Recruiting For Dummies

Let me be clear about the title of this article, I’m the dummy. Well, dummy might be a harsh word but in this instance it is more than applicable.

I’ve read all of the professional recruiting anaylist’s posts about star ratings, ESPN 100 rankings, 24/7 composites, etc, etc. What does it all mean? How does it equate to future on field success?

Those folks kind enough to talk with me, and attempt to explain recruiting, have given me a few tried and true pointers. First, the star rating of recruits.

The higher the rating, the more potential for immediate on field contribution by the player. Although, that doesn’t mean it always hold true. The lower the stars, the more time may be needed to develop the talent.

One thing unique about Dabo and his staff, they like to find those young men that fit the Clemson mold. Those young men typically show certain qualities that define the Clemson culture. Unselfishness, hard working, good football IQ, determination and loyalty to name a few.

These young men come from all over, many from smaller high school programs. Some haven’t had a lot of attention and sort of “fly under the radar,” but not this coaching staff. It’s actually kind of their forte.

There is something called the “crystal ball” that one recruiting service uses to indicate what they think is the current trend of the recruits’ leanings. These reporters speak constantly to the recruits and with the information gathered, they predict where this recruit is most likely to choose.

The recruiting process isn’t always a friendly war. Honestly, it is highly competitive and in some cases it can become very interesting. Each recruiting cycle, the staffs of major CFB programs are competing for a lot of the same recruits. Each staff sells these recruits on why they should consider their respective program, or why they shouldn’t consider others. Sometimes they can get downright nasty.

Then, after a thorough evaluation, the staff encourages the recruit to attend a school sponsored recruiting event. With their family, they get to check out the campus, the facilities and yes, the academics. I mention that because each school and conference sets a minimum admission standard that the recruits must meet. In the case of Clemson and the ACC, the standard is much higher and therefore can make it more challenging to get some players admitted.

The visit by a recruit can be either official or unofficial. The difference being the school pays for the official visits while the recruits are responsible for the cost of the unofficial visits.

The official visits are usually planned during the season to watch a home game. However, they can occur whenever the recruit wants, as long as it falls within an approved time frame. The programs, following strict NCAA guidelines, show these young men a glimpse of what it would be like to play in such an awesome a spectacle as gameday in Death Valley.

Throughout the recruitment process, the staff is in constant contact, in one way or the other, with the recruit. This helps by gauging their interest and by building a rapport with the recruit and his family.

There are defined periods where the staff can have in home visits with the recruit and their family. These are important because it gives the staff a clearer picture of the family dynamic. Its important to know whether or not the recruit, despite the talent, would be a good fit for the program

Every summer, Coach Swinney and staff have football camps, and these young men and others are invited to participate. Here, you can actually see the young man in a semi-competitive format. These camps are a perfect way for the staff to further develop and foster a more personal relationship with each recruit. Now, comes the big part, offering a scholarship.

There are only so many scholarships that a program can offer. This number is dependent on the total athletes on the roster subtracting the number of graduated and transfer players. So, the staffs have to prioritize the need at each position to determine who would be the best fit and therefore receive an offer.

As you might imagine, scholarships to an elite program like Clemson, are a rare commodity, and have become craved by players. These are extended only to those recruits the coaches deem the best fit. Note, I didn’t say the most talented but rather the best fit. This one point separates Clemson from a lot of other programs, and it seems to be working pretty well so far.

Most times, a commitment comes shortly after an offer but some recruits wait to announce their choice at a time of their choosing or one of two National Signing Days. The National Signing Days are in December and February. Once a young man signs a letter of intent, he is officially a part of the program.

After both National Signing Days, the coaching staff can take a collective sigh of relief and relax. For about 2 weeks. Then, the entire cycle begins again and really, it never ends, I guess that is why it’s called the recruiting cycle. Like an ever turning wheel, this thing called recruiting never ends,

I trust the information gathered and presented by a professed recruiting dummy was helpful. I guess if there is just one fact you need to know about recruiting it’s this. Clemson is among the best, if not THE best in both the recruitment and development of student athletes. Yes, in recruiting, like all things Clemson, “Best is the Standard.”

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