Newly hired college football coaches are given some leeway when being judged on how well or poorly they're recruiting.
Most coaching hires happen only weeks or days before the early signing period, so that initial class is always tough to measure. Second-year coaches, however, have had more time to recruit, build relationships and show what they're capable of doing in recruiting.
While the NCAA's enacted dead period made it challenging for everyone on the recruiting trail, second-year coaches now have more data points and rankings to show whether they are on the rise and improving or falling and still in need of help.
Here is a look at how second-year coaches have performed since their first class and what happened in this 2021 cycle.
Ohio State Buckeyes
2021 class rank: 2
2020 class rank: 5
2019 class rank: 16
The Buckeyes had a dip in the 2019 cycle partly because they were dealing with the retirement of head coach Urban Meyer and partly because their class was a smaller group of recruits, 18 in total.
The question around Day's hiring was whether or not he'd be able to continue recruiting at the level Meyer had at Ohio State.
He quickly answered those questions by recruiting two five-star prospects and 16 ESPN 300 recruits in the 2020 class. He recruited with the same importance, urgency and attention to detail as Meyer.
One of the big differences between them: Day was packaged a little less robotic and more approachable than Meyer, which meant a relatable experience for recruits and parents.
Day's 2021 class had a shot at the No. 1 overall ranking, which is something Meyer was never able to do at Ohio State. Had it not been for Alabama's historic class, the Buckeyes' class, which features two five-stars and 17 ESPN 300 recruits, would be in serious contention for the top spot.
Of the Buckeyes' 21 recruits, 13 are ranked within the top 10 of their respective positions and nine are ranked within the top five.
The Buckeyes are on a path to consistent College Football Playoff appearances not only because of Day's coaching ability but also because of his success on the recruiting trail.
North Carolina Tar Heels
2021 class rank: 12
2020 class rank: 16
2019 class rank: 35
When Brown was hired by North Carolina, he had been working for ESPN as an analyst and had been out of coaching for five seasons. He was 68 years old, and many questioned if he had been out of the game too long to come back.
But he squashed questions about whether he would be able to recruit in today's climate and relate to recruits fairly quickly.
The key to recruiting, he noted, is relationships. Brown is one of the best relationship builders in college football, and he hit the ground running in his first partial recruiting class in 2019.
In the four recruiting classes prior to Brown's hire, North Carolina didn't have a class ranked above 24 and was as low as 34. Because of the uncertainty with a new coaching hire, Brown's first class finished at No. 35, but he got his first big win by flipping ESPN 300 quarterback Sam Howell from Florida State.
Once Brown and his staff had more time to build relationships in the 2020 class, they were able to sign the No. 16 class with six total ESPN 300 commitments, headlined by five-star defensive end Desmond Evans.
Though five-star cornerback Tony Grimes doesn't count toward the 2021 class because he reclassified to 2020 and played for the Tar Heels this past fall, they pushed even further up the rankings this cycle at No. 12, thanks to 11 ESPN 300 commitments, including five-star defensive end Keeshawn Silverr.
2021 class rank: 18
2020 class rank: 33
2019 class rank: 44
Locksley was hired Dec. 4, 2018, just a few weeks before the early signing period for the 2019 class. That class finished ranked No. 44 overall, and Locksley was able to get commitments from ESPN 300 safety Nick Cross, ESPN 300 quarterback Lance Legendre and ESPN 300 wide receiver Isaiah Hazel.
Those were the only three ESPN 300 recruits in the class and were added after Locksley was hired. He and his staff moved up in the rankings for the 2020 class, to No. 33, with two ESPN 300 recruits, including wide receiver Rakim Jarrett.
Maryland focusing on defense in Class of 2021
Craig Haubert details Maryland's strong class of 2021, which includes a focus on the defensive side of the football.
This 2021 effort was pushed even further, finishing at No. 18 overall (fourth in the Big Ten). The 2021 class has six ESPN 300 signees, including five-star linebacker Terrence Lewis. The linebacker haul with Lewis, top in-state recruit Demeioun Robinson and Florida linebacker Branden Jennings gave the staff three recruits ranked in the top 70 overall.
Locksley has continued to push the Terps' profile up in the rankings and nearly cracked the top 15 this time. If the Terps improve on the field and put together a positive 2021 season, the coaches could continue their rise in the rankings in the future.
2021 class rank: 11
2020 class rank: 17
2019 class rank: 30
Over the course of the entire 2019 and 2020 recruiting cycles, Miami saw 17 decommitments in 2019 and 20 in 2020. But Diaz and his staff reduced those numbers in the 2021 cycle to finish with the No. 11 class overall.
The biggest impact was likely at quarterback, for obvious reasons, as the staff was able to sign ESPN 300 quarterback Jake Garcia, the No. 3 pocket passer in the class, who flipped from USC. The coaches were also able to bring in five-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor and nine total ESPN 300 commitments in the class.
Having D'Eriq King transfer in and adding offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee went a long way for the on-field product. If Miami can keep pushing forward on the field, Diaz and his staff could crack the top 10.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
2021 class rank: 43
2020 class rank: 27
2019 class rank: 61
Collins and his staff are still working to completely rehaul the roster and rebuild the program's foundation. When he took over, his first partial class, which had just one four-star prospect, was ranked outside the top 60. In the four years before Collins was hired, Georgia Tech had the No. 53-ranked class twice and was ranked 41st and 42nd the other two years.
Former Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson recruited players to fit the triple option, while Collins recruits different types of players to fit more of a spread offensive scheme.
The staff had an immediate turnaround in 2020 with three ESPN 300 signees, including quarterback Jeff Sims and running back Jahmyr Gibbs, along with cornerback Miles Brooks. The coaches again brought in transfers, especially along the offensive line, to provide more immediate help.
Sims brushes himself off after barreling into end zone for TD
Jeff Sims gives Georgia Tech an early lead with a 1-yard touchdown.
This 2021 cycle was a step back, at No. 43 in the rankings, but Collins was able to bring in ESPN 300 wide receiver James Blackstrain and four-star offensive lineman Weston Franklin. The team went 3-7 this past season, but the coaches are already building some momentum in 2022.
Collins has ESPN Junior 300 running back Antonio Martin committed, as well as wide receiver Jullian Lewis. The coaches need to put together a good class to move up the rankings and stay on track to build a successful team on the field.
2021 class rank: 40
2020 class rank: 37
2019 class rank: 68
Louisville took a big dip in recruiting in the 2019 class when Satterfield was first hired. The program finished at No. 68 after signing top-30 classes the previous two years.
Part of that low ranking had to do with the small number of recruits in the class. That is the unfortunate part about being hired only a few weeks before the early signing period: If it's not a big splash that can create quick momentum, it can be detrimental.
One class won't destroy a program, but adding only 14 prospects isn't great for a new coach.
Satterfield, coming from Appalachian State, likely isn't going to build this team by trying to land big-name, elite-level recruits. In the 2020 class, he signed 27 recruits, including ESPN JC 50 offensive lineman Trevor Reid and four-star defensive end Ja'Darien Boykin.
Satterfield and his staff fell a little bit in the rankings for the 2021 cycle, but they were able to sign two four-stars in offensive lineman Michael Gonzalez and running back Trevion Cooley. In addition to the 21 recruits, the coaches brought in some transfers, including quarterback Shai Werts, safety Kenderick Duncan and offensive lineman Bryan Hudson.
Satterfield had a ton of success at Appalachian State, so it's worth giving him time to see what he builds before expecting bigger names and higher-ranked classes at Louisville.