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February 11, 2014

Rivals.com: Top non-'Big Six' recruiters

MORE: Thigpen named Recruiter of the Year

Top Recruiters by Conference: ACC | AAC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC | Best of the Rest

RIVALS.COM TOP 10 NON-'BIG SIX' RECRUITERS
RIVALS.COM NON-'BIG SIX' RECRUITER OF THE YEAR
Kerry Cooks, Notre Dame
Buzz: Cooks did plenty to help Notre Dame this cycle and grabbed some great talent in the process. His biggest accomplishment wasn't landing a specific recruit, though. It was bigger than that. Cooks helped get Notre Dame involved with top-level talent in Texas. The Irish co-defensive coordinator signed three Lone Star State players with offers from Texas' new coaching staff, something that program had only done two times over the course of the last 10 recruiting cycles. Four-star defensive back Nick Watkins, defensive end Grant Blankenship and linebacker Kolin Hill are talented prospects, but the fact that they are from Texas is more important to Notre Dame in the long term. The Irish sign highly ranked prospects every February, but Cooks did something unique by making waves in Texas. That feat is miles more impressive than bringing a handful of four-stars to South Bend.
MORE RIVALS.COM TOP 10 NON-'BIG SIX' RECRUITERS (listed alphabetically)
Jason Candle, Toledo
Buzz: Candle was a recruiting mercenary of sorts in 2014. He landed 11 of Toledo's 23 commitments this cycle. He was responsible for the signings of a trio of three-star prospects, including wide receiver Mykale Rogers, who most expect to have a major impact as a Rocket. Candle signed five recruits from Florida and a handful of prospects that carried offers from BCS-level programs.
Todd Hartley, Marshall
Buzz: Only Notre Dame and Western Michigan had better recruiting classes than Marshall among non-BCS Conference teams, and Hartley is a big reason behind that. Not only did the Thundering Heard recruiting coordinator land JUCO100 defensive back Quintavious Knight, but he also lured in three-star quarterback Cole Garvin and speedy wide receiver Donquell Green, who held offers from multiple ACC programs. Hartley signed six prospects in all this cycle, and his ties to Georgia make him a name to watch going forward.
Harry Hiestand, Notre Dame
Buzz: Hiestand helped sign four offensive linemen from four different states. All of them were four-star prospects or better and three of them played in top-level All-America games. Five-star tackle Quenton Nelson is the gem of the Irish's 2014 class and the No. 29 prospect in the nation. Four-stars Alex Bars, Sam Mustipher and Jimmy Byrne are impact players as well. Hiestand accounted for top-end talent and depth, making Notre Dame's offensive line class one of the country's two best.
Kelly Poppinga, BYU
Buzz: Poppinga is becoming a familiar name on this list and for good reason. This year, the BYU linebacker's coach landed six of the program's commitments, including three three-stars and the Cougars' highest-rated pledge, four-star linebacker Fred Warner. Warner carried offers from a host of BCS-conference schools, but picked BYU. From there, Poppinga held on and convinced his prized prospect to stay in the fold as traditional football powers came calling. Warner alone didn't define Poppinga's year, though. The depth the BYU assistant added to the class was also significant.
Vinson Reynolds, Western Michigan
Buzz: Head coach P.J. Fleck is probably Western Michigan's most valuable recruiting commodity, but Reynolds also played a major roll in assembling the Broncos' historic class. Reynolds' biggest accomplishment was landing and retaining three-star Chukwuma Okorafor after Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska came calling with offers. Reynolds also landed four other prospects, including three-star tight end Lucas Bezerra.
Dave Schramm, Fresno State
Buzz: Schramm landed six of Fresno State's 22 commitments this cycle and was the lead recruiter for many of the team's biggest gets, including three-star linebacker Xavier Ulutu, who chose the Bulldogs over a Pac-12 offer. Fresno State finished the cycle near the top of the Mountain West rankings and Schramm had plenty to do with that.
Brian Sipe, San Diego State
Buzz: Sipe landed a handful of top local players and held on tight as more well-known programs became in involved. He had a major role in landing four of the Aztecs' 10 three-star prospects and signed six total recruits. Sipe landed quarterback Christian Chapman and linebacker Donavin Buck, who listed multiple BCS offers.
Marcel Yates, Boise State
Buzz: Yates did solid work for a pair of teams this cycle. When he left emerging SEC power Texas A&M for Boise State following the season, he brought a prize with him to Idaho. The bond he formed with Dylan Sumner-Gardner, the No. 54 player in America, was enough to cause the safety to break his commitment to the Aggies and become a Bronco. Sumner-Gardner wasn't the new defensive coordinator's only recruit, but he is what this class will be remembered for down the road.
John Wiley, East Carolina
Buzz: Wiley landed five prospects from the contested Virginia Beach area this cycle and continued a pipeline of sorts between that region and ECU. He was also heavily involved with other prospects outside of his territory. None of the names he landed will jump off the page because of their star rankings, but there's something to be said for owning your region.



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