If you read this blog regularly, hopefully, you read our newsletter, the Friday Wrap, semi-regularly, as well. Last week’s edition was one of our most popular of the year as we asked NFL scouts to tell us which schools’ pro liaisons — the official who most often interfaces with evaluators to discuss players — were the best at their jobs. If you missed it, you can get caught up here.
The truth is, we got a lot more responses than we could possibly fit into one newsletter. We got a lot of names-but-no-comments responses, and we got some scouts who were absolutely effusive about pro liaisons that no one else mentioned. We even had some who expanded the question and gave us feedback on helpful people who didn’t hold the “pro liaison” title. It was all too much to just dismiss.
As a result, we’ve complied everything that wouldn’t fit into Friday’s edition, and we present it here. We’ve tried to organize it in a comprehensive way, but may have failed, as responses were all over the map.
Top pro liaisons who just missed the mark last Friday, with comments (presented alphabetically):
- Scott Aligo, Kansas — “The king of the portal . . . he is the best host and he is a superstar. . . He competes to give scouts the best access in the country. He is smart, welcoming and a genius football evaluator. Kansas is home, and he might be the best in the country at what he does. The most unique and best liaison for a long long time.”
- Tyler Barnes, Iowa — “Among those liaisons who are working at programs that weren’t so good to scouts before they took over as liaisons, and (who) are now great visits for us and do what they can to allow us to do our best work.”
- Brendt Bedsole, Auburn — “The Southeast is loaded with liaisons who do a great job. There are so many who help us and put in a ton of time to communicate with us and help their players, but if I had to pick one liaison who’s gone above and beyond this year, it’s Brendt.”
- Ricky Ciccone, Toledo — “Very accommodating, very welcoming, very thorough, very knowledgeable.”
- Jason Cvercko, Boise State — “One of the best for a long time, knows the players and also good at the evaluation part of it. Was previously at Washington State and Hawaii before Boise and did awesome at those places, too.”
- Nate Dennison, Purdue — “Just wide open. It’s almost as if they drop whatever they are doing to aid. Last-minute visit when someone else changes a schedule, and Purdue is like, ‘sure, come on in.’ They got the schedule lined up for (us). Gives access, honest about their players and (isn’t) ’t trying to sell. They have realistic views, which isn’t always easy when you love your own, which is appreciated.”
- Ean Deno, North Dakota St. — “Very good communicator and follows up with info after visits. Organized visit schedule and knows what you’re looking for.”
- Matt Doherty, Arizona — “Very informative and knows the players.”
- Darby Dunnagan, Northwestern — “Highly organized, detailed, and facilitates a very efficient visit.”
- Taylor Edwards, South Carolina — “Understands what we are looking for on the visit. Always communicating and is organized in his approach.”
- Lucas Gauthier, Colorado State — “Good info pocket, access to coaches.”
- Marcus Hendrickson, Minnesota – “Another great one. Very accommodating and willing to do anything to promote his players! As organized as there is!!”
- Aaron Hillman, Iowa State — “Really good player info, access to coaches.”
- Chad Klunder, Duke — “Duke always had three players on both sides of the ball who couldn’t play anywhere but Duke. He shored up the Duke roster and found players who are more rugged and more competitive. . . He provides us with all information, great access, and a flip card for practice.”
- Aaron Knotts, Washington — “He is very accommodating and does a great job setting up appointments with coaches and making sure you are able to meet with everybody that you need to on the visit.”
- Justin Kramer, Washington State: Great information, access to coaches.
- Marshall Malchow, Oregon — He is always organized, up front and honest with scouts. Makes visits efficient and gets us in front of whomever we need to talk to.
- Darrell Moody, North Carolina — “Is one of us, and he makes Mack Brown’s (team) more open and more welcoming.”
- Jay Perry along with Brittany Thackery, Mississippi State — “They are an awesome duo. First, they make the visit special with the access to film and how accommodating they are. It’s not always fun being in ‘Stark Vegas,’ but they make it worthwhile because they are super-honest in their evaluation of the person and growth potential. They know the families in and out and really give good insight on how we can help them, moving forward.”
- Justin Speros, Virginia (formerly South Florida and Western Carolina) — “Is always honest and digs up any information that we need in a timely manner.”
- Bob Welton, Alabama — “Gets it. One of the, if not the, top visits in the country.
- Matt Wilson, Arkansas St. — “Matt is very well-versed on all dealings of the program. He gives really good information and makes sure all visits are very organized.”
- Roy Witke, Syracuse — “I respect him so much for . . . his history as a coach. But has super great insight and is still sharp as a tack. He knows the kids, (and) he’ll point you in the right direction for the questions you should ask (if you’re new to him). Always accommodating.”
Others who received a mention: Chandler Arbizzani, Montana St.; Michael Doctor, Oregon St.; Billy High, Tennessee; Mike Pechac, Indiana; Landon Salem, Memphis; and Troy Wingerter, La.-Lafayette.
Others offered unsolicited comment on school officials who excel.
GUYS WE MISS: One scout offered an extensive list of not only the liaisons that excel, but those who are no longer working with scouts for various reasons. They include:
- Gone for the NFL: Wake Forest’s Taylor Redd (Patriots) and Charlotte’s Carter Crutchfield (Rams).
- On the move: Duke’s Jim Collins, who left for the AAF and then Elon; Matt Lindsey, who left Ole Miss for Athletes First; and Geoff Martzen, who left Michigan State for private business. Also, John Srofe (Richmond to Appalachian State) and Patrick Hickman (Virginia to BYU) have taken on new roles in new places.
- Retired: South Carolina State’s Gerald Harrison and Liberty’s Paul Rutigliano.
- Passed away: Texas A&M’s Gary Reynolds and Texas Tech’s Tommy McVay.
STRENGTH COACHES, ETC.: Pro liaisons aren’t the only ones scouts come in contact with, and strength coaches are especially in demand. Here are a few comments on the best ones.
- David Feeley, Duke — “One of the most honest strength coaches with scouts. Great charisma. He also maximizes players’ potential in the weight room.”
- Kevin Glover, Maryland — “Is a mentor. Coaches the coaches on how to coach hard and coaches the players on how to accept constructive criticism.”
- Brandon Hourgan, Vanderbilt — “A great, goal-oriented strength coach. He started giving us the numbers and pictures over a player’s freshman to senior seasons, with numbers for every calendar year, almost a decade ago when he was at Wake. . . We (get to) see a body change over time. We see strength numbers, test numbers, body fat percentage numbers change. No hiding bad test numbers or bad pictures. He provides an open book, a true portfolio of what his players have accomplished. Accountability attained!”
- Woody McCorvey, Clemson — “Coaches the players at Clemson to accept hard coaching. He is an excellent resource if he allows you schedule a one-on-one visit with him.”
- Chad Scott, Coastal Carolina — “A young star. He built a weight room at Charleston Southern. He built the credibility between the players and staff at Coastal. Unsung hero who speaks truth, has morality, and is a great role model. Motivates players in an impressive manner.”
- John Williams, East Carolina — “Mentors individual players who are very difficult to reach. He is a life coach and a strength coach.”
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