In the competitive environment of college football recruiting, assistant coaching hires and transitions are no longer back page news. The right addition to a college coaching staff can totally transform a roster and create major recruiting momentum for some while a departure can halt progress of others.
Jay Graham surprised Volunteer fans with his lateral move to Florida State.
We take a look at five offseason coaching moves in the assistant coaching ranks that are sure to make huge impacts on the recruiting trail.
Note: The following list reflects coaching changes post-signing day or thereabouts.
1. Florida State
Florida State lost almost its entire assistant coaching staff during the offseason but boy did it ever reload. New defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt’s impact is already old news. All he did was earn the credit for stealing away former Alabama commit Demarcus Walker and former USC commit Jalen Ramsey, helping USC finish strong in the class of 2013. More recent moves by head coach Jimbo Fisher should pave the way for an even bigger year in 2014.
The two most notable additions to the new Seminole staff are Tim Brewster from Mississippi State and Jay Graham from Tennessee. In Graham, Florida State stole a Volunteer away from his alma mater but more importantly, stole one of Tennessee’s top recruiters. In Brewster, Florida State has one of the top big game hunters in the nation on the recruiting trail. Pairing up one of the best salesmen in the country with one of the easiest sells in college football should bring loads of talent to Tallahassee.
2. Oklahoma steals Jerry Montgomery from Michigan
Miichigan returned to glory in 2013 on the recruiting trail, vying throughout the cycle for the top recruiting class in the country. Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery can take credit for much of that success. Montgomery was instrumental in the signings of Top100 talents Derrick Green and Henry Poggi. He also played a role in the signatures of other elite prospects like Taco Charlton, Jaron Dukes and Michael McCray.
Coming off a year in which Oklahoma finished outside of the Top 15 in the 247Composite team recruiting rankings, Montgomery will add youth and an immediate recruiting boost to the Sooners' 2014 efforts.
3. Matt Lubick heads to Oregon from Duke
Nevermind the job the Lubick has done mentoring Duke’s impressive wide receivers corps over the past three seasons. It’s what Lubick will bring to Oregon’s recruiting efforts that we’re anxious to observe. Lubick’s recruiting prowess has helped Duke rise to relevance in the ACC but he’s done plenty of damage recruiting the Pac-12 as well. This is the same coach that brought former five-star Vontaze Burfict to Arizona State, Lubick also was credited for the signing of Dexter McCluster while on staff at Ole Miss.
With a high-powered offense and the most popular uniforms in the country, Oregon is already the cool program nationally. Not many coaches are more equipped to capitalize on that than Lubick.
4. Billy Napier returns to Alabama
Just a year removed from manning an off-field position on the Alabama coaching staff, Napier is back in Tuscaloosa in an on-the-field capacity as the wide receivers coach. In that role, Napier will put his recruiting acumen to work and should be an immediate star in that regard.
When we last saw Napier recruiting actively at a BCS program, he was playing an instrumental role in building Clemson into a regular contender for the nation’s top recruiting classes. A former quarterback at Furman, Napier should help Alabama significantly in the Carolina’s and we expect Napier to pick up right where Mike Groh left off in Tuscaloosa.
5. USF making Miami a priority
USF took a tough hit when Larry Scott left Tampa to take over as tight end’s coach at Miami. Scott found major success recruiting the Miami region for the Bulls and his departure called on Willie Taggart to fill an important hole. All he did was go out and hire the most successful coach in south Florida over the past five years in Miami Central head coach Telly Lockette.
Lockette’s Miami Central teams have been college teams in high school uniforms of late and the 2014 and 2015 classes are bubbling over with elite college prospects once again. Lockette’s first order of business will be an attempt to steer his two former running backs, Clemson Top100 commit Dalvin Cook or Miami Top100 commit Joseph Yearby, to the USF program.