On Signing Day, head coaches get to talk to the media, get to take most (if not all) of the credit for putting together their class and are judged by how their class turns out.
And while Hugh Freeze did his share of interviews on Signing Day, much of Ole Miss' efforts on the recruiting trail were a result of the effort of Chris Kiffin.
Ole Miss signed an elite class, and Kiffin was in on many of their top signees, but the one that surprised the most and that was most likely the most difficult pull was five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, and Kiffin was the lead recruiter there. He is one who can relate to prospects well, and he played a big role in Robert Nkemdiche’s decision along with co-defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff, and again, he at some point talked/communicated with many in this Rebel class.
It was for that effort that Kiffin is named Scout/FOXSportsNEXT's 2013 Recruiter of the Year.
Aside from Nkemdiche and Tunsil, the Rebels also signed Antonio Conner, the third-ranked safety in this class and Laquon Treadwell, the fifth-ranked receiver in the nation.
Here are the 2013 Scout/FOXSportsNext Conference Recruiters of the Year:
ACC: Jeremy Pruitt, Florida State
Pruitt did not get to FSU until late in 2012 when he left Alabama for the defensive coordinator job in Tallahassee. He came in with a bang by taking Demarcus Walker away from Alabama and signing him at FSU as an early enrollee. He then went on to turn Jalen Ramsey from USC and help the Noles close with five-star outside linebacker Matthew Thomas and Scout 300 defensive tackle Keith Bryant on Signing Day.
Big East: Robert Prunty, Cincinnati
Prunty didn’t have a lot of time after joining the staff in December, but he went to work quickly and did a great job in getting talent out of Virginia. He got tight end Chris Burton out of Danville, Va., and used his ties as a former Hargrave Military Academy coach to get four-star cornerback Mike Tyson. Prunty also landed four-star junior college outside linebacker Jerrell Jordan and junior defensive end Terrell Hartsfield.
Big Ten: Mark Hagen, Indiana.
Hagen, the Hoosiers' recruiting coordinator, flipped two in-state four-star guys -- Darius Latham, who was committed to Wisconsin, and David Kenney, who was committed to Iowa.
The Hoosiers also picked up four-star safety Antonio Allen in the class.
Big 12: Kendal Briles, Baylor
Briles serves as wide receiver coach and offensive recruiting coordinator and ran point on inking Fort Worth (Texas) Southwest High five-star wide receiver Robbie
Rhodes. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder was the highest-rated signee in the Big 12 and the highest-rated recruit that Baylor has signed since the birth of Scout.com. Baylor finished with the No. 25 class.
|Tony Alford (left) made sure the Notre Dame train kept on rolling in recruiting.
Conference USA: Jason Rollins, Tulane
Rollins, Tulane's secondary coach, was a big part of their class in 2013. He helped the Green Wave land eight signees this year, including one of the best in Louisiana, offensive lineman Kenneth Santa Marina. He recruited only a few that he didn’t sign this year, and he has a very good track record of getting who he targets in recent years.
Independents: Tony Alford, Notre Dame
You have to look at the job Tony Alford did for Notre Dame as recruiting coordinator. No matter what recruit you spoke with, Alford's name would come up. Especially in Florida, where the Irish pulled in a nice group from the Sunshine State. However, when it mattered the most (Brian Kelly talking to the Eagles), Alford was there to keep the calm and let everyone know what was going on.
MAC: Scott Isphording, Toledo
Isphording, the Toledo quarterbacks coach, got two highly touted quarterbacks, Logan Woodside from Kentucky and then Michael Julian from South Carolina, whom he stole away from several BCS offers.
Mountain West: Keith Bhonapha, Boise State
Bhonapha, the Boise State running backs coach and recruiting coordinator, helped sign arguably the best class in Broncos history. The
headliners out of state were running back Aaron Baltazar, receiver Kendal Keys and cornerback Dionza Blue, while they also landed the state's top prospect, Joe Martarano.
|Kirby Smart helped Alabama haul in the nation's No. 3 overall class.
Pac-12: Adrian Klemm, UCLA
Klemm signed the top-ranked offensive tackles in California, Arizona and
Tennessee and also landed a four-star lineman from Texas. The Bruins' offensive line coach put together the second-ranked offensive line class in the country while also being one of the
point men on four-star receiver Eldridge Massington from Texas.
SEC: Kirby Smart, Alabama
Many talk about Smart’s ability to build relationships with prospects and that is one thing he is very strong at. He used that strength to help Alabama land five-stars Reuben Foster and O.J. Howard. He was also able to go into Georgia and help the Crimson Tide sign the top two running backs (Alvin Kamara and Tyren Jones) in that state. The Tide defensive coordinator played a role in many others ‘Bama signed in 2013 as well.
Sun Belt: Reed Stringer, Louisiana
Stringer, the assistant head coach, oversaw the Ragin Cajun's recruiting class, the top class in the Sun
Belt. Louisiana signed nine three-star prospects, more than double any
other school in the conference, including a top 40 safety in Simeon Thomas out
of Miami and a top 50 middle linebacker in George Williams, also out of Florida.