Madden, Facetime, and Virtual Tours: College Recruiting Amidst Coronavirus

Brooks Austin

The spring semester is not only just about finishing the year out strong in class for high school athletes. It's not just about getting better in your respective offseason, but it's also about seeking out as much exposure as possible. 

For months, prospects bounce around from Junior day to Junior day, camp to camp, and campus to campus in hopes of narrowing down their choices or opening the doors to potentially new options. 

Well, now all of that has been put on hold. And prospects and respective programs are left looking for ways to build relationships. Relationships that ultimately decide where the nation's top talent will ultimately land. 

Several programs across the country are using rather innovative strategies to get close to prospects. 

Texas A&M football coaches actually held a Coaches vs Prospects Madden tournament. Which would be quite a sight to see. I can picture it now. Jimbo Fisher running the split back offense, giving the pitch to a top running back saying, "See, I can't help but playing two backs in my system." 

Kansas held an entire Junior Day on their campus virtually. A full 12-hour affair lasting all the way through dinner time with prospects dropping in and out of the experience. 

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As for the Georgia Bulldog program, I don't exactly see Kirby Smart hopping on the Xbox anytime soon. In fact, as Smart said today, his patience runs a bit thin. When asked about the national phenomenon and Netflix Documentary, Tiger King, he responded: 

"I just couldn’t do it, man. I couldn’t stomach it, and everybody continues to talk about it but my patience wears thin. I’m looking for a little more plot, a little more, I don’t know what the right word is, but that’s not my cup of tea, I’ll just say that. I’m more of an Ozark guy.”

No. Smart and his staff are going about things in the more traditional route. Phone calls, Facetime, and getting to know the prospects on a one on one basis. And while Georgia has established a national brand and has expanded their recruiting horizons in recent classes, it appears that Georgia is laser-focused on locking down an extremely talented crop of Peach State recruits in 2021. 

As for the players themselves? This is typically the time where evaluators are getting a chance to see them in camp environments, and that's now gone for the time being. It's left prospects posting their own workout footage, oftentimes in their front yard with their little brother or sister holding the camera and throwing the ball. 

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