OK guys. With the Regular Season over the focus for coaching staves around the country turns to recruiting. There’s going to be rumors, visits, secret visits, accusations, pump fakes, and outright lies all over the place from here until National Signing Day. Isn’t recruiting fun?!
And, because I’m nice and I want you to be prepared for what’s to come, here’s your handy dandy primer for the next 2 months.
Welcome to Silly Season
Before you go any further, I want to plug my summer feature The Recruiting Rules. It’s a great resource for recruiting fans of all kinds — those who only check it at a signing day, or those who live and breathe recruiting 24/7/365 — and has a wealth of great information and commentary from myself and an amazing group of recruiting analysts with more than 100 combined years of experience in and around the wonderful world of recruiting. Seriously, if you haven’t read it yet, read it now. You’ll learn something, I promise. You’ll be smarter and better able to understand/follow recruiting. And you’ll thank me later.
Now, back to the lecture at hand; recruiting has turned from marathon (where relationships are built over the course of years with most top recruits) to sprint (where teams push hard for commitments and signed NLIs). Top kids have long been identified, commits have been held for months, and late bloomers are now being heavily pursued by teams that once overlooked them, for whatever reason.
As I said up top, there will be all manner of rumor, report, “sources”, and flat out lies. That’s the nature of recruiting. It’s usually not as linear an interaction as most casual (or even hardcore) recruiting fans might want, and that can be frustrating. But, there are many moving parts, for players and teams alike, so take everything you hear, see, or read with a grain of salt. And that’s coming from someone who has been around the recruiting game on multiple levels for well over a decade.
Now, what should you expect to see over the next month, or 3 months? Wait, why did I put 2 different timeframes out there? Yeah. We have a lot to discuss.
Now, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of the next 2 months. The NCAA has a recruiting calendar of various times when different levels of contact are allowed. Here’s the primer on the recruiting calendar from SBNation.
The big things are these:
- Contact period 11/25-12/15. This is the most hands-on that coaches can be on the trail. This is where Miami’s coaches (and all coaches) will be lending their time to recruiting right now. Coaches can go to schools, and player’s homes, to recruit them in person. This is huge, to be able to meet with players off-campus. This recruiting period is when you’ll really start to see movement.
- Quiet Period 12/16. Weird that it’s 1 day, I know, but this restricts off-campus visits to players by coaches. On the converse, however, players can still visit campuses and meet with coaches, and written and verbal communication (email, texts, social media messages, phone calls) are still permitted.
- Dead Period 12/17-1/10/19. The most restrictive recruiting period. While written and verbal communication is still allowed, no visits between coaches and players/families is allowed, EVEN IF THE PLAYER VISITS A SCHOOL’S CAMPUS. Recruiting movement can, and will, be seen during a dead period. Accusations of impropriety, based on the restrictive nature of the dead period, will abound. Some will be accurate. Others will not. Ah, the wonderful world of recruiting.
- EARLY SIGNING PERIOD 12/19-12/21. Implemented last year, there is now an early signing period for football. There has long been early signing periods for other sports. This is important because many players currently committed to teams will sign at this time. Last year, Miami had 19 of their 23 recruits sign their NLIs during the early period. Many schools had similar ratios. In short, this is the new “signing day”, and the majority of recruits will sign at this time. So, that gives coaches less than a month to make moves or lock things down. This is the sprint that I was talking about earlier.
- There’s another contact period from 1/11-2/2 which precedes “traditional signing day” on 2/6.
- National Signing Day (traditional) 2/6. Just like it sounds. This is the traditional signing day, and will be when players who don’t sign/announce during the early signing period hop on ESPN or Bleacher/Report or (insert outlet) to make their decisions known and sign their NLIs. Don’t overlook this date; Miami will have PLENTY of targets in play for traditional signing day this year. Some will pick Miami. Others won’t. Be ready.
What are coaches doing now?
The Contact Period — a time when coaches can have face-to-face contact with recruits — began on November 25th. It runs until December 15th. Coaches are all over the country having in-home visits with recruits and their families. This is the time when they either secure standing commitments, or work to flip commits from another school.
For a quick glance at what this looks like, here’s a tweet detailing Miami coach movement from this weekend.
Searels to Bradenton, Pcola— Island.Cane (@island_Cane) November 25, 2018
Brown to Palm Beach, then Orlando
Banda to Florida City, Lauderdale
Rumph to Palm Beach
Hartley to Lakeland, Texas
Dugans next stop Atlanta
Coaches can’t name recruits, but they CAN publicize locations/schools/cities they’re visiting. Those of us who follow recruiting closely are very quickly able to put 2 + 2 together and figure out who a coach is going to visit, but yeah, that’s what they’re doing now: visiting players and their families.
There’s an element of strategy in this, as well. Each school is only allowed to send the Head Coach to a prospective recruit’s home one time for an in-home visit. Assistants, however, can visit multiple times. So, holding that HC in-visit until the latest or right time (usually one in the same) is key.
Official Visits are back on deck, and started last weekend. Miami hosted 4-star DE Adisa Isaac, 4-star OT commit Michael Tarquin, and 3-star RB DJ Williams, a Miami legacy who averaged 11.5 yards per carry (!!!!!!!!!) as a senior and whose uncle Edgerrin James once starred for the Canes.
There were PLENTY of unofficial visitors to the game vs Pittsburgh, as well, but now players (and their parents if they so choose) will start making their way to Coral Gables for official visits.
What’s the difference between an official visit and an unofficial visit? Unofficials are paid for by the player and their parents, and are usually a “day trip” kind of thing. Officials are paid for by the school, and are multi-day excursions. That’s when you’ll see pictures from Dinner (at the Rusty Pelican) or pictures of a hotel suite (at the Sonesta Hotel) or, my favorite, the U
THE CAKE DONE GOT AN UPGRADE, Y’ALL!!!
Unlike last year, when Miami had the majority of the 2018 recruiting class already solidly locked in for months, Official Visits in December will be a mix players who are in this class already, on track to enroll early, AND uncommitted/committed elsewhere targets that Miami is working to get or flip before the early signing period. There’s a couple of players scheduled to visit this weekend, and they fit the above criteria. We’ll talk about them later in the week tho.
The biggest visit weekend, however, will be December 13th. This is the last visit weekend possible before the dead period and the early signing period, so the visits on that weekend (and this one, as well) will be very important as Miami looks to add talent to the 2019 recruiting class, which currently stands at 16 players and is ranked 24th in America. That’s fine for some schools, but that’s simply put, not good enough for Miami. And, with plenty of premium players still on the board, there’s room for improvement.
But, improvement will need to be seen, and the OV’s in December will go a long way toward making those improvements a reality.
I’ll be here a couple times a week with Recruiting Radar updates, and other recruiting-related stuff as needed.
And that, my friends, is that.
Be sure you strap up and get your minds right; recruiting is a weird place, and that’s where every team is going to be living for the next few months.
Let the silliness begin.