How Les Miles, Mack Brown and other new head coaches are faring in recruiting

The coaching carousel turns every year once the college football season ends. The early signing period in December has sped it up, though, at least when it comes to head coaches.

We saw a relatively quiet head-coaching carousel this year, but there are some new faces at the helm of big-name programs, and some big-name coaches at rebuilding programs. Some had the opportunity to recruit before the early signing period, and others are facing an uphill battle in January with most of the 2019 recruiting class already signed.

Coaches have already started to look ahead to 2020, though, and are making headway at their new schools. Here is a look at how several new coaches are faring on the recruiting trail.

Ryan Day, Ohio State

Day was the offensive coordinator for the Buckeyes in 2018, then took over as head coach when Urban Meyer officially retired on Jan. 1, 2019, following a 28-23 win over Washington in the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual. Day didn't take over as head coach until January, but Meyer announced he was retiring on Dec. 4, which was 15 days before the early signing period.

That gave Day and his staff enough time to transition, communicate to committed prospects what was happening and try to keep them on board.

When Meyer announced his retirement, Ohio State had 15 commitments in the class and was ranked No. 11 in the class rankings. ESPN 300 wide receiver Garrett Wilson was the highest-ranked commit at No. 17 overall.

In those 15 days leading up to the early signing period, Day and the staff lost two commitments in the 2020 class, ESPN Junior 300 offensive lineman Jake Wray and ESPN Junior 300 safety Lejond Cavazos.

Since then, the Buckeyes have gained back two commitments in the 2020 class, ESPN Junior 300 wide receiver Gee Scott Jr. and offensive lineman Jakob James.

The 2019 class stayed together up until the first day of the early signing period, when ESPN 300 safety Jordan Battle flipped to Alabama and four-star quarterback Dwan Mathis switched to Georgia. That was the bad news, but there was also plenty of good news for Day and his staff.

Day was able to reel in five-star defensive end Zach Harrison, who is the No. 1-ranked prospect in Ohio. He pulled Harrison away from Michigan and Penn State in what was his first huge recruiting win as the Buckeyes' head coach. The staff signed all but one of its current 17 commitments in the class, and is trying to persuade the one holdout, ESPN 300 offensive lineman Doug Nester, to sign in February.

The class is now ranked two spots higher, at No. 13, than when Meyer announced his retirement in December.

While it won't show up in the recruiting rankings, Day should also get credit for fending off plenty of other programs to land Georgia transfer quarterback Justin Fields, who was the No. 1-ranked prospect in the 2018 class. Ohio State lost last season's starter Dwayne Haskins to the upcoming NFL draft, and plans to appeal for immediate eligible for Fields.

Overall, Day has done an excellent job in the last month and a half as head coach, and has shown there shouldn't be much drop-off on the recruiting trail after Meyer's departure.

Les Miles, Kansas

Miles had the luxury of being hired at Kansas on Nov. 18, because he had been out of coaching for the 2018 season. He did not have a luxury of a stacked recruiting class when he took over. In fact, Kansas had only one prospect committed at that point, three-star running back Cole Mueller.

Mueller, oddly enough, decommitted a month later, but Miles ended up signing 11 players during the early signing period. Kansas went from having the fewest commitments of any FBS team to tied for the fourth fewest with Maryland and UMass.

Junior college prospects were a big part of Miles' plan and class. He added ESPN JC 50 defensive end Malcolm Lee, juco defensive tackle Caleb Sampson, juco wide receivers Andrew Parchment and Ezra Naylor, junior college safety Justin Ford and juno quarterback Thomas MacVittie, who originally signed with Pitt in the 2016 class.

Miles inherited an uphill battle to say the least, so being able to sign 11 prospects in a little over four weeks after being out of coaching completely has to be commended. But if Miles wants to turn this program around quickly, 11 commitments is not going to give him enough help.

Having a weak first recruiting class isn't an impossible obstacle to overcome, but the small class could put a big dent in the roster a few years down the road. The staff will have a chance to fix that in the 2020 class, but as of right now, Kansas does not have any 2020 commitments.

Manny Diaz, Miami

Diaz's is another interesting situation. After the season, Diaz left Miami and accepted the head-coaching job at Temple. Then Mark Richt resigned at Miami after the early signing period, and Diaz was offered and accepted the job.

The Hurricanes had 16 prospects decommit throughout the 2019 recruiting cycle. ESPN 300 linebacker Anthony Solomon flipped his commitment from Miami to Michigan three days before the early signing period, and ESPN 300 offensive lineman Michael Tarquin flipped from Miami to Florida 16 days before Dec. 19.

Diaz inherited the No. 34-ranked class in the country after the early signing period, which is way down from its No. 8 ranking for the 2018 class.

Since taking over, Diaz has landed a commitment from three-star quarterback Peyton Matocha, and similar to Day, he has gone to the transfer market to help make his team better. He and his staff were able to land transfer safety Bubba Bolden, who is coming from USC, and Ohio State quarterback transfer Tate Martell.

If Miami can get Martell a waiver for immediate eligibility, it could be a big boost to an offense that has struggled in recent seasons. It isn't factored in to his class ranking, but landing Bolden and Martell count as making his team better.

Diaz has put a shot of energy and excitement into this program, as evidenced by the mock WWE wrestling event he set up for the current team.

Miami already has one of the top 2020 classes, currently holding seven ESPN Junior 300 commitments and eight total. Maybe more important, there have been no decommitments in the 2020 class since Diaz took over.

He has a shot at quickly turning around Miami because of his familiarity with the program, and the players and prospects he is bringing in right now.

Mack Brown, North Carolina

Similar to Miles, Brown had been out of coaching when North Carolina hired him Nov. 27. This is the second stint at the university for Brown, who had been out of coaching since 2013.

To adults, that might not seem like a long time, but 2019 football recruits were anywhere from 10 and 12 years old when Brown was last in coaching with Texas. Their recollection, or the lack thereof, of Brown could have an impact on how he and his staff recruit.

Brown is known for being an excellent relationship builder, though, and anyone who spends time around him raves about how genuine he is. That personality and charisma have already helped him with the 2019 class.

When Brown took over in November, North Carolina was ranked outside the top 40 of the class rankings. In the few weeks after he was hired, Brown and his staff lost six commitments but currently have 22 total commitments, 19 of which are signed.

That included flipping ESPN 300 quarterback Sam Howell from Florida State, and landing ESPN 300 wide receiver Khafre Brown. As of now, North Carolina is ranked 38th overall, and Brown and his staff have a great first class on which to build.

The coaches have been able to move forward to the 2020 class, landing ESPN Junior 300 safety Cameron Roseman-Sinclair and running back Elijah Burris, but they will need to pick things up to get a jump-start to spring recruiting.

For being out of coaching for nearly six years, Brown and the staff he assembled have done an excellent job recruiting in the short time they have been at North Carolina.

Neal Brown, West Virginia

Brown was hired at West Virginia on Jan. 4, after Dana Holgorsen took the Houston head-coaching job. Brown didn't have the luxury of being hired before the early signing period, but he inherited a recruiting class of 18 signed prospects.

It's a good class, currently ranked No. 44 overall, with two four-star commitments to start the foundation of his program. ESPN JC 50 cornerback Dreshun Miller is the top recruit in the class. He's joined by ESPN 300 wide receiver Osita Smith.

He hasn't added any new high school recruits in the 2019 class since he was hired, but similar to the other new coaches, Brown brought in a transfer quarterback to help bolster the roster.

He and his staff were able to get Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall to join the team, which will help replace the hole left by Will Grier's departure. Landing Kendall was his first big recruiting win, even though he isn't technically a high school prospect.

The Mountaineers don't have any 2020 commitments just yet, but Brown didn't have the advantage of being hired before the early signing period began, so he is still getting things settled with the 2019 class and even his own staff.