NCF On The Trail: Pete Carroll

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Welcome back, Ed Orgeron. College football recruiting has missed you.

LSU announced Wednesday that Orgeron, a native of LaRose, Louisiana, and former head coach at Ole Miss, will join the Tigers' staff as the defensive line coach. Orgeron has been out of coaching and off the recruiting trail for the past year after serving as the interim head coach at USC in 2013.

It’s easy to sound like hyperbole, but this addition is about as big as it gets. One SEC recruiting coordinator called it a “seismic moment for everybody in the conference,” and another said Tigers fans have to be absolutely giddy with the news.

“LSU just landed the biggest five-star recruit out there,” one of the assistants said. “They already had Frank Wilson, one of the best recruiters around, doing his thing. Then they hired Kevin Steele, and everybody knows how good of a job he does. But adding Coach O to the staff? Wow. I don’t know what else to say. It’s a game-changer.”

Indeed it is.

With Orgeron’s addition, the Tigers now have three assistants who have been recognized by the media as national recruiters of the year. The move gives Wilson -- who was given his first college coaching job in 2005 by Orgeron -- much-needed assistance as LSU’s recruiting coordinator.

But there is only one Coach O. Many in the coaching ranks believe Orgeron is the best recruiter in the game today, and his track record could easily put him in the discussion as one of the best ever.

The job Orgeron did as the recruiting coordinator at USC under Pete Carroll was legendary, as he assembled a string of classes that returned the Trojans to glory. Orgeron didn’t flourish as a head coach at Ole Miss, but he laid the foundation for Houston Nutt’s success in Oxford with the high-profile talent he brought in, such as Michael Oher, Dexter McCluster and Mike Wallace.

Orgeron also helped recruit and coach other stars like Warren Sapp, Cortez Kennedy, Mike Patterson, Dan Williams and Leonard Williams over the years at Miami, Tennessee and a second stint at USC.

Honestly, the recruiting trail just hasn’t been as fun without Coach O around.

We’ve all missed his larger-than-life personality that’s part-comedian, part-movie star and part-car salesman all wrapped into a Cajun accent. We’ve missed the way Coach O can easily make himself at home on the sideline of a high school football game in Long Beach, California, or Meridian, Mississippi. We miss hearing stories of how he mesmerizes moms and dads with tales of shoveling shrimp on the bayou.

It’s about time Orgeron is back doing what he does best. Who needs reality television with Coach O around? Nothing can match the stories that are generated when he’s pursuing a five-star prospect on the trail, and the recruiting world is a better place with him back in it.

Early Offer: Just another manic Monday 

December, 3, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Maybe the Bangles knew what they were talking about when they sang about how Mondays can be manic. The news that USC had hired Washington coach Steve Sarkisian shook up the recruiting world from coast to coast, and it’s just the first major bombshell that college football’s silly season will produce.

Early Offer: Orgeron building momentum 

November, 19, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Top recruits out West are starting to like the idea of Ed Orgeron as the next head coach at USC; despite his commitment to Missouri, fast-rising receiver Nate Brown has become a wanted man with two of the top programs in the SEC; and lost in the disappointment of a tough loss to UCLA was the news of Washington landing a pledge from one of the nation's top 2015 prospects.

Trojans red hot on and off field
It could be argued USC is the hottest team in the country after beating No. 4 Stanford this past Saturday. All of the success on the field also has given the Trojans a ton of recruiting momentum. In front of a packed house of recruits, including No. 7 overall prospect Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and Alabama four-star offensive tackle commit Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial), the Trojans put on a show that brought back memories of the glory years of Pete Carroll. The victory generated a lot of positive comments from recruits, and now it's cool to have USC on your list again. It will be interesting to see how seriously USC looks at Ed Orgeron as a candidate for the Trojans' coaching position, because recruits certainly are warming up to the idea. "If Coach O isn't there, then I'm not looking at USC anymore," one top prospect said. "I would follow that guy anywhere."

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It is a whole new ball game with recruits out West now that Lane Kiffin is out at USC.

The Trojans’ Class of 2014 recruiting efforts mirrored the product on the field. There were a few bright spots like highly regarded ESPN 300 defensive end Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), ESPN 300 linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) and ESPN 300 offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra), but it was also a class full of incompletions, fumbles and big misses.

[+] EnlargeTalamaivao
Erik McKinney/ESPN.comThe Trojans hope a new coaching staff will sway recruits like Viane Talamaivao (committed to Alabama) to USC.
The Trojans, in one of the deepest hotbeds of talent in the entire country and with one of the proudest football traditions around, were able to lure only seven commitments and watched conference rivals Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington blow past them on the recruiting trail. Recruits and high school coaches throughout the Southland also raised major concerns about the way Kiffin interacted with -- or some say flat-out ignored -- many top local prospects and coaches when they would come for unofficial visits or wanted to talk shop.

You have to win the recruiting wars in Los Angeles if you’re going to dominate at USC. It’s something that Pete Carroll figured out the second he stepped into Heritage Hall, but Kiffin was never able to fully embrace.

However, the Trojans now have a chance to reset things.

If USC makes the right hire, there’s still a real chance to lure a number of the West’s best prospects. Twenty-seven of the Top 100 and eight of the top 15 prospects in California have yet to make up their minds.

Plus, there will be kids who are committed to other schools that will take a long look at the Trojans again with a new coach in charge. You can bet that players like ESPN 300 offensive lineman and Alabama commit Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial), ESPN 300 athlete and Arizona commit Marquis Ware (Los Angeles/Salesian), Elite 11 quarterback and Miami commit Brad Kaaya (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade) and many other committed players in California will get calls from the new USC staff.

In recruiting, nothing can erase the errors of the old and give a school some new momentum like a coaching change.

USC now has the chance to right its recruiting wrongs. Coupled with the fact recruits and high school coaches still consider the Trojans Los Angeles’ football team, USC’s run to signing day in February could alter the Pac-12 for years to come.

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