In somewhat of an ironic twist, the head coach who was forced to leave Georgia and the coach who replaced him are doing quite well on the recruiting trail at their new programs. In fact, they’re doing better than any other who found a landing spot in the 2015-16 spinning of the coaching carousel.
As it stands now, Miami’s Mark Richt has the 19th-ranked recruiting class according to Rivals.com, the second-best of any of the 27 head coaches hired in the past three months. The best? Georgia, which has the No. 15 class thanks in part to Kirby Smart, Richt’s successor in Athens.
UGA right now, though, and fully understanding that there are nearly two weeks left until National Signing Day, is nine spots behind the No. 6 class Richt signed in 2015. The U, meanwhile, was ranked 26th for Al Golden‘s last class, a full seven spots behind were Richt stands now.
Not surprisingly, a significant number of programs have seen their recruiting rankings dip from a year ago. One of the most glaring is that of USC. Despite offensive coordinator Clay Helton taking over as interim head coach in mid-October and then taking over permanently in late November, USC has just the 23rd-ranked class; last year at this time, the Trojans were well on their way to having Rivals’ No. 1 class under Steve Sarkisian.
Of the 27 head coaches new to their teams, 17 have classes that are ranked lower than their predecessors from a year ago. The biggest drop belongs to Seth Littrell‘s North Texas (127th currently, 90th in 2015), while that ignominious honor for Power Five programs goes to Dave Odom and Missouri (59th, 27th).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Matt Campbell has taken his new team on one of the biggest rises, lifting Iowa State from No. 69 under the departed Paul Rhoads to No. 52. Interestingly, Campbell’s successor at Toledo, UT offensive coordinator Jason Candle, has the Rockets at 73rd, 17 spots higher than his predecessor’s 90th-ranked class of a year ago.
Below are the 27 newest head coaches, with where their teams rank now in the recruiting rankings compared to a year ago: