Re­cruit­ing still cre­at­ing con­fu­sion for coaches

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Mike Bro­hard

Foot­ball re­cruit­ing re­ceived a few twists in the past few months, get­ting a new cal­en­dar and an ex­tra sign­ing date.

It’s also pro­duced a whole lot of head scratch­ing.

“There’s con­fu­sion about all of this,” San Diego State coach Rocky Long said. “You hear the coaches talk about it. We don’t un­der­stand com­pletely how it works.”

This sea­son, pro­grams can take ad­van­tage of a new early sign­ing date, run­ning Dec. 20-22. On July 7, the NCAA up­dated the re­cruit­ing cal­en­dar (which now runs Aug. 1-July 31 of the next sea­son), one that ef­fec­tively cov­ers the end of one key re­cruit­ing pe­riod to the be­gin­ning of the next cy­cle. In that span, there are the nor­mal eval­u­a­tions, quiet and dead pe­ri­ods, and schools are now al­lowed 56 of­fi­cial vis­its on cam­pus.

What col­lege coaches are try­ing to de­ci­pher is the best ways to use those dates and vis­its, es­pe­cially since every Sun­day from April 1May 27, fol­lowed by the first 24 days of June are des­ig­nated as a quiet pe­riod — when coaches can have face-to-face meet­ings with par­ents and prospec­tive stu­dent-ath­letes on cam­pus only. Then, April 16-May 31 is an eval­u­a­tion pe­riod, a time when coaches can go watch ath­letes com­pete off cam­pus but can’t have faceto-face con­tact.

Coaches know they need to use their of­fi­cial vis­its wisely. They are try­ing to weigh how many do they use to fill up the up­com­ing class, and how many do they leave to get a jump on eval­u­at­ing the next class.

“To be hon­est, I don’t know how I’m go­ing to do it yet. You talk to other coaches and you’re like, ‘that’s a good idea,’ but I think ev­ery­body is kind of go­ing to be feel­ing it out; trial by er­ror,” Colorado State coach Mike Bobo said.

The April-June pe­riod had Moun­tain West coaches wor­ried the most, mainly for the tax­ing sched­ules it will present to their as­sis­tants, who are out on the road or need to be on cam­pus for vis­its, with some guess­ing it could lead to five straight weeks of travel.

Bobo said there isn’t much san­ity when it comes to re­cruit­ing, and of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Will Friend isn’t con­cerned about his. He won’t sac­ri­fice re­cruit­ing, and his fam­ily knows his sched­ule. He said his 4year old son, Char­lie, knows the cal­en­dar, call­ing it “re­cruit­ing sea­son.”

“Our fam­i­lies, they signed up for this,” Friend said. “They know the price we’ve got to pay. What Coach (Bobo) does a great job of is keep­ing our fam­ily in­volved and mak­ing sure that they have the abil­ity to be here as much as they can. … When it’s a re­cruit­ing time, we’ve got to re­cruit. That’s what we owe to each other on the staff, that’s what we owe to Colorado State, that’s what we owe to our cur­rent play­ers, to go get the best play­ers we can find to help them.”

When teams get a player hooked, the next ques­tion is when they get them on board. The Fe­bru­ary sign­ing date has be­come an un­of­fi­cial hol­i­day for col­lege fan bases and the play­ers who are thrust into the spot­light, but now, if a player is dead set on where he wants to go, he can turn that com­mit­ment into a sig­na­ture in De­cem­ber.

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