The Case For Ed

With the departure of Brian Johnson, we make the case for Ed Orgeron to join the Utah staff.

Utah needs new blood. The Well of Whitt has been tapped and there's nothing left that will satisfy the fan base within his Rolodex. The departure of Brian Johnson is a blow to the program, but the opportunity to do something new and transcendent with a coaching hire has the ability to pump some life into a stagnant program. The first name on Kyle Whittingham's list should be Ed Orgeron.

The former assistant at USC and head man at Ole Miss knows how to recruit, and there's 90% of his value to a program in Utah that continues to struggle to land top prospects, despite the Pac 12 affiliation. Coach O in red means high level recruits in Salt Lake City. He'd be a weapon that Utah has never had.

Orgeron is a southern man, born and raised in Louisiana. He knows the coaches, the players, the families, and what they want and need to hear. Utah wants to continue to make in-roads into the South, particularly in the Bayou State? Hire Coach O.

Ed Orgeron is regarded as one of the top recruiters in the country
Ed Orgeron can duplicate what Brian Johnson does over the course of a year on the recruiting trail...in a month. Not a knock on Johnson, who proved to be an admirable recruiter with the 2014 class, but Orgeron is in a class with only a select few in the country. He's as good as it gets on the recruiting trail with the ability to connect with and land top level prospects as well as anyone. Orgeron would instantly be Utah's best recruiter, by a mile.

Look at some of the names Orgeron has landed in recruiting during his time at USC: Kenny Bigelow (5 star), Steven Mitchell (4 star), Gerald Bowman (5 star), Morgan Breslin (3 star), Jordan Simmons (4 star), Max Tuerk (4 star), Leonard Williams (4 star), Victor Blackwell (4 star), Max Wittek (4 star), Greg Townsend (4 star), Christian Heyward (4 star), Aundrey Walker (4 star), Antwaun Woods (4 star), Markeith Ambles (4 star). Throw in a bunch of other 3 stars and it's hard to call Orgeron anything but one of the top recruiters in the country.

Yes, recruiting to USC and recruiting to Utah are completely different animals. The Trojans are part of college football royalty and have a built in recruiting base within Los Angeles. It's easier to pull a five star kid to Troy than it is to Salt Lake. That said, recruiting is about relationships. We hear it time and time again that relationships are of utmost importance to recruits when they make their pledges on where they'll play. Ed Oregeron is the master of the relationship. There may not be a coach in the country that connects with kids and makes them feel wanted and appreciated like Coach O does. His tactics aren't always mainstream or typical, and neither are his results with a hoard of highly rated prospects pledging to play for him as much as the school he works for.

What will it take to get Orgeron to Salt Lake City? Money and some control. That means ponying up a minimum of $500,000 for his services and letting him take the reigns as the recruiting coordinator. Can Utah afford this? Yes. Will it cause some jealousy within the staff? Probably, but if everyone is working towards the same goal, the entire staff should be on board with the hiring of a coach that will make Utah better on the field, and significantly better on the recruiting trail.

Orgeron has never coached anywhere other than the defensive side of the ball, spending most of it as a line coach with some coordinator mixed in, which doesn't jive with Utah's current opening. The Utes need a quarterback coach with all of the youngsters on the roster, and the only coach on staff that can take those reigns is Dennis Erickson. Erickson has never been a quarterback coach, but he hadn't coached the running backs either in 40 years and that's where he's slotted now. He knows offense and knows quarterbacks. The transition would be seamless. Erickson moves from running back coach to quarterback coach, and Ilaisa Tuiaki moves from defensive line coach to running backs coach (where he coached at Utah State) as well as taking over the tight ends as well. Orgeron slides in as the defensive line coach. Not ideal from a coaching standpoint, but he makes the Utah program better, plain and simple.

Do we expect Kyle to make a splash hire like this? No. Using history as a template, Ed Orgeron doesn't fit the mold of what Kyle Whittingham looks for in a coach. He's creative, energetic, and pushes the envelope to get the best players to his school. And that's exactly why he's the best choice to be Whitt's first call.

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