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, in-home visits and wooing top recruits.
Rivals.com goes deeper into each conference to name our top 10 recruiters in the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Non-Big Six conferences.
RIVALS.COM TOP RECRUITERS BY CONFERENCE
RIVALS.COM ACC RECRUITER OF YEAR
Brad Scott, Clemson
Buzz: Clemson was the surprise of the nation, landing in the top 10 and securing four out-of-state five-star prospects despite a losing season on the field and the post-season dismissal of key coaches. Scott was key in that effort as the man who lured five-star running back Mike Bellamy out of Florida as well as five-star wide receiver Sammy Watkins from the Sunshine State as well. Not only did Scott beat Florida and Florida State for Bellamy but he held off SEC powers Alabama and others as well as the lure of USC and Oregon in the Pac-10. For Watkins, he overcame a huge early lead by Miami and held off Florida and others who made a late push. In addition to the 1-2 punch from Florida, he also reeled in linemen DeShaun Williams, Ryan Norton and helped on Kevin Dodd in state.
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Buzz: Georgia Tech signed only one four-star prospect in the 2011 class and Bohannon was the guy who recruited him. Bohannon beat SEC teams Auburn and South Carolina for the services of linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days and was also instrumental in landing and holding onto the quarterback of the future for Tech, North Carolina's Vad Lee. Throw in running back Broderick Snoddy and defensive back Darren Waller and you have a nice haul for a class that came under fire a bit.
Buzz: Florida State's passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach was a major reason why the Seminoles made a surge for the top spot in the 2011 class rankings. Dawsey landed the services of Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast duo, three-star running back Eric Beverly and four-star defensive tackle Derrick Mitchell, as well as Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas four-star wide receiver Rashad Greene early on. Then he pulled off a major surprise when Tampa (Fla.) Plant five-star running back James Wilder Jr. chose the Seminoles over Florida, Georgia, and numerous others. Down the stretch, he turned Plant City, Fla. three-star offensive tackle Jordan Prestwood away from Notre Dame and he locked up Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central four-star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin down the stretch, after FSU got involved with the wideout late in the process.
Buzz: Devine was key in Boston College's recruiting efforts, beating the likes of Michigan, Penn State, Clemson, Miami, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Stanford and others for prospects. The two highest-rated prospects in the Eagles class, tight end Brian Miller and defensive back Albert Louis-Jean were both Devine recruits as well as three-star Liam Porter. Keeping the top players at home is something BC has struggled with in recent years and this year Devine did a great job holding off some of the big boys who came in.
Buzz: Gray landed four prospects but it was where they hail from that is the most impressive part of what he did. He stole defensive back Kyshoen Jarrett away from Pitt in Eastern Pennsylvania and landed athlete James Farrow from Minnesota, two areas the Hokies aren't really known for recruiting. He also went into Georgia and Florida to land tight end Christian Reeves and wide receiver Robert Lockhart, two areas the Hokies are hoping to recruit more heavily in 2011.
Buzz: Florida State's defensive line coach didn't land quite as many prospects as his fellow Seminole coach on the list, Lawrence Dawsey, but he was pivotal in landing two of the top members of the class bound for Tallahassee. Haggins lured five-star Davenport (Fla.) Ridge Community safety Karlos Williams to Florida State after building a strong relationship with he and his family. Williams was pivotal in Florida State's class as he aggressively recruited his peers. Haggins also landed a pair of defensive tackles, three-star Terry Bell from Lakeland (Fla.) Tenoroc and four-star Timmy Jernigan from Lake City (Fla.) Columbia. Haggins established a relationship with Jernigan over four years ago and it paid off as he was able to hold off schools such as LSU, Tennessee, and Florida for the Rivals100 defensive line prospect.
Buzz: Hull was a big part of keeping the Maryland class together as well as adding a key addition down the stretch. He is responsible for recruiting three-stars Ryan Doyle, Nigel King, Marcus Leak and others and he added three-star defensive end Quinton Jefferson to the class following the departure of Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin and the transition to Randy Edsall. He was also instrumental in keeping Jeremiah Hendy on board despite a strong push from both Virginia and Iowa late.
Buzz: No one short of the USC staff had to overcome more off-the-field issues than North Carolina this year and Pittman was the lead dog for the Heels. Pittman once again led the charge for a strong group of offensive linemen including four-stars Landon Turner, Jarrod James and Kiaro Holts and he also reeled in defensive tackles Devonte Brown and Shawn Underwood despite constant negative recruiting against UNC and the NCAA investigation hanging over the program's head. Throw in defensive back Brandon Ellerbe and you have a terrific group of prospects next to his name once again.
Buzz: Poindexter is credited with nine signees in the Virginia class including three of the highest-ranked prospects - four-stars Darius Jennings, Brandon Phelps and Dominique Terrell. In addition to the trio of four stars, he also landed in-state three star Jay Whitmire who was once considered a strong UNC lean and continued his strong work in Maryland by pulling in Vincent Croce, Marco Jones and Kelby Johnson. A holdover from Al Groh's staff, he has flourished under new head coach Mike London.
Buzz: Clemon's recruiting coordinator not only pulled one of the upsets of the year in pulling Florida linebacker Tony Steward away from his childhood favorite FSU, but he also organized one of the best recruiting efforts in the country as the Tigers finished in the national top 10 despite a poor season on the field and the firing of key coaches. He also signed wide receiver Charone Peake, Tony McNeal and others and got an assist on Cortez Davis. Overall if we were simply ranking recruiting coordinators, Scott would be in the national top 10.
RIVALS.COM BIG EAST RECRUITER OF YEAR
Buzz: Hurtt helped lead Louisville to the Big East crown in recruiting by handling business as usual in Florida. Hurtt's haul is almost as impressive as anyone's in any conference led by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a former Miami commitment, and defensive backs Gerod Holliman and Andrew Johnson, former Ole Miss commits. He also pulled in Bridgewater's top target Eli Rogers, also a former Miami commitment, and also stole defensive end Bryant Dubose from the 'Canes as well. The former Miami defensive line coach has obviously been a thorn in the side of his former team as well as one of the top recruiters overall on the East Coast.
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Buzz: In his first year as an assistant coach, Addae landed four-star running back Jameel Poteat away from Pitt and also signed three prospects ranked as three stars. He brought in quarterback Stephen Weatherford and defensive ends Chad Hannah and Chad West, but the gem of the class is certainly Poteat who had early offers from USC, Tennessee, Notre Dame and others.
Buzz: Adkins is not only the recruiting coordinator for Syracuse but also the top recruiter on the staff. He kept Ashton Broyld in state, went down to Georgia to land three-star prospects Kristofer Curtis and Cameron Lynch and he beat out Boston College, Michigan and others for Rob Trudo. He also kept three stars Dyshawn Davis and Jeremiah Kobena in the fold from Milford Academy and was credited with seven of the Orange's commitments in 2011.
Buzz: Coombs, the associate head coach as well as the defensive backs coach, had a hand in bringing in five of the most important prospects for the Bearcats this recruiting cycle. He landed the player many feel with be the quarterback of the future in Patrick Coyne as well as local defensive tackles Brandon Mitchell and Justin Murray. He also had success out of state luring athlete Trenier Orr from Florida and bringing in linebacker Nick Temple from Indiana. He was also involved with three-star defensive back Malcolm Murray and was one of the closers on the staff for 2011.
Buzz: Flood, the school's offensive line coach and one of its most consistent recruiters, was one of the big reasons that Rutgers landed the top player in the state of New Jersey for the first time under Greg Schiano. His work at St. Peter's Prep on Savon Huggins as well as Keith Lumpkin were instrumental in the overall ranking of the class and his flip of Kaleb Johnson late really saved a thin offensive line class. Throw in New York's Al Page and you have a nice haul for Flood.
Buzz: Galloway is not only credited with four three-star prospects including the last second flip of offensive lineman Marquis Lucas from Rutgers, but he was also a big reason why the West Virginia class held intact despite some coaching changes, especially on offense. In addition to Lucas, Galloway brought in linebacker Jared Barber, offensive lineman Russell Haughton-James and wide receiver Kenneth Myers and he was a big reason why Dante Campbell came on board at wide receiver as well.
Buzz: Hafley was well on his way to Big East recruiter of the year honors at Pitt where he brought in Marquise Wright, Max Issaka, Lafayette Pitts and Gary Nova and had Pitt in the mix for players like Savon Huggins, Keith Lumpkin and Miles Shuler. So it's no surprise that everyone above except for Pitts ended up in Rutgers class following the firing of Dave Wannstedt and the hiring of Hafley by Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano. Hafley is credited with Issaka, Nova and Wright but he certainly helped in the end with Huggins and Shuler as well.
Kevin Patrick, South Florida
Buzz: Patrick doesn't have huge numbers, but he was able to bring in the gem of the USF recruiting class in defensive tackle Elkino Watson who chose the Bulls over Florida, Miami, Louisville and others that recruit south Florida heavily. Watson made the class for USF as the only prospect ranked higher than three stars and he was also the lead recruiter for linebacker Mike Jeune who hails from Independence C.C. in Kansas and could make an immediate impact.
Buzz: Perkins put in major work for the Huskies, signing six of UConn's 16 players in 2011 led by three-star teammates Xavier Hemingway and Jefferson Ashiru from Georgia. He also brought in three star defensive back David Stevenson, also from Georgia, three-star prepster Kenton Adeyemi who was a former in-state standout and two star defensive backs Tyree Clark and Andrew Adams from SEC country as well.
Buzz: While Hurtt did the majority of the damage in Florida, Dugans' efforts can't be discounted. He also went into Florida and beat some impressive foes for defensive end Deiontrez Mount and defensive back Calvin Pryor. For Mount, he beat USF, Maryland and others for the three-star rush end and for Pryor he went head-to-head with Florida State, Arkansas, Stanford, South Florida, UCF and others. In a year of transition for many schools, Dugans' two-player haul is good enough to land him in the top 10.
RIVALS.COM BIG TEN RECRUITER OF YEAR
Buzz: Ohio State secured another top 12 recruiting class on National Signing Day when it landed the nation's No. 2 prospect, Richmond (Va.) linebacker Curtis Grant. It was the persistence of Fickell that allowed the Buckeyes to outlast Florida, North Carolina and Virginia for the five-star prospect. The Buckeyes' linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator was the lead recruiter on Grant, putting in the day-to-day work that eventually landed the headliner. But Fickell had started bolstering his linebacker group even before the addition of Grant. He landed four-star Ryan Shazier out of Florida along with three-stars Conner Crowell of Maryland and Ejuan Price of Pennsylvania. He was also the lead assistant in the recruitment of three-star Plantation (Fla.) defensive back Jeremy Cash, who spurned in-state programs Florida State and Miami to sign with the Buckeyes.
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Buzz: Notre Dame recruiters are eligible for the Big Ten list because there really is no other logical spot for them in the recruiter rankings. And they definitely deserve some recognition. Alford beat Florida State head-to-head for defensive end Aaron Lynch not once but twice and his tenacious recruiting allowed the Irish to finish with one of the best defensive line classes in the country. Alford also pulled in four-star athlete George Atkinson III from California and got three-star quarterback Everett Golson to flip from North Carolina. He also assisted on wide receiver Davaris Daniels and beat the following teams for his recruits - Alabama, FSU, USC, Georgia, Auburn, Clemson and Oregon, all of whom finished in the national top 10 along with Notre Dame.
Buzz: As a former high school coach in the state, Beck usually excels recruiting Texas and the class of 2011 was no different. He was the lead recruiter on Army All-American Aaron Green and Under Armour All-American Jamal Turner. He also landed one of the fastest rising prospects in the country in three-star Alabama athlete Ameer Abdullah, beating out USC and Tennessee. Beck was also the recruiter for Army All-American offensive tackle Tyler Moore out of Florida, an area that isn't exactly normally a hotbed for the Cornhuskers. Despite the family connections to Nebraska he had with Green and Moore, he held off many major programs for both.
Buzz: Elston had himself a nice recruiting year with his key recruit being defensive end Stephon Tuitt, a five-star that many expected would end up staying home at Georgia Tech. Tuitt flipped to the Yellow Jackets once late during the process but Elston was there to talk him back to the Irish quickly. Elston also lured four-star Ben Councell from North Carolina and worked with Alford to flip Everett Golson from North Carolina. Add in three-stars Matthias Farley, Brad Carrico and Anthony Rabasa and Elston has a nice resume for the year.
Buzz: Mattison was a late addition to the Michigan staff and didn't get started until his Baltimore Ravens were eliminated from the NFL playoffs, but once he got rolling he was key to the class. He was the main reason that four-star defensive back Blake Countess stuck with Michigan over Penn State and he was key in the additions of Tamani Carter, Raymon Taylor, Keith Heitzman, Antonio Poole and Frank Clark down the stretch. Michigan pushed into the national top 25 and finished third in the Big Ten thanks in large part to Mattison.
Buzz: The Spartans' defensive coordinator was key in landing the state's No. 1 prospect, linebacker Lawrence Thomas, who had offers from Florida, Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC and others, as well as Big Ten foes Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. Thomas is the crowned jewel in this class and when you add in the quarterback of the future in Connor Cook and perhaps the sleeper in Shilique Calhoun, as well as his job as a closer for most of the defensive prospects, he was the most valuable member of the staff.
Buzz: Petrino landed six in-state prospects, all of them ranked as three-stars, and had a hand in keeping quarterback Reilly O'Toole in-state. Petrino is credited with offensive linemen Tony Durkin and Scott McDowell, running back Josh Ferguson, athlete Matt LaCosse and defensive end Chris O'Connor. Illinois didn't finish that high in the Big Ten but without Petrino, the class could have fallen down to the bottom. With his help, it was a pretty good haul in-state.
Buzz: There may not have been a recruiter hotter than Rudolph, the Badgers' tight ends coach, from mid-October to mid-November last fall. Within that span, Rudolph pulled six commitments - all from the state of Ohio - including Rivals250 tight end Austin Traylor, who picked Wisconsin over offers from Arizona, Boston College, Michigan, Michigan State and West Virginia. Earlier in the process, Rudolph convinced Imperial (Pa.) West Allegheny safety Mike Caputo to pick the Badgers over Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt and others. Rudolph did most of his damage in Southwest Ohio, though, getting commitments from Cincinnati products Jesse Hayes and Darius Hillary, along with Trotwood-Madison three-star receiver A.J. Jordan.
Buzz: The longtime linebacker coach had the best year of the PSU coaches and pulled one of the biggest upsets in the country when he stole defensive end Anthony Zettel from Michigan. He also pulled in local four-stars Deion Barnes and Shawn Oakman as well as three-star wide receiver Allen Robinson from Michigan. In what could have been a very down year for PSU recruiting, Vanderlinden's ability to pull the upset for Zettel and secure the two local four-stars helped save the class.
Buzz: On National Signing Day, Iowa recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson said, "If it wasn't for Coach Wilson, we wouldn't have a recruiting class this year." That's because seven of the Hawkeyes' 23 signees were brought in by the 10-year Iowa assistant, including three-star defensive tackle Darian Cooper, who chose the Hawkeyes over Georgia Tech, Michigan and Michigan State on signing day. What makes Wilson's performance more impressive is that all the recruits he brought in were from states nowhere near Iowa. Three were from Maryland, two were from Pennsylvania and he grabbed one each from New Jersey and Texas. New Jersey linebacker Quinton Alston and Pennsylvania defensive end John Raymon were among Wilson's other big gets in 2011.Wilson nearly pulled off the impossible - getting five-star offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio to take an official visit to Iowa City and keeping the Hawkeyes in his top group almost all the way to signing day.
RIVALS.COM BIG 12 RECRUITER OF YEAR
Buzz: Prunty burst onto the scene in his first year at Texas Tech by helping the Red Raiders finish with their top class ever. He was responsible for the recruitment of eight of the 12 defensive signees, including six from outside the state of Texas. He pulled off several signing day coups, especially on the defensive line, grabbing the signatures from the Pennsylvania duo of Branden Jackson and Desimon Green, as well as four-star JUCO defensive end Leon Mackey.
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Buzz: Despite a 5-7 season and turnover that saw an almost entirely new coaching staff, Texas managed to hold on to all but one commitment from a top five class. Much of this was due to Applewhite, who remained a constant throughout all the changed and kept in contact with all the recruits. His biggest score was five-star running back Malcolm Brown, but he also kept players such as Cedric Reed from getting wandering eyes. He was also the lead recruiter for other players such as Quandre Diggs, a top 50 overall prospect in the country.
Buzz: Burnham led a strong charge by Iowa State into the state of Florida for the class of 2011. It was after one of his in-home visits with running back DeVondrick Nealy that the Cyclones' top recruit decided to commit. He was also responsible for landing wide receiver Quenton Bundrage from the Sunshine State.
Buzz: Baylor received a pledge from Rivals250 offensive tackle Spencer Drango relatively early in the process over several top programs, but Texas made a late run at him. Clements was one of the coaches instrumental in keeping him in the fold for the Bears. Clements also recruits East Texas and parts of Dallas and unearthed a sleeper in running back B.J. Allen, who saw several offers come his way after his Baylor pledge.
Buzz: Henson's territory for Missouri isn't exactly the easiest to recruit as he has the state of Oklahoma and West Texas, as well as Louisiana. He still managed to land three top prospects from those areas, though. Offensive tackle Taylor Chappell plays at a tiny school far from any major city in the Texas panhandle but Henson gained his commitment. Even more impressive is gaining the pledge of Louisiana defensive tackle Gerrand Johnson over Nebraska and Tennessee, schools that recruit the area much more frequently. Kentrell Brothers is the No. 8 overall prospect in Oklahoma and had a long list of other offers.
Buzz: Mitchell serves as the recruiting coordinator in addition to running backs coach and he was the point man responsible for six signees. The Jayhawks went 3-9 on the field but turned in the No. 6 class in the Big 12, largely thanks to Mitchell's efforts. He reeled in two four-star prospects, including Darrian Miller, the all-time leading rusher in the state of Missouri, and Anthony Pierson, the nation's No. 183 overall prospect out of East St. Louis, Ill.
Buzz: Despite a small signing class in terms of numbers, the Sooners once again finished in the top 15 in the country. Their defensive line haul - especially the interior linemen - is among the best in the country. Shipp, who coaches the defensive tackles, was responsible for landing Rivals100 prospect Jordan Phillips out of Kansas and two four-star Texans in Marquis Anderson and Jordan Wade.
Buzz: Smith is credited with six of the Kansas State signees but he was involved with many others as well. The most impressive thing, though, is that his impact was not limited to one area or state. He recruited Dallas, Tulsa and even Louisiana. Landing a pair of players from Dallas Skyline, including former Minnesota commit Mike Moore, is big as the school always has ton of Division I talent. His biggest recruit was likely Louisiana athlete Daniel Sams, who also had offers from Miami and Oklahoma.
Buzz: Oklahoma State made Texas its primary recruiting territory once again and Spencer was leading the charge. With the Cowboys in desperate need of defensive tackles, he landed Ashaad Mabry and then convinced longtime Texas Tech commit James Castleman to switch his pledge late. Spencer was also one of the point men that helped solidify the commitment of Rivals100 running back Herschel Sims, who had been looking around for quite some time. Landing Army All-American linebacker Ryan Simmons late was just another feather in his cap, as he was the main recruiter for nine Cowboy signees.
Buzz: Williams came to Texas A&M with no ties to the state but made a big impact in the Aggies' class. He went head-to-head with Texas for defensive end Brandon Alexander and won out on signing day. That could have opened an A&M pipeline to the school as two juniors are already committed and the Aggies are going hard after two others. Williams went to his recruiting roots of South Florida and reeled in what some consider the jewel of the class - outside linebacker Shaun Ward. He had to fight off national powers such as USC and in-state Florida to gain the signature.
RIVALS.COM PAC-12 RECRUITER OF YEAR
Buzz: Orgeron has developed a reputation over his career as a relentless recruiter, the guy head coaches put on a kid when they really want that prospect. He continues to deliver and did another fabulous job this recruiting cycle by getting some of the nation's top players to sign with USC even after a sub-standard season and looming NCAA sanctions. Orgeron was involved with Christian Heyward, Aundrey Walker, Victor Blackwell, Charles Burks, Tre Madden, Max Wittek, Antwaun Woods, J.R. Tavai, Greg Townsend Jr. and others. He's an invaluable resource on USC's coaching staff and he proved once again why this year on the recruiting trail.
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Joe Barry, USC
Buzz: USC linebackers coach Joe Barry was really busy with recruiting this past season and has plenty to show for all his hard work. No one is like Orgeron but Barry has developed a strong reputation as well and he delivered once again by helping to land Christian Heyward, Tre Madden, Lamar Dawson, Cyrus Hobbi, Anthony Sarao, Isiah Wiley and Peter McBride. Dawson was a shocker because many thought Tennessee and Kentucky led for the Danville (Ky.) Boyle County four-star linebacker. Barry and the rest of USC's staff worked relentlessly on Hobbi. Getting four-star Sarao to flip from Stanford was a big deal, too.
Tosh Lupoi, Cal
Buzz: Lupoi, the Rivals.com Recruiter of the Year in 2010, did another outstanding job and had a big role in landing many of Cal's top prospects. He was the lead recruiter on nine signees, led by four-star defensive end Brennan Scarlett, four-star defensive back Avery Walls and four-star defensive tackles Mustafa Jalil and Viliami Moala. Known as a tireless worker who bonds well with recruits, Moala continues to prove he's arguably the top recruiter among assistant coaches in the Pac-12.
Don Pellum, Oregon
Buzz: Pellum, Oregon's recruiting coordinator, had the lead role in landing De'Anthony Thomas, the five-star athlete who flipped to the Ducks from USC on National Signing Day. Oregon's staff relentlessly recruited Thomas late in the process and had him visit - rather quietly, too - on the last weekend before signing day. Pellum and the coaches convinced him that Oregon would be the best fit and it was one of the biggest coups in recent memory. Pellum was also the lead recruiter for four-star linebacker Anthony Wallace from Texas as well as California linebackers Rahim Cassell and Rodney Hardrick, and local 'backer Tyson Coleman.
Buzz: A bunch of top-flight offensive players signed with Washington and almost all of them had glowing things to say about meeting with Nussmeier, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Four-star tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, four-star wide receiver Kasen Williams and four-star running back Bishop Sankey are the biggest pickups on offense in this class. Getting versatile three-star quarterback Derrick Brown to flip from Utah late in the process was crucial. A lot of the recruits bought in to what Nussmeier said on their visits.
Buzz: Scalley is a young, fast-rising assistant coach who was recently named recruiting coordinator by the Utes. Even though he had no previous ties to the state, he was given Texas as his recruiting territory and has gone head-to-head with Oklahoma and Texas A&M, and won his fair share of battles. Safety Eric Rowe was an early find by Scalley and despite receiving offers from the likes of Texas A&M and Mississippi State , he never wavered on his pledge to Utah. Running back Jarrell Oliver and safety Joseph Bryant were two big steals out of the Lone Star State. Scalley also landed four-star junior college defensive back Keith McGill.
Buzz: When Jim Harbaugh left Stanford to coach the San Francisco 49ers, there could have been a meltdown in recruiting and there were some four-star departures. But new coach David Shaw and the Stanford assistants - with Polian being a big player here - helped sign the fourth-best class in the Pac-12. Polian was instrumental in landing two Southern California standouts in running back Kelsey Young and defensive end J.B. Salem. Young is a fantastic back who has the skills to be a big-time contributor in the Pac-12.
Buzz: The new coaching staff in Boulder finished well in recruiting and Bieniemy, the offensive coordinator and running backs coach, was a big reason why. The former Colorado standout had involvement in the recruitment of quarterbacks Stevie Dorman and Brent Burnette, running backs Malcolm Creer and Rashad Hall, defensive back Gregory Henderson and athlete Jermaine Clark.
Buzz: Prospects rave about Oregon State's coaching staff from head coach Mike Riley on down and few have done a better job on the recruiting trail than Seumalo. The Beavers needed to reload, especially at defensive end, and Seumalo was on the hunt for a bunch of outstanding ones. He helped land Blake Harrah, Elisinoa Aluesi, Desmond Collins, Rudolf Fifita and defensive tackle Brandon Bennett. Landing defensive end Dylan Wynn was huge for Oregon State, too.
Buzz: There are definitely some Arizona coaches that deserve credit like David Nichol and others, but we're going with Littrell, the Wildcats' co-offensive coordinator who helped land tight ends Michael Cooper and Drew Robinson, running back Jared Baker, quarterback Daxx Garman and junior college center Addison Bachman. Not only are those players good but they could be contributors early on and Littrell did an outstanding job locking in those players for Arizona's future.
RIVALS.COM SEC RECRUITER OF YEAR
Buzz: LSU running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson had a monster haul for the Tigers. Focusing primarily on in-state prospects, he helped LSU land three five-star players from Louisiana - offensive tackle La'El Collins, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Wilson also helped LSU sign receiver Odell Beckham Jr., running back Kenny Hilliard, offensive linemen Trai Turner and Corey White, all in-state four-star recruits. For good measure, Wilson had a hand in LSU getting four-star quarterback Zach Mettenberger from Butler County C.C. in Kansas, addressing the biggest need overall in this class.
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Charlie Baggett, Tennessee
Buzz: The Tennessee assistant head coach/wide receivers coach did quite well, particularly at the end. During the homestretch, he landed two of the program's most important recruits. One of them, four-star tight end Cameron Clear, he kept in-state. With another, four-star defensive end Curt Maggitt, he swayed a talented Sunshine State prospect away from Florida, which had long been thought to be the favorite. Baggett also signed Rivals100 receiver DeAnthony Arnett from the state of Michigan, arguably the top offensive recruit in the Vols' class.
Buzz: Georgia pushed to the top five in recruiting this year largely behind the efforts of Bobo, who was credited with many of the top commitments. He landed five-star defensive end Ray Drew as well as four-stars Christian Lemay, Nick Marshall, Malcolm Mitchell, Jay Rome and Justin Scott-Wesley. Bobo had a hand in signing 10 of Georgia's 26 commitments in what is easily the most important recruiting cycle of his and head coach Mark Richt's career. Talk about clutch.
G.A. Mangus, South Carolina
Buzz: Mangus has seven prospects on his list of signees with only two ranking as four-stars, but it's where they come from that makes his efforts impressive. His top three commitments came from New Jersey with little to no connection to the Palmetto State and in a year when Rutgers did a great job holding on to most of the talent in state. Four-stars Damiere Byrd and Sheldon Royster both spurned pressure from friends and teammates to stay home and headed to the Gamecocks, while Tanner McEvoy is another great grab from Northern Jersey. Mangus also recruited four three-star prospects from Georgia and was the most impressive recruiter on the South Carolina staff.
Tee Martin, Kentucky
Buzz: Recruiting at Kentucky for his first year, Martin killed it for the Wildcats landing four-star defensive back Glenn Faulkner from Illinois as well as a ton of three stars. He also landed Eric Dixon and Rashad Cunningham from South Alabama, where he is from, and helped sway wide receiver Daryl Collins from Alabama on signing day. He was also the primary recruiter for Demarco Robinson, Nile Daniel and Theltus Cobbins, and has already earned a promotion in title and a contract extension for his efforts. Not a bad first year.
Jim McElwain, Alabama
Buzz: The Crimson Tide offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach was crucial in Alabama finishing with the top overall class. He went out-of-state to grab several quality prospects, notably a pair of five-star teammates from Orlando, Fla. - No. 1 safety Hasean Clinton-Dix and No. 1 all-purpose running back Demetrius Hart, the latter flipped from a longtime commitment to Michigan. Additionally McElwain signed four-star offensive lineman Aaron Douglas and four-star defensive tackle Jesse Williams, both of whom played for Arizona Western C.C. Alabama's lone quarterback signee, Phillip Ely was another McElwain recruit.
Derrick Nix, Ole Miss
Buzz: Nix, the Rebels' running backs coach, played a major role in Ole Miss landing its top signee for 2011 - five-star inside linebacker C.J. Johnson. Nix and his brother, defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix, tag-teamed that one to snatch Johnson from Mississippi State, where he was previously committed, while also staving off LSU. Additionally, he landed four-star offensive lineman Aaron Morris and four-star receiver Tobias Singleton, both members of the Rivals250.
Sal Sunseri, Alabama
Buzz: One of the Tide's best recruiters, Sunseri did his work out-of-state, as usual, signing five-star stud offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio from Maryland in a battle with Auburn. On signing day, he landed four-star Rivals100 defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan from North Carolina, a player some thought might end up at Georgia. He pulled linebacker Trey DePriest from Ohio and assisted on both Xzavier Dickson and LaMichael Fanning. Sunseri is also credited for defensive end Quinton Dial, defensive back Chris Jones and another Ohio native in Ryan Kelly. Kouandjio flipped to Alabama on Saturday after choosing Auburn on national television on Wednesday and Sunseri is still alive for five-star Jadeveon Clowney, the nation's No. 1 prospect.
Trooper Taylor, Auburn
Buzz: The long-time recruiting star had a hand in the Tigers signing six four-star recruits with the bulk of his work done out of state. The headliner of the group is offensive lineman Greg Robinson, who was a priority for rival LSU followed by all-purpose back Quan Bray from Georgia. Taylor also signed Robenson Therezie and stole defensive back Jermaine Whitehead from Mississippi State at the last moment. He also assisted with tight end Brandon Fulse and wide receiver Jaylon Denson. Taylor is a regular on the Rivals.com list of top recruiters for good reason.
Tommy Thigpen, Auburn
Buzz: Thigpen, one of the nation's top recruiters, helped sign five-star outside linebacker Kris Frost, whom the Tigers pulled out of North Carolina despite his long-time interest in Michigan. Rivals100 safety Erique Florence and safety Jonathan Rose were the top in-state players signed by Thigpen. Thigpen also landed three-stars Angelo Blackson, Justin Garrett and Anthony Swain to round out his list of recruits for 2011.
RIVALS.COM NON-"BIG-SIX" RECRUITER OF YEAR
Buzz: SMU has not exactly been a powerhouse as of late, only returning to the winning ways the past two seasons. However, that has not stopped Klemm from landing top prospects for the Mustangs. He scored one of the biggest stunners of the class when four-star California defensive end Davon Moreland chose SMU over USC and UNLV. Moreland was one of five prospects Klemm managed to snag out of California. He was also responsible for Lubbock (Texas) wide receiver Arrius Holleman and kept him despite officially visiting Texas Tech after an offer late in the process. Klemm was the primary recruiter or assisted on eight different signees and all but one of them are three stars or higher, very impressive for a non-BCS team.
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Buzz: One look at UCF's 2011 recruiting class will unveil that the key component behind it was the efforts of Kelly. He was attributed with bringing a trio of four-star prospects to Orlando - Corsicana (Texas) Navarro J.C. defensive end Toby Jackson, Louisville (Ky.) Seneca quarterback DaMarcus Smith, and Denver (Co.) Mullen linebacker Leilon Willingham. He was also pivotal in landing nine other future Knights.
Buzz: Anderson, the Horned Frogs' co-offensive coordinator, did a great job in East Texas and managed to switch Florida safety Jamie Byrd from Boise State at the last minute. It says something that TCU had nothing but three- and four-star prospects in its class.
Buzz: The only other Conference USA teams to land four-star prospects were SMU and Central Florida, and both are already on the list. It was a big recruiting coup when McGuire, East Carolina's running backs coach and special teams coordinator, helped land four-star running back Chevelle Buie. The Cocoa (Fla.) recruit is rated as the seventh-best all-purpose back by Rivals.com.
Buzz: Among independents, Notre Dame landed eight four-star prospects and, while Navy and Army signed 77 combined recruits, neither military academy had a four-star pledge. BYU landed one and it was a big pickup when four-star offensive lineman Ryker Mathews from American Fork, Utah, chose the Cougars over Utah, Kansas and many others. Doman did a solid job landing the local standout.
Matt Campbell, Toledo
Buzz: One of the biggest National Signing Day surprises was when four-star defensive end Andre Sturdivant committed to Toledo. Although some programs might have passed on the Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville standout late in the process, Campbell still deserves a lot of credit for landing the only four-star to sign with a MAC team.
Buzz: Mathies, the defensive tackles coach and recruiting coordinator, helped Western Kentucky to the top of the Sun Belt rankings with 11 three-star commits including Mitchell Henry, Quartterrio Morgan and Daerius Washington. Mathies also helped land two-star Dwayne Montgomery, an offensive lineman from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard.
Matt Wells, Utah State
Buzz: Wells and fellow assistant coach Ilaisa Tuiaki share recruiting responsibilities and both did an outstanding job on the trail along with many other Utah State coaches. Wells had a big influence on landing two-star quarterback Chuckie Keeton, a former Air Force commit. The Aggies finished tops in the WAC rankings.
Buzz: Franklin has an impressive resume throughout his career, which means a lot of offensive-minded players want to work with him and subsequently become even more interested in Louisiana Tech. Three-star quarterback Nick Isham, who put up big numbers in his senior year, and junior college athlete Brodrick Waters were two players Franklin helped recruit.
Buzz: Long was named the Aztecs' coach after Brady Hoke left for Michigan but throughout the recruiting process - and maybe especially after he was named coach - Long did an outstanding job keeping the San Diego State class together. Ryan Jack, Chad Jeffries and many other top recruits said one of the main reasons they stayed committed was because of Long.