- Jc Shurburtt
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Here's a look at the top recruiters in each conference.
James Coley, Florida State offensive coordinator
He spearheaded the Seminoles' efforts in South Florida and elsewhere. He was the recruiter of record for the nation's top cornerback prospect, Lamarcus Joyner (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) and the nation's top inside linebacker, Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, Fla./Treasure Coast). Coley also made some noise in the state of Connecticut, landing under-the-radar athlete Will Tye (Salisbury, Conn./Salisbury School) and closing the deal on defensive tackle Bjoern Werner (Salisbury, Conn./Salisbury School) on national signing day.
Will Muschamp, Texas defensive coordinator
Any time you sign two of the top four prospects in the country, you are doing something right. Muschamp, the Longhorns' head-coach-in-waiting, inked the nation's top linebacker, Jordan Hicks (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) and the nation's top pure defensive end prospect, Jackson Jeffcoat (Plano, Texas/Plano West). He beat Florida and in-state Ohio State on Hicks and Oklahoma and Houston on Jeffcoat (both of which had family ties to the DE). Muschamp also outright signed or had a hand in signing six other prospects to the Big 12's top class and what on paper would have been one of the best overall classes in the past five years had it not been for Florida's historic effort.
Lonnie Galloway, West Virginia wide receivers coach
The Mountaineers lost ace recruiter Doc Holliday to Marshall and all of his deep connections to South Florida, but Galloway was able to land four-star receiver Ivan McCartney (Miramar, Fla./Miramar) late in the process over the hometown Miami Hurricanes and others. Throw in Georgia sleeper Quantavious Leslie (Hogansville, Ga./Calloway) and junior college linebacker Bruce Irvin (Stone Mountain, Ga./Mt. San Antonio College), and Galloway had an impressive three-man haul for the top class in the Big East.
Larry Johnson, Penn State assistant defensive line coach
He has long had a reputation as one of the nation's top recruiters, and he signed a pair of Under Armour All-Americans for the top class in the Big Ten -- defensive end Dakota Royer (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central), one of the top prospects in the Keystone State, and ESPNU 150 defensive tackle Evan Hailes (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith).
Fred Tate, Marshall defensive assistant
The Thundering Herd signed one of the best classes in Conference USA and all with a new head coach in Doc Holliday working his first recruiting cycle at the school. Tate came from Chattanooga and earned a sterling reputation as a recruiter and rising star in the coaching profession at Southern Mississippi, his alma mater, under Jeff Bower.
Tony Alford, Notre Dame wide receivers coach
He was the lone assistant from Charlie Weis' staff retained by Brian Kelly. He secured the verbal commitment of Under Armour All-American defensive tackle Louis Nix (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines) when the Irish had no coach and played a played a big part in the recruitment of receiver Tai-ler Jones (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville). He helped hold the class together during a time of great transition.
Daryl Dixon, Ball State secondary coach
The former Florida player has developed quite a reputation for recruiting during his first year at BSU. He recruits greater Chicago for the Cardinals and landed two of the three prospects he targeted in that area this year, including safety Brian Jones (Chicago/Morgan Park) and defensive end Matthew Mosley (Chicago/Morgan Park).
Brandon Doman, Brigham Young quarterbacks coach
He was the Cougars recruiter that landed quarterback Jake Heaps (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline), one of the most heavily-recruited signal callers in the country. He also landed five in-state (Utah) prospects that served as the foundation for this class, which was one of the best in the Mountain West Conference.
Tosh Lupoi, California defensive line coach
He quickly became a known name in recruiting circles during this cycle and helped to extend the Golden Bears' reach nationally. The Cal alum landed athlete Keenan Allen (Greensboro, N.C./Northern Guilford) late, along with two of Allen's former Nighthawks teammates: linebacker Chris McCain and defensive end Gabe King (Eugene, Ore./South Eugene). He also recruited linebacker Cecil Whiteside (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor) and linebacker Nick Forbes (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson). His work on the East Coast perhaps best personifies the new recruiting reach of the Pac-10. Multiple programs in the league are now able to attract talent from all over the country to the West Coast, and it is thanks in large part to the efforts of recruiters such as Lupoi.
Steve Addazio, Florida offensive coordinator
The national recruiter of the year landed multiple top-five prospects at defensive tackle, Dominique Easley (Staten Island, N.Y./Curtis) and Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia/George Washington), and offensive tackle Chaz Green (Tampa, Fla./Catholic) and Ian Silberman (Orange Park, Fla./Fleming Island), plus the nation's top safety, Jonathan Dowling (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast). Addazio is a great relationship builder, and that came in handy when Florida coach Urban Meyer resigned -- although he ultimately settled for taking an indefinite leave of absence -- leaving the program in the hands of Addazio. Given his recruiting prowess and the leadership he displayed during the time of crisis (the Gators landed what many consider to be the top class on paper in the past 10 years), Addazio may very well be the next to follow Dan Mullen and Charlie Strong into a BCS head-coaching gig.
Frank Ponce, Florida International assistant receivers coach
He signed the highest-rated prospect in the Sun Belt Conference, ESPNU 150 wide receiver Willis Wright (Miami Springs, Fla./Miami Springs). Ponce also inked sleeper defensive back Khambrel McGee (Miami, Fla./Northwestern), among others. Ponce is an FIU graduate who coached high school football in Dade County for 14 years before moving into the collegiate ranks.
Entire staff, Boise State
Though the Broncos only signed 10 players, they had the best class in the WAC in terms of quality. Head coach Chris Peterson chose to cite the efforts of his entire staff instead of one particular assistant, which makes sense given the low numbers. Receiver Troy Ware (Vista, Calif./Vista) and Montana athlete Matt Miller (Helena, Mont./Helena Capital) were two highlights. The Broncos also beat several BCS-level programs for Hawaii safety Jeremy Ioane (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou).
J.C. Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's no surprise that Florida's Steve Addazio and Texas' Will Muschamp are among the country's top recruiters.