With the 2007 recruiting class in our rear view mirror, it's time for the seventh annual Top Gun Recruiter competition. Kevin Rogers was the winner last year, but he departed for the Minnesota Vikings in the offseason. Will Jim Cavanaugh step back up and claim the title, or will a staff newcomer like Curt Newsome steal it away? Find out inside.
The concept behind Top Gun is simple: Take the player rankings we calculated in Inside the Numbers: Ranking the 2007 Recruits, and assign the scores for individual players to the coaches who were their primary recruiters. Add them all up, see which coach scored the most total points, and that's your Top Gun recruiter for the year.
First let's take a look at all the winners since the competition began back in 2001.
|Top Gun Recruiter Winners 2001-06|
Jim Cavanaugh is generally tough to beat out. Lorenzo Ward managed to do it twice, and Kevin Rogers grabbed the top spot in his final year in Blacksburg. Ward won back in 2001 on the strength of signing Kevin Jones, the nation's #1 recruit. Wards was back on top again in 2004 after signing two players from Westfield High School, Sean Glennon and Eddie Royal.
Last year Rogers won the award thanks to his excellent recruiting in the state of New Jersey. He signed three players - Jason Adjepong, Mike Gee and Zach Luckett - all of whom were from the Garden State. It's incredible that Rogers won the Top Gun competition without signing a player from Virginia. Generally the Top Gun winner is focused on the state of Virginia, where players are more inclined to sign with the Hokies. But Rogers did all of his work out of state, which is impressive.
The last year has been very interesting for Virginia Tech recruiting. Danny Pearman, Kevin Rogers, Lorenzo Ward and Tony Ball all departed the program following the 2005 season, and there were four new recruiters out on the trail for the Hokies last year. Here's a look at who has comprised Tech's coaching staff since 2001
|VT Assistant Coaches, 2001-07 Recruiting Classes|
2007 Top Gun Recruiter
Now it's time to crunch the numbers and see who was Virginia Tech's top recruiter for 2007. Then we'll compare it to past seasons to see where all of Virginia Tech's coaches rank. Drum roll please ...
|2007 Top Gun Recruiter (Ranked by Total points)|
|Coach||Player||Player Points||Total Points||Points Per Player|
|Jim Cavanaugh||Alonzo Tweedy||4.0||111.6||15.94|
|Curt Newsome||Tyrod Taylor||41.3||55.3||18.43|
|Charley Wiles||Kendrick Pressley||5.9||53.7||13.43|
|Kevin Sherman||Justin Young||14.5||37.9||12.63|
|Bud Foster||William Alvarez||18.9||35.5||11.83|
|Torian Gray||Qullie Odom||14.0||27.7||13.85|
|Bryan Stinespring||Chris Drager||15.6||19.6||9.80|
|Mike O'Cain||Josh Oglesby||12.1||12.1||12.10|
|No players signed: Billy Hite|
Congratulations to Jim Cavanaugh, Virginia Tech's 2007 Top Gun Recruiter! Cavanaugh wins the award for the second time in the past three years. He has been named Top Gun Recruiter in four of the seven years that we have given the award. Yet again, Coach Cav has solidified his reputation as the best recruiter in the state of Virginia.
Cavanaugh's total score of 111.6 is a new record for points in a recruiting year. He beat is own previous record of 96.3 points from 2005. That year he signed Victor Harris, Todd Nolen, Elan Lewis, Richard Graham and Stephen Friday.
Part of the reason Cavanaugh racked up so many points this year is that he signed seven players, the highest number for a coach in one season since this competition began. In fact, Cavanaugh signed more recruits this year than Billy Hite has signed from 2001-2007.
Now let's take a look at the past seven years as a whole.
Top Gun Recruiter, 2001-07
Here are the Top Gun results for 2001-2007 in one table.
|Top Gun Recruiting Scoring, 2001-07 (sorted alphabetically)|
|Coach||2001||2002||2003||2004||2005||2006||2007||Total||Ave. Per year|
All hail Jim Cavanaugh, Virginia Tech's greatest recruiter. Not only has Coach Cav won the Top Gun competition in four of seven years, he is easily in the lead in total number of recruiting points and average points per year. In fact, he is the only current member of the staff who has won the Top Gun competition. Lorenzo Ward and Kevin Rogers have also won it, but they moved on to different jobs following the 2005 season.
Here's a listing of the winners and the players they signed in their winning year.
|Top Gun Recruiter Winners, 2001-07|
|2001||Lorenzo Ward||68.9||Kevin Jones (44.8)|
|Danny McGrath (12.1)|
|Blake Warren (12)|
|2002||Jim Cavanaugh||80.4||Marcus Vick (39.8)|
|Jonathan Lewis (30.8)|
|Noland Burchette (6.8)|
|Brenden Hill (3.4)|
|2003||Jim Cavanaugh||67.9||Xavier Adibi (25.4)|
|Chris Ellis (23.7)|
|Duane Brown (14.8)|
|D.J. Parker (4.0)|
|2004||Lorenzo Ward||46.2||Eddie Royal (24.0)|
|Sean Glennon (22.2)|
|2005||Jim Cavanaugh||96.3||Victor Harris (34.5)|
|Elan Lewis (23.7)|
|Todd Nolen (17.4)|
|Stephen Friday (16.8)|
|Richard Graham (4.0)|
|2006||Kevin Rogers||62.9||Jason Adjepong (25.8)|
|Mike Gee (21.6)|
|Zach Luckett (15.5)|
|2007||Jim Cavanaugh||111.6||Cris Hill (22.1)|
|Davon Morgan (21.7)|
|Blake DeChristopher (17.9)|
|Jaymes Brooks (16.4)|
|A.B. Latif (15.5)|
|D.J. Thomas (14.0)|
|Alonzo Tweedy (4.0)|
|Average Points||Jim Cavanaugh||67.5||N/A|
|Total Points||Jim Cavanaugh||472.4||N/A|
Virginia Tech's 2007 class turned out to be a good one, despite so much staff changeover following the 2005 season. All of the new coaches showed their ability to sign some important prospects.
Can Jim Cavanaugh make it two in a row and five out of eight next year? We'll see, but early indications show that guys like Torrian Gray and Curt Newsome are going to be very strong in the 2008 class. But don't bet against Coach Cav when it comes to recruiting.