In college football, a coordinator’s primary job is obviously to coordinate, and they spend most of their time doing so. But they also have to be able to recruit, at least in some capacity.
When Paul Rhoads accepted the defensive coordinator position at Auburn Wednesday, he did so in the heart of recruiting season. He’ll recruit on the Plains before he ever coordinates.
|Rhoads will begin recruiting immediately at Auburn.|
The Tigers just came off their biggest weekend of the season hosting 15 prospects on official visits, and will turn around and host at least 10 more beginning Friday. Some of Auburn’s top defensive commitments and targets will be among the group this weekend including Gadsden (Ala.) City four-star LB Jerrell Harris and Birmingham (Ala.) Shades Valley four-star DE Cameron Henderson.
Harris is Auburn’s top target at linebacker. Henderson is committed to the Tigers, but will also visit Tennessee (Jan. 25-27). Rhoads should get his first opportunity to recruit for the Tigers as early as Friday.
Rhoads will be taking over for former defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. Muschamp recruited well in his two years at Auburn. Before his departure earlier this month, Muschamp was the lead recruiter for commitment Darvin Adams and was very influential in at least five others, particularly defensive backs Drew Cole, T’Sharvan Bell and Marcus Jemison.
While at Auburn, Muschamp’s primary recruiting ground was northwest Georgia, an area he was familiar with having grown up in Rome. It’s unclear what area Rhoads will be assigned at Auburn.
At Pitt, Rhoads recruited northeastern Ohio and Eerie, Pa. for the Panthers. He was the lead recruiter for Panther three-star commitment Kevin Harper, the nation’s No. 9 kicker, and helped secure the pledge of four-star All-American LB Shayne Hale and four-star All-American DB Jarred Holley.
Dublin (Ohio) Coffman LB Steve Gardiner, a 2008 recruit who is rated one of the top 50 overall prospects in the Buckeye State, is one of Pitt’s top prospects this year. Rhoads isn’t Gardiner’s area recruiter, but has been active, especially during his official visit.
“I got to know (Rhoads) pretty well, especially the last few weeks,” said Gardiner. “When I was down there on my visit he spent a lot of time with me just teaching me the defense. He did a really good job with that. I could tell he was a great coach just by that.
“He’s a really good recruiter, too. He’s easy to talk to, easy to relate to. On the phone and in person, he was very easy to talk to. I can see why Auburn would want him.”
Auburn is expected to formally introduce Rhoads as its new defensive coordinator early Friday.
Just in time for the recruits.