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July 12, 2011

Rivals at 10: Best recruiters

MORE 10-YEAR: Top 25 teams | Top 10 classes

As part of Rivals.com's commemorative series on 10 years of rankings, it looks at the top 10 best recruiters as assistant coaches during that stretch.

Top 10 Recruiters
Porter did tremendous work as an assistant coach at LSU and was named the Rivals.com recruiter of the year in 2007 and 2009 before taking the head coaching job at Memphis. Porter was integral in landing the No. 7 player in the 2009 class in Russell Shepard along with five-star defensive tackle Chris Davenport. In the 2007 recruiting class, Porter was a big reason why five-star receiver Terrance Toliver, five-star athlete Chad Jones, Stefoin Francis, Drake Nevis, Jarrett Lee and others signed with the Tigers.

2. Ed Orgeron, USC
Orgeron has made a career landing big-time recruits and if there is a prospect he really wants there are few assistant coaches that will put the time and resources into landing that player as Orgeron does. Now in his second stint at USC, the Rivals.com recruiter of the year in 2004 was integral in landing four-star defensive tackles Antwaun Woods and Christian Heyward, and four-star defensive end Greg Townsend in USC's 2011 recruiting class. Throughout the years as USC has stockpiled five- and four-star talent, Orgeron has been right there with many top prospects. He also did a phenomenal job landing big-time players during his short stint at Tennessee.

3. Tim Brewster, Texas
As the story goes, Texas had not planned to recruit Vince Young all that hard but Brewster took it upon himself to go after the Houston (Texas) Madison quarterback. The Longhorns won out for Young's services over Miami and others after being way behind early in the recruiting process. Brewster, who had a rough time as Minnesota's head coach, was considered Texas' ace recruiter and his work - especially with Young - helped the Longhorns earn the top class in the 2002 Rivals.com rankings.

4. Jimbo Fisher, LSU
LSU finished with the top class in the 2003 Rivals.com rankings for many reasons but offensive coordinator Fisher's coaching and recruiting ability had to be one since so many top prospects signed with the Tigers. In that class were four-star quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn, five-star running back Justin Vincent, four-star running backs Alley Broussard and Barrington Edwards and four-star wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. That was all on the offensive side alone and while Fisher wasn't the only coach that had a hand in getting all those commitments, he did help in a big way.

5. Larry Johnson, Penn State
Johnson, the 2006 recruiter of the year by Rivals.com, has been a fixture for the Nittany Lions for 15 years. He's had his fair share of recruiting successes during that time. Most notably was his recruitment of five-star defensive back A.J. Wallace, the top-rated cornerback in the 2006 class. Johnson was also instrumental in landing four-star defensive tackle Jared Odrick that year. Four-star defensive tackles Jarron Jones and Jamil Pollard along with four-star defensive end Brent Wilkerson are three of Johnson's success stories so far in the 2012 class.

6. Frank Wilson, LSU
Based on his work in the past year alone, Wilson deserves to be on this list after helping land three five-star players from Louisiana in offensive tackle La'El Collins, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Wilson, who earned 2011 recruiter of the year honors, was also vital in the recruitment of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and helped with quarterback transfer Zach Mettenberger as well. The work hasn't stopped as LSU is off to a great start in 2012 and Wilson was responsible for getting pledges from four-star tight end Dillon Gordon and four-star defensive back Dwayne Thomas so far.

7. Rodney Garner, Georgia
Rivals.com once wrote that if it had given away earlier national recruiter of the year awards that longtime Bulldog assistant Garner would have probably won more than once. He is an energetic and engaging assistant coach who has helped land many of Georgia's top recruits during his tenure in Athens. Included on that list are five-star running back Kregg Lumpkin, five-star defensive back Branden Smith, five-star safety Reshad Jones and many other top recruits.

8. Tosh Lupoi, California
A 2005 graduate of Cal, Lupoi has quickly made himself a national name in recruiting circles after winning the 2010 recruiter of the year award by Rivals.com because he's helped land many of the top players Cal has gotten in recent years. Credited with helping sign five-star Keenan Allen, four-star Chris McCain and many other top recruits in Cal's 2010 class really put Lupoi on the national scene. In 2011, the Golden Bears signed five four-star prospects along the defensive line and Lupoi was involved with each one.

9. Lance Thompson, Alabama
Thompson was the primary recruiter for five-star wide receiver Julio Jones, five-star athlete Burton Scott, four-star defensive back Mark Barron, four-star defensive end Glenn Harbin, four-star wide receiver Destin Hood and many other top recruits in Alabama's 2008 recruiting class alone. Four-star linebacker A.J. Johnson was one of Thompson's top targets at Tennessee last recruiting cycle.


10. Kevin Steele, Florida State
Steele, now the defensive coordinator at Clemson after a stint at Alabama, made quick work of recruiting on his way to being named the Rivals.com recruiter of the year in 2005. In a 24-hour span, Steele was instrumental in landing five Rivals 100 players in Fred Rouse, Jamie Robinson, Antone Smith, Derek Nicholson and Eugene Hayes. Throughout the remainder of his time with the Seminoles and beyond, Steele has helped sign four-star prospects across the board.



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