Recruiting still creating confusion for coaches
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.