InsideNDSports - Tuesdays with Gorney: Checking in on Power Five programs with new coaches
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Tuesdays with Gorney: Checking in on Power Five programs with new coaches

Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly (USA Today Sports Images)

The coaching carousel in college football was so incredibly busy with a bunch of big-time changes at the Power Five level. Here is a look five or so months in on how those new coaching staffs are doing in recruiting:


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DUKE

Mike Elko
Mike Elko (AP Images)

There are a handful of teams toward the bottom of the ACC rankings that only have a few commitments so far including the Blue Devils, NC State, North Carolina and Virginia. So there is still a ton of opportunity for coach Mike Elko and his staff to win some important in-state recruiting battles especially. but It’s going to be tough.

North Carolina and NC State will recruit at a higher level for various reasons and it’s a challenge Elko will have to confront when trying to rebuild the program. Duke is 5-18 over the last two seasons and needs a spark to get recruiting going even more. The Blue Devils are off to a quality-over-quantity start with mid-level three-star commitments from QB Grayson Loftis and ATH Paul Davis but much more will be needed.

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FLORIDA

Billy Napier
Billy Napier (USA TODAY)

The good news for coach Billy Napier and his staff is that former coach Dan Mullen didn’t love recruiting so bringing energy and passion back to the Gators will get kids interested almost immediately. Lots of top players still want to play in Gainesville.

Some of that has already happened and there are tons of big names interested in Florida including the top two cornerbacks in the class in Cormani McClain and AJ Harris along with plenty of in-state prospects who could be committing before their senior seasons.

Florida has four three-star commitments right now and its not keeping pace with Georgia, Tennessee and others in the brutal SEC but there could be a major uptick coming once the elite kids are ready to decide.

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LSU

Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly (USA TODAY)

What Brian Kelly has going for him – other than way better food in Baton Rouge than in South Bend – is arguably the most loyal in-state group of prospects in the country as top players from Louisiana regularly end up playing at LSU after being courted by others. That stranglehold has slipped slightly in recent years but Kelly does bring a level of professionalism and seriousness to the Tigers that could interest top kids again.

Four four-stars are already committed to LSU with only one being an in-state prospect as Kelly and his staff flex their muscles regionally as well. Five-star receiver Shelton Sampson cannot be let out of town and then LSU has warmed up more to four-star RB Kaleb Jackson with fellow four-star back Trey Holly leaning toward the Tigers. It’s probably unlikely that LSU has a shot with No. 1 Arch Manning but five-star QB Dante Moore is in play.

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MIAMI

Mario Cristobal
Mario Cristobal (AP Images)

Any expectation that coach Mario Cristobal was going to come to Miami and immediately get top prospects to sign up was probably unfounded and ridiculous because – like it or not – a lot of the luster of Miami’s past just doesn’t resonate as much with kids who didn’t live through it.

There is plenty of hope though and an abundance of recruiting ability on that staff led by Cristobal, who did such an amazing job at Oregon but also had the built-in advantages of tremendous facilities to sell and an ongoing mess at USC to land top California kids. Miami is tougher in some ways and easier in others – like having insanely talent-rich South Florida prospects right down the road.

Four of Miami’s first five commitments play in Miami and that’s an important base. Will the top kids like five-star WR Brandon Inniss end up with the Hurricanes? Probably not. But Cristobal is the best person to shepherd this program back to relevance.

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NOTRE DAME

Marcus Freeman
Marcus Freeman (AP Images)

Things could really not be going much better from a recruiting perspective than what coach Marcus Freeman has done in his first few months. There is a renewed sense of energy and youth from Freeman to offensive coordinator Tommy Rees on down the staff and it’s paying off on the recruiting trail as the Irish boast the second-best class in the country, more four-star commitments (11) than any team and the highest average star ranking in the country.

Keeping five-star Keon Keeley on board is crucial as SEC powers try to flip him but this Notre Dame class is playoff-level worthy.

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OKLAHOMA

Brent Venables
Brent Venables (AP Images)

You know it’s still early in the recruiting calendar when Oklahoma is sitting at seventh in the Big 12 team rankings but this is known for sure: Brent Venables is going to use his engaging personality and relentless energy to get the best players to Norman.

That has started with four-star quarterback commit Jackson Arnold and pieces will be put around him. There is a good opportunity to land some in-state players but Oklahoma is probably the slight front-runner for five-star DE David Hicks Jr. out of Katy (Texas) Paetow along with others from that state. Some kids might want to see the post-Lincoln Riley era Sooners before deciding but four-star OL Cayden Green and many other elite players are high on OU.

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OREGON

Dan Lanning
Dan Lanning (USA TODAY)

Pac-12 teams traditionally get off to slow starts in recruiting and Oregon has not shot out of the gates but the new staff under coach Dan Lanning has done a tremendous job of getting players on campus and starting that initial phase of getting to know lots of kids in the 2023 class and beyond.

A recent commitment from four-star WR Jurrion Dickey is big but there are even bigger fish to fry, mainly keeping five-star DE Jayden Wayne in the Pacific Northwest and away from SEC teams. Four-star quarterback Jaden Rashada would be another one to watch although the quarterback room is solid in Eugene along with four-star CB Caleb Presley from Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach among others.

Lanning and that staff have the recruiting chops to compete nationally for players and they should do it.

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TCU

Sonny Dykes
Sonny Dykes (AP Images)

Sonny Dykes did really well across town at SMU and so he has name recognition in the state but there will be a transition period as people get used to the Horned Frogs minus long-time coach Gary Patterson. Recruiting skill players shouldn’t be a problem, though, and TCU has two solid receiver commits in three-stars Rohan Fluellen and Jordyn Bailey along with a pledge from OL three-star Trevor Goosby.

But the Horned Frogs are tied with Kansas State for the fewest commitments in the Big 12 with three so the pace needs to hasten.

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TEXAS TECH

It’s early May and most of Texas Tech’s recruiting class is finished if the 20 pledges stick with the Red Raiders. This is what we expected from coach Joey McGuire and his staff – high energy, lots of in-state recruiting connections and a new, vibrant vision for where Texas Tech should be headed.

It’s paying off before McGuire has even coached a college game with more pledges than any team in the country led by in-state four-star commitments at running back, offensive line and across the defense.

Nineteen of 20 commits are from the state of Texas.

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USC

Lincoln Riley
Lincoln Riley (AP Images)

If any program needed new life breathed into it, that was USC and that’s what the Trojans got in Lincoln Riley. He already has a five-star QB commit in Malachi Nelson, who was committed to the Sooners when Riley was there and skill players will flock to play for him.

Two four-star running back commits from Texas are definitely nice additions, high four-star WR Zachariah Branch and Makai Lemon provide immediate pressure to defensive backs and DB Christian Pierce had excellent junior film.

If USC could keep all the talent home, the Trojans could be nationally relevant again. It might be tough with so many SEC powers involved in California now but there’s a good chance of success.

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VIRGINIA

Tony Elliott
Tony Elliott (USA TODAY)

Tony Elliott is just getting started with one commitment from three-star OL Cole Surber but the pace has been slow as the Cavaliers have the fewest commitments in the ACC so far. Summer camps could definitely help and then when players meet and see Elliott coach in the fall an uptick should happen quickly.

In many ways, Charlottesville sells itself but Brent Pry at Virginia Tech is also an aggressive recruiter and Penn State has three pledges from top-10 players in the state of Virginia. Those trends need to be tackled immediately.

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VIRGINIA TECH

Brent Pry
Brent Pry (Courtesy Virginia Tech Athletics)

Brent Pry and his staff have done a solid job regionally landing five players with only two from the state of Virginia and then one each from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. In-state recruiting has been slow among the top-level kids but there are still a lot of undecided prospects in the state that the Hokies are pursuing.

Recruiting had dropped off from elite levels in recent years in Blacksburg but Pry is going to get after it and compete for players. It just might be a little while to get some serious traction going again.

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WASHINGTON

Kalen DeBoer
Kalen DeBoer (USA TODAY)

Three three-star commitments from California are in for Washington but the Kalen DeBoer era in some ways will be defined on whether he can keep local talent home in the Pacific Northwest. Recruiting California is always going to be important for the Huskies but five-star DE Jayden Wayne, four-star CB Caleb Presley, four-star RB Jayden Limar, four-star CB Jasiah Wagoner all remain on the board.

Right now, all four are projected elsewhere – and some down the road to Oregon – but Washington offers a lot. If DeBoer can get some traction then things could pick up more.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH WASHINGTON FANS AT DAWGREPORT.COM

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WASHINGTON STATE

Jake Dickert
Jake Dickert (USA TODAY)

There have been some strange times recently in Pullman but coach Jake Dickert has taken over full-time now and things should be returning to normal. All the headlines around former coach Nick Rolovich and the uncertainty of what was happening there could have delayed some things but three in-state commitments from three-stars is something to build off for the Cougars.

Washington State always has to piece together some overlooked prospects nationally and that takes time but there is coaching stability and that’s a bonus.

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