Lead Recruiters Over Last 3 NFL Drafts

Frank Wilson (LSU), Lance Thompson (Alabama) and James Coley (Miami) are three assistant coaches that have recruited the most players out of high school who were drafted over the last three years.

What makes a good college football recruiter?

It’€™s more than just being a good salesman.

Of course you need to have to good people skills. As a recruiter, you have to be able to communicate well with today’s athlete.

I asked Doug Marrone once what made him a good recruiter. His response – "I listen to what they say."

That’s important because the hard sell can’€™t always be on. These kids must be heard.

A good recruiter will identify who’s in the prospect’s ear and who’s in their inner circle? Is it mom, dad, a sibling, aunt, uncle or coach? It could be a friend or teammate. A good recruiter will recruit these people just as hard as the recruit.

And of course, a good recruiter has to work it and I mean work it hard each and every day. Nowadays, there are no days off when it comes to recruiting.

Of course when it comes to college football, recruiting is only half the battle. Once you sign them and get them on campus, its then time to develop them as players and young men. There’€™s that old saying "€œit takes a village to raise a child."€ That also holds true when you build a college football program because it takes an entire staff/program to develop each player.

Some programs are better at that than others. Some programs don’t sign the high end, high profiled four and five-star recruits. That’€™s why a good recruiter can identify and evaluate talent. A good recruiter can spot a diamond in the rough, knowing that down the line, they can develop into a good college football player. A good recruiter doesn’€™t care about the stars next to a player’s name.

A good recruiter has all of these traits.

That’€™s what made this exercise so fun. I took a look at the previous NFL Drafts and the 763 selections and looked to specifically find the lead recruiter on each when they came out of high school and signed with their respective schools. This is a testament to their recruiting skills as well as their programs ability to develop talent.

Below is a list of the top three college assistant coaches with the most draftees, combining the NFL Drafts of 2012, 2013 and 2014. You will see some familiar names and you will see some surprise names.

I like to call them the Recruiting Assassins.


Wilson is the LSU running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. He has been with the Tigers since 2010. Wilson recruited seven players that were drafted earlier this month – Zach Mettenberger, Jeremy Hill, Odell Beckham, Jr., Jarvis Landry, Trai Turner, Alfred Blue, and James Wright. Wilson recruited two the year before – Tyrann Mathieu and Spencer Ware. I recently spoke to Ed Orgeron about Wilson. Orgeron was his mentor. I asked coach O what makes Wilson such a good  recruiter. He simply stated that "€œFrank Wilson has it all."€ There’s no doubt in my mind that Wilson is a rising star. He’€™s only 40 years old. He’€™s from New Orleans St. Augustine High School and was coached locally there at O. Perry Walker. No one recruits the state of Louisiana better. You will see his name pop up more and more. Just wait until you see this last season’s crop of kids he signed enter the NFL Draft in a few years.


Thompson has been an assistant coaching veteran in the South since the late 80s. He spent most of his early coaching years at Georgia Tech under George O’€™Leary. He then had coaching stints at Alabama, LSU, and Central Florida. Thompson spent three seasons at Tennessee before returning to the Crimson Tide for the third time. In this exercise he recruited players drafted from both Tennessee and Alabama. Thompson had drafted players earlier this month that he was responsible for in Daniel McCullers (Tennessee), C.J. Mosley, and A.J. McCarron. In 2013, he recruited draftees D.J. Fluker and Nico Johnson. In 2012, Thompson recruited picks Malik Jackson (Tennessee), Mark Barron, and Trent Richardson. That’s an impressive list of drafted players over the last three drafts for this Alabama linebackers coach.


Everyone in the state of Florida has always known that James Coley is an excellent recruiter. Coley, now the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami, did his recruiting damage here while serving as an assistant coach at Florida State. He responsible for the Seminole signings Lamarcus Joyner and Kelvin Benjamin, who were both drafted earlier this month. In the 2013 draft class, he recruited Dustin Hopkins, Xavier Rhodes, and Bjorn Werner. Coley recruited 2012 draftees Michael Harris and Andrew Datkow to FSU.

Six other assistant coaches made the cut. Go to Scout.com or click here to read more about the Recruiting Assassins.