Why Mike Groh is College Football’s Recruiter of the Year

By Michael Terrill
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Crimson Tide wide receivers coach Mike Groh should be considered college football’s top recruiter of the year after his unbelievable job with the 2013 recruiting class.

Groh was the recruiting coordinator for the Crimson Tide this past year and deserves much of the credit for the No. 1 ranked recruiting class that includes 26 players in which six are five-star recruits. Many would assume that Alabama is able to automatically recruit the top players in the nation because of their stellar status in the college football world. However, Groh still had to do plenty of work to give Crimson Tide the top honor.

The 41-year-old was personally responsible for getting five-star defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson and defensive tackle Dee Liner to change their minds from their previously chosen schools and commit to Alabama. Robinson had a verbal commitment to the Crimson Tide’s rival the Auburn Tigers, but Groh made sure to change all of that.

“We formed a good relationship between us,” Robinson said of Groh. “It was really good.”

Liner was also verbally connected with Auburn but Groh worked night and day to convince the defensive lineman that Alabama is the place to be to have a successful future. Of course, it was very likely that Liner would have made a great future for himself at Auburn University but if he wants to one day play in the NFL then the Crimson Tide is the team he should suit up for. Liner made his commitment to Alabama on Feb. 5, the day before National Signing Day.

Four-star recruit Altee Tenpenny was another player on the Crimson Tide’s radar. Alabama thought they had the running back all but locked up after he committed to the team in January. However, the Arkansas Razorbacks, Tenpenny’s team growing up, stepped in to see if they could work some magic on the U.S. Army All-America Bowl participant. Groh made sure to remind Tenpenny how great Alabama is and how much they care about him as a person as well as a football player.

“I think Coach Groh is the greatest recruiting coach out there,” Tenpenny said. “He is my favorite and a big reason I chose Alabama. Ever since I’ve committed he’s stayed with me and made sure he kept me up to date on everything. He checks up on me and my parents love him. They think he’s a great guy.”

These are just a few examples of what coach Groh was able to accomplish after head coach Nick Saban gave him the recruiting reins. However, he personally had a hand in every recruit whether they were on the fence or committed from the very beginning.

Groh played quarterback for the Virginia Cavaliers for four years and had a short stint with the Baltimore Ravens in 1996 as well as the Rhein Fire, a member of NFL Europe, in 1997. He began his coaching career as an assistant with the New York Jets in 2000 and then moved on to the wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach and eventually offensive coordinator at Virginia over a seven-year span.

There is no question the Crimson Tide are lucky to have Groh back after his brief appearance with the team in 2009 as a graduate assistant, the same year Alabama won their first of three National Championships under Saban. After what he has accomplished with the team since 2011 there is no doubt his future with the Crimson Tide will continue to get brighter.

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