Who is Western PA’s Top College Recruiter?
by Ayo Fapohunda
Posted December 28, 2013 11:37 am
college recruiting, Preps Top Recruiters, Western PA
Arguably the hardest working man on the recruiting trail. Coach Candle is one of the best closers in the business. Candle does his due diligence before he steps on Western PA soil and immediately hits the ground running recruiting some of the regions top athletes, despite being at a small MAC program, Toledo. With a gang of Western PA players in the program his results have earned him his title as the #1 recruiter in Western PA.
Coach Mark Staten
One of the good guys in the recruiting circuit, Mark Staten uses his integrity and sincerity to win recruits and their families. Does an excellent job using all resources available to him and typically walks out with 1 or 2 of Western PA’s top prospects each year. With the increase in success for Michigan State and a strong pipeline it wouldn’t be shocking to see Michigan State walking away with some very high profile recruits over the next couple years.
Gibson is notorious in the state of Pennsylvania for taking local talent away from hometown Pitt, along with a few recruiting blunders. Regardless of his reputation, its undeniable his recruiting tactics are effective after stealing prized recruit Dravon Henry from the Panthers. With a resume second to none in his stints in Arizona, Michigan, Pitt, and his first go round at West Virginia, after his performance this year, Gibson easily could have been #1 on this list.
Terry Smith has been a household name in WPIAL country for over a decade now, from his time building Gateway into a powerhouse, so its no surprise he’s had a seamless transition to the next level. With multiple Western PA players joining forces with Smith and the Owls, it’s hard not to understand why his name is so high on this list. Within weeks of his job, Temple immediately started having an impact in Western PA recruiting.
Akron is quietly becoming a force in recruiting in the Western PA region. With multiple commitments this year from the region, Akron continues to remain consistent in offering players in the area hoping to reach the same successes smaller programs like Toledo have seen in the past. Coach “Woody” has led this charge and it will be interesting to see what kind of damage Terry Bowden and his staff can have in the region for years to come.
Seems like Makrinos is the new hot name in the recruiting circles. With the ability to relate with recruits and the consistency and grind of popping up at all camps, Makrinos is quietly turning into the most lethal recruiter in the PSAC. Slippery Rock uses a different philosophy of recruiting than rivals Cal U and IUP that seems to be working based on the programs recent successes. Makrinos can be attributed to much of that good fortune. With the work he’s done over the past few years, don’t be surprised to see him leading the recruiting efforts for a bigger program in the near future.
Pitt fans are surely familiar with the name Greg Gattuso. This savvy veteran has been around forever and has relationships that allow him to serve as the “God Father” of Western PA recruiting. After taking local talent to Maryland for Randy Edsall, Gattuso now takes his talents back to the FCS level and tries to bring an Albany program to the same successes he had at Duquesne a decade ago.
Assistant Head Coach
Ex Kansas head coach Mark Mangino quietly snatches up some of the regions most underrated talent each year for the Penguins. With rich history and tradition, its no wonder why Pitt has struggled with the FCS program that consistently finds way to snatch up underrated overachievers from the region.
Pretty hard not to have a presence when you walk in the building with the Ohio State Buckeye logo on your chest, despite that advantage Luke Fickell has done an excellent job building relationships with the areas top programs and coaches. Over the past decade Fickell has typically walked out with at least one of the areas top prospects.
Running Backs/Tight Ends
Seems like there is a new trend for MAC level guys with high academics to take the student athlete route and attend the more competitive academic institutions rather than going with the bigger football programs. Coach Neuberger and Cornell have been a benificiary of this new trend, taking prospects from the likes of Pitt and other local D1 programs.
University of Pennsylvania
Similar to Cornell, University of Pennsylvania has taken advantage of their high academics, and who wouldn’t want to join the long list of alum from the famous Wharton School of Business. Coach Dupont and the rest of the UPenn staff have been able to reel some serious talent, selling the idea of using football at a catalyst. Don’t be surprised if you continue to see blue chip prospects turn down some great opportunities, to have a chance to join some of the worlds brightest minds at Penn.
Seems like every year coach Loeffler is with a different school, but regardless of that he always seems to be a name that pops up in the region. During his brief stint at Temple his no nonsense approach to recruiting, that made him successful at stops in Gainesville and Ann Arbor have allowed him to build strong enough relationships to always be in the mix with some of the areas top prospects. After Virginia Tech stole one of the finest running backs this area has seen in years, in Shai Mackenzie, Loeffler is sure to be a force in the region.
If you ever wondered why Florida State’s name keeps on popping up in Western PA, the first person you probably need to look to, is Pittsburgh native and former Pitt head coach, Sal Sunseri. With blood lines running all through the region, Sunseri always seems to be in the hunt with the areas top prospects no matter what school he’s at. With the success Florida State is experiencing, don’t be shocked if some of the areas prospects start deciding to have fun in the Florida sun.
California University of Pennsylvania
Wide Receivers/Special Teams
Anyone that knows anything about Western PA football, you’re sure to have seen the assault Cal U has had on the region the past few years. Coach Larry Wilson and the rest of the Cal staff have made a conscious effort to make sure they hit Western PA and you could attribute much of their recent success to that philosophy. Every year Cal is pretty much certain to pick up at least 5 of Western PA’s most underrated prospects.
When Duquesne first started getting scholarships, John Rosato, a seasoned vet, was probably licking his chops. With a beautiful campus, great education, and rich tradition, the Dukes have quietly become a landing spot for not only some of Western PA’s finest prospects, but also some great D1 transfers that typically chose Cal or IUP in the past. Any high profile prospect has stopped off in “Rosato’s” office and his closing ability is rivaled by few.
Bowling Green in the past has seemed to always play second fiddle to Toledo in this region, but as of late it seems like the program has made a conscious effort to have a presence in Western PA, and quite honestly it has worked. With a program that continues to get stronger, lets see if with a new staff, this program continues to win some recruiting battles in this region.
Notre Dame College
Often mistaken for Notre Dame in South Bend, this small school tucked away in Cleveland over the past few years has been extremely aggressive offering kids that you typically would see choosing NEC and PSAC schools. With an aggressive staff that includes Coach Padilla, who works the Western PA region, seeing kids choosing Notre Dame college over the next few years is ineviatable.
For Pitt fans it has to be a bit disheartening to see a Pitt coach this far down the list, but it is what it is. We had to pay Coach Engram some homage however, for landing not only blue chip prospect Tyler Boyd last year, but also the rest of his Bout Dat crew. Had he landed superstar receiver Robert Foster last year along with Boyd, we’re positive he would have been #1 on our list. Considered the go to guy for Pitt recruiting in many instances, wouldn’t be a bad idea for Coach Chryst to use Engram more actively in the region.
Coach Camp is a veteran of Western PA recruiting and has a resume of players he’s helped recruit to die for. Had this list been released a few years ago, he probably would have been a top 5 recruiter in the region, but as of late with their focus more on Juco players Coach Camp finds his way on the back end of this list.
Although only at small D3 Waynesburg this former Duquesne asisstant thats moving up the coaching ranks fast is one of the most relentless recruiters in the region. Whether its watching hours of tape or hitting up all the local camps, Stansfield has proven he has the eye of the Tiger and don’t be surprised if he solidifies himself as not only one of the top offensive minds in the business, but also recruiters.
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college recruiting, Preps Top Recruiters, Western PA