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Three-Point Stance: Coaches' salaries, big commits, Heisman race

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Advertisement National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s thought-provoking Three-Point Stance is here with his take on coaches’ salaries, the best commits of the past week and his updated Heisman list.

MORE: Where QBs stand at season's midpoint | Midseason look at top RBs


Kirby Smart
Kirby Smart (AP Images)

USA Today has released its annual college coach’s salary list again and, as usual, it’s interesting to take a look at who is making too much or too little. As always, I’ll break down who is OVERPAID, UNDERPAID or JUST RIGHT. Here ya go …

1) Nick Saban, $8.3 million – UNDERPAID – The best coach in college football history deserves to be the highest paid coach in the country, but he should be making more than his current salary. If others are this close to him in money, something could be wrong.

2) Urban Meyer, $7.6 million – UNDERPAID – Meyer is Ohio State and the reason the program is relevant in recent years, so he should be making more as well. He should be a couple million behind Saban, but still up in that $8 million range.

3) Jim Harbaugh, $7.5 million – OVERPAID – You have to make the playoff, win your division or at least finish runner up in your division before you make this kind of money. This is a tad ridiculous.

4) Jimbo Fisher, $7.5 million – OVERPAID – I like Fisher, but this is a lot of money for a guy who will probably finish second or third in his own division in the foreseeable future. See Harbaugh, Jim, but at least he has a national title.

5) Gus Malzahn, $6.7 million – OVERPAID – Auburn is so frustrating to watch and I don’t think he’s worth this kind of money. They were supposed to be SEC West contenders this year and that’s already dead. He’s a good recruiter, but this is a bit high on the money side.

6) Kirby Smart, $6.6 million – UNDERPAID – Smart is building his own Alabama in the SEC East and deserves to be amongst the highest paid coaches in the country. He should certainly be ahead of Harbaugh.

7) Dabo Swinney, $6.4 million – UNDERPAID – A national title and a constant in the playoff, Swinney has taken Clemson to heights never expected and should be up there with Meyer in salary.

8) Dan Mullen, $6 million – JUST RIGHT – I hate using the JUST RIGHT choice, but it fits for Mullen, who will do a very good job at Florida and be the only challenge to Kirby and his gang over the next many years.

9) Tom Herman, $5.5 million – UNDERPAID – Texas has turned the corner and Herman is starting to live up to the billing. Based on this season alone he should be making more money and things keep rolling for the Longhorns.

10) Scott Frost, $5 million – OVERPAID – Obviously they needed to pull out the money to get him to take the job but so far the results have been rough. He’s overpaid by far, at least so far.


There weren’t a ton of commitments last week, but there was enough star power to rate them, especially with so many four-stars coming off the board. Here are the most important ones, by national standards.

1) WR Trey Knox, Arkansas – Another huge commitment for Arkansas, as Knox is a big, physical wide receiver who can stretch the field and had numerous other options.

2) CB Max Williams, USC – Williams may be small, but he can play big and is one of the best cover corners in the country. It's a huge in-state keep.

3) DE Joshua Pakola, Stanford – Another hard-nosed kid and hard worker with a great motor. He’ll fit in perfectly with Stanford’s mentality.

4) RB Sampson James, Indiana – The former Ohio State commit has few weaknesses and is a massive get for Indiana, which rarely lands national recruits.

5) OT Ray Parker, LSU – He can play nasty and aggressively and has good feet and athleticism as well, so he’s a great fit for what LSU does on offense.

6) TE Brenton Strange, Penn State – An athletic kid who can stretch the field a bit and can also block, Strange could be a star at Penn State.

7) DE Dante Walker, Arkansas – How about Arkansas? Two commits on the list and another four-star added to the class. Walker can get after the passer.

8) DE Bralen Trice, Washington – Washington keeps adding athletic players to its class and Trice can work off the edge or play the run in its defensive scheme.

9) RB Taron Madison, Oregon State – Watch out for this kid as a potential sleeper for the Beavers, as he can be a workhorse with his size.

10) LB Josh White, Oklahoma State – A tackling machine and good in space, White could be a standout for Okie State and lead the defense in a few years.


Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa (AP Images)

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve released a Heisman list, so here’s my best attempt. Right now it’s a runaway with a certain Alabama quarterback leading the way.

1) Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama – The numbers don’t lie, and it will be interesting to see when and if he gets challenged in a game. But right now he’s the most efficient quarterback in the country, hands down.

2) QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State – Haskins is putting up monster numbers and always seems to get in a groove in each game eventually. He’s the key to the Ohio State offense and its dominance.

3) QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma – The loss hurts a bit, but he’s still putting up pinball numbers and is a threat with his feet and his arm. His completion percentage (71 percent) speaks to how well he is throwing the ball.

4) QB Will Grier, West Virginia – He struggled against Kansas and it hurt him, but he was behind the Big Three anyhow. He needs some huge games against talented opponents to move up the list.

5) RB Travis Etienne, Clemson – He is so underrated that it’s crazy he’s not on many Heisman lists. He’s the MVP of the Clemson offense and the reason the Tigers are undefeated.

6) QB Trace McSorley, Penn State – Despite the loss to Ohio State, McSorley remains high on the list because he’s just so consistent and he has a knack for making the play downfield despite the traffic around him.