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Fischer: Kiffin & Strong hires make Florida #1 in coaching names

Christopher Fischer



Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire

Welcome to the “Hunger Games!”

With the latest news of Lane Kiffin taking over at Florida Atlantic, it turns the recruiting battle in the state of Florida in to an all out war.

No state in the country features as many big name head coaches as the “Sunshine State.”

Florida high school sidelines have always been a battle ground, but don’t be surprised if you see a WWE chair and ladder match breakout from now on.

Especially if Kiffin reverts back to his Tennessee trash talking ways. We’ve seen UCF’s Scott Frost isn’t afraid to mix it up with a little trash talk and Jim McElwain likes to sneak in a jab once in a while.

While Jimbo Fisher is the current king of the recruiting mountain, his days could be numbered.

Don’t expect Kiffin, or newly hired Butch Davis at Florida International to challenge traditional powers FSU, Florida and Miami for the same type of 5-star recruits. But the 3-star athletes that comprise the “Power 3” rosters will now be prey for the lower level in state programs.

Which ultimately could mean the separation amongst the Florida schools will shrink.

It can’t be understated how in one week, the recruiting landscape shifted so dramatically. The biggest tilt came from USF hiring Charlie Strong as their new head coach.

While Strong underperformed in turning around Texas, don’t forget how successful he was as a recruiter as a defensive coordinator in Gainesville. Strong is known for being a players’ coach, and is revered by high school coaches across the state. He utilized those relationships in transforming Louisville in to a BCS contender.

Davis is another intriguing hire by FIU. It may have been two decades since he began bringing the Hurricanes out of the darkness of NCAA sanctions. But don’t expect Davis to stray away from the winning formula of recruiting hard in South Florida.

Gone are the days of drawing a line across the I-4 corridor and declaring the “State of Miami.” These latest additions to the states’ college head coaching ranks have turned the most fertile football territory in the country in to the “State of Chaos.”

Oh, and if you think Satellite Campus recruiting will continue, I’d think again. I don’t see Urban Meyer or Jim Harbuagh getting invites to come in and poach athletes from Florida any time soon. And if they try it, this group of coaches may send them limping back to Big Ten country.
Check out some of the head coaching resume highlights amongst the coaches who now are vying for talent and wins in Florida:

FSU – Jimbo Fisher: National Championship, 3 ACC titles, 3 BCS appearances, 77-17 record

Florida- Jim McElwain: 2 SEC East titles, 40-24 record, 4 straight bowl game appearances

Miami- Mark Richt: 2 SEC titles, 5 SEC East titles, 2x SEC Coach of the Year, 153-55 record, 16 straight bowl game appearances

USF- Charlie Strong: 2 conference titles, BCS appearance, 53-37 record

UCF- Scott Frost: Turned around winless Knights to 6-6 record and bowl game appearance in first season

FAU – Lane Kiffin: Former NFL head coach, bowl game appearance with USC, 35-21 record

FIU- Butch Davis: Guided Hurricanes out of NCAA turmoil, Former NFL Head Coach, 7 bowl game appearances between Miami and UNC, 79-43 record

A native Floridian who graduated from Clearwater High School and the University of Florida, Chris Fischer has spent nearly 15 years in Sports Televison, including the last five as Sports Reporter and Anchor with the CBS affiliate in Tampa Bay-WTSP. He is a multi time AP Sports and Local Emmy award winner and will be seen this season as a sideline reporter on CBS-TV’s network coverage of the NFL.Chris brings enthusiasm and passion (particularly when it comes to his Gators) to College and NFL coverage to F.F.I.

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