Scottie Hazelton Explains His Recruiting Style

Hondo S. Carpenter

East Lansing, MI— Spartan Nation recently spoke with new Michigan State defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton. I asked him about his recruiting style. Despite the COVID-19 safety protocols that won’t allow him to go out recruiting, or allow players to come here, he is making a significant impact.

He told us, “You know, with everything that we try to do, we just try to be as honest as we can be, as you sit and talk to people I know that as we start every meeting, you’re going to start that with the prospects to be able to say, Listen, here’s what as coaches we can promise you, I mean we’re going to promise you that we’re going, to be honest. We’re going to tell you the truth as we coach you, our job, in reality, is to make you the best football player that you can be, we have all kinds of different people who are going to put their hands in: the academic people are going to make you the best students you can be. The strength staff is going to make you the best athlete you can be, and the training room is going to keep you on the field and do all those kind of things. Really starting with just telling the truth, Hey this is how we could you fit into our package, this is where, here’s some other guys, the thing that our guys so far here since we’ve been here, you know just talking about, and watching some NFL tape, ‘Hey here’s the defense that we’re running and this is how it works in the NFL and this is how we see you, compared to those guys.’

  He went on to add, “The second thing is, you treat everybody with respect, they have to understand that you’re not going to be a coach that yells and screams a whole bunch, you’re a teacher, and if you attack them too personally, they put up a wall and they can’t hear, you know, the coaching that you’re trying to provide. So, you go through, and you say, ‘hey, this is how we’re gonna treat you as a person because we understand that, fight or flight. If you get challenged, or not even challenged, if you get disrespected, usually you get the fight or flight mode right away and either want to go away, or you want to fight the guy that’s trying to coach him, and that’s not productive at all. You can tell them about how we’re determined to do the best by them, and talk about how we use different guys, who were young to have different skills and can rush or a guy who can play man. You try to showcase what they’re good at, as they come in and then as they grow older. They build into it; you can show them how they become a complete player and then, and then hopefully I know the guys want to play in the NFL and have that ability, you can show them how they grow in and say, Okay, hey, here’s the guy that went through this process. He’s doing the same thing in the league that he did in college, and he has those skills in high school.”

The Spartans kick off the season on September 5, 2020. They will be hosting in the Northwestern Wildcats with a rare, season-opening Big Ten game.

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