The coaching carousel is spinning quickly in college football with many jobs being filled this week with the end of the regular season and the start of the contact period for recruits.
USA TODAY High School Sports spoke with Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell about some of the new coaches and what impact the moves will have on recruiting.
On Mark Richt to Miami:
“Mark Richt is a home run for Miami. He’s a great hire. You’re not going to do better than that. I don’t know what’s going to happen with (quarterback) Jacob Eason. It seems like he’s still leaning toward Georgia and would be choosing Miami simply for Richt. I’m not sure he’s going to flip and the Florida situation (Eason took a visit to Florida this week) is still a little bit strange with (commit) Feleipe Franks and they are still recruiting (Maryland commit) Dwayne Haskins. His best route to playing is Georgia and that’s where he decided to do initially.”
On Kirby Smart’s expected hire by Georgia:
“It’s interesting. He has no head coaching experience but comes from the Saban tree. He’ll recruit off the charts. He was among our Top 25 recruiters a couple of times. He’ll have to prove it on the field rather than off it, but recruiting will not take a step back.”
On Bronco Mendenhall to Virginia:
“That one’s really odd. He’s West Coast everything – born, played and coached. He’s really sort of a fish out of water. He’ll need to surround himself with a great staff to recruit locally. He’s a really good coach. This was a coach more than a recruiter, obviously. The last time might have been a recruiter more than a coach in hindsight for Virginia.
On D.J. Durkin to Maryland:
“I like DJ Durkin and he was our national recruiter of the year a few years ago. He doesn’t have head coaching experience. He’s well repected but moving into the toughest division possible. I don’t see Ohio State, Michigan State or Michigan sliding back and I don’t see Penn State, at least in recruiting, sliding back and they have so many more advantages than Maryland. He has a huge challenge ahead of him. I really don’t know enough about him as a head coach to know if he can overcome that as a head coach.”
On Clay Helton having interim title removed at USC:
“It was weird. USC is considered one of the top five or six jobs in college football when it comes to recruiting and recent tradition. I’m not really sure what type of search was done, but I expected big names to be involved. He will recruit, but anybody will at USC. The big question is, will he be able to take the program to the next step? Recruiting is not going to be a problem. It wasn’t a problem with (Steve Sarkisian) or (Lane Kiffin) even with (scholarship) limitations because of what Pete Carroll built. It’s not going to be a problem for anyone. It’s more of a coaching question mark.”
On Missouri’s promotion of defensive coordinator Barry Odom:
“It’s a good internal hire. That was not an attractive job. A lot of people don’t want to step into that administrative situation. My guess is that who they interviewed wasn’t a who’s who list. Missouri is a tough, tough job. Geographically, they are so far away from the SEC footprint and recruiting. They have to keep kids in state and steal a few away in Texas or SEC. It’s a big, big challenge.”
On the impact of the handling of the LSU situation with Les Miles:
“Marvin Wilson, our No. 1 guy in 2017, had LSU as his leader. With the way the whole Les Miles thing went down, they fell off as his leader. He was not happy with way Miles was put in the hot seat. A lot of people will use that against them with recruiting. … In state, they will always do well. The way it was handled was poor and it will handcuff them a little in recruiting.”