Recruiting coordinators and how their relationship factors in the football recruiting process

Recruiting coordinators and their relationship in the football recruiting processThroughout the football recruiting process, one of most important people that you will speak with is the recruiting coordinator at Division I and II schools.  While this coach may not be responsible for recruiting you, he is an important piece of the recruiting puzzle that you will be going through.

This coach is the one who coordinates the recruiting process (Which is somewhat obvious with the title).  They are in charge of breaking down how many scholarships that the school has in that class, how many players they want to take at certain positions, figuring out where other coaches will be traveling, and so many other aspects of the recruiting process.  The reason that football has a recruiting coordinator vs. basketball is simply because there are a lot more players to recruit in football.  That makes things more difficult and allows one of the coaches to add recruiting coordinator to their eventual resume.

A few years back, Warchant.com (Which is the Rivals.com Florida State website) had a chance to catch up with the recruiting coordinator for the Seminoles.  It doesn’t matter if the team has struggled in the past few years, this is still Florida State.  They are a national power capable of winning a lot of games every year simply because of the talent that they recruit.  Being in Florida definitely does not hurt a team like this.  Although it is a little older, it still definitely applies.

The publisher of Warchant, Gene Williams, had a chance to speak to the newly hired James Coley.  I have been thinking about writing this article for some time but finally had a chance.  Anyways, he had some very important pieces of information about what a recruiting coordinator does and just more general information about the recruiting process.  Click here for the article (Rivals subscription is required) but I will be breaking down some of the Q&A here.

With the coaches on the road over the next few weeks, who will log the most frequent flyer miles?
Probably me, unfortunately. I’ll hit South Carolina, North Carolina, and probably make a stop in Virginia, New York. I’ll also go to Texas, Arizona and California. You have to go see the best and you also have to do a great job in your home state. I’ll also be in Georgia, so it’s a lot of traveling.

Football coaches may not have to worry about spending July following AAU like basketball coaches but the month of May is loaded with stops all over the country.  Florida State, despite the fertile recruiting grounds in their back yard, still wants to be able to recruit at a national level.  And that is why their recruiting coordinator will be all over the country at that time.

In the past at FSU the spring evaluation period was used to evaluate for the upcoming recruiting class but now is the focus more on the juniors, what would be the class of 2010?
Absolutely. That’s exactly right. Spring has become a time where not only where you have the luxury of watching all these players like on your website. You guys provide all the film like we have. Spring has become more of a ‘let’s get the extra stuff in’ – let’s get the transcripts, let’s talk to counselors, let’s go talk to the people that surround these prospects and get a profile on who this person is. That’s what spring has become. It has also become the time to start work on the juniors to be, the seniors for 2010. The more information you can gather on those kids the earlier you can get in on the race for recruiting. And there is film, we can get extra film.

The biggest thing you can’t get caught up in when it comes to recruiting is you can’t panic and try to rush through and try to get quantity instead of quality. You really have to maximize your time at a particular school, do a thorough job at touching bases with everything I mentioned before and really identify that player. If you think of spring recruiting, the word that should pop into your head is identification. Who is so and so? Who is he? In the end the character of a kid is something that is very valuable, especially if he’s a great athlete and that’s who we are recruiting. But we don’t compromise when it comes to athletics and character.

At the major level, these coaches have already done the background work of seeing the video and figuring out what type of player they are.  Now the coaches are using the May period, where they are in the school, to check academics and what type of kid it is.  Coaches are also using the visits as a chance to look ahead to the following class so that they can stay up to date about what major prospects that come along.

Is that maybe one of the other biggest changes about the evaluation process in recruiting, looking closely into a prospect’s character?
Yea, that’s a big thing for me and I know that’s a big thing for our staff now. There is no reason you shouldn’t be on the best player that’s affecting his team but as well as his school and community. What do you have there? You have the type of player you expect will play for Florida State. You expect a guy that is a team leader and then when get a class of those guys you change. If you keep bringing them in you start building championships. You don’t win championships with athletic ability, you win it with character. There are going to be times when we are the road playing against a tough opponent and what comes out? Character. If you aren’t doing that during this time, in the period in the spring, when are you doing it? You can’t do it in January, you can’t do it then because you are at the end of the process. So this is the perfect time to identify the ’09 kids and it’s a perfect time to start identifying the ’10 kids.

I have talked about it in a number of articles previously but character really is vital in the recruiting process.  While a Division I school will take you even if you have terrible character, many schools will shut the door on you because of that.  In the end, you want as many options as you can have and by having poor character, you are limiting yourself.

Is there any range of commitments you would like to have going into the season so you aren’t juggling too many recruits in the fall months?
To be honest with you, you would like to have them all whatever our final number ends up being. The goal is to have everybody that you like, everybody that you are recruiting is on board with you and committed to you. There isn’t a number per se because what’s the number? It’s what you want. Realistically what happens is we are on the type of athletes that have a lot of offers from a lot of different schools. Some kids know what they want already and they’ve selected us or they don’t have us in the mix. Those kids already know. But there are some kids like any other person, this is a tough time for these kids, they are getting a lot of attention and they are scared. Sometimes they get bad information from people around them and they are afraid to make a decision because they are going to turn other schools off, or they are scared just to commit. You are asking a kid that is 17 and sometimes 16 years old to commit. It’s tough unless what they know what they want. It all comes down to their personality traits. Some people pull the pin and some people wait and wait and wait. We’ll see if we can get the guys that we want early.

As shown with what Texas has been doing the last few years, schools hope to wrap up recruiting classes as soon as they possibly can.  Florida State is notorious as a school that usually waits until Signing Day to grab some of the top recruits still left.

I know you’ve barely had time to get your feet wet but so far what are your duties as recruiting coordinator?
You work on the planning of certain guys (coaches) and where they have to go. Basically you do a lot of the paperwork and make sure when they are at a particular school they have the right guy or we have guys already identified for them so that you don’t walk into a school blind, because there are a lot of schools. You don’t want to walk into a school and say ‘hey coach, who do you have?’ He may have a guy that is ranked high and may be a great player and sometimes a coach can get insulted and you can look bad. We try to do this early and start identifying guys that we may not be recruiting yet but need to get additional information on. We start compiling sheets for our coaches so that when they walk into ABC high school they already know these guys are guys we may be interested in, we need film on them and transcripts. So when we walk in you are saying ‘coach, we know these three players and do you have anybody else’ but at least you have some bullets in your gun when you walk in.

This shows that the recruiting coordinator position is a lot about organization and getting the other coaches prepared for being on the road.  With the wide recruiting base that Florida State has, there are a lot of schools that they will be recruiting. And for the coaches, the more information they have coming in, the better.

Once again, click here for the full article.

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