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Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Best Big 12 recruiters

By Damon Sayles

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

The best college football coaches will tell you that when it comes to recruiting, their business is an art. It’s a craft you must perfect if you want to have the best players commit and ultimately sign. Recruiting isn’t for everybody, but those who are good at it -- particularly for building the 2014 class -- should be recognized, as the business is extremely competitive.

Here are 10 of the top recruiters from the Big 12.

1. Kendal Briles, Baylor

Considered one of the best young coaches in college football, Briles has an infectious personality that immediately grows on recruits. He was able to land two ESPN 300 recruits in wide receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) and athlete Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau). Briles, 30, also was influential in getting four-star receiver Ishmael Zamora (Houston/Elsik).

2. Larry Porter, Texas

Porter is making a lot of noise, recruiting wise, in his first year with the Longhorns. Porter was responsible for landing wide receiver Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City) and cornerback Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/St. Augustine), two ESPN 300 players. Porter is a guy the Longhorns feel can go into the greater Houston and New Orleans areas and not only find the best talent but also persuade targets into committing.

3. Duane Akina, Texas

Akina has been a staple in Texas recruiting for over a decade, and this year was no different. Akina recruited the Longhorns’ top-ranked 2014 commitment in ESPN 300 defensive end Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan), as well as four-star talents in defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Warren) and safety John Bonney (Houston/Lamar). Akina’s been big with Texas’ 2015 class, helping to land ESPN Junior 300 players in safety Johnny Shaw (Orange, Texas/West Orange-Stark) and cornerback Jalen Campbell (Corpus Christi, Texas/Flour Bluff).

4. Van Malone, Oklahoma State

One of the hardest-working coaches in recruiting, Malone has landed several 2014 commits. He’s hoping to complete the class by persuading ESPN 300 safety Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) to come to Stillwater, Okla. Malone was responsible for getting ESPN 300 cornerback Chris Hardeman (Houston/Alief Taylor) to commit. He also assisted Glenn Spencer -- another solid Oklahoma State recruiter -- in landing four-star linebacker Josh Mabin (Spring, Texas/Klein Oak).

5. Jim Gush, Baylor

What recruits like most about Gush is that he’s a no-nonsense coach who is tough but fair. Elite recruits want to play for a guy like Gush. ESPN 300 inside linebacker James David (Rockdale, Texas/Rockdale) and four-star safety/linebacker T'Kevian Rockwell (Wylie, Texas/Wylie) are Gush’s biggest lands of the year, and if Baylor finds a way to somehow score ESPN 300 cornerback Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne), he will be held responsible.

6. JaJuan Seider, West Virginia

Seider is credited with recruiting ESPN 300 wide receivers Lamar Parker (Miami/Booker T. Washington) and Jake McCrary (Miami/Coral Reef). Originally from Florida, Seider has been very effective in recruiting the Sunshine State. The Mountaineers are hoping to land a couple more uncommitted players from the area and, maybe, flip some of the committed players before signing day. Look for Seider to land one or two more before February.

7. Jay Boulware, Oklahoma

When you have ESPN 300 players on your resume like wide receiver Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and tight end Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union), it puts you on the radar of the better college football recruiters. Boulware also is targeting big-time tight end recruits in ESPN 300 Dalton Schultz (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham) and Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), and he’s assisting with the recruiting of ESPN 300 offensive tackle Brian Wallace (St. Louis/Christian Brothers College).

8. Mike Jinks, Texas Tech

Texas Tech has the luxury of having several coaches with the reputation of being energetic extroverts, including head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Jinks, a former high school head coach in the greater San Antonio area, has recruited the area well. Two of the Red Raiders’ top gets are four-star running back Justin Stockton (Cibolo, Texas/Steele), whom Jinks coached in high school, and four-star receiver Byron Daniels (San Antonio/Madison).

9. Jay Norvell, Oklahoma

The Sooners have a couple of coaches who are solid recruiters. The coaching staff also does a great job of assisting each other with tag-team efforts to land commitments. Norvell has had a good year so far in helping the Sooners score players such as ESPN 300 wide receiver Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and four-star wide receiver Jeffery Mead (Tulsa, Okla./Union). Norvell also is expected to be instrumental in Oklahoma’s quest for 2015 players.

10. Reggie Mitchell, Kansas

Mitchell gets credit for one commit and partial credit for another, but in this case, quality tops quantity. Mitchell recruited and landed ESPN 300 outside linebacker Kyron Watson (East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis), the nation’s No. 4 player at his position. Mitchell also helped offensive line coach Tim Grunhard recruit four-star running back Traevohn Wrench (Gardner, Kan./Gardner-Edgerton). Both Watson and Wrench are good enough to see instant playing time as freshmen.