It's easy to say head coaches are the reason why a team has a successful recruiting class. Yet any college football connoisseur knows the backbone is the assistant coach who spends countless hours making calls, making in-home visits and wooing top recruits.
Rivals.com goes deeper into each conference to name our top recruiters in the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and non-"Big Six" conferences.
CLINT HURTTClick Rivals.com ACC Recruiter of the YearHere to view this Link. – MIAMI
BUZZ: Hurtt, the Hurricanes' defensive line coach, had a monster year. He was instrumental in Miami landing five-star athlete Ray Ray Armstrong, four-star prospects Mike James and Jamal Reid and three-star player Cory White. But his biggest impact was with defensive linemen. He recruited tackles Curtis Porter and Luther Robinson and ends Olivier Vernon and Dyron Dye.
More Rivals.com Top 10 Recruiters in the ACC
John Blake – NORTH CAROLINA
BUZZ: Blake, the Heels' defensive line coach, has a reputation as a great recruiter and he didn't disappoint this year. Blake led the charge for two of the top defensive linemen in the country. He pulled in end Donte Moss and tackle Jared McAdoo. He also was instrumental in luring four-star New England standouts Brennan Williams and Joshua Adams and had big assists on wide receiver Jheranie Boyd and linebacker Hawatha Bell.
Jim Bridge – NORTH CAROLINA STATE
BUZZ: Bridge, the Wolfpack's tight ends coach, brought in six three star prospects - including tight end Asa Watson. Athlete Everett Proctor, defensive end Sylvester Crawford, wide receiver Quintin Payton and defensive tackle Deion Roberson also are good gets, and offensive lineman Denzelle Good could be one of the biggest sleepers in the class. Bridge did good work in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
Jim Cavanaugh – Virginia Tech
BUZZ: He re-recruited wide receiver D.J. Coles from Fork Union, his only four-star commitment, but he also reeled in plenty of three stars for a strong Virginia Tech class. Cavanaugh, the Hokies' safety coach, also re-recruited running back Tony Gregory and added athletes Antone Exum and Theron Norman, defensive ends Duan Perez-Means and James Gayle and defensive tackle DeAntre Rhodes. He did an excellent job in Richmond this year.
Jimbo Fisher - Florida State
BUZZ: He was key to the Seminoles' recruiting efforts, landing running back Lonnie Pryor, wide receiver Rodney Smith, offensive lineman Henry Orelus, wide receiver Xavier Rhodes and tight end Bryan Stork. Fisher, FSU's offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting, had key assists on defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel and linebacker C.J. Mizell. He also was instrumental in signing quarterback Will Secord away from Arkansas.
James Franklin - Maryland
BUZZ: Franklin landed four-star defensive ends DeOnte Arnett and David Mackall, four-star offensive lineman Peter White and four-star running back Caleb Porzel. Franklin, the Terps' offensive coordinator, also lured quarterbacks C.J. Brown and Danny O'Brien. Franklin recruited linebackers Darrin Drakeford, Isaiah Ross and Lorne Goree, offensive lineman Pete DeSouza and athlete Dave Stinebaugh. He was the key to Maryland's in-state efforts.
Scottie Montgomery - Duke
BUZZ: Duke was one of the biggest surprises in the recruiting world, finishing with a top-50 class, something unheard of for football in Durham. And Montgomery, Duke's wide receivers coach, was a huge part of it. He landed the marquee player in the class in running back Desmond Scott, and also landed three-star prospects Corey Gattis, Austin Gamble, Conner Vernon and Tyree Watkins. Montgomery got Scott away from Rutgers and Watkins away from Virginia, and also signed athlete Zach Greene - who was a long-time NC State lean.
Billy Napier - Clemson
BUZZ: The Clemson class might be small, but the quality is impressive and Napier led the way. Napier, the Tigers' offensive coordinator, is one of the best young recruiters in the nation and was instrumental in landing four-star quarterback Tajh Boyd, four-star offensive lineman Brandon Thomas and four-star defensive back Jonathan Meeks. He also went into North Carolina to get linebacker Spencer Shuey and defensive tackle Tyler Shatley.
Bryan Stinespring - Virginia Tech
BUZZ: Stinespring, Tech's offensive coordinator, pulled in the two biggest keys to the Hokies' class. Tight end Logan Thomas and running back David Wilson are top-100 recruits and are rare ACC athletes. Throw in offensive lineman Andrew Miller, and you have three quality commitments for a top-25 class.
Tommy Thigpen - North Carolina
BUZZ: Thigpen continues to shine as one of the top recruiters in the country. He was the primary recruiter on four-star prospects Jheranie Boyd, Hawatha Bell, Justin Dixon, Josh Hunter and Terry Shankle. He also secured three-star prospect Kevin Reddick, who was signed and placed last year. Thigpen, the Heels' linebacker coach, was a big reason UNC dominated in-state.
KEVIN PATRICKClick Rivals.com Big East Recruiter of the YearHere to view this Link. - SOUTH FLORIDA
BUZZ: Patrick is another rising star in this industry. The defensive end coach helped USF beat Florida State, Florida and Miami for the first time on a major four-star national recruit when he got Ryne Giddins to come aboard. He also landed two other four-star recruits – Jason Pierre-Paul and Jacquain Williams – from the Kansas junior college ranks. Julius Forte is a talented three-star defensive end.
More Rivals.com Top 10 Recruiters in the Big East
CHRIS BEATTY - WEST VIRGINIA
BUZZ: Beatty had a huge recruiting year in his first go-round at West Virginia. The rising star on the recruiting scene pulled in three top players from the Hampton Roads, Va., area in four-star wideout Logan Heastie and three-stars Shawne Alston and Dominik Davenport. He also lured four-star wide receiver Deon Long to West Virginia from Washington, D.C. Beatty also secured an early commitment from four-star quarterback Tajh Boyd (he later de-committed) and had West Virginia in it for other four-stars like Jerod Askew and Morgan Moses.
KERRY COOMBS - CINCINNATI
BUZZ: Coombs was involved in the signing of an amazing 13 of Cincinnati's 25 signees for the class of 2009. He landed two four-star recruits in defensive back Chris Williams and wide receiver Jamar Howard and pulled in three stars Maalik Bomar, Austen Bujnoch, Everett Horne, Malik James, Josh Jones, Will Saddler and Jordan Stepp. No one coach had more of an impact on a recruiting class in the Big East than Coombs.
KEN DELGADO - LOUISVILLE
BUZZ: The strength of the Louisville recruiting class is along the defensive line and that's due to the work of Delgado, the team's first-year defensive line coach. Delgado pulled in three-star defensive tackles Peni Fiuangaihetau and Joseph Townsend and three other defensive linemen in Tim High, Roy Philon and Malcolm Tatum. He also had Louisville as a finalist for four-star defensive end DeQuin Evans.
KYLE FLOOD – RUTGERS
BUZZ: The Rutgers assistant head coach and offensive line coach gave a big boost to the defensive side of the ball by pulling in the biggest surprise recruit for Rutgers for 2009. Flood beat out Pitt and Maryland for four-star defensive tackle Isaac Holmes who had the Scarlet Knights low on his list before a late official visit. Flood worked hard to keep on of the top players in the state of New Jersey home. Flood also helped pull back tight end Malcolm Bush into the fold and land defensive end Andre Civil. Flood also brought in two offensive linemen.
GREG GATTUSO - PITT
BUZZ: Gattuso is a regular on the Big East top recruiters list and he led the charge for the Panthers once again in 2009. He pulled in four-star wide receiver Todd Thomas and four-star linebacker Dan Mason as well as three stars Brock DeCicco, Tyrone Ezell, Juantez Hollins and Cory King. Gattuso did a solid job in the Pittsburgh area despite more competition for top players than ever before, beating out programs like Miami, West Virginia, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan and others.
JEFF HAFLEY - PITT
BUZZ: The Pitt secondary coach led the charge in New Jersey and came away with five solid commitments, led by four-star Raymond Graham. Hafley also landed three other running backs from the Garden State in three-star Dion Lewis and two-stars Kevin Adams and Jason Hendricks. And to round out his group he pulled in defensive end Bernardo Nunez, who had offers from Oklahoma, Michigan State, Maryland and others. Hafley also got other Jersey prospects like Joshua Evans, Malcolm Bush and Isaac Holmes on campus for official visits.
DOC HOLLIDAY - WEST VIRGINIA
BUZZ: Holliday has been effective everywhere he has been, and his first full year recruiting back at West Virginia was a smashing success. Holliday recruited local offensive lineman Cole Bowers, but he had his most success in Florida - as usual. He recruited four-stars Eugene Smith and Stedman Bailey and had defensive back Michael Carter all set for the Mountaineers before a last-second change of heart. He also signed three-stars Daquan Hargrett and Jordan Weingart.
TERRY RICHARDSON - UCONN
BUZZ: The UConn running backs coach might only have two recruits on his résumé, but when you land the highest-ranked high school recruit in your program's history, you deserve to be on this list. Richardson teamed with coach Randy Edsall to convince four-star wide receiver Dwayne Difton to come north to Storrs over offers from Big East rivals South Florida, Rutgers and Syracuse as well as Boston College, Purdue, Minnesota and others. Richardson also reeled in wide receiver Mike Lang from Florida, had a commitment at one time from offensive lineman Joseph Williams and kept UConn in it for another four-star, defensive end David Gilbert.
JOE SUSAN - RUTGERS
BUZZ: The Rutgers recruiting coordinator was a huge part of the Scarlet Knights' recovery from a rough start on the field. Susan landed six three-star prospects for Rutgers, including tight end Malcolm Bush on Signing Day, a player who had committed to Rutgers previously and de-committed. Susan also signed defensive backs Mohamed Sanu and Abdul Smith, athlete Duron Harmon and Delaware twins Jamal Merrell and Jamil Merrell. Susan also had Rutgers in it until the end for four-star wideout Justin Brown and had secured commitments from Mark Brazinski, Desmond Scott and Malcolm Bunche before Rutgers on-the-field struggles led each to look around and eventually de-commit.
BRIAN POLIANClick Rivals.com Big Ten/Midwest Recruiter of the YearHere to view this Link. - NOTRE DAME
BUZZ: Recruiting in California against the likes of USC, UCLA and the rest of the Pac 10 is always difficult, but it's even more difficult when you're recruiting for a school that's 2,000 miles away. That's the challenge that Polian faced, but he still was able to land four-star prospects Shaquelle Evans and Cierre Wood. He also pulled off the biggest National Signing Day shocker by getting five-star linebacker Manti Te'o to head to South Bend. Getting a Polynesian kid from Hawaii of the Mormon faith to attend a Catholic school in the Midwest sounds impossible, but Polian pulled it off with Te'o.
More Rivals.com Top 10 Recruiters in the Big Ten/Midwest
DAVE DOEREN - WISCONSIN
BUZZ: The Wisconsin staff did a nice job this year, and it was a tough call between Badgers assistants Doeren and Joe Rudolph for this list. Doeren gets the nod because of quality over quantity. He landed two of the top players in the St. Louis area with four-star running back Montee Ball and four-star wide receiver Kraig Appleton. Both were the center of intense and heated recruiting battles. Ball committed to the Badgers over Missouri. Appleton was the focus of a fiery competition between the Badgers and the Illini, and in the end, Doeren swayed Appleton – a Rivals250 prospect – to head to Madison.
DAN ENOS - MICHIGAN STATE
BUZZ: Michigan State was one of the nation's top surprise teams, and a big reason was Enos. He secured commitments from nine in-state players, including six four-star prospects. He helped secure two talented running backs in Edwin Baker and Larry Caper.
LUKE FICKELL - OHIO STATE
BUZZ: Fickell signed two five-star recruits: defensive back Corey Brown and linebacker Dorian Bell. He also helped in-state and reached out to Kentucky to pull in four-star linebacker Jordan Whiting. He's become one of the one of the most consistent and effective recruiters in the Big Ten.
THOMAS HAMMOCK - MINNESOTA
BUZZ: Working with one of the best recruiting head coaches in the business, Hammock has made his mark as one of the Big Ten's best recruiters. This year, he was able to secure an early commitment from four-star running back Hasan Lipscomb, and beat out Missouri in its backyard for Bryant Allen. Hammock also secured commitments from Brooks Michel and Chicago punter Dan Orseske. He also had the Gophers in the hunt for St. Louis stars Ronnie Wingo Jr. and Sheldon Richardson.
ROB IANELLO - NOTRE DAME
BUZZ: Ianello is a five-time selection to the top-25 list, and he again did a solid job. He pulled in two four-star recruits – Alex Bullard and Chris Watt – and also landed two three-star prospects and a future special teams star in Nick Tausch. Ianello also helped other Irish assistants seal the deal on a few prospects. He spent most the final few weeks jetting from one side of the country to the other, and he had a nice assist with Manti Te'o.
LARRY JOHNSON - PENN STATE
BUZZ: Johnson was a serious candidate for national recruiter of the year after getting 13 commitments, including four-star prospects Darrell Givens and Derrick Thomas at cornerback. Nobody recruits Maryland like Johnson, and he rarely misses on an area prospect he targets.
REGGIE MITCHELL - ILLINOIS
BUZZ: Mitchell landed eight players with an average star rating of 3.62. He got four-star prospects Nathan Scheelhaase, Terry Hawthorne, Leon Hill, Lendell Buckner and Michael Buchanan along with three three-star recruits. Mitchell took over the recruitment of Buchanan after Mike Locksley left for New Mexico and helped seal the deal. He held off Oklahoma to land Hawthorne.
ROD SMITH - MICHIGAN
BUZZ: One of the Wolverines' lead recruiters, Smith did plenty of damage in Florida for Michigan. He secured pledges from four-star prospect Jeremy Gallon and helped reel in Brandin Hawthorne, Mike Jones and Vincent Smith. He also was the lead recruiter for quarterback Tate Forcier.
TERRELL WILLIAMS - PURDUE
BUZZ: Williams' class was about quality and quantity. Nobody recruited Miami-Dade and Broward counties in the Big Ten better than Williams. He landed 10 recruits, including Purdue's jewels in four-star running back Al-Terek McBurse, three-star linebacker Antwon Higgs and three-star tight end Gabe Holmes. All three were heavily recruited, and it was Williams' effort that helped Purdue establish itself this season as a force in the Sunshine State.
JACKIE SHIPPClick Rivals.com Big 12 Recruiter of the YearHere to view this Link. - OKLAHOMA
BUZZ: He landed two national top-50 prospects in Gabe Lynn and Jamarkus McFarland. Shipp, who is OU's defensive line coach, pulled off one of the biggest surprises in the nation by landing McFarland. When McFarland and his family first visited Norman, they swore they never would return. Seven months later, they can't stop gushing about the town and the school. All of that can be traced to the tremendous job that Shipp did with McFarland. Shipp has been widely viewed as one of the best recruiters in the nation, and he proved it again this year.
More Rivals.com Top 10 Recruiters in the Big 12
DAVID BEATY - KANSAS
BUZZ: Beaty is no longer a stranger to Kansas fans. At this time last year, KU faithful were hearing about the new wide receivers coach. In his first season on the job, Beatty made a lot of noise, landing six recruits in what may be the best class under Mark Mangino. Beatty was the lead recruiter for Toben Opurum, Randall Dent, Christian Matthews, Dexter Linton, Calvin Rubles and Chris Omigie. He was able to beat out schools such as Florida, Notre Dame, Michigan, Texas Tech, Oregon and Nebraska for his recruits.
JOE BOB CLEMENTS - KANSAS STATE
BUZZ: Clements helped lay the foundation for Kansas' class before re-joining Bill Snyder's staff at K-State in December. He hit the ground running for his alma mater. After being given the state of Oklahoma as part of his recruiting territory, Clements – who is K-State's defensive ends coach – went in and kept two prior commitments in the Wildcats' camp while adding three other targets in the state, including two of the state's top running backs in three-star prospects Timothy Flanders and Tramaine Thompson. Both were committed to other schools before they switched to K-State.
RANDY CLEMENTS - BAYLOR
BUZZ: He helped put together one of the top offensive line classes in the Big 12. Clements, who is the Bears' co-offensive coordinator and line coach, was at least the co-recruiter for Danny Watkins, Philip Blake, Cyril Richardson, Jeramie Roberts, Stefan Huber, Ivory Wade and Marquis Franklin. He also recruits east Texas, where the Bears landed Tevin Elliot and Darius Jones. The Bears took a major step this season in the eyes of prospects in the Lone Star State mainly because of Clements' efforts.
GREG DAVIS - TEXAS
BUZZ: It was about quality, not quantity, with Davis, who is Texas' offensive coordinator. He played a major role in the recruitment of Texas' two highest-ranked prospects in Garrett Gilbert and Alex Okafor. He also was instrumental in landing offensive tackle Paden Kelley, bringing much-needed depth for the offensive line.
MIKE EKELER - NEBRASKA
BUZZ: Despite it being his first year as a big-time assistant, Ekeler – Nebraska's linebacker coach – certainly showed his stuff on the recruiting trail. He was big for the Huskers in landing top dual-threat quarterback Cody Green and linebacker Chris Williams, and also was instrumental in recruiting Thaddeus Randle and Eric Martin. Also deserving special mention at Nebraska are running backs coach Tim Beck and defensive ends coach John Papuchis. Beck played a big role in landing Rex Burkhead, and Papuchis sealed the deal with top defensive end Jason Ankrah.
SETH LITTRELL - TEXAS TECH
BUZZ: Littrell always has been widely thought of as one of the best recruiters in the conference, and the way he closed on National Signing Day helped prove that again. Littrell, who is Tech's running backs coach, was able to pull in a nice surprise when four-star defensive tackle Pearlie Graves signed with Tech after committing to Michigan. That change goes down as one of the biggest national surprises on NSD. He also signed four-star running back Eric Stephens, who is a perfect fit for Tech's offense, and landed Jacob Karam and LaAdrian Waddle.
VAN MALONE - TEXAS A&M
BUZZ: Recruiting for a 4-8 team is difficult, but that didn't stop Malone – the Aggies' secondary coach – from landing seven prospects. He pulled in five-star running back Christine Michael. He also recruited outside of Houston for A&M and pulled in solid prospects such as Rhontae Scales, Charlie Thomas and Colton Valencia.
MAC McWHORTER - TEXAS
BUZZ: McWhorter helped the Longhorns sign one of the best – if not the best – offensive line groups in the nation. Five-star prospect Mason Walters was a huge get, and he's joined by four-star players Thomas Ashcraft and Garrett Porter. McWhorter also landed Marcus Davis, one of the nation's best defensive backs. Some say recruiting isn't difficult at Texas, but maybe that's because guys like McWhorter – Texas' offensive line coach – make it look effortless.
GLENN SPENCER - OKLAHOMA STATE
BUZZ: Picking a single coach on Oklahoma State's staff was tough, but our nod goes to Spencer, the Cowboys' defensive line coach. His success in Georgia with quality prospects LeRon Furr and David Paulsen helped give him the edge. Furr is expected to play right away, and Paulsen could start immediately at fullback. The Cowboys also have big expectations for star junior college defensive end Horace Hubbard.
NORM CHOWClick Rivals.com Pac-10 Recruiter of the YearHere to view this Link. - UCLA
BUZZ: Chow has been called a lot of things in his long and storied coaching career, but ace recruiter was never one of them. But that changed this season when Chow took on a major role in the Bruins' recruiting efforts. The Bruins' offensive coordinator became more active than ever, and his efforts were rewarded with commitments from five four-star recruits and two three-star prospects. He helped the Bruins pull off three Signing Day surprises with four-star athlete Randall Carroll, four-star offensive tackle Xavier Su'a Filo and four-star offensive guard Stanley Hasiak. He also landed his quarterback of the future in Richard Brehaut and assisted with most offensive targets for the Bruins.
More Rivals.com Top 10 Recruiters in the Pac-10
LANCE ANDERSON - STANFORD
BUZZ: It's hard to single out one recruiter on the Stanford staff because it's definitely a collective effort. Coach Jim Harbaugh is also very active in the process. However, Anderson - Stanford's recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach - did a tremendous job landing two four-star recruits, including running back Tyler Gaffney away from USC and Notre Dame. Anderson also was responsible for a couple three-star signees as well. He was highly instrumental in helping organize the Cardinal's class, which finished in the top 25 for the first time in years.
BRENNAN CARROLL - USC
BUZZ: Carroll, the Trojans' recruiting coordinator, played a key role in helping the Trojans finish on top of the Pac-10 again. Carroll had a hand in six commitments in the Trojans' class, including five-star quarterback Matt Barkley and five-star athlete Patrick Hall. All in all, Carroll's recruits averaged four stars, and he helped the Trojans reload at positions of need like quarterback, defensive tackle and safety.
MIKE CAVANAUGH - OREGON STATE
BUZZ: Cavanaugh was responsible for Oregon State landing four-star and top-ranked offensive guard Michael Philipp out of California. He was also the point recruiter for three-star athlete Markus Wheaton in Arizona. Both ended up being the highest-ranked prospects in the Oregon State class, and his class of four prospects averaged three stars.
CHIP KELLY - OREGON
BUZZ: The Ducks' coach-in-waiting made Oregon a player on the national recruiting stage this season. Kelly has the Ducks right in the thick of things for Bryce Brown, the nation's No. 1 player, despite Brown's commitment to Miami more than a year ago. Kelly also jetted all across the country and had the Ducks in the final consideration for star national recruits like Tajh Boyd, Jaz Reynolds, Craig Loston and Rudell Crim. He did land four prospects, including junior college stars Zac Clark and Tyrece Gaines.
TIM KISH - ARIZONA
BUZZ: Kish has become one of the most valuable recruiters for coach Mike Stoops with his efforts in Phoenix, northern California and in the Inland Empire. He landed four-star running back Daniel Jenkins and then five other three-star prospects, including highly touted linebacker C.J. Parish from Blinn (Texas) Junior College. Kish also reeled in tight end Terrence Miller, who Stoops said might be one of the biggest steals out of California.
DANNY LANGSDORF - OREGON STATE
BUZZ: Oregon State always gets underappreciated nationally with its recruiting efforts, but Langsdorf proved this season he is among the best in the Pac-10 with his ability to reach out and recruit on a national level. He landed seven players from five different states, including five three-star prospects. He was especially effective in Oklahoma, where he got major steals in linebacker Michael Doctor and quarterback Dax Dilbeck. He also had his hand in landing most of the offensive recruits for the Beavers.
MATT LUBICK - ARIZONA STATE
BUZZ: In Lubick's time at ASU, he has quickly established himself as one of the best recruiters in the nation. Pulling off the Signing Day surprise and stealing away five-star linebacker Vontaze Burfict from USC might be enough to get recognition on this list, but his overall body of work is quite impressive. He landed two other four-star recruits, and he's quickly become one of the most well-respected recruiters in California's loaded Inland Empire.
TOSH LUPOI - CALIFORNIA
BUZZ: Talk about a smashing start, Lupoi, in his first full season coaching at the Division I level, had a year that veteran recruiters dream about. He pulled in two four-star recruits – quarterback Allan Bridgford and defensive tackle Deandre Coleman – and all of his commitments were from different states. He also had the Bears in the race for five-star defensive end Devon Kennard until the end. Lupoi might be the youngest full-time coach in the Pac-10, but he sure doesn't recruit like it.
KEN NORTON JR. - USC
BUZZ: Some might think it's really easy to recruit at USC, and it is in some cases. But the Trojans' success comes from a lot of hard work, and few work harder than Norton. He recruits Los Angeles, Texas and Alabama for USC and has had plenty of success in this year's class. He was heavily involved in the recruitment of Byron Moore, James Boyd and Jarvis Jones. He also reeled in quality recruits like Marquis Simmons and Chris Metcalf. Norton recruits in very competitive territories and has more than his share of success.
LARRY PORTERClick Rivals.com SEC Recruiter of the YearHere to view this Link. - LSU
BUZZ: Porter won the Rivals.com national recruiter of the year award in 2007 and is back on top again nationally with another impressive class that features talent from Louisiana and Texas. Porter signed three five-star recruits, including No. 7 overall player Russell Shepard from Houston. He also did plenty of damage in Louisiana, picking up five-star defensive tackle Chris Davenport. Porter was able to snag Dominique Allen, one of the nation's top fullback prospects, from Tennessee's backyard. It was hard to believe Porter could top his 2007 effort, but he did in 2009.
More Rivals.com Top 10 Recruiters in the SEC
MIKE BOBO - GEORGIA
BUZZ: Bobo did a tremendous job, pulling in five pledges, including two highly regarded quarterbacks. It's never easy to get a good quarterback to come your way, let alone two, but that's what Bobo did by getting Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger. He also landed talented in-state linebacker Michael Gilliard and solid defensive back Shawn Williams. He topped things off on National Signing Day with star wide receiver Marlon Brown.
RODNEY GARNER - GEORGIA
BUZZ: Long considered one of the best recruiters in the nation, Garner had another banner class, landing five highly regarded prospects. The headliner is five-star cornerback Branden Smith, and he also wooed Montez Robinson away from Auburn. He didn't sign a prospect that was ranked lower than four stars, and showed again why he's among the best of the best.
BILLY GONZALES - FLORIDA
BUZZ: Gonzales is one of Florida's primary recruiters and he was instrumental in landing five-star receiver Andre Debose, five-star linebacker Jelani Jenkins and four-star linebacker Jon Bostic. With a track record of coaching Percy Harvin, Andre Caldwell and many others, Gonzales is easy to get along with and relates well with recruits.
D.J. MCCARTHY - LSU
BUZZ: McCarthy closed as strong as anybody in the nation and was a serious candidate for the national top-25 recruiter list. He recruited inside Louisiana for the Tigers, which sounds easy. But when you see the type of players he was recruiting and the teams he was recruiting again, you'll understand how difficult it was. He held off Auburn, Alabama and Oklahoma for Rueben Randle, the nation's No. 2 player. He also helped land five-star defensive tackle Chris Davenport, despite pressure from numerous SEC schools. Overall, McCarthy landed six players with an average star ranking of four, plus he landed four-star juco defensive tackle Akiem Hicks.
JOKER PHILLIPS - KENTUCKY
BUZZ: Phillips is another veteran assistant who has had plenty of success in the past. He pulled in 10 prospects, six of whom are three-star recruits. He did a lot of his damage in Georgia, which has become a happy hunting territory for the Wildcats. He also plucked away DeQuin Evans, who could play early for UK, from in-state rival Louisville.
REED STRINGER - MISSISSIPPI STATE
BUZZ: Stringer had his hand in 13 commitments, including defensive tackle Josh Boyd, quarterback Tyler Russell, receiver Chris Smith and defensive back Dennis Thames. All of those players are four-star prospects. He also pulled in seven three-star recruits and finished with an average of 3.15 stars. He became the Bulldogs' top recruiter in the state of Mississippi, and with the talent there was in-state this season, it took a special recruiter to reel in most of those prospects.
LANCE THOMPSON - TENNESSEE
BUZZ: Thompson was recognized last year as the nation's top recruiter by Rivals.com and might have been on his way to the award again before he left Alabama for Tennessee. When he was in Tuscaloosa, he landed five-star offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, five-star running back Trent Richardson, four-star quarterback AJ McCarron and five-star linebacker Nico Johnson. Thompson also made big a impact at Tennessee in the final weeks.
CHRIS VAUGHN - OLE MISS
BUZZ: Vaughn, Ole Miss' recruiting coordinator, had a recruiting season that was about quality and quantity. He helped Ole Miss become a major player with many prospects in Florida, plus he reached out to other geographic areas and had success there, too. Four-star recruits Craig Drummond from Illinois and Rodney Scott from Florida were Rivals250 selections. Overall, Ole Miss finished with a top-20 class.
BOBBY WILLIAMS, ALABAMA
BUZZ: You can argue that nobody closed as strong as Williams. With late additions from four-star defensive end Ed Stinson, four-star linebacker Tana Patrick and the double whammy of five-star cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and four-star receiver Kendall Kelly on National Signing Day, Williams' effort is hard to ignore. He also had the Tide in the hunt for several other national recruits.
JAY HILLClick Rivals.com Non-"Big Six" Recruiter of the YearHere to view this Link. - UTAH
BUZZ: Hill is one of the big reasons why Utah had its best recruiting class ever. He recruits Utah, Las Vegas and the Bay Area for Utah and pulled in eight commitments, including five-star defensive end James Aiono - the No. 1 junior college player in the nation. He also landed four-star defensive tackle Latu Heimuli and consistently beat out Pac-10 schools for top prospects like Jeremiah Tofaeono out of Las Vegas. His job was also especially difficult this season because he had to take over virtually the entire state of Utah when Gary Andersen left to be the coach at Utah State.
More Rivals.com Top 10 Non-"Big Six" Recruiters
JARRETT ANDERSON - TCU
BUZZ: TCU has been one of the most underappreciated programs nationally because it plays in the shadow of the Texas Longhorns, but the Horned Frogs have won a ton of big games and a ton of major recruiting battles over the past few years. A big reason why they've been so successful is Anderson, who recruits east Texas for the Horned Frogs. He landed six players for TCU this season, including four-star junior college defensive back Malcolm Williams, and he scored big pledges from running backs Dwight Smith and Matthew Tucker. East Texas is arguably the best region in the nation for talent, and nobody has recruited it better than Anderson the past few years.
HERB HAND - TULSA
BUZZ: Tulsa continues to be one of the best programs in Conference USA and a big reason why is the recruiting efforts of Hand. He landed one of the big recruiting surprises in Texas when he got four-star quarterback Shavodrick Beaver to switch from Michigan. He also pulled in Stetson Burnett, Brian DeShane, Trent Dupy, Brian Mincher and Eric Sproal. All are quality recruits who should help the Golden Hurricane out in the future. Oklahoma tried to make a late run at Dupy, but Hand kept him solid to his word.
TERRY JOSEPH - LOUISIANA TECH
BUZZ: Tech signed its best group of recruits in years thanks largely to the efforts of Joseph. He's been widely known as one of the best recruiters in Louisiana for years, and his roots run deep in New Orleans. That helped him land eight commitments this season, including six three-star prospects. Tyrone Duplessis and Rufus Porter were ranked as high three-star prospects, then he reached into Texas to get Tech's quarterback of the future in Doak Raulston from Dallas.
DAVID KELLY - UCF
BUZZ: Kelly has been through the recruiting wars before at Georgia, LSU, Georgia Tech, Stanford and Duke, so he knows how the game is played. So it was no surprise to see him continue to have tremendous success in this year's recruiting class at UCF. He had his hand in recruiting 10 players for the Golden Knights with an average ranking of 2 ½ stars. He landed solid linebacker Jonathan Davis, three-star receiver Dontravious Floyd, three-star lineman Samuel Johnson and three-star defensive tackle Deon Simon.
CLARENCE MCKINNEY - HOUSTON
BUZZ: McKinney is certainly no stranger to the Greater Houston area, and it has paid off quickly as he's become one of the best recruiters in Conference USA. After arriving from Houston's Yates High School, he landed three-star receiver A.J. Dugat - who was named a Parade All-American. McKinney also signed three-star running back Charles Sims, three-star defensive tackle DeAnthony Sims and three-star defensive end Radermon Scypion. Dugat might end up being one of the biggest steals for any program from the Lone Star State.
PAT MEYER - COLORADO STATE
BUZZ: Meyer did a lot of damage for CSU in Florida, which is always tough to draw talent out of, especially when you're recruiting for a school that is 2,000 miles away. But he did it and has quickly established himself as one of the best recruiters in the Mountain West. All in all, he recruited 11 prospects in this CSU class. He landed quality recruits like Christian James, Nico Rainieri, Jansen Watson and one of the jewels in the CSU class, three-star defensive tackle Te 'Jay Brown. He also dipped into Illinois to get Ezra Thompson.
A.J. PRATT - KENT STATE
BUZZ: Kent State had the top recruiting class in the MAC and the biggest reason why was because of the recruiting efforts of Pratt, Kent State's recruiting coordinator. He landed seven players overall, including six highly coveted prospects from Hargrave Military Academy. Four-star linebacker Kent Walker can be an immediate impact player for Kent State, but other good ones like three-star defensive back Darius Polk, three-star athlete Tyshon Goode and three-star receiver Garrick Piggott are expected to contribute early, too.
TUCKER WAUGH - ARMY
BUZZ: Nobody has a tougher recruiting gig than the coaches in the military academies and Waugh did a marvelous job for Army this season. It's very difficult to recruit kids knowing they're committing to more than just football, but Waugh did a solid job as he's done through two different stints coaching at West Point. Waugh is widely considered Army's top recruiter. He carries an enthusiasm about the Academy, and connects with the recruits on a number of levels.
DARRELL WYATT - SOUTHERN MISS
BUZZ: Wyatt was Larry Fedora's ace recruiter, getting Jerrion Johnson, Justin Jordan, Tracey Lampley, Hendrick Leverette, Ben Schoenberger, Martez Thompson and Jacoby Bell. Jordan and Schoenberger are four-star recruits while Johnson and Leverette are three-star players. The Eagles fully expect Johnson to come in and be an impact player.
- Top recruiters profiles by Rivals.com recruiting analysts Jeremy Crabtree, Mike Farrell, Jamie Newberg and Barton Simmons.