Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with grades of the new Power Five hires, next year’s coaches who will be under the microscope and the rash of decommitments as Signing Day approaches.
MORE FARRELL: Thoughts on the Early Signing Period
1. GRADING THE HIRES
The Coaching Carousel has stopped, at least for now, so it’s time to grade the Power Five hires. Professor Farrell is here for you.
Chip Kelly, UCLA – A+ – You can’t ask for a bigger and better hire for a UCLA program that needs a serious shot in the arm. Kelly has the ability to make the Bruins a superpower out west. He’s that good.
Scott Frost, Nebraska – A+ – This was the guy they needed. One of the best young coaches in college football coming back home. He’s the perfect fit and it’s hard to see him not having some success.
Dan Mullen, Florida – A – A very good coach who knows how to win in the SEC and knows what it takes to win in Gainesville. Many wanted Mullen and Florida got him. If he can’t fix the offense, who can?
Willie Taggart, Florida State – B – I like the hire although the expectations will be ridiculous from the start and he’s replacing a national title coach. He knows the state, he can recruit and he did a solid job at Oregon on his first big stage.
Mario Cristobal, Oregon – B – He will allow for continuity in the program, he’s proven to be a good head coach previously and he knows how to win big from his days at Alabama. I like this internal hire rather than reaching out of the program and hurrying a decision in that way.
Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee – B – A very good and accomplished recruiter and he’s shown he can coach the defense. This is a solid hire, especially after the debacle that was this coaching search.
Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State – B – He inherits some talent, he’s a great offensive mind and I see no reason why he can’t keep what Mullen did moving forward.
Chad Morris, Arkansas – C+ – Morris lacks a winning record at SMU and brings a complete change of offense, which will take a few years to implement and recruit to. I’m not sure that’s a bad choice, but there are question marks.
Matt Luke, Ole Miss – C – A good guy and an Ole Miss grad, he’s a good fit in many ways but it’s not an exciting hire. Would he be the guy if he hadn't won the Egg Bowl?
Herm Edwards, Arizona State – D – I don’t need to go into this too much, do I? Does Edwards appear to have the college resume and/or attitude to recruit young men and lead the Sun Devils? This hire makes no sense.
2. COACHES THAT WILL BE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE IN 2018
The 2018 Hot Seat list looks boring as heck. Kliff Kinsbury at Texas Tech? David Beaty at Kansas? Lovie Smith at Illinois? Larry Fedora at North Carolina? Yawn. Here are a few big name coaches who definitely aren't on the hot seat, but will definitely be under the microscope next season.
Tom Herman, Texas – The head coach in Austin is always under scrutiny and, after a 6-6 season, a lot more will be expected in Herman's second season.
Ed Orgeron, LSU – The loss to Troy still stings and people will be watching Orgeron closely, especially with Jimbo moving into his division.
Willie Taggart, Florida State – The expectations at Florida State are off the charts and will be especially high after this awful season, so a first year head coach like Taggart will be under scrutiny, especially if the Seminoles start slowly.
Scott Frost, Nebraska – Nebraska fans are dying for a winner and Frost is to the Huskers as Harbaugh is to Michigan. I’ve already seen some Husker fans expecting eight or more wins next season. This will be interesting to follow because it will take some time and the Nebraska fan base isn’t known for patience.
Clay Helton, USC – Chip Kelly is his neighbor now, so Helton needs to step it up another notch even after a Pac-12 title.
Dan Mullen, Florida – The offense had better improve and improve quickly because expectations are ridiculous in Gainesville as Jim McElwain, the guy who won two division titles and was hated, found out.
Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M – They want a winner very badly in College Station and they are paying Jimbo a ton of money, so expectations will be high from the start.
3. AVALANCHE OF DECOMMITMENTS
Perhaps one of the reasons the powers-that-be in college football came up with an early signing period was to cut down on late decommitments. It makes sense, right? The decommitment has become out of control in college football recruiting and by giving kids a chance to sign early, surely the number of decommitments will settle down correct? Wrong.
I have never, in my nearly 20 years of covering college football, seen so many decommitments in the months of November and December. And it will get even worse as we approach Dec. 20. Many blame the craziest coaching carousel in recent history, but I see it more as a result of a signing period that is drawing closer and closer.
This is just another example of the NCAA not having any idea on how to control the recruiting process. It seems like everything it tries to fix leads to the opposite reaction that they were hoping for. I’m sure we’ll all be more familiar with what to expect as we go through many of these early signing dates, but for now it appears this has made the decommitment problem a bigger one instead of a smaller one. And that’s never a good thing.