Give credit where it's due: Assistant coaches are the lifeblood of a college football program's ability to recruit. They're the guys who often live in airports and rental cars -- especially in January.
As valuable as ace recruiters are on staff, the head coach still has a role in the recruiting process, and sometimes a large one. He might serve as the closer, nailing down a commitment. Or he might enter along the way to steer an on-the-fence prospect.
Which head coaches are the biggest difference-makers on the recruiting trail? Who would you send to a home or high school if you, as a fan, were given a choice? And, if you're a peer, who would you least want to run into on the road?
One thing I thought about when working on this assignment was that head coaches' personalities, and the tones of their programs, are displayed in how they recruit. Coaches can be comparably effective recruiters despite strikingly varied makeups. Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin, for example, might be targeting the same kid even though they're very different guys who run very different programs.
Here's a look at the 10 college head coaches who are the most effective recruiters.
1. Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide
Where to begin this discussion was obvious, even without other coaches weighing in. I recall a conversation I had this past fall with an SEC assistant. He said the recruiting rivalries in the conference are generally overrated; it's really more fraternal than anything. The only time the winds change, he said, is when Saban gets involved.
To read Travis Haney's full list of the nation's top 10 recruiting head coaches, you must be an ESPN Insider.