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Three-Point Stance: Tony Alford, key Va. Tech hire, North Carolina exodus

Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman has thoughts on two major assistant coaching moves and talented prospects leaving their home state.


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INTER-RIVALRY COACHING TRANSFER

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“Talented and experienced player transfers to become a bigger part of the offense” is a theme we’ve repeatedly seen during the transfer portal era.

Tony Alford is doing the same thing.

Alford, the longtime running backs coach for the Buckeyes and excellent recruiter, will be Michigan’s new running backs coach, leaving behind a loaded position group in Columbus.

It’s late in the “offseason” to be moving for, essentially, a lateral job but Alford has an opportunity to move further up the coaching ladder at Michigan and earn a higher salary. These same principles are what many players think of when deciding if they should transfer.

In terms of on-field responsibilities, Alford was buried on the depth chart - sitting behind offensive coordinator Chip Kelly, co-offensive coordinator/receivers coach Brian Hartline, and run game coordinator/offensive line coach Justin Frye - at Ohio State.

At Michigan, the Wolverines don’t have a designated run game coordinator, a role Alford should slide into when he arrives in Ann Arbor.

Whoever is upset about Alford leaving for what seems like a better personal opportunity needs to adjust their frame of reference and understand that loyalty, especially at the highest levels of college football, only exists when a team can provide the highest salary and best opportunity for career growth ... just like in the real world with any normal job.

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GUNTER BREWER IS SHREWD HIRE BY BRENT PRY

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Earlier this month Virginia Tech hired Gunter Brewer as its director of high school relations. He previously coached wide receivers at Maryland, Louisville, the Philadelphia Eagles, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss and Marshall.

Brewer is one of the most well-liked coaches in the Mid-Atlantic and has a long history of landing commitments from highly-ranked prospects in the Carolinas and Virginia. His extensive network of contacts at high schools around the region should only benefit the Hokies and head coach Brent Pry.

Virginia Tech receivers coach Fontel Mines has proven to be an excellent recruiter, especially with in-state prospects. Having Brewer’s expertise to draw on should only enhance his abilities on and off the field.

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THE PILLAGING OF NORTH CAROLINA TALENT COULD CONTINUE

North Carolina is one of the top talent producing states in the nation but the programs that call the state home have won just one outright ACC title (Wake Forest, 2006) in the last 40 seasons. In the last seven recruiting cycles, more top five prospects in the North Carolina state rankings have signed with an out-of-state program. That’s a brutal realization for the Tar Heels, Wolfpack, Blue Devils and Demon Deacons as they try to take their programs to the next level.

However, the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one. There is a lot of time left in the 2025 recruiting cycle and the North Carolina programs have a chance to keep the majority of the top in-state prospects home.

Five-star David Sanders Jr. has already eliminated the in-state programs and Isaiah Campbell has already committed to Clemson while Jordan Young is trending away from the in-state programs.

Bryce Davis, Shamarius Peterkin and JaDon Blair are still considering in-state options. Bryce Baker (North Carolina) and Gus Ritchey (NC State) are the only top 10 prospects to commit to in-state programs so far.

Trajen Odom has shown interest in a few of the in-state programs but he’ll be taking a lot of visits over the next couple months. Fonzy Smith was high on the Tar Heels early in the recruiting process but things have cooled off for him lately.

There are a lot of prospects currently outside the top 10 of the North Carolina state rankings who could move up as the rankings cycle continues but the in-state schools need to work hard to keep teams from taking talented players out of their backyard.