football Edit

Three-Point Stance: Big commits; top 20 coaches; SEC rising stars National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s thought-provoking Three-Point Stance is here with a look at the top commitments of the last week, the next wave of top coaches in college football and five coaches in the SEC who could help fill the stardom void.

RELATED: Big Ten storylines | Week in commits

1. Ranking run of key recent commits

Christopher Hinton
Christopher Hinton (

Here are the most significant recent commits as high school seasons across the South open practices for the season.

1) DE Christopher Hinton, Michigan (2019) – A five-star who could play defense or offense and hails from Georgia, Hinton is a home run despite being a 2019 very early commit.

2) DE Cameron Latu, Alabama – A great pull from Utah, the Tide are recruiting nationally and cherry-picking key guys of need from out West. Fans will love Latu’s motor.

3) ATH K’Vaughan Pope, Ohio State – A perfect fit for Ohio State, Pope will complement linebackers Teradja Mitchell and Dallas Gant very well with his quick-twitch ability and sideline-to-sideline quickness.

4) DT Calvin Avery, Illinois – A huge get for Lovie Smith, perhaps the biggest in his tenure, Avery is physically ready to impact early and is at a huge position of need.

5) WR Jacob Copeland, Florida – Florida recruiting keeps on improving for 2018 and the momentum is off the hook. Copeland was expected, but his commitment could draw other top wide receivers and help with 2019 quarterback recruiting.

6) DT PJ Mustipher, Penn State – Not a surprise commitment, Mustipher plays a key position of need for the 2018 PSU class and brings athleticism to the position. He’s behind Avery only because Illinois needs elite DTs a bit more, but this is a key grab for James Franklin.

7) S Trey Dean, Tennessee – A big-time steal from Georgia. Many expected Dean to either stay home or head far away. The Vols got a key piece here and a kid who can hit.

8) OT Doug Nester, Ohio State – A 2019 lineman pickup, Nester is the first in the class for the Buckeyes and can play inside or outside down the line.

9) OL Steven Jones, Oregon – Jones is another huge get for Oregon, figuratively and literally, as the Ducks remain the hottest team in the country.

10) OL Juice Scruggs, Penn State – Another big-time offensive line commitment, perhaps the biggest need for Penn State in this class, Scruggs can play guard or even center at the next level.

11) TE Dominick Anderson, Texas – Another elite athlete and offensive weapon for Tom Herman and company to utilize, watch how he does things downfield for this offense.

12) RB Dameon Pierce, Florida – The Gators add more offensive punch with a running back who can run with power but has good feet as well. He’ll help efforts in Georgia despite the fact that UGA wasn’t that interested.

13) OL Spencer Brown, Michigan State – Brown is a great start to the 2019 class as an in-state target with length and a ton of upside.

14) OL Demarcus Marshall, Texas Tech – Everyone talks about needing defensive help, but Texas Tech is quietly putting together a nice offensive line for the future. That could help the running game protect the defense.

15) DE Tyler Baylor, Maryland – An important local commitment at a key position, Baylor plays for a huge program in state. He is athletic enough to come off the edge but also cover a lot of ground.

16) S Marlon Character, South Carolina (4 star JUCO) – Former Auburn signee (after being a Gamecocks verbal) ends up with Will Muschamp at South Carolina and brings a ton of versatility to the table.

2. The 'next' top 10 coaches in America

Gary Patterson
Gary Patterson

Last week I named my top 10 coaches in college football which led to much discussion on our message boards and on social media. To review, they were… 1) Nick Saban 2) Urban Meyer 3) Dabo Swinney 4) Jimbo Fisher 5) Jim Harbaugh 6) Chris Petersen 7) James Franklin 8) Mike Gundy 9) David Shaw 10) Mark Dantonio.

To no one’s surprise, the Harbaugh rating drew the most response and the inclusion of Franklin was probably the most discussed. So let’s go a bit deeper and take a look at 11-20 for fun, which could cause even more issues.

11) Gary Patterson, TCU – The reason Patterson wasn’t in my top 10 is because much of his work has been done in lesser conferences. That doesn’t take away from his coaching ability, but a weak Big 12 and before that the Mountain West and Conference USA is less impressive than some others.

12) Bill Snyder, Kansas State – This was a tough one as you could make the argument that Snyder could be top five based on his two-time success at Kansas State. It’s impressive for sure, but he didn’t make top 10 because many of his biggest seasons were a few years ago.

13) Mark Richt, Miami – Richt’s record at Georgia (145-51) is impressive, and his first year at Miami was a great start. So why is he lower on the list than perhaps expected? He never won the big one at UGA and with that recruiting advantage, he should have.

14) Bobby Petrino, Louisville – A 109-43 mark is impressive and he’s had double digit win years four times, twice with Louisville and twice with Arkansas, not exactly programs easy to win at.

15) Brian Kelly, Notre Dame – One down year pushed Mark Dantonio to the bottom of the top 10, so why isn’t’ Kelly higher with only one poor year at Notre Dame? He’s had two good years, the national title run in 2012 and the near playoff run in 2015. Beyond that, it’s been solid but not great at 59-31 in South Bend.

16) Dan Mullen, Mississippi State – A 61-42 record isn’t overly impressive, but winning at Mississippi State is one of the toughest jobs in college football. He’s reached nine wins twice and 10 wins once and last year was only his second losing season.

17) Kyle Whittingham, Utah – He’s 104-50 at Utah and keeping the Utes competitive as they moved up to the Pac-12 has been impressive. Perhaps the last few years could have been better, but 28-11 over the last three seasons is excellent.

18) Jim McElwain, Florida – The turnaround at Colorado State was impressive, but two SEC East titles in two years at Florida impresses me more. The offense hasn’t been good and ‘Bama has thumped them, but McElwain gets undue criticism.

19) Gus Malzahn, Auburn – He’s won an SEC title and took his team to the title game in his first year and results have been average ever since, but make no mistake about it – Malzahn is a very good coach.

20) David Cutcliffe, Duke – A winning record at Ole Miss including a Cotton Bowl appearance was impressive, but the 27-13 run at Duke from 2013-2015 is amazing. I don’t think people realize how hard it is to win with Duke’s academic restrictions.

3. The SEC's next generation

Kirby Smart
Kirby Smart (AP)

The SEC has only one head coach in my top 10 and four in my top 20 with the last three, Mullen, McElwain and Malzahn easily debatable. The league could easily be called Nick and the No Names, a far cry from the days of Saban, Les Miles, Meyer, Phillip Fulmer, Richt, Steve Spurrier and others. So who are the guys who could become the next stars in the SEC? Here are five coaches.

Kirby Smart, Georgia – Smart’s recruiting has been off the charts, he has a great program to sell and a weak division there for the taking. He could be the next star in the SEC if he takes the next step with on field decisions.

Jim McElwain, Florida – McElwain has two division titles in two years, the SEC East is still down and he’s slowly becoming a better recruiter. He’s at a crossroads between taking the next step to stardom or falling back.

Will Muschamp, South Carolina – Florida fans are laughing, but Muschamp can recruit talent and has learned a lot from his failure in Gainesville. Someone is going to step up in the SEC East and he could be the guy.

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State – Maybe not at Mississippi State, but if he’s tagged for one of the bigger SEC jobs that could come open soon, watch for him to reach stardom level.

Gus Malzahn, Auburn - A guy on the hot seat as a potential future star? Yep. If Jarrett Stidham is all he’s cracked up to be, Auburn could make a run at the whole thing and Malzahn will have a James Franklin-esque rise to fame.