On Tuesday it was announced that Oklahoma had officially hired, long rumored, defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery from Michigan. During the announcement of Oklahoma's newest assistant Montgomery made light of being the youngest member of the Sooners staff - a staff in which he was the second of three new hires.
"Yeah, you know, I may be the only coach on the staff who listen to what they listen to. A little Drake, Lil Wayne, stuff like that," Montgomery joked during an interview with SoonerSports.com.
And though the question may have been addressed to him with the current team in mind it's also something that has made him one of the country's up and coming young recruiters.
Interestingly his hiring also provides Oklahoma with some real flexibility on what might be his region of expertise in recruiting during his tenure in Norman as Montgomery has been listed as a primary recruiter for 12 recruits in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 classes that committed their future to becoming 'Michigan Men'.
Of those 12 two were five-stars, six more were four-stars and hailed from places like Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Utah, and has also spent ample time in the state of Florida - with SEC area recruiting long thought to be a focus of Bob Stoops' hires this offseason.
"Montgomery was just as important for his recruiting prowess as he was for his on-field contributions." said Tim Sullivan recruiting editor of TheWolverine.com.
"He recruited Central Ohio - from which Michigan picked up three commits in 2013 - and was a big part of recruiting in a lot of the mid-Atlantic. He also covered all of Florida for Michigan. As the youngest guy on Michigan's staff he definitely connected with a lot of the kids, and that was a big boost for him."
Aside from the age, and the inherent kinship that often comes with it, Montgomery has been well regarded as a coach who can develop relationships with his recruits. It's a reputation that Andrew Williams, a Rivals100 defensive end from McDonough (Ga.) Eagle's Landing Christian, said earlier this week that Montgomery was more than deserving of.
Williams had been recruited by Montgomery at Michigan and the two had become close over the past few months. Then the new Sooner staffer got in touch with Williams on Saturday to let him know of his move to the Big 12.
"Me and him, we have had a real close relationship when he was at Michigan, I didn't know anything. He just messaged me to call him and then I had to call him and I didn't know he left Michigan when I called," Williams explained.
"He is a great guy, a great coach, and everything I wanted to know he gave to me. He is real, down to Earth. He won't beat around the bush like some coaches; he'll tell you what you need to know, what you don't need to know."
"He didn't say you'd come here and start, but said you'd have to work for it and I have the talent to get out there immediately."
That ability to build relationships is something that Montgomery said yesterday could be even more key than any of the more tangible topics that people point to in the world of recruiting.
"At the same time, it's about building a relationship with your players, when they know that you care about them they'll do anything for you. At the end of the day building a relationship with them is a big part of what I bring to the table," Montgomery said.
Williams was the first player to confirm contact between himself and Montgomery following reports of Montgomery's departure from Ann Arbor. That immediate contact was something that perhaps embodies why Oklahoma felt the need to make the move from long-time defensive line coach Jackie Shipp to Montgomery.
"Over the whole recruiting thing, I think I've gotten two pieces of mail from Oklahoma so that's definitely a win if I get that offer," Williams said. "He is just a great guy in general, talking with me every week, type of coach who shows a lot of interest."
And along with Williams, Montgomery has already built relationships with players like the nation's No. 1 2014 prospect, Da'Shawn Hand, fellow five-star defensive linemen Andrew Brown, and many, many more. In fact three of the four current Michigan commitments in the class of 2014 were in large part due to Montgomery.
Most notably of those is Michigan Rivals250 defensive tackle commitment Bryan Mone.
"In the 2014 class, all three of Michigan's commitments to date counted Montgomery as their primary recruiter. Linebacker Michael Ferns and quarterback Wilton Speight are solid regardless, but there could be some questions about whether Mone - who would also have had Montgomery as one of his position coaches - could be a little bit affected. My hunch is that he's solid, as the sort of guy who committed to a program/school, not a coach, but you never know if Montgomery reaches out to him what could happen there."
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