Recruiting: A Game of It’s Own

Posted: January 30, 2012 in NCAA
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This will be a week of great joy or anguish for college football fans. Wednesday is national signing day, the day when most of the nation’s top high school prospects make binding commitments to schools.

Numerous recruiting experts will offer rankings, telling you if your coach was successful or if his sales pitch fell on deaf ears. No debate about it: recruiting is the life blood of college football.

Of course recruiting is not a science. It is guess work, plain and simple. You know this. You’ve been told this a thousand times. You believe it. Still, you’ll beat your chest and taunt your buddies who cheer for other schools if your school outranks their schools.

We used to say you needed at least three years before you could accurately judge a recruiting class. Now no more than two years is needed. Chances are good many of your 5-star recruits will turn out to be duds. Recruits who are considered afterthoughts this week will turn into tomorrow’s all-Americans.

How players are ranked by recruiting experts is immaterial. What is important in recruiting is getting players who fill positions of need, who fit into your coach’s system and then using the players properly. And players who WANT to be at your school and look forward to the college experience.

Truth is, with few exceptions, every player who signs with schools such as Florida and Florida State think they’ll be in the NFL in three years. Most see themselves as future first-round draft selections. You just have to hope players don’t pick your school ONLY because they see it has the best route to the NFL.

Coaches don’t like to admit it but they get caught up in the recruiting hype almost as much as the fans. I’ve been told numerous stories by coaches who admit this. Even if their eyes tell them differently, they recruit some players because of how they’re ranked and because of the expectations of their fans.

It’s always fun to look back at recruiting classes and re-evaluate them after a couple of years. Well, at least it’s fun for fans whose schools are successful. Recruiting, like NFL drafting, has taken on a life of its own.

Enjoy the process.



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