Without a doubt, first-year coaches around the nation faced the toughest recruiting situations considering the uncertainty surrounding the first ever early signing period. The SEC’s coaches were no different and the recruiting rankings reflect that fact.
No first-year coach ranked inside the top 3 in terms of SEC recruiting rankings. Dan Mullen’s Florida finished the highest at No. 4, but Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M wasn’t far behind at No. 6. Jeremy Pruitt and Tennessee finished No. 8, Joe Moorhead at Mississippi State No. 9, Matt Luke and Ole Miss No. 10 with Chad Morris and Arkansas finishing last in the SEC’s recruiting rankings.
When the dust had settled following National Signing Day, SEC Network analysts Gene Chizik and Marcus Spears were asked to give their takes on the first-year coaches that did the best recruiting this cycle.
According to Chizik, the answer was easy — it’s Jimbo Fisher.
“When you jump (up) seven spots in the recruiting rankings (on National Signing Day), do you know how many good players you have to sign? And (Jimbo Fisher) did that. You gotta give his staff credit,” Chizik said. “He didn’t have his whole staff hired until a few weeks ago. The jumps that he made — he just got the big tailback out of Florida, he got some key kids in the state of Texas — which he’s going to have to do, he’s got Tom Herman right down the road breathing down his neck.”
Spears said Jimbo would have been his answer as well but he gave props to the job Moorhead and his staff did at MSU.
“I’m going to go with Joe Moorhead… He addressed wide receiver, he addressed playmakers on the outside, that’s his style,” Spears said. “Penn State was an explosive offense, obviously, they had Saquon Barkley who made a lot of difference, he carried big receivers and was able to make players downfield. Not to mention, Mississippi State has a lot coming back, so they are already a pretty good football team.
“I think he addressed some areas (of need), especially that wide receiver area where he can go downfield.”