Friday, February 3, 2012

Finding the lesser-known recruit ...

When I interviewed college coaches for my book Beyond Friday Nights: College Football Recruiting for Players and Parents, I asked if there any schools to which other coaches pay more attention when it comes to recruiting. In other words, do the coaching staffs at some schools have a reputation, among other college coaches, for finding and developing diamonds in the rough among lesser-known high school football players?

TCU is one of the schools known for that ability, I learned. There's quite a bit of evidence to support that belief, too. TCU football teams have performed at top-tier levels in recent years, but without top-tier recruiting classes, at least as based on such annual rankings by Rivals, Scout, ESPN, and others (if you believe in those things) on every signing day.

After signing day this year, which was only a few days ago, TCU's recruiting class was ranked No. 36 by Rivals and No. 24 by ESPN. So it will be interesting to see perhaps three, four, or five years from now how high TCU will be ranked for performance on the field at the end of the football season.

But what are the implications of all of this if you are a high school football player who hope to play in college? For one thing, it means that if TCU or another school with the same type of reputation for identifying potential among lesser-known high school players becomes interested in you, there's a good chance that other schools will begin looking more closely at you too.

But there's a bit of a downside, too. Too avoid bringing a below-the-radar recruit to the attention of other schools, sometimes a school (not necessarily TCU, I should point out) delays offering a scholarship to that guy. In other words, the school wants to keep its recruits "hidden" for awhile, rather than attracting attention from other schools that might want to recruit a player and convince him to sign elsewhere. That can lead to some anxious weeks or months for the recruit, who wonders why a school showing such strong interest in him won't pull the trigger and offer him a scholarship.

Thoughts and comments welcome below ...

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