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Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Best SEC recruiters

By Derek Tyson


Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

It's no secret that Southeastern Conference has been the top conference in the country as far as recruiting over the last several years. The league currently has six teams ranked in the top 11 of the team recruiting rankings.  Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters around the ultra-competitive conference.

Travaris Robinson
Florida DBs coach Travaris Robinson is pointing toward another highly ranked recruiting class.
1. Travaris Robinson, defensive backs coach, Florida
Robinson has been Florida's top recruiter over the last few years and this year might be his best yet. He is a big reason Florida has the nation's No. 8 class. Recruiting in talent-rich South Florida, Robinson has been the lead recruiter on No. 4 running back Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central), No. 2 receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead), No. 8 athlete J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee), No. 10 athlete Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation) and No. 11 defensive tackle Khairi Clark (Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna). His enthusiastic approach has helped Florida land several top prospects at need positions.

2. Tommy Thigpen, linebackers coach, Tennessee 
Responsible for seven ESPN 300 commits, Thigpen might be the main reason Tennessee has vaulted near the top of the team recruiting rankings. He has played a key role in 13 of the prospects Tennessee has landed including highly regarded prospects such as No. 3 outside linebacker Dillon Bates (Ponte Verda Beach, Fla./Ponte Verda Beach), junior college offensive tackle Dontavius Blair (Garden City, Kan./Garden City CC), No. 13 safety Cortez McDowell (Locust Grove, Ga./Locust Grove) and No. 11 inside linebacker Gavin Bryant (Jackson, Ala./Jackson).

3. Billy Napier, wide receivers coach, Alabama 
Napier made a name for himself as a recruiter while at Clemson and now he has made his mark as one of the top recruiters in the SEC. All five commitments for whom he is responsible are ranked in the ESPN 300, including No. 1 offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe), No. 2 pocket passer David Cornwell and No. 6 receiver Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish). The Crimson Tide continue to have the top-ranked recruiting class in the country -- due in large part to what Napier has been able to do.

4. Bryan McClendon, running backs coach, Georgia 
McClendon is a big reason the Bulldogs are in the top five of the recruiting rankings. Georgia already has two of the best running backs in the conference, but McClendon was still able to land commitments from two excellent ball carriers -- Sony Michael (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), the No. 2 back in the country, and Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown), who's No. 10. McClendon helped fill a need at guard with the addition of Isaiah Wynn (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood), and if he is able to land offensive tackle David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence Christian) he just might move even higher on this list.

5. Dameyune Craig, offensive coordinator, Auburn 
Craig made a name for himself as a recruiter at Florida State and has continued his success since coming back to his alma mater. The Auburn offensive coordinator has helped the Tigers land five prospects in the ESPN 300 and played a role in at least eight total commitments. The impressive list of commitments he was largely responsible for includes No. 5 inside linebacker Tre' Williams (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul’s), No. 20 athlete Nicholas Ruffin (Atlanta/St. Pius X), No. 15 defensive end Justin Thornton (Prichard, Ala./Blount) and one of the nation’s top juco players in receiver D'haquille Williams out of Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Kirby Smart
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart knows the key to being great on game day is getting great recruits.
6. Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator, Alabama 
Smart is one of the most highly paid assistant coaches in the country -- and for good reason. Not only does his defensive unit rank among the best in the country every year, but he continues to be one of the top recruiters in the country. Smart is responsible for four Alabama commitments who are ranked in the ESPN 300 including linebackers Zach Whitley Jr. (Houston/North Shore) and Shaun Dion Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala./Carver) and cornerbacks Stephen Roberts (Opelika, Ala./Opelika) and Kalvaraz Bessent (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County). Like Smart, Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is having a great year in recruiting and was also considered for this spot.

7. Vince Marrow, tight ends coach, Kentucky 
Recruiting at Kentucky isn't an easy task, and Marrow is a big reason why some highly regarded recruits are starting to notice the Wildcats. Marrow, whose primary responsibility is the state of Ohio, has done an incredible job of recruiting the area. He was the primary recruiter on ESPN 300 members Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) and Darius West (Lima, Ohio/Lima Central Catholic). He also had a hand in the Wildcats landing Mike Edwards (Cincinnati/Winton Woods), tight end Darryl Long (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South), offensive guard Jarrett LaRubbio (Liberty Township, Ohio/Lakota East), offensive tackle Nick Richardson (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville), defensive tackle Tymere Dubose (Youngstown, Ohio/Youngstown Christian) and inside linebacker Dorian Hendrix (Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne).

8. Matt Luke, offensive line coach, Ole Miss 
The Ole Miss offensive line coach had a big hand in helping the Rebels land five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil last season and now has the Rebels with one of the top offensive line classes in the SEC this year. Luke is responsible for three ESPN 300 offensive linemen -- Rod Taylor (Jackson, Miss./Calloway), the No. 2 guard in the country, Andy Bauer (St. Louis/De Smet Jesuit) and Tyler Putman (Southhaven, Miss./DeSoto Central). Luke was also the primary recruiter for four-star running back D.K. Buford (Oxford,Miss./Lafayette). With his help, the Rebels are once again in the top 15 of the the team recruiting rankings.

9. Frank Wilson, running backs coach/recruiting coordinator, LSU 
Wilson has always had an excellent reputation as a recruiter. The LSU running backs coach has accounted for six commitments, including ESPN 300 prospects such as quarterback Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway), offensive guard Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University Lab), outside linebacker Donnie Alexander (New Orleans/Edna Karr) and wide receiver Tony Upchurch (Pearland, Texas/Glenda Dawson). Wilson still has top 100 prospects such as Leonard Fournette, Malachi Dupre, Speedy Noil and Gerald Willis III on his board. If he's able to land even a few of those prospects he could shoot to the top of the list.

10. David Beaty, wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator, Texas A&M
The Aggies are holding strong at No. 11 in the class recruiting rankings due in large part to Beaty. He has helped land commitments from ESPN 300 prospects including safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite), athlete Nick Harvey (Richmond, Texas/William B. Travis) and cornerback Cedric Collins (Dallas/Skyline). He also was responsible for three-star offensive tackle Kealvin Davis (Garland, Texas/Lakeview Centennial) and wide receiver Jamal Jeffery (Lufkin, Texas/Lufkin)