Tony White, San Diego State
Buzz: White's most talked-about accomplishment concerns a player San Diego State didn't land. Still, it's impressive. It was White who was granted an in-home visit with five-star linebacker Reuben Foster. It was also White who used that conversation to talk the blue-chip prospect into crossing the country for an official visit to SDSU. Of course, Foster ultimately chose Alabama, but still. Foster is the marquee name on White's list. Getting involved with him was by no means his biggest accomplishment. White landed eight commitments for the Aztecs, including quarterback Darryl Richardson and wide receiver Julius Wilson, each of whom had multiple high-level BCS offers. White is a young, energetic recruiter with a bright future. It seems likely that people will become more acquainted with his name in the future.
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Steve Buckley, Southern Miss
Buzz: The feather in Buckley's cap was the last-minute flip of Tyre'oune Holmes from in-state power-conference program Mississippi State. He didn't stop there, though, as Buckley had a hand in most of Southern Miss' 2013 signees and was responsible for roughly eight of the class' 26 members. Junior college All-American Fredrick Moore chose the Golden Eagles because of Buckley's efforts. It's easy to see why Buckley was the lone holdover from the previous staff.
Scott Huff, Boise State
Buzz: Boise is one of those schools where the head coach has a heavy hand in recruiting and the pursuit of prospects is a true staff effort. That sometimes makes it hard to single out an assistant as a closer. That said, the outstanding work Huff did in Arizona, one of his designated recruiting areas, is undeniable. Huff went head-to-head with Iowa and landed Scottsdale-based athlete Jake Roh. He also got a commitment from talented Phoenix-area quarterback Ryan Finley in March, before a lot of bigger schools had the chance to discover him. Finley fits the Broncos system, and that's always been the most important factor in Boise State's war room. There were other players with whom Huff was heavily involved, but his work in the Grand Canyon State is what stands out.
Denver Johnson, Tulsa
Buzz: Johnson nabbed eight commitments, and the top name on his list was the most impressive. Johnson nabbed four-star guard Rob Boyd in early March before the 285-pound lineman started to blow up on the national radar. Then, Johnson held on as larger schools came calling. All eight of Johnson's commitments came from the state of Oklahoma, a place where it is pivotal for Tulsa to have a presence. Not allowing the Sooner State's second-tier prospects to cross state lines for college is imperative, and Johnson's success shows he knows that.
Tom Manning, Toledo
Buzz: In his first year back at Toledo, this time as the program's offensive line coach, Manning helped to rebuild the Rockets line with four able bodies, including A.J. Bolden, whom Manning flipped from Buffalo. He was also responsible for landing three-star running back Kareem Hunt, defensive end John Stepec and linebacker Zach Quinn, all of whom listed BCS offers. Having a 9-4 record gives any coach a recruiting boost, but something should be said for capitalizing on it.
Mike Neu, Tulane
Buzz: Neu landed second-chance quarterback Nick Montana, son of Joe, who made his own name as a solid high school quarterback before committing to Washington and transferring a year later. Montana's second recruitment ended at Tulane, where he will likely snag the starting job immediately. Neu also had a hand in bringing in a wealth of Louisiana-based talent this cycle. The Green Wave made a living recruiting in-state talent, and Neu's connections were a big reason.
Jason Nichols, ULM
Buzz: Recruiting to Louisiana Monroe isn't easy. It's just a fact of life. That said, Nichols did an admirable job. Marquis McCullum and Bivins Caraway are capable of contributing immediately. Caraway's season was marred by injury, but Big 12 teams were pursuing him before he was struck down. McCullum drew interest from Michigan and Rutgers before signing with the Warhawks. There's not an abundance of star power on Nichols' commitment history, but he's well regarded by players and fellow coaches, and he's starting to build a reputation as a recruiter.
Kelly Poppinga, BYU
Buzz: Poppinga lost a key piece down the stretch when linebacker Johnny Ragin IIIflipped to California, but that doesn't erase the work he did all year. The BYU assistant was instrumental in landing four-star offensive lineman Braden Kearsley, the highest-rated prospect in the class. He helped protect Kearsley from Pac 12 poachers down the stretch. Poppinga used his connections in the Upper Northwest to nab a handful of players who drew interest from BCS universities.
J.C. Price, Marshall
Buzz: So what if they were prep school prospects? Price's ability to land a trio of four-stars at Marshall has to be applauded. It wasn't the quantity of recruits he landed that earned him a spot on this list. It was the quality. Price knows that his school can benefit from giving talented players a second chance, and he is as good at selling that talking point as any coach in America. Linebacker Stefan Houston, athlete Angelo Jean-Louis and Deontay McManus are miles more talented than the average player Marshall lands from the high school ranks. The talent upgrade is thanks, in large part, to Price's creativity.