There’s a reason Alabama and Auburn have two of the top five recruiting classes in the country right now.
It’s not just the tradition or on-field success. Both schools boast some of the best recruiting assistants in the country.
That was certainly reflected in ESPN’s national recruiter rankings released Thursday. An incredible five assistants — 50 percent of the list — reside in the state of Alabama. ESPN had hundreds of assistants to choose from, but picked a whopping five from the two in-state Southeastern Conference programs.
Alabama led the way with an incredible four assistants in ESPN’s top 10 list.
If you’ve paid attention to Alabama’s success this year it should come as no surprise that offensive line coach Mario Cristobal is ESPN’s No. 1 recruiter in the country. Cristobal was the primary recruiter for cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, wide receiver Calvin Riddley, defensive end Christian Bell and athlete Shawn Burgess-Becker. Cristobal is also rated as 247Sports’ top recruiter in the country.
Not far behind Cristobal is Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart at No. 3. Smart is one of the nation’s highest-paid and is “worth every penny of it on the recruiting trail,” according to ESPN. Smart has long been a recruiting force for Alabama and this year is the primary recruiter for offensive lineman Dallas Warmack, defensive end Mekhi Brown and defensive tackle Jonathan Ledbetter.
Auburn’s lone entry in the list is running backs coach Tim Horton at No. 6. Horton is the primary recruiter for Auburn’s incredible duo of Georgia Military running back Jovon Robinson, the nation’s top-rated junior college player, and Madison Academy running back Kerryon Johnson, who ESPN ranks as the nation’s No. 23 player.
Alabama counters with its running backs coach, Burton Burns, at No. 8 on ESPN’s list. Burns is responsible for Brookhaven (Miss.) linebacker Leo Lewis, Patterson (La.) wide receiver Daylon Charlot and Orange (Texas) safety Deionte Thompson.
Alabama linebackers coach Lance Thompson is the fourth and final Alabama assistant to make the list. Thompson, who landed Vigor running back DeSherrius Flowers and Gonzaga (D.C.) offensive lineman Richie Petitbon, is the nation’s No. 8 recruiter, according to ESPN.
Interestingly, only two assistants on ESPN’s list hail from schools outside of the SEC. Penn State and Clemson were the only two non-SEC schools represented in the list.
Texas A&M had two assistants (David Beatty and B.J. Anderson) and LSU had one (Frank Wilson) in the top 10.