Top 25 recruiters for 2020
On Thursday, Clemson’s Todd Bates was announced as Rivals' Recruiter of the Year for the 2020 class. Today, we release the rest of the top 25 recruiters for 2020. Much like the top of the Rivals team rankings, this list has a strong presence from the Southeastern Conference.
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TODD BATES – CLEMSON
Rivals’ Recruiter of the Year in the 2020 class was part of a historic recruiting haul at Clemson that saw the Tigers land four of the top 11 prospects in the country. The headliner of that group was five-star defensive tackle Bryan Bresee, the No. 1-ranked player in the 2020 class. After a slow start in Clemson’s pursuit of Bresee, Bates took over that recruitment and delivered the athletic defender for head coach Dabo Swinney.
This class started, though, when Bates locked up in-state defensive tackle DeMonte Capehart, the No. 54-ranked prospect in 2020, prior to the start of his junior year. Bates would go on to add another four-star defensive tackle in Tre’ Williams, and also gave an assist by bringing in the No. 4 player in the class, defensive end Myles Murphy. Bates would close out his 2020-best haul by going into Alabama and landing the 50th ranked player in the class, wide receiver E.J. Williams.
EPHRAIM BANDA – MIAMI
There were few coaches who had a bigger smile on their face than Miami’s Ephraim Banda on Wednesday. Not only did Banda pull off one of the biggest signing day stunners in getting four-star Avantae Williams to sign with the Hurricanes when everyone thought the was going to Florida, but he also got the top-ranked prospect at the position he coaches. While Williams is his crown jewel, Banda had plenty of other wins, helping secure local speedster Don Chaney at running back as well as four-stars Jalen Harrell and Elijah Roberts, and then landing another four-star safety in Keshawn Washington.
JAY BATEMAN – NORTH CAROLINA
Mack Brown has long been one of the best recruiting head coaches in the game, and he knows the key to building strong classes is surrounding himself with good recruiting assistants. Co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Jay Bateman fits that bill with what he did in this 2020 class, a group that ranked top 20 overall. Bateman brought in Rivals250 safety Ja’Qurious Conley, along with three-star defenders Ethan West, Aaron Beatty and Kaimon Rucker.
BILL BEDENBAUGH – OKLAHOMA
Already a multiple winner of this award, Bedenbaugh makes the top 25 again with an outstanding haul of five four-star offensive linemen, four of which are in the Rivals250. What makes this 2020 group so impressive is that Oklahoma’s offensive line coach went into Washington D.C. – not exactly a recruiting hotbed for the Sooners – to grab a pair of four-star offensive tackles in Aaryn Parks and Anton Harrison. The other four-star offensive linemen in this class came from Arizona, Texas and, finally, from the Sooners' own back yard with Tulsa-area offensive guard Andrew Raym, the top-ranked player in-state for the 2020 recruiting cycle.
THOMAS BROWN – SOUTH CAROLINA
Will Muschamp organizes his recruiting assignments around positions. As the Gamecocks' running back’s coach, Brown will never be able to bring in the big hauls of prospects others on this list do, but it’s hard to argue how efficient he was with the scholarships he had available. Brown went out and reeled in one of the most talented running backs in the entire class, five-star MarShawn Lloyd. He then complemented the Lloyd pick-up with four-star JUCO running back ZaQuandre White. The third running back in this class, Rashad Amos, was committed to Western Kentucky but Brown liked what he saw from senior film and flipped Amos from the Hilltoppers.
DARRIN CHIAVERINI - COLORADO
When Mel Tucker was announced as Colorado’s head coach, he retained three coaches from Mike MacIntyre's old administration. One of those retained was wide receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini, who has added the Assistant Head Coach title and become one of the Buffaloes’ top recruiting assistants.
In the 2020 class, Chiaverini was responsible for two of Colorado’s three four-star commitments. Cornerback Christian Gonzalez had been committed to Purdue for several months when Chiaverini flipped him to Colorado in November, and he also nabbed Rivals250 receiver Brenden Rice out of Arizona. Chiaverini also was able to flip three-star receiver Keith Miller III from Kansas in June.
RODNEY GARNER – AUBURN
Auburn was one of seven SEC programs to finish in the top 10 of the Rivals team recruiting rankings, and the Tigers were led by a strong effort from defensive line coach Rodney Garner.
The bulk of Garner’s recruiting gains were on the defensive line, and it included the No. 1 JUCO in 2020, defensive end Dre Butler, as well as a pair of Rivals100 prospects in Jay Hardy and Zykevious Walker. Garner was also responsible for four-star receiver Kobe Hudson, four-star linebacker Wesley Steiner and three-star offensive tackle Tate Johnson. Garner also gave an assist on Rivals100 running back Cartavious "Tank" Bigsby.
CORTEZ HANKTON – GEORGIA
Kirby Smart handles recruiting assignments primarily by position, which means Cortez Hankton is responsible for the talented and deep group of receivers heading to Athens in this 2020 class. A two-year member of the Bulldogs' staff, Hankton added passing game coordinator to his list of responsibilities prior to the 2019 season.
His 2020 recruiting haul includes a quartet of four-star wide receivers, along with a late three-star addition from in-state slot Ladd McConkey. The highest-ranked prospect of the group is Marcus Rosemy, No. 71 in the Rivals100, but fellow four-stars Justin Robinson, Arian Smith and Jermaine Burton rank among the top 190 prospects in the class.
JEFF HAFLEY – OHIO STATE
Now the head coach at Boston College, this honor goes to Hafley for the work he did while the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. Hafley was able to reel in both quality and quantity for the Buckeyes before leaving the weekend prior to the December signing day.
Hafley’s top contributions to Ohio State’s class include Rivals100 linebackers Cody Simon (assist) and Kourt Williams as well as four-star defensive backs Lathan Ransom and Ryan Watts. Hafley also sold two-time Michigan state player of the year Cameron Martinez on the idea of playing defensive back for the Buckeyes, which he had to be re-sold on after Hafley’s departure.
WILL HARRIS – WASHINGTON
Washington capped off a top 20 ranked recruiting class back in December to welcome Jimmy Lake into his role as the new head coach of the Huskies. The last piece of that puzzle was the commitment of four-star cornerback Jacobe Covington, a Rivals250 prospect from Arizona who was the crowning achievement in defensive backs coach Will Harris’ 2020 recruiting efforts. Beyond Covington, Harris would go on to fill out his defensive backs class with three-stars Elijah Jackson, Makell Esteen and James Smith, all hailing from California.
BRIAN HARTLINE – OHIO STATE
A strong contender for the overall recruiter of the year in 2020, Hartline pulled in one of the best all-time hauls at the receiver position, landing four pass-catchers who ranked among the top 60 overall in the class. The headliner is five-star Julian Fleming, the No. 14 overall player in the class out of Pennsylvania. The remaining four receivers, though, follow close behind in the rankings, with five-star Jaxon Smith-Njigba at No. 20, four-star Gee Scott Jr. at No. 57 and slot receiver Mookie Cooper at No. 58. Hartline also gave a key assist in Ohio State’s pursuit of Rivals100 quarterback C.J. Stroud as the Buckeyes landed the four-star on December’s signing day.
BRIAN JOHNSON – FLORIDA
Although the finish could have been better, Florida signed its second top 10 class under Dan Mullen. Leading several of the Gators' top recruiting efforts this cycle was assistant Brian Johnson, now entering his third year on staff. As Florida’s quarterbacks coach, Johnson knows the importance of locking up the most important position on the field, and he did that by landing four-star dual-threat quarterback Anthony Richardson ... twice. Johnson then went to work on getting an elite pass-catcher for Richardson in four-star receiver Xzavier Henderson, and also got a four-star lineman to protect him in tackle Issiah Walker. Johnson’s recruiting efforts in 2020 also included four-star safety Marc Britt.
DAVID JOHNSON – TENNESSEE
Utilizing his connections at Whitehaven High School in Memphis, Johnson was able to sign four-star linebackers Tamarion McDonald, Martavius French and Bryson Eason from the school. Johnson kept the teammate theme going by landing four-star defensive tackle Omari Thomas and three-star running back Jamari Small from in-state high school Briarcrest Christian. He capped it all off with a pledge from three-star running back Tee Hodge.
CHARLES KELLY – ALABAMA
One of the biggest movers in the last update of the Rivals250 was defensive end Will Anderson, who finished as a five-star prospect after his performance at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio. That was no surprise to Alabama assistant Charles Kelly, who had successfully recruited Anderson to the Crimson Tide six months earlier. Besides Anderson, Kelly signed Rivals100 safety Brian Branch out of Georgia, in-state four-star Kristian Story and three-star offensive lineman Seth McLaughlin. Kelly also managed to flip four-star offensive lineman Javion Cohen from in-state rival Auburn.
CHIP LONG – NOTRE DAME
The numbers were small in Notre Dame’s 2020 class, but the efficiency was high as evidenced by a class that ranks 22nd despite having fewer commitments than any class ranked higher. Brian Kelly decided to part ways with his offensive coordinator after the season, but the impact Long had on this Notre Dame class cannot be understated.
Long brought in two of the top five tight end prospects in the 2020 class, including Michael Mayer, who was ranked as the No. 36 prospect in the country. Long was also responsible for landing Rivals100 running back Chris Tyree out of Virginia, and gave big assists on five-star wide receiver Jordan Johnson, four-star quarterback Drew Pyne and three-star receiver Xavier Watts.
ANTONIO PIERCE – ARIZONA STATE
Former NFL linebacker Antonio Pierce is quickly becoming one of the Pac-12’s top recruiters in his third season with Arizona State. The Sun Devils’ linebackers coach, Pierce’s top pick-ups in this 2020 class were actually on the offensive side of the football. He was responsible for landing wide receiver Lavon Bunkley-Shelton, the top-ranked prospect in the class, as well as four-star receiver Chad Johnson Jr., and he gave an assist on the recruitment of another four-star receiver, Johnny Wilson. Pierce also gets credit for four-star linebacker Jordan Banks, three-star linebacker Caleb McCullough and three-star cornerback Macen Williams.
SAM PITTMAN – GEORGIA
Current head coaches only get credit for the work they did as assistants prior to ascending to their head coaching position. Sam Pittman did a lot of work helping craft Georgia’s No. 1-ranked 2020 signing class before taking over at Arkansas.
That group includes the top two ranked offensive tackles in 2020, five-stars Broderick Jones and Tate Ratledge. Pittman was also responsible for the commitment of the top-ranked offensive center in the class - Sedrick Van Pran - and four-star offensive tackle Chad Lindberg. Pittman’s replacement as Georgia offensive line coach was Matt Luke, who also deserves credit for finishing out several of these recruitments, particularly with Jones and Van Pran.
LEWIS POWELL – UTAH
Utah does not often place a representative on this list, but only once in the previous decade have the Utes signed a class ranked higher than this 2020 group. Defensive line coach Lewis Powell had the most impressive performance from Kyle Whittingham’s staff. Powell's haul in this class included top-end talent with Rivals250 prospects like Xavier Carlton and Van Fillinger, as well as depth.
Powell is credited with bringing over a third of Utah’s class to Salt Lake City, including more additions to his defensive line room from three-stars such as Tyler Wegis and Tanoa Togiai, the latter of whom he had to wait until February’s signing day to finish.
COREY RAYMOND – LSU
Several members of LSU’s coaching staff exited for other opportunities following the Tigers' national championship, but Ed Orgeron still has talented recruiters on staff to keep the continuity. One of those top recruiters is defensive backs coach Corey Raymond. The number of players Raymond landed in this 2020 class is not as long as some others on this list, but the work he did to get them was impressive.
Starting off, Raymond went into California and landed 2020’s top-ranked cornerback, Elias Ricks, then spent the last year fending other teams off. Raymond also survived a rough-and-tumble recruitment for four-star cornerback Dwight McGlothern that featured some of the game’s top recruiting staffs.
MIKE REED – CLEMSON
Clemson just missed out on securing its first Rivals recruiting team rankings title, but the Tigers got several strong efforts from members of their staff that delivered the No. 2 class in 2020. Cornerbacks coach Mike Reed was one of those key contributors.
Reed went out and made Rivals100 corner Fred Davis a priority, and was able to lock the Florida four-star down early. Reed also got an early foot in the door with four-star running back Kobe Pryor that allowed the Tigers to sign him in the early period. The final piece of this Clemson class was safety Malcolm Greene, who Reed flipped from LSU on National Signing Day in December.
ELIJAH ROBINSON – TEXAS A&M
Texas A&M defensive tackles coach Elijah Robinson authored one of the biggest stories on National Signing Day, grabbing Rivals100 defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson away from SEC rivals Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss. Jackson was one of the biggest prizes left in the 2020 class after the Early Signing Period, especially after a standout All-American Bowl performance. Texas A&M had never signed a prospect out of New Jersey in the Rivals era prior to the 2020 class, but Robinson went into the Garden State and landed four-star defensive end Fadil Diggs and four-star defensive tackle Isaiah Raikes for the Aggies.
KARL SCOTT – ALABAMA
Alabama cornerbacks coach Karl Scott became a thorn in Oklahoma’s side this recruiting cycle, as he flipped two former Sooners commits. Scott got Rivals100 athlete Drew Sanders to switch his commitment last spring, then flipped Rivals100 running back Jase McClellan on the opening day of the Early Signing Period.
Scott also got to work early building this class, landing four-stars Malachi Moore and Roydell Williams before the 2018 season ended. The final piece in Scott’s 2020 masterpiece was four-star JUCO Ronald Williams, who is expected to compete for a spot immediately among Scott’s cornerback group.
SAL SUNSERI – ALABAMA
Alabama was not able to overcome Georgia atop the Rivals team recruiting rankings for the third straight year, but the Crimson Tide still bring in an outstanding group of young talent to bolster their roster. Linebackers coach Sal Sunseri is credited with several of the top gets in this class.
The headliner is five-star linebacker Demouy Kennedy, but Sunseri also landed two more Rivals100 prospects in defensive end Quandarrius Robinson and defensive tackle Timothy Smith. Both Kennedy and Robinson were previously committed to Alabama’s in-state rival Auburn, while Sunseri had to hold of Florida late for Smith. Sunseri also gets credit for Rivals250 cornerback Jahquez Robinson.
CHARLTON WARREN – GEORGIA
There were a number of big gets in Georgia’s No. 1-ranked 2020 recruiting class, but arguably the most impressive was going into Arizona and landing five-star cornerback Kelee Ringo. That addition was the handiwork of defensive backs coach Charlton Warren, who already had a strong group of prospects headed to Athens before he landed Ringo. Early in the process he landed four-star cornerback Jalen Kimber out of Texas, then got four-star safety Major Burns, who was previously committed to LSU, just before the Early Signing Period. Warren had one more trick up his sleeve, however, flipping three-star cornerback Daran Branch from Ole Miss on Wednesday.
KEN WILSON – OREGON
The most impressive linebacker duo in the 2020 class will be donning Oregon green and yellow, thanks to Ken Wilson. In his first year as linebackers coach for the Ducks after coming up from Nevada, Wilson flexed his recruiting muscle and landed Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell, both of whom are five-stars ranked in top 10 overall in the class. Only once in the last decade have two linebackers ranked top 10 overall, and never has one team signed two top 10-ranked linebackers in a single class. Wilson also flipped four-star athlete Jaden Navarette from LSU and landed three-stars Bradyn Swinson and Jake Shipley for the Ducks’ the defensive line.