Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Selecting the 10 assistant coaches in the Pac-12 who are the most skilled at recruiting, including Ed Orgeron of the USC Trojans, Tosh Lupoi of the Washington Huskies, Mike Sanford of the Stanford Cardinal, and Jerry Azzinaro of the Oregon Ducks.
While head coaches are usually the ones who receive most of the accolades for the blue chip recruiting classes that they haul in each February, most recruiting fanatics know that a lot of the dirty work in recruiting is actually handled by assistant coaches. Because of this, the best teams will always have an assistant or two up their sleeve who is an ace recruiter that will frequently be put on the top prospects on their list.
Having an assistant on staff that can battle it out with the other best recruiters in the country and come out on top can make all of the difference in whether or not a program remains elite, so it comes at no surprise that the majority of assistants in the Pac-12 that are the best recruiters are employed by USC, Oregon and Stanford. Some of the elite recruiters in the conference should be familiar names for fans, but others are assistants who have only recently emerged as outstanding recruiters and though it is difficult to quantify exactly since there aren't objective statistics for recruiting, I believe that there is a handful of assistant coaches that should be regarded as the ten best recruiters in the conference.
1. Ed Orgeron, USC Trojans defensive line coach, recruiting coordinator: It's no coincidence that USC's recruiting has taken off since his return to the program. Pete Carroll may get a lot of credit for bringing the Trojans back to the top, but Orgeron had a lot to do with the signing of some of the best classes in the history of the conference and establishing USC as one of the most desirable locations for not just prospects on the West Coast, but all around the nation. Bruce Feldman's book "Meat Market" gives a great account of Orgeron's recruiting prowess during his time as the head coach of Mississippi.
2. Tosh Lupoi, Washington Huskies defensive line coach: Lupoi was on the verge of signing the best class in Cal history and one of the best classes in recent conference history in January of 2012 when he left Berkeley for Seattle for a boatload of cash, and possibly an actual boat. Lupoi was regularly regarded as one of the best recruiters in the country during his time at Cal and was always seemingly mentioned by some of the best prospects in the country as a guy that they were fond of. Lupoi immediately flashed his magic in Seattle, by luring Shaquille Thompson to Washington, but it will be interesting to see if he can continue to build his prowess at Washington.
3. Mike Sanford Jr., Stanford Cardinal running backs coach & recruiting coordinator: Many fans around the nation were scratching their heads when they saw the monstrous class that the Cardinal hauled in this February and Sanford Jr. had a lot to do with that confusion, leading the recruitment of a large number of elite recruits who are now headed to Palo Alto. It's not surprising that a lot of the top recruiters on this list are young guys that can relate to the high school kids they recruit, and Sanford Jr. fits the mold as he is barely 30.
4. Jerry Azzinaro, Oregon Ducks defensive line coach: Unlike a lot of the fresh faced coaches on this list, Azzinaro is a coaching veteran who would be played by Ron Perlman in a movie. More in the mold of Orgeron, Azzinaro using his experience to sell recruits and has taken the lead on a lot of the top prospects the Ducks have hauled in recently, including 2012's gem, Arik Armstead.
5. Scott Frost, Oregon Ducks wide receiver coach: Frost is primarily recognized as the guy who held LaGarrette Blount back from charging into the crowd at Boise State, but he should be more recognized as being one of the lead recruiters who has helped build Oregon's recent conference champion teams and a coach who teaches receivers how to block better than anyone in the country.
6. Kennedy Polamalu, USC Trojans offensive coordinator: In his second stint with the program, Polamalu helped build the program in the early 2000's and came back 2010 and is now serving as offensive coordinator. Despite his large responsibilities as offensive coordinator, Polamalu is still very active in recruiting and his recruiting skills are one of the reasons the Trojans have brought in so much talent in the last couple of classes. He is also Troy Polamalu's uncle in case you were wondering.
7. Lance Anderson, Stanford Cardinal outside linebackers coach: A remnant of the Jim Harbaugh era in Palo Alto, Anderson's recruiting abilities have helped stock the Cardinal's shelves with talent, particularly along the offensive line as he led the way on the recruitment of a number of the highly coveted recruits the Cardinal snagged in the Class of 2012.
8. Demetrice Martin, UCLA Bruins defensive backs coach: Martin was Steve Sarkisian's ace recruiter before Mora lured him back to LA and Lupoi trekked up to the Northwest. An LA native, Martin has a lot of rapport in the area and is already a valuable asset for Mora in the recruiting game, helping sign blue chip defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy in 2012.
9. Adrian Klemm, UCLA Bruins offensive line coach & run game coordinator: Klemm wasted little time in establishing himself as one of the conference's best young recruiters by helping Mora seal a very highly rated first class and he has kept the momentum going, already garnering commitments from a number of top recruits for the Class of 2013.
10. Tee Martin, USC Trojans wide receivers coach: Martin doesn't have the resume of some of the other more experienced and veteran assistants in the conference but he is already blazing such a fantastic path with the Class of 2013 that it would be impossible to leave him off this list and he is sure to rise in the near future.