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The Future of Trojan Football: Lindsey’s Immediate Impact on Recruiting

Incoming Head Coach Chip Lindsey made quick work to recruit players before the February 6th National Signing Day. In just under a month, Lindsey had four new commits sign their Letters of Intent to play for the Trojans in 2019.

Dollar General Bowl - Buffalo v Troy
A Troy Trojans helmet during the 2018 Dollar General Bowl
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Within a week of taking over as head coach of the Troy Trojans, Head Coach Chip Lindsey landed Troy’s top recruit in their 2019 class. Reddy Steward, a 3-star cornerback from Decatur, Alabama, also received offers from Michigan and South Carolina. Instead, Steward committed to Troy on January 19th and signed his letter of intent on February 6th.

Since Lindsey took the job, four recruits from the 2019 class, who were not already committed under Coach Brown, have signed with Troy and ten more are committed from the 2020 recruiting class, which we will get into a little later.

Troy’s 2019 recruiting class consists of 22 total signees, including 18 3-star recruits and four 2-star recruits. This class ranks 2nd in the Sun Belt Conference, behind University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and 80th nationally. Both of these rankings have moved in a positive direction as Troy’s 2018 recruiting class came in at 4th and 98th, respectively.

Of the 22 signees from the class of 2019, nine are from the state of Alabama. The rest reside primarily in the southeast, particularly Florida and Georgia. This local traffic is to be expected for a group of five program.

Despite three consecutive 10-win seasons including wins over Power Five opponents Nebraska and LSU, recruiting remains to be a challenge for the Trojans. With SEC powerhouses Alabama and Auburn residing in the state, drawing attraction to a Sun Belt Conference program proves to be a daunting task.

As mentioned in my previous article, Lindsey has plenty of coaching ties in Alabama. He served as offensive coordinator and offensive analyst for Auburn, as well as various coaching jobs across six high schools in the state. With this, Lindsey has the ability to continue Troy’s upward trajectory by drawing attention to his program from a number of players in and around Alabama.

In an article posted by the Montgomery Advertiser shortly after Lindsey was hired, he says, “We’re going to recruit in Alabama first. We have to turn over every rock and find those guys who we can develop, steal a few of those guys and get them to come to Troy.”

Dollar General Bowl - Buffalo v Troy
Sidney Davis #6 of the Troy Trojans scores a touchdown during the Dollar General Bowl against the Buffalo Bulls on December 22, 2018 in Mobile, Alabama.
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Lindsey wasted no time in doing just that. Troy’s class of 2020 already consists of 10 recruits, 4 from Alabama and 4 from Georgia. The Trojans’ class of 2020 includes 3-star pro-style quarterback, Kyle Toole, who finds himself hovering just outside of the top 50 pro-style QB’s in his class. Also on an early note in 2020 is 3-star running back Kimani Vidal who stands at 5’7” 205 lbs. A guy of this size as a high school athlete has the potential to develop into an everyday, game-changing back for the Trojans.

If Troy can have another strong season and a shot at the Sun Belt Conference Championship, Lindsey has a very realistic chance in putting together one of the top, if not the top, recruiting classes in the Sun Belt for the next few years.

As college fans know, the staff and facilities are almost equally important in drawing recruits. On top of the $24 million pumped into Troy’s north end zone building that opened last summer at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Lindsey had a $2 million pool of money negotiated into his contract to spend on his assistants and staff. As is par for the course for any new head coach, Lindsey has made a number of moves to build his staff.

The month of January was a busy one for the Trojans and Coach Lindsey. On January 14th, just days after becoming Troy’s head coach, Lindsey named Ryan Pugh, formerly BYU’s offensive line coach, as his offensive coordinator and promoted Brandon Hall from outside linebackers to defensive coordinator.

On January 17th, Lindsey added John Carr to the offensive staff and former Trojan Davern Williams to the defensive staff. On January 29th, Lindsey hired EK Franks as assistant AD for football operations, SaJason Finley as head strength and conditioning coach, and named Jamaal Smith the director of player development.

Lindsey understands the difficulties that a smaller program faces when recruiting high school athletes. He understands that a head coach’s tenure is largely a product of the team’s success. Lindsey has said that former head coach Neal Brown did an unbelievable job in bringing in the right guys for the program. That said, Lindsey is anxious to bring his own staff and players in over the next few years in an attempt to elevate Troy to the next level.