We asked each member of the recruiting coverage staff which new staff did the best job on the recruiting trail. Here are the responses.
Jeremy Crabtree's answer: It was looking rocky on Rocky Top for a while, but Tennessee did a tremendous job down the stretch and finished with a top-20 class. Lane Kiffin surrounded himself with some of the best recruiters in the nation and it paid off with surprise additions such as Janzen Jackson and Nu'Keese Richardson. Auburn also closed strong, but it was impressive to see what the Tennessee staff did in such a short amount of time. The swagger definitely has returned to Knoxville, and the recruiting battles between Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and Tennessee are going to be epic.
Mike Farrell's answer: I think it's obvious Lane Kiffin and Tennessee did the best as a new staff. Not only did they finish with a top-20 class, they stole Nu'Keese Richardson and Marsalis Teague from Florida and Janzen Jackson from LSU and signed Darren Myles when many expected him to go to Alabama. Tennessee also remains in the hunt for Orson Charles and Bryce Brown. Kiffin, recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron and recruiting star Lance Thompson are going to kill it on the recruiting trail.
Jamie Newberg's answer: I think it comes down to Tennessee and Auburn. The Vols turned Marsalis Teague and Nu'Keese Richardson away from Florida and Janzen Jackson away from LSU. Richardson and Jackson are marquee players. They also signed Greg King and Darren Myles, still are awaiting decisions from Orson Charles, Kwame Geathers and David Oku and are getting a visit from Bryce Brown. I love how Auburn closed the last week with Tyrik Rollison, Emory Blake, DeAngelo Benton and Dontae Aycock. That was impressive. But I would give a slight edge to Tennessee – and the Vols still are waiting on four players.
Barton Simmons' answer: Gene Chizik's hire at Auburn was met with heavy criticism inside and outside the Auburn community. With his first real test being the 2009 recruiting class, Chizik had a lot to prove in a short period of time. The new coach was successful in keeping the bulk of Tommy Tuberville's recruits in the fold, and he also landed some huge names late, such as Tyrik Rollison, DeAngelo Benton, Dontae Aycock and Emory Blake. In the two months since Chizik's hire, he was able to get commitments from more players rated as four-stars or better (six) than were committed in the entire 2008 class for Tuberville (five).