Newly hired college football coaches have some leeway in assessing the quality or weakness of their hire.

Most coaches are hired only a few weeks or days before the initial enrollment period, so the first few sessions are always difficult to gauge. Second-year coaches, however, have had more time to recruit, build relationships and show what they can do in the recruiting process.

Although the overall NCAA period has made it more difficult for anyone on the recruiting trail, second-year coaches now have more data and rankings to show if they are progressing or regressing and still need help.

Here you can see how the second year of coaching went compared to the first year and what happens in this cycle of 2021.

Ryan Day
Ohio State Buckeyes

2021 Class: 2
2020 Class: 5
2019 Class: 16

The Buckeyes made the big jump in 2019 partly because they were dealing with the retirement of head coach Urban Meyer and partly because their class was a smaller group of recruits, just 18.

The question for Day’s recruitment was whether he could continue to recruit at the same level as Meyer in Ohio.

He quickly answered those questions by recruiting two five-star prospects and 16 new ESPN 300 recruiters in the class of 2020. He typed with the same importance, urgency and attention to detail as Meyer.

2 Connected

That’s one of the big differences between the two: The day was a little less robotic and more accessible than Meyer’s, which meant it was a non-transferable experience for recruits and parents.

The class of 2021 finished first, something Meyer never managed at Ohio State. Without Alabama’s historic class, the Buckeyes, with two five-stars and 17 ESPN 300 rookies, would be a serious contender for first place.

Of the 21 Buckeyes rookies, 13 are in the top 10 and nine are in the top five.

The Buckeyes are well on their way to regular participation in the college football playoffs, thanks not only to Day’s coaching skills, but also to his success in recruiting.

Mack Brown
North Carolina Tarred Heels

2021 Class: 12
2020 Class: 16
2019 Class: 35

When Brown was hired by North Carolina, he worked for ESPN as an analyst and did not coach for five seasons. He was 68 years old, and many wondered if he had been out of the game too long to return.

But he has dismissed questions about whether he can recruit and connect with recruits quickly enough in the current environment.

The key to recruitment, he noted, is relationships. Brown is one of the best relationship builders in college football, and reached his first class with a partial enrollment for 2019.

In four recruiting classes prior to Brown’s recruitment, North Carolina had no classes over 24 and only 34. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the new coach, Browns first class finished 35th, but he scored his first big score by taking down Florida state quarterback Sam Howell (ESPN 300).

After Brown and his team had more time to build relationships in the 2020 class, they were able to sign Class 16 with six ESPN 300 commitments, backed by five-star defender Desmond Evans.

Although five-star cornerback Tony Grimes doesn’t count in the 2021 class because he switched to the 2020 class and played for the Tar Heels this fall, they climbed even higher to 12th in the cycle thanks to 11 ESPN 300 commitments, including a five-star defensive end from Keeshawn Silverr.

Mike Loxley
Maryland Terrapins

2021 Class: 18
2020 Class: 33
2019 Class: 44

Locksley was founded on the 4th. December 2018 set, a few weeks before the expected signing period for class of 2019. This class ranks 44th and Locksley was able to bring in Nick Cross, ESPN 300 safety quarterback, Lance Legendre and Isaiah Hazel, ESPN 300 wide receiver.

They are the only three ESPN 300 recruits in the class that were added after Locksley was hired. He and his team moved up to 33rd in the 2020 class standings with two ESPN 300 rookies, including wide receiver Rakim Jarrett.



Craig Haubert describes Maryland’s strong 2021 class, which emphasizes the defensive side of the football.

This achievement was even reinforced in 2021, when they were ranked 18th. He finished in fourth place (fourth in the Big Ten). The class of 2021 has six ESPN 300 signings, including five-star linebacker Terrence Lewis. Florida linebacker Lewis’ rookies Demeion Robinson and Branden Jennings have helped the team finish in the top 70 three times.

The addition of ESPN 300 defensive tackles against Tommy Akingbesot and Tyzz Johnson makes the Maryland defensive group one of the best in recent years.

Locksley continued to raise the Terps’ profile in the standings, nearly climbing into the top 15 this time. If the Terps make progress on the field and achieve a positive 2021 season, the coaches could continue their climb up the rankings.

Hurricanes Manny DiazMiami

2021 Class: 11
2020 Class: 17
2019 Class: 30

For the full 2019 and 2020 recruiting cycle, Miami recorded 17 withdrawals in 2019 and 20 withdrawals in 2020. But Diaz and his team brought those numbers down in 2021 to finish 11th.

The biggest impact probably came from the quarterback, for obvious reasons, as the staff was able to contract quarterback Jake Garcia (ESPN 300), the No. 3 overall pick in the class who came over from USC. The coaches also received a five-star defensive tackle rating from Leonard Taylor and nine ESPN 300 mentions in the class.

The transfer of D’Eriq King and the addition of offensive coordinator Rhett Lashley has been beneficial to the product on the field. If Miami continues to make progress on the field, Diaz and his team could enter the top ten.

Jeff Collins
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

2021 Class: 43
2020 Class: 27
2019 Class: 61

Collins and his team are still working to fully rebuild the registry and restore the program’s foundations. When he took office, his first part-time class, which had only one four-star rating, was outside the top sixty. In the four years prior to Collins’ hiring, Georgia Tech ranked 53rd twice and 41st and 42nd the other two years.

Former Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson recruits players who fit the triple option, while Collins recruits different types of players who fit the most common offensive pattern.

The 2020 team started immediately with three ESPN 300 contributors, including quarterback Jeff Sims and running back Jamyr Gibbs, as well as cornerback Myles Brooks. The coaches have made transfers again, especially on the offensive line, to provide more immediate help.



Jeff Sims gives Georgia Tech the lead with a one-yard run for a touchdown.

The 2021 round was a step up to 43rd in the rankings, but Collins was able to sign receiver James Blackstein, wide ESPN 300, and four-star offensive lineman Weston Franklin. The team lost 3-7 last season, but the coaches are already preparing for 2022.

Collins has ESPN junior 300 back running back Antonio Martin and receiver from distance Julian Lewis. Coaches need to be a good class to move up in the rankings and stay on track to build a strong team on the field.

Scott Satterfield
Louisville Cardinals

2021 Class: 40
2020 Class: 37
2019 Class: 68

Louisville took a big leap in recruiting in 2019 when Satterfield was first hired. The program finished in 68th place after drawing the top 30 classes in the previous two years.

This low ranking is partly due to the low number of recruits in the class. That’s the sad thing about being hired a few weeks before the booking deadline: Unless it’s a strong punch that can cause a rapid heartbeat, it can be harmful.

One course won’t kill the program, but adding only 14 leads is not good for a new coach.

Satterfield, who hails from the Appalachians, probably isn’t going to build this team by trying to bring in high-profile recruits. He signed 27 recruits in the class of 2020, including ESPN JC 50 offensive lineman Trevor Reed and four-star defensive lineman Ja’Darien Boykin.

Satterfield and his team are down slightly for 2021, but they were able to contract two four-star players: offensive lineman Michael Gonzalez and defensive back Trevion Cooley. In addition to the 21 recruits, the coaches made several transfers, including quarterback Shai Werts, fullback Kenderick Duncan and offensive lineman Brian Hudson.

Satterfield has had a lot of success in the Appalachians, so it’s worth giving him time to see what he’s building up to before expecting big names and higher scores in Louisville.

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