These recruiters are the best in the business when it comes to identifying talent that has both hard and soft skills their team is looking for. They are salesmen who have mastered the art of communication to reach out in all the various methods available today. They excel at finding hidden skills and personality traits important to team, culture, and their community. They bring recruits to life for their head coach and others. After signing day, after playing days, well into a players adult life, these recruiters stand as both mediator, if needed, and mentor. Our list combines international, national with regional success and established relationships to determine the Top Recruiters in the Southeast.
Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway – Memphis
It’s a simple strategy that has stood the test of time. No one could bind the divided talent in Memphis under their home school like Penny. His grassroots approach began by coaching at East High School and Team Penny (AAU program). We would be remiss not to also mention a very strong right hand on the trail in fellow NBA guy and SEC player Mike Miller.
Luke Murray - Louisville
The high-energy recruiter has the most infectious personality recruits have ever been around. From Texas and Kentucky to the NE and overseas he leaves no stone unturned when searching for the next great player.
Ray Harper – Jacksonville State
Finding his type of players, Harper is able to fill the gaps in his teams by selling winning, consistency, and momentum. While at the same time, his emphasis on locker room chemistry translates to the recruiting trail. Harper is energized by the chip on his shoulders; and under-valued recruits recognize and respond to it.
Chris Caputo – Miami
Caputo has the keen ability to sign impact player from anywhere; high school, prep, transfer or international. His strongest ties in the D.C. and Baltimore essentially built both George Mason and Miami. He landed back-to-back top-15 classes through keen scouting and developing deep relationships based on honest performance evaluations.
Antonite Pettway – Alabama
There is a reason he has lasted for almost a decade with at least 3 new head coaches. Simply said, no one can sell the Bama experience like Pettway. In state, this rolling tide may be separate on the surface but connected in the deep with every player and coach.
Richie McKay - Liberty
Placing the emphasis on the prospects’ character and how they will fit within the structure of the program has driven an uptick in recruiting the likes of which Liberty could have never dreamed. McKay cracked the top 50 national recruiting classes. In doing so he raised the recruiting bar for each new class. Three star national prospects are becoming a reality for Liberty.
Matt McMahon – Murray State
Highlighted by prolific guards, McMahon has build a reputation for his ability to recruit players one and even two levels above. He draws from Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida; from Juco and the transfer portal. His commitment to making an impact on young people’s lives by coaching them to a position of success through life resonates well with his targets.
Ron Everhart – West Virginia
With an affinity for athletic wingmen to fit his run and gun style, he also isn’t afraid to take on projects and underrated prospects in an attempt to develop them. From Texas to Maine the most concerning issue for competing SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and ACC recruiters is his recent ability to expand by landing bigs.
Richie Riley – South Alabama
His keen understanding of what the USA job is provided the strategy for recruiting based heavily on the transfer market. He brought in highly-regarded players from California, Florida and South Carolina, and all-conference honorees from American, High Point and Howard. It all started with his tenure at UAB and Clemson where he developed a reputation as a tenacious recruiter throughout the south.
Takayo Siddle – NC State
While his head coach Kevin Keates could be listed here as well, Its no surprise to see Siddle cleaning up in his home state of North Carolina. In 2020 alone, he signed 50% of the top 10 North Carolina prospects. Armed with the skills development to follow up his recruiting pitch, he is a big time threat to other ACC recruiters not to mention Big 10 and Big East programs as well.
Jordan Mincy - Florida
His head coach Mike White says “Jordan is a really talented coach, mentor, and recruiter.” Landing high character players is just one example of his ability to energize the pool and get recruits to buy in. As an influential leader, he quickly built a reputation for being a well-connected and talented recruiter; especially in SC, OH, and TN.
Kevin Johnson - Tulane
Nicholls State, LA Tech, Louisiana Lafayette and coming soon…Tulane, Johnson recruited, signed and developed numerous players who combined for over 20 all-conference selections, defensive All-Conference honorees, Freshman Of the Year and Player Of the Year. Arguably the top recruiter in LA, it wont be long before he expands his territory to cover the entire SE.
Chad Dollar – Georgia
Just as his name implies, Dollar is money on the recruiting trail. Playing a major role in feeding the Bulldogs with energy and talent to grow big and strong again, his recruits really like Coach Dollar. Son of a well-known High School coach, his recruiting roots run deep starting in his hometown and large recruiting market of Atlanta. He has expanded his territory to include KS, LA, AR, FL KY, NC.
JD Byers - VCU
Putting together top 5 conference recruiting classes (and top 50 nationally) every year, Byers work on the trail is a big reason for the Rams continued success. From Massachusetts to Florida to Texas to Ohio and all points in between, Byers’ philosophy is simple and consistent with the program…. tear off the roof of every basketball facility and find the gym rats.
George Brooks - Mississippi State
When talking about Brooks, you're talking about a guy well-loved by the fans, other coaches in the state, the AAU people. He does a great job representing MS St. and himself. The recruiting connections and relationships he has in MS and AL stem from his work ethic and simply being the kind of a down-to-earth guy he is. Is down-home-Southern guy, resonates with recruits in the deep south.
Steve Forbes – ETSU
Forbes could recruit any team to realize any vision. Like coaching, You learn how to recruit. and Forbes learned it well; particularly in Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, and Texas. But nowhere more so than in Tennessee where his ties and an extensive background resulted in landing national top 10 recruiting classes each year during a span from 2008-2010 reaching JUCO, Prep, and international recruits.
Rob Eshan - UAB
The work Ehsan does on the recruiting trail was the best argument for his promotion to Head Coach. Year after year he cleans up on the recruiting road. With an immediate impact, his recruiting tactic specializes in transfers and in-state prospects. But make no mistake Eshan also recruits nationally while maintaining pipelines in Alabama, Virginia, and Maryland.
Kermit Davis – Mississippi
Kermit lands on this list with arguably the most unique skill set. While he maintains national pipelines, it his ability to identify underrated talent across all levels piecing together juco guys with prep guys with high school guys with transfers that has proven highly successful.
Jon Scheyer - Duke
On the trail, it’s the Duke logo on his shirt that grabs any players’ attention. But it’s his charisma that keeps it. Next, in the home, or over the phone, his honesty takes over. Then come the stories. There is no one more qualified to impart the Duke experience to recruits and families than their favorite adopted son who holds Duke records for most minutes played and most consecutive games.
Jason Williford - Virginia
The future head coach has built many relationships that have benefited UVA on the trail. But most important, his passion for the players and his alma matter enhances his ability to recruit. Even with all the recruiting changes and extended summer work outs, the twenty year plus veteran has national recruiting down to a science.
Eric Reveno - Geaorgia Tech
Responsible for landing more than 10 NBA players including the Lopez brothers, he has proven his ability to land the best from coast to coast. Twenty-three years and going strong, his adoption of cutting edge technology keeps him relevant and allows him to seamlessly penetrate the regional market while keeping up with national prospects.
Desmond Oliver – Tennessee
The relationship builder has played a key role in recruiting Tennessee’s 2016 freshman class. They finished year one as the highest-scoring freshmen class in program history and included one Grant Williams. From three stars with high ceilings, to international players like Santiago Vescovi, and top prospects from New York and North Carolina, Oliver is a major part of the rebuild in Knoxville.
Kenny Payne - Kentucky
He played a key role in five number one recruiting classes nationally; three of them being consecutive. Payne makes a dedication not only to get the best talent from across the nation on campus but to be hands on in developing them into NBA all stars. It’s no coincidence the first national championship of the Calipari era came not with coach Cal’s first class but with Payne’s first recruiting class.
Stan Jones – Florida State
Approaching the national recruiting scene with a game planning like method, he admits it sometimes comes down to timing and luck. Of course, he is able to control those variables first by what the current team does on the court. Jones works recruiting inside out. If the team on the court is performing and the recruit is a good fit, his recruiting performance works too.
David Grace – Vanderbilt
He was so impactful coaching the AAU circuit as co-founder of the Compton Magic that twenty-three years later, his pipeline to the recruiting trail is still producing a torrent of talent. His grasp extends from CA, and WA, AZ to WI, NY, to MD, NC, GA, LA, and TX as well as internationally to Australia and Israel; and those are just a few of his top recruits. If the Stackhouse name doesn’t bring them in, Vandy will be saved by Grace.