Vinson, a three-star offensive lineman.
STACY SEARELS, Miami
Biggest get: Navaughn Donaldson
Miami always has great athletes, but it’s been a while since the Hurricanes had an outstanding offensive line. Searels is working to build a strong front line, and he did so in impressive fashion with commitments from five offensive linemen. Navaughn Donaldson, the Rivals100 prospect, is the headliner, but Kai-Leon Herbert, a former Michigan commit, is in the Rivals250, and Zalon’tae Hillery, Corey Gaynor and Zach Dykstra will provide some much-needed depth.
RANDY SHANNON, Florida
Biggest get: Kadeem Telfort
Shannon’s work in South Florida lands him on this list. The Gators closed well due in large part to Shannon, who helped snatch C.J. Henderson, Tedarrell Slaton and Brian Edwards on Signing Day. Shannon also landed top-250 defensive back Marco Wilson.
TERRY SMITH, Penn State
Biggest get: Lamont Wade
Although he is the former head coach at Gateway High School in Western Pennsylvania and has plenty of connections in that area, Smith’s successful recruitment of Pittsburgh-area five-star cornerback Lamont Wade was anything but easy. After emerging in his sophomore year as a national recruit, Wade had nearly every big-name school in the country knocking down his door. He decided to stay in state in large part because of Smith. He also kept Pittsburgh four-star lineman CJ Thorpe in-state and was critical in landing defensive backs D.J. Brown, Donovan Johnson and Tariq Castro-Fields.
ZACH SMITH, Ohio State
Biggest Get: Trevon Grimes
As Ohio State’s wide receivers coach, Smith was the point man for their new haul of pass catchers that include five-star Trevon Grimes, four-star Jaylen Harris and three-star Elijah Gardiner. He then went out and found someone to throw those guys the ball, landing the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in Las Vegas’ Tate Martell. Smith landed Martell’s teammate, four-star defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, and Rivals100 athlete Brendan White. He also gave assists on successful recruitments of the likes of five-star lineman Wyatt Davis.
AUSTIN THOMAS, LSU
Biggest get: Jacob Phillips
A head coaching changes can create some unique recruiting situations, and that was the case in Baton Rouge when Ed Orgeron succeeded Les Miles as the Tigers' head man. Thomas is technically LSU’s general manager, an administrative position. Orgeron needed another person on the road recruiting, though, and Thomas got the nod … with sterling results. He was responsible for flipping five-star Jacob Phillips from Oklahoma and also landing five-star Jacoby Stevens. Thomas delivered four-star cornerback Todd Harris on Signing Day and also assisted with four-stars K’Lavon Chaisson, Grant Delpit, Tyler Taylor, Kary Vincent and Myles Brennan.
JIM TURNER, Texas A&M
Biggest Get: Grayson Reed
Recruits have really taken to Turner, and he did a great job in this class getting involved with guys he liked last spring and holding onto them. In addition to the players that committed early, he did a great job selling the program to Dan Moore, who flipped from Oklahoma State, and Jared Hocker, who had been committed to Kansas and Texas Tech previously.
KENECHI UDEZE, USC
Biggest get: Jay Tufele
Udeze was involved in mainly every defensive line signee, and there were many for the Trojans including Tufele, one of the best in the country. Another big signee for USC was four-star Marlon Tuipulotu, who had been committed to Washington for months before Udeze and the Trojans flipped him in the weeks leading up to Signing Day. Another top prospect Udeze was involved with was high four-star Hunter Echols. Udeze also recruited three-stars Brandon Pili, Terrance Lang and others. Udeze was incredibly active on the recruiting trail and also incredibly productive.
BRENT VENABLES, Clemson
Biggest get: AJ Terrell
Not only one of the best defensive coordinators in the country, Venables did a heck of job on the recruiting trail this cycle. Five-star defensive back AJ Terrell and Rivals100 defensive back LeAnthony Williams bring a lot of scheme versatility to Clemson. Clemson already has one of the best front lines in college football, and Venables got Rivals250 defensive end Jordan Williams and four-star defensive end Justin Foster to add to the mix. Three-star linebackers Logan Rudolph and Baylon Spector were recruited by Venables and so was mammoth three-star offensive tackle Noah DeHond.
KEITH WILLIAMS, Nebraska
Biggest get: Tyjon Lindsey
Williams is Nebraska’s wide receivers coach, and he helped himself with the collection of talent he attracted to Lincoln at that position in 2017. Williams went to work early, landing four-stars Keyshawn Johnson Jr., and Jaevon McQuitty in March. He also spent a lot of time at Calabasas High in pursuit of Johnson and played a role in convincing four-star quarterback Tristan Gebbia to choose Nebraska. Williams' biggest get, though, was Rivals100 wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey right after Lindsey de-committed from Big Ten rival Ohio State. That commitment came at a crucial time last month and helped the Cornhuskers regain momentum heading into Signing Day.