Scout Expert Q&A - The New Coaches
Posted Jan 31, 2014

How are the new guys doing with little time to prepare?

What's happening in the recruiting world? What do you really need to know?

Once again, here to answer some key questions is Scott Kennedy,'s Director of Scouting who kindly returns for his sixth year for this piece, and Allen Trieu, one of Scout's national analysts and the Midwest Regional Manager. Allow them to make sense of it all.

What's happening in the recruiting world? What do you really need to know?

Once again, here to answer some key questions is Scott Kennedy,'s Director of Scouting who kindly returns for his sixth year for this piece, and Allen Trieu, one of Scout's national analysts and the Midwest Regional Manager. Allow them to make sense of it all.

Recruiting 2014 - What You Need To Know
Q&A with's Scott Kennedy & Allen Trieu

- What's the hot story? Who's crushing it?
- Who's about to mature? The big surprise and big disappointment.
- Sarkisian? Franklin? Strong? How are the new coaches doing?
- Are the Irish keeping pace? What will everyone be talking about?

9. What's wrong with Oregon? Why is this such a mediocre class?

Scott Kennedy: It's just small; I don't think it's mediocre. Royce Freeman is a monster at running back. People question if 6-1/220 fits with what Oregon does, and I remind them about LeGarrette Blount, and I also remind them that big, strong, fast, and tough to tackle fits every system. Quarterback Morgan Mahalak fits what they do perfectly with his athleticism. Overall, a resurgent UCLA is going to hurt the rest of the Pac-12, because beating two teams in Southern California for the players that feed the entire Pac-12 got a lot more difficult when Jim Mora arrived.

Allen Trieu: I think it's just small class. It has just eight kids in the Scout 300 and a five-star committed. Their average star rank is third in the Pac-12, I think it's just quality over quantity this year.

10. USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State – with those four killing it this recruiting season, is the balance of power all in the Pac-12 South?

Scott Kennedy: Nope. Recruiting is one thing, winning is what still matters. Oregon and Stanford are the class of the Pac-12 right now until proven otherwise.

Allen Trieu: If those classes turn out, it looks like it. All four of those schools had good seasons and three of the four won their bowl games. So I think the South will be strong for the next few years, but Oregon and Stanford have also been recruiting well and I think will continue to have success.

11. The three names outside of the top 25 guys that every college football fans should know about for next year are … ?

Scott Kennedy: Just look at the running backs. This is the best running back class in my 12 years of scouting players, and it's not even close. Royce Freeman is big, strong, and fast headed to Oregon. Nick Chubb joins Sony Michel as the running backs in Georgia's class, and this could be a replay of 2012 where Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley came in together and Marshall was rated ahead of Gurley as Michel is over Chubb. Hindsight being 20/20, Gurley is by far the superior back.

Can Chubb repeat history with five-star Michel? Elijah Hood is heading to North Carolina, and he's another 220+ pound running back with speed. Any running back in the Top 15 in this class would be Top 5 in most years.

Allen Trieu: Clemson seems to always have these freaky wide receivers and with Sammy Watkins leaving for the draft. Watch out for Trevion Thompson, who really impressed me when I saw him at The Opening. Notre Dame has a huge void at middle linebacker and I think Nyles Morgan will have a great shot to step in and play next season. I don't know if he'll play right away next year, but I've always really liked Toa Lobendahn, a mean, high-intensity offensive lineman headed to USC.

12. There aren't too many massive coaching changes, but with some late hires, how are these coaches doing?

- Steve Sarkisian, USC

Scott Kennedy: Sarkisian is going to be judged at USC on the success of the next week. The Trojans are in good position to land five-stars Adoree Jackson and JuJu Smith as well as offensive lineman Damien Mama. Add those guys to an already solid nucleus, and Sarkisian's first recruiting class will be judged a success.

- Chris Petersen, Washington

Scott Kennedy: Petersen and Washington were left in a hole by Sarkisian. There are exactly two players on Washington's commitment list that predated Sarkisian's departure. Petersen is doing a remarkable job with what he inherited, but he was playing catch up this year.

- Bobby Petrino, Louisville

Scott Kennedy: Several years back the Atlanta Journal Constitution asked me for my own personal Top 25, and I told them to take what's on Scout and put Louisville in at 23. I don't care what the numbers say, Petrino will have them playing at least in the Top 25. This isn't going to be one of Louisville's best classes on paper, but if Petrino and the Cards can avoid the distractions, it won't matter.

- Charlie Strong, Texas

Scott Kennedy: In today's 15 second news cycle, Texas watched A&M become the "IT" school in Texas over the last two years. But recruiting for the Longhorns has never been an issue. What has been a problem though is that they've been a donut team since Colt McCoy left: a big hole in the middle at quarterback. Charlie Strong's biggest job in recruiting was hanging on to quarterback Jerrod Heard. After watching what Teddy Bridgewater did at Louisville under Strong, it should have been an easy sell. After seeing what Bridgewater did for him at Louisville then getting a look at Heard on video, Strong has to be salivating. Heard is going to be Texas' best quarterback since McCoy.

- James Franklin, Penn State

Scott Kennedy: Simply put, the Big Ten needed James Franklin. I was embarrassed for the conference when some of the head coaches were complaining about Urban Meyer recruiting too hard. Franklin is brash, bold, and fearless. Even if he's not successful at Penn State, and I have no reason to believe he won't be, he's going to make the Big Ten a heck of a lot more fun. The man talked smack at Vanderbilt and backed it up, beating Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida this year. What do you think he can do with a full-strength Penn State with a little time?

Allen Trieu: Charlie Strong has the highest rated class of those guys. He's the only one in the top 25 even on Scout right now (10). His biggest challenge is getting a couple of kids who are soft verbals back in the class. That's really the challenge for all of them. I believe all of those schools have commits that are visiting other schools. I think James Franklin has done really well getting some Vandy commits to flip over and filling out that class. He's had early success on the recruiting trail in Happy Valley.