Where are top SEC programs turning for their latest additions to their respective staffs?
The world of big-time high school football.
Over the last two weeks, three coaches at top high school programs in Alabama and Georgia have been hired at the University of Alabama and Auburn University, starting a trend that shows little sign of slowing down.
On Thursday, news broke that Carver (Columbus, Ga.)
head coach Dell McGee had accepted a job at Auburn, his alma mater.
According to the Ledger-Enquirer, he joins Auburn's staff in an off-the-field capacity.
"I'm very grateful for the years I spent at Carver," McGee told the Ledger-Enquirer
. "And I'm grateful for the opportunity Coach Malzahn has given me here."
McGee will likely assist with the program's recruiting in Georgia, where the Tigers signed three players in the class of 2013, including the gems of its recruiting class, Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson.
The news of his hire comes less than a week after Chip Lindsey, former head coach at Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.)
, joined Auburn's staff
and Vigor (Prichard, Ala.)
head coach Kerry Stevenson took a job with Alabama.
Last spring, Georgia hired Daryl Jones
, a veteran of the Georgia high school football scene, to its staff.
The wave of new hires comes in the wake of new NCAA rules that lessen restrictions on recruiting, including the size of schools' recruiting staffs.
As articulated in a recent New York Times article
, a number of colleges are objecting to the new rules, fearing that it will only escalate the already hyper-competitive world of recruiting, leading to the rich getting richer.
If there is enough opposition to the new measures, they may be overturned this spring.
Hiring high school coaches is not a completely new phenomenon, nor is it limited to the SEC.
In January, Texas Tech brought on board
highly successful Steele (Cibolo, Texas)
head coach Mike Jinks to be the team's running backs coach.
In 2010, Tulsa hired Lake Travis (Austin, Texas)
head coach Chad Morris. A year later, Clemson plucked Morris, and he's now the team's offensive coordinator, earning a salary of over $1 million annually.
Last spring, Anthony Campanile, offensive coordinator of high school juggernaut
Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)
, left the program to take a graduate assistant position with Rutgers.
He's now an offensive assistant with the Scarlet Knights and one of the most well-respected offensive minds around.
Less than a week ago, Penn State brought John Power on board to assist with recruiting. He was a well-respected high school coach in New Jersey who most recently coached at Fork Union Military Academy (Va.)
Traditionally, ascending the ranks in high school football and college football have been almost mutually exclusive, insofar as the longer a coach spent establishing himself in the high school ranks, the less likely he would be to crossover to college football and begin climbing that ladder.
Of course there have been exceptions, including (most notably) Gerry Faust becoming the head coach at Notre Dame after pioneering the Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati)
More recently, Todd Dodge built the powerful Carroll (Southlake, Texas)
program before taking the head coach job at North Texas. He struggled to a 6-37 record and was fired in 2010.
Now it seems high school coaches making the jump to the collegiate level will continue to become more common.
After all, the man responsible for hiring McGee and Lindsey, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, is just eight years removed from dominating the Arkansas high school football ranks at Springdale (Ark.)