Rivals.com names the top 25 recruiters for the class of 2009.
RIVALS.COM RECRUITER OF THE YEAR
LARRY PORTER, LSU Buzz: Porter won the Rivals.com national recruiter of the year award in 2007 and is back on top again with another impressive class that features talent from Louisiana and Texas. Porter signed three five-star recruits, including No. 7 overall player Russell Shepard. He also did plenty of damage in Louisiana, picking up five-star defensive tackle Chris Davenport. Porter was able to snag Dominique Allen, one of the nation's top fullback prospects, from Tennessee's backyard. It was hard to believe Porter could ever top his 2007 effort, but he did in 2009.
MORE RIVALS.COM TOP 25 RECRUITERS
JOHN BLAKE, NORTH CAROLINA Buzz: Blake always has had a great reputation as a recruiter and he didn't disappoint this year. Blake led the charge for two of the top defensive linemen in the country, as he pulled in end Donte Moss and tackle Jared McAdoo. He also was instrumental in luring four-star New England standouts Brennan Williams and Joshua Adams and had big assists on wide receiver Jheranie Boyd and linebacker Hawatha Bell.
MIKE BOBO, GEORGIA Buzz: Bobo did a tremendous job recruiting for the Bulldogs, pulling in five pledges, including two highly regarded quarterbacks. It's never easy to get a good quarterback to come your way, let alone two, but that's what Bobo did by getting Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger. He also landed talented in-state linebacker Michael Gilliard and solid defensive back Shawn Williams. He topped things off on National Signing Day with the signing star receiver Marlon Brown from Memphis.
NORM CHOW, UCLA Buzz: Chow has been called a lot of things in his long and storied coaching career, but ace recruiter wasn't one of them. That changed this season when Chow took on a major role in the Bruins' recruiting efforts. He became more active on the recruiting trail, and his efforts were rewarded with commitments from five four-star recruits and two three-star prospects. He helped the Bruins pull off three Signing Day surprises with four-star athlete Randall Carroll, four-star offensive tackle Xavier Su'a Filo and four-star guard Stanley Hasiak. He also landed his quarterback of the future in Richard Brehaut and had assists in most of the Bruins' offensive targets.
DAN ENOS, MICHIGAN STATE Buzz: Michigan State was one of the nation's top surprises, and a big reason was the efforts of Enos. He secured commitments from nine players locally, including six four-star prospects. He helped land two talented running backs in Edwin Baker and Larry Caper. Enos, a former Spartans quarterback, grew up in the Detroit area and has made recruiting that area for his alma mater his passion. It paid off with a tremendous recruiting class for Michigan State.
LUKE FICKELL, OHIO STATE Buzz: Few coaches can say they signed a five-star recruit and even fewer can say they signed two, but Fickell fits in that rare category. Fickell, who is in his seventh season at his alma mater, scored five-star defensive back Corey Brown and five-star linebacker Dorian Bell. He also helped in-state and reached out to Kentucky to pull in four-star linebacker Jordan Whiting. He's become one of the most consistent and effective recruiters in the Big Ten, and made his mark nationally once again this year.
RODNEY GARNER, GEORGIA Buzz: Long considered one of the best recruiters in the nation, Garner had another banner class, landing five highly regarded prospects. The headliner is five-star cornerback Branden Smith from Atlanta, and he also wooed Montez Robinson away from Auburn. Overall, he didn't sign a prospect that was ranked lower than four stars, and showed again why he's among the best of the best.
BILLY GONZALES, FLORIDA Buzz: Gonzales is one of Florida's primary recruiters and he was instrumental in landing five-star receiver Andre Debose, five-star linebacker Jelani Jenkins and four-star linebacker Jon Bostic. With a track record of coaching Percy Harvin, Andre Caldwell and many others, Gonzales is easy to get along with, relates to recruits well and was pursued by many schools this offseason. He stayed at Florida and kept Debose in the class. That's a testament to his ability as a recruiter.
JAY HILL, UTAH Buzz: Hill is one of the big reasons Utah had its best recruiting class. He recruits Utah, Las Vegas and the San Francisco Bay area for Utah and pulled in eight commitments, including five-star defensive end James Aiono, the No. 1 junior-college player in the nation. He also landed four-star defensive tackle Latu Heimuli and beat out Pac-10 schools for top prospects such as Jeremiah Tofaeono out of Las Vegas.
ROB IANELLO, NOTRE DAME Buzz: Ianello is a five-time selection to this list, and he again did a solid job for the Fighting Irish. He pulled in two four-star recruits – Alex Bullard and Chris Watt – and also landed two three-star prospects and a future special teams star in Nick Tausch. While those are impressive enough, where Ianello really came through was helping other assistants seal the deal. He spent most of the final few weeks jetting from one side of the country to the other – including stops in California, Hawaii and Illinois. He had a nice assist with Manti Te'o.
LARRY JOHNSON, PENN STATE Buzz: Johnson was a serious candidate for national recruiter of the year after getting 13 commitments, including four-star prospects Darrell Givens and Derrick Thomas at cornerback. Nobody recruits Maryland like Johnson, and rarely does he miss on a prospect he targets in that area.
MATT LUBICK, ARIZONA STATE Buzz: In Lubick's time at ASU, he quickly has established himself as one of the best recruiters in the Pac-10 and in the nation. Pulling off the NSD surprise with five-star linebacker Vontaze Burfict from USC alone might be enough to get recognition on this list, but his overall body of work is quite impressive. He landed two other four-star recruits, and he's quickly become a well-respected recruiter in California's loaded Inland Empire.
MAC McWHORTER, TEXAS Buzz: A special mention should go out to Greg Davis for his efforts at UT this season, but McWhorter helped the Longhorns sign one of the best – if not the best – offensive line class in the nation. Five-star lineman Mason Walters was a huge get, and he's joined by four-star prospects Thomas Ashcraft and Garrett Porter. He also landed Marcus Davis, one of the nation's best defensive backs. Some say recruiting isn't difficult at Texas, but maybe it's because McWhorter make it look effortless.
KEN NORTON JR., USC Buzz: Some might think it's really easy to recruit at USC, and it is in some cases. But the Trojans' success comes from a lot of hard work, and few work harder than Norton. He recruits Los Angeles, Texas and Alabama for USC and has had plenty of success in this year's class. He was heavily involved in the recruitment of Byron Moore, James Boyd and Jarvis Jones. He also reeled in quality recruits Marquis Simmons and Chris Metcalf.
KEVIN PATRICK, USF Buzz: USF always has been one of the most under-appreciated recruiting programs nationally, but that perception changed quite a bit this season, mainly because of the efforts of Patrick. He helped USF beat one of the state's "Big Three" for the first time on a major four-star national recruit when he got Ryne Giddins to come aboard. He also landed two other four-star recruits – Jason Pierre-Paul and Jacquain Williams – from the Kansas junior college ranks, and Julius Forte is a talented three-star defensive end. His signings averaged 3.17 stars.
BRIAN POLIAN, NOTRE DAME Buzz: Recruiting in California against the likes of USC, UCLA and the rest of the Pac-10 is difficult, but it's even more difficult when you're recruiting for a school that's 2,000 miles away. That's the challenge Polian faced, but he was still able to land four-star prospects Shaquelle Evans and Cierre Wood. He also pulled off the biggest Signing Day shocker by getting five-star linebacker Manti Te'o to head to South Bend. Getting a Polynesian kid from Hawaii of the Mormon faith to attend a Catholic school in the Midwest sounds impossible, but Polian pulled it off with Te'o.
JACKIE SHIPP, OKLAHOMA Buzz: He landed two national top-50 prospects with Gabe Lynn and Jamarkus McFarland. Shipp pulled off one of the biggest surprises by landing McFarland. When McFarland and his family first visited Norman, they said they never would be back, but seven months later, they can't stop gushing about the town and the school. All of that can be traced to the tremendous job that Shipp did with McFarland. Shipp has been widely viewed as one of the best recruiters in the nation, and he proved it again with his effort in this year's class.
CHRIS VAUGHN, OLE MISS Buzz: Vaughn, Ole Miss' recruiting coordinator, had a recruiting season that was about quality and quantity. He helped Ole Miss become a major player with some top prospects in Florida, plus he reached out to other geographic areas and had success there, too. Four-star recruits Craig Drummond out of Illinois and Rodney Scott out of Florida were Rivals250 selections.
BOBBY WILLIAMS, ALABAMA Buzz: You can argue that nobody closed as strong as Williams did for Alabama. With late additions from four-star defensive end Ed Stinson, four-star linebacker Tana Patrick and then the double whammy of five-star cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and four-star receiver Kendall Kelly on Signing Day, Williams' effort is hard to ignore. He also had the Tide in the hunt for several other national recruits, but he'll be best known this year for the way he helped Alabama climb back to the top spot in the rankings.