Neal Brown Continues to Adjust Recruiting Strategies in a COVID World

Schuyler Callihan

Last week, the NCAA made a ruling to extend the recruiting dead period through the end of the calendar year, which will have a significant impact on not only West Virginia's recruiting strategies, but every school in the country.

West Virginia head coach Neal Brown sort of anticipated this being the deal with the way things have continued to get push back since the start of the pandemic. 

"I assumed it would happen. I think it's unfortunate for the student-athletes more than anything just because a lot of them are playing reduced senior seasons or not even getting to play their senior season at all. Now, they don't get to go through a normal cycle where you're taking official visits and those types of things, so I feel for them."

Recruits not being able to take in-person visits will not only be more challenging for decisions to be made, but could become problematic for some recruits to garner the attention they seek if they don't play a single game this fall. You'll often have a kid blossom in his senior year and offers start pouring in left and right. This year, many will be missing out on that same opportunity.

From a recruiting strategy perspective, this doesn't really change Brown's plans for closing out the 2021 class - he and his staff were already ahead of the game and had a plan in place if this were to happen.

"As far as we are concerned, we've kind of been planning for this - without official visits. We're trying to do the best we can as far as we can't get live evaluations, but we're trying to get as much live video. Whether it's practice, workouts, actual game tape, whatever it is to do the best we can to finish out our class."

As signing day nears, there is usually a real concern for kids who are already committed, changing their minds. Although this will still happen in some instances, Brown feels like there will be much less of that due to the ability to host recruits on visits leading up to signing day. 

"I think the one side effect, I think you'll see less flips. If guys aren't allowed to take official visits, I think you'll see fewer flips than maybe I thought earlier. We had a record number of early commits, and I thought we would have a record number of late flips, but without official visits, I'm not sure that'll happen."

West Virginia currently has 14 commits in the 2021 class and is in the mix for several others. You can view that list of recruits on our Recruiting Hot Board, here.

The early signing period for Division I football starts on December 16th and ends on December 18th.

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