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College Football Recruiting Could Hit Another Gear with Fall Schedule in Flux

Edwin Weathersby II gives a personal account of how around-the-clock college football recruiting can be, an area that commands more attention as conferences and programs around the country choose not to play this fall.

As a former Director of Player Personnel at an FCS school, I quickly learned first-hand how competitive recruiting can be. While some coaches were a bit less inclined to recruit, which drove a person in my position crazy, the ones with a keen feel for college football understood their position rooms were only as good as the talent they landed. 

This led to every detail of a prospect we liked as a staff’s recruitment being competitive, as we knew we were not the only school in contention. Some coaches would go all out. I would even go as far as having my recruiting interns look at a prospect’s social media accounts and posts from up to three years prior to find anything that he liked or retweeted that one of our coaches could strike up a conversation with him about and connect with him over to develop a relationship.

There was a time when one assistant coach volunteered to drive nearly all day to arrive at a playoff game of a prospect we desperately needed to sign to make one last final pitch after the prospect’s parents notified us they intended to sign with another school close to the December signing day.

If recruiting can get this competitive and hectic when college football coaches have to scheme, watch film, run position meetings, attend practices and game plan every week, how competitive and hectic are the final 4-6 months of this 2021 recruiting cycle going to be with two (as of the time writing this) Power Five conferences having canceled its fall football seasons with the intention of attempting a spring schedule?

A prominent saying among college football coaches regarding recruiting is, “recruiting is like shaving, if you don’t do it everyday, it shows.”

Many assistant college coaches understand that one of the variables to accent their value on a staff is their ability to recruit. The art of developing relationships with prospects, parents, high school coaches, teachers, administrators and even sports performance trainers and private quarterback coaches is vital in recruiting, and it must be done everyday possible.

Now that coaches in conferences such as the Pac-12 and Big Ten have nothing but time on their hands, DM’s on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook will substantially increase for high-end prospects, as well as texts and emails. For some recruits it would probably be best to get a wax sculpture made of themselves so that they could sit it in front of their computers for the amount of Zoom and Skype calls they’re going to receive throughout this fall.

Even the coaches in the conferences that choose to attempt to play this fall, such as the SEC and ACC, and perhaps even the Big 12, will be affected by Pac-12 and Big Ten coaches having nothing but time now.

A prospect such as elite WR prospect Emeka Egbuka from Steilacoom (Wash.) having schools such as Washington (Pac-12) and Ohio State (Big Ten) already hot on his trail will likely see coaches from Oklahoma (Big 12) having to increase their communication with him to keep pace. Same for additional high-end prospects such as Edge J.T. Tuimoloau of Sammamish (Wash.) Eastside Catholic, WR Dont’e Thornton of Baltimore (Md.) Mt. Saint Joseph and IDL Tywone Malone of Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic. They, along with many more prospects, have coaches from different conferences after their services.

Another angle in this is how the Group of 5 staffs are affected. While the school I last worked at was an FCS school, we competed with Group of 5 programs for several prospects. Sometimes I’d watch tape and come away believing I had found a hidden gem, and our staff would hope a Group of 5 school wouldn’t offer him and take him out of our range. With staffs like USC, Oregon, Michigan and Penn State now having several additional months to evaluate and re-watch prospects, one has to wonder if schools such as San Jose State, UNLV, Central Michigan and Ball State, among others, are priming for Power 5 staffs to give some of their favorite prospects another look, and perhaps, an offer.

We’ve all heard different stories about how competitive recruiting is in the SEC. It’s become almost necessary for each head coach to have a private plane that gives them easier and quicker access to smaller towns and areas that many prospects reside in. Some coaches even choose to land their private helicopters on a field to make an entrance.

With two Power 5 conferences already bowing out from the fall season, along with several Group of 5 leagues cancelling to this point, and thus those conferences’ coaches all having more time to focus on recruiting, the homestretch of the 2021 cycle should be nothing short of fascinating.

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