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Here's How College Football's New Head Coaches Fared On National Signing Day

A list of the top 2018 recruiting classes on signing day


It's National Signing Day. Here is how the new head coaches in the Power Five have fared so far in this recruiting cycle.

National Signing Day is essentially a holiday for most college football fans. It is an especially significant day for programs with new head coaches.

Now, the rankings for any program under new stewardship are going to be naturally deflated. Almost every coaching change comes with a rash of decommitments.

New coaches have far less time to build relationships with targets of their new schools. You'll also see a fair bit of reaching for "Plan B" guys to try and round out a decent sized class. The results really bare out a year down the road, as programs like Cal, Purdue, and Texas, all of which have taken major step forwards from 2017 to 2018, have seen.

This year, 13 Power Five programs brought in new coaches. Nine fired their previous coaches, while four lost them to new jobs or abrupt resignations.

Ultimately, the results pretty closely track with how these programs have recruited normally over the last few years. Powers from the Southeast finished pretty high, while those in less fertile recruiting areas struggled.

Oh, and established college head coaches out-recruited guys who were, say, out of coaching for over a decade. Very shocking, indeed.

Counting down from No. 13 to No. 1, here is how the new coaches have fared so far with most recruits accounted for. I've used 247Sports' composite team rankings here.

13. Jonathan Smith, Oregon State - Composite Rank: 69

Oregon State's ranking in 2018.

Oregon State hired former Beavers quarterback Jonathan Smith. The team finished 1-11 (0-9) after Gary Andersen unexpectedly resigned midway through the season.

12. Herm Edwards, Arizona State - Composite Rank: 67

Arizona State's ranking in 2018.

Herm Edwards may not have realized how different National Signing Day would be from the NFL Draft, but the Sun Devils managed to stay out of the basement. Still, ASU fell way off from last year, when the class finished in the mid-30s.

11. Kevin Sumlin, Arizona - Composite Rank: 59

Arizona's ranking in 2018.

If there's something Kevin Sumlin can do, it is recruit. He just didn't have very much time to do so.

The Arizona job was the last to open, with former head coach Rich Rodriguez being let go in mid-January after getting caught up in a scandal. Sumlin should have the Wildcats back on track with his first full class in 2019.

10. Chad Morris, Arkansas - Composite Rank: 53

Arkansas' ranking in 2018.

Morris pulled in a smaller class, which drives the ranking down a bit. The Hogs did pull in a pair of blue-chip players, more than nine of the schools ranked above them.

9. Matt Luke, Ole Miss - Composite Rank: 30

Ole Miss' ranking in 2018.

There's a big jump up from Arkansas to Ole Miss. Matt Luke has the advantage of being on staff at Ole Miss for years.

He was the interim head coach this fall, after Hugh Freeze's ouster from the Rebels. Still, this is his first recruiting class, and the results are pretty decent, all things considered.

8. Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State - Composite Rank: 27

Mississippi State's ranking in 2018.

Recruiting to Starkville isn't the easiest thing to do, especially when the Bulldogs have to battle the rest of the SEC for so many guys. For former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, this is a strong start.

7. Scott Frost, Nebraska - Composite Rank: 23

Nebraska's ranking in 2018.

Don't expect Frost's club to be this low over the next years on National Signing Day. He finished very strong piecing together the Huskers class, even while continuing to coach the UCF Knights into January.

6. Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee - Composite Rank: 20

Tennessee's ranking in 2018.

Pruitt learned from the best, Nick Saban. Butch Jones got people on board with his strong recruiting early on, but Pruitt isn't too far off with this first group.

5. Mario Cristobal, Oregon - Composite Rank: 18

Oregon's ranking in 2018.

Oregon was on pace for one of the best classes in the country under Willie Taggart. Things understandably fell off a bit when he jumped ship, but Cristobal is an accomplished recruiter in his own right.

4. Chip Kelly, UCLA - Composite Rank: 17

UCLA's ranking in 2018.

One of the concerns with Chip Kelly's return to college football was that he apparently doesn't like to recruit. Well, with his first class in Westwood, he edged out his former school.

3. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M - Composite Rank: 16

Texas A&M's ranking in 2018.

It took a little while, but Jimbo Fisher started to gain some traction late in the class. The Aggies picked up six new commits today, flipping a few big blue-chip targets from SEC rivals.

2. Dan Mullen, Florida - Composite Rank: 14

Florida's ranking in 2018 recruiting rankings.

Dan Mullen got a lot done with the limited (at least, by SEC standards) resources of Mississippi State. Now he's at one of the sport's true powers, in perhaps the best recruiting state in the country. Scary.

1. Willie Taggart, Florida State - Composite Rank: 11

Florida State's ranking in 2018 recruiting.

Florida State hired Taggart in large part because of his ability to recruit the state. He delivered, in a shortened 2018 recruiting cycle. FSU is going to be incredibly difficult to contend with for its top Sunshine State targets as long as Taggart is there.