Most Underrated Recruiters in College Football Today

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IMay 12, 2014

Most Underrated Recruiters in College Football Today

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    Today, head coaches such as Alabama's Nick Saban, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly and Ohio State's Urban Meyer are the best recruiters in college football. Penn State head coach James Franklin has even shown this spring he will be a dominant recruiter in Happy Valley.

    While those coaches deserve the praise they constantly receive as recruiters, others have gotten overlooked. A coach in the ACC doesn't frequently sign elite prospects, but he is a tireless recruiter who gets solid football players to join his program.

    A pair of Pac-12 coaches in the same state are underrated recruiters, plus the Big 12 has a coach or two on this list.


Gary Pinkel, Missouri

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    To the surprise of many, Missouri made it to the SEC title game last season. However, if you follow the Tigers' recruiting, then you knew last year was not a fluke.

    Head coach Gary Pinkel has pulled off a couple of recruiting coups through the years. I2012, the same year the Tigers joined the SEC, Pinkel hauled in a class that featured elite receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Beating out other more prominent programs for Green-Beckham was major for Pinkel.

    Pinkel signed run-stuffing defensive tackle Josh Augusta in 2013. Augusta will be a cornerstone player for the Tigers soon enough. Pinkel's 2014 class featured 4-star talents such as offensive tackle Andy Bauer, linebacker Brandon Lee and receiver Nate Brown.

    For 2015, Pinkel already has commitments from 4-star recruits such as quarterback Drew Lock and running backs Natereace Strong and Chase Abbington. Plus, 247Sports says 5-star defensive end Terry Beckner Jr. and 4-star receiver Alex Ofodile have Mizzou among their top schools.

Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech

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    An alum of the school, Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury is going to give the Red Raiders everything he has. The young head coach has the charisma to become one of the most feared recruiters in the Big 12.

    Kingsbury is off to a great start to 2015 recruiting, as 247Sports ranks his class at No. 26 in the country. Kingsbury, a former quarterback, already has a commitment from high-end 4-star passer Jarrett Stidham.

    Not to neglect his defense, Kingsbury has plucked 4-star defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko all the way from Hawaii. Kingsbury may not have signed a 4-star recruit in 2014, but 3-star prospects such as cornerback Nigel Bethel, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and safety Payton Hendrix will be good starters in Lubbock.

Gary Andersen, Wisconsin

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    Wisconsin's 2014 class may have been ranked 33rd in the nation by 247Sports, but it deserved to be slotted higher. 

    Head coach Gary Andersen, who spent his first season on the sidelines for the Badgers in 2013, did a fantastic job. Andersen signed 4-star offensive tackle Jaden Gault, who should be an All-Big Ten blocker in a few seasons.

    D.J. Gillins is a 4-star dual-threat quarterback from Florida who will bring a different element to the Badgers' offense. Athlete Dareian Watkins is a 4-star recruit who can play anywhere, while underrated 3-star prospects such as defensive end Conor Sheehy, guard George Panos, running back Taiwan Deal and receiver Krenwick Sanders are just a few of the many solid players Andersen signed in his last class.

    Andersen also signed a solid group in 2013, and he already has a commitment from 4-star offensive tackle Jon Dietzen for 2015.

Mike Gundy, Oklahoma

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    Anyone who doubts Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy's ability to pull in great talent needs to recheck the facts.

    Gundy already has earned a pledge from speedy 4-star running back Ronald Jones II, who is one of the top overall players in America for 2015. John Kolar, a 4-star dual-threat quarterback, is another recruit to watch for the Cowboys.

    Gundy signed the nation's No. 28 class in 2014, according to 247Sports. The class has five 4-star prospects, with 4-star running back Tyreek Hill leading the way. In 2011, 247Sports ranked Gundy's class at No. 25, while he's also signed several solid classes in years prior. 

Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

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    Rich Rodriguez took over as head coach for Arizona in 2012. His first two classes didn't receive much acclaim, but Rodriguez picked it up during the 2014 recruiting cycle.

    With 4-star recruits such as cornerback/receiver Cameron Denson, running back Nick Wilson and linebackers Jamardre Cobb and Marquis Ware on board, 247Sports ranked Rodriguez's group at No. 31 in the country. 

    Also, 247Sports ranked his 2008 class at Michigan at No. 14, while Rodriguez's 2009 group in Ann Arbor was also ranked 14th. He's a better recruiter than many college football fans give him credit for.

Steve Addazio, Boston College

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    Although he's only been the head coach at Boston College for one season, Steve Addazio has shown the ACC he and his staff will be pounding the pavement for prospects.

    Boston College may have finished at No. 52 in 247Sports' 2014 recruiting rankings, but don't forget Addazio got off to a terrific start on the recruiting trail last year. He signed 28 players last year, and many of them should become key contributors. The player to watch in the class is 3-star linebacker Connor Strachan, who could be the next great linebacker at BC.

    Addazio may not sign an array of elite prospects in a class, but rival ACC coaches will be in for a fight each time they're involved for the same prospects as him.

Todd Graham, Arizona State

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    Arizona State has one of the better head coaches in the Pac-12 in Todd Graham. Graham signed stud running back D.J. Foster in his 2012 class, which was ranked No. 35 in the country by 247Sports

    However, Graham took things to another level in 2014. His 27-man class was ranked No. 23 in the country by 247Sports, with 4-star receivers Tyler Whiley, Jalen Harvey and Eric Lauderdale leading the way.

    Graham also signed 4-star linebacker Derik Calhoun, 4-star quarterback Manny Wilkins, 4-star athlete Kalen Ballage and 4-star defensive linemen Tashon Smallwood and Connor Humphreys in 2014.

    The Sun Devils are for real, and their head coach's ability to lure good talent to the desert has played a big role in their resurgence. 

Larry Fedora, North Carolina

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    North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora has a ton of enthusiasm, which helped him signed the No. 29 class in the country in 2014, according to 247Sports

    Landing high-end 4-star recruits such as running back Elijah Hood, quarterback Caleb Henderson and offensive tackle Bentley Spain shows just how solid of a recruiter Fedora is. UNC's head coach also signed the No. 28 class in America in 2013, per 247Sports

    For 2015, Fedora's class is currently ranked No. 23 by 247Sports. There's a chance Fedora elevates himself and North Carolina into elite recruiting status in a year or two. 

    Fedora told the following to Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports in May 2013: "There are very few schools in the country where you can get a world-class education and compete at the highest level in the sport of football and we're one of those schools."


    All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' Composite Rankings and 247Sports' Composite Recruiting Rankings.                                                                                                                            
    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.