And… they’re off!

No, this isn’t a post about the Kentucky Derby.  It’s about how coaches are already laying plans for opening the doors to recruits on June 1st.

With the pandemic winding down and COVID-19 vaccinations on the rise, the NCAA announced earlier this month a highly anticipated return to the normal recruiting calendar: Beginning on June 1 and running through the 27th, FBS programs will be allowed to host official and unofficial visitors on campuses for the first time since the NCAA enacted a dead period last March — ending a 445-day stretch in which coaches and recruits made eye contact on Zoom and FaceTime or not at all.

“The virtual thing showed us that there are a lot of different avenues and means to being able to recruit,” said Maryland coach Mike Locksley. “But there’s still no substitution for that face-to-face, personality, get a feel for people and who they are.”

On the heels of this unprecedented span, June promises to be unlike any period in the history of major-college recruiting. With thousands of prospects flocking onto campuses across nearly four open weeks and coaches now able to conduct workouts with unofficial visitors, the month will shock the FBS back into an established rhythm.

While teams have spent months preparing for the resumption of normal recruiting activities, the expected flood of visitors has the potential to strain the resources and manpower of every program.

Every program?  Color me skeptical about that.  Nick Saban’s had three interns working on this since the COVID lockdown was announced last year.  Kirby sent Josh Brooks a recruiting budget request that Brooks approved without looking at it.

Florida’s in good shape, too, but that’s because the Portal Master™ has transitioned to a higher plane of recruiting.

“The recruiting aspect, I don’t have to be at my desk to do it,” Mullen said. “Wherever you have a phone and you can text kids or you can FaceTime kids, and you’re calling and doing all of that part on the recruiting side of things, it’s not that big of a deal.”

Humor aside, this next month is going to present a challenge for every program.

But it’s on June 1 that the floodgates will open, with a stream of committed and uncommitted prospects arriving on FBS campuses just as coaches juggle the two biggest topics in roster management: the explosive popularity of the transfer portal and the uncertain number of scholarships available in 2022, when programs are expected to be required to return to the standard 85-scholarship limit after the NCAA granted a one-year respite to accommodate seniors who accepted another year of eligibility.

The matter of scholarship allotment moving forward looms over the entire landscape of football recruiting and has already led several big-name programs to adopt different tactics to remain flexible in the face of uncertainty.

It’s not just getting to do talent evaluations in the flesh that will count.  It’s figuring out how to construct a program’s roster after the evaluations that’s going to be critical.   My money’s on the coaches who have already proven themselves to be masters at roster management.  Gee, I wonder who they are?


Filed under Recruiting

10 responses to “And… they’re off!

  1. J.R. Clark

    Mullen is flat out admitting he’s doing all that recruiting from Lake Oconee.

    Liked by 3 people

    • spur21

      You beat me to the punch. Mullen probably came out better when in person visits were curtailed as recruits didn’t get an opportunity to see first hand what a clown he really is. With on campus visits back I suspect his recruiting success will actually go down.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Down Island Way

      Have transport port-o-let master will travel….


    • Biggen

      I heard Mullen on XM Channel 84 (ESPNU) yesterday calling in from the golf course. Warms the cockles of my heart.

      I’m not saying that Kirby doesn’t take time off, but I don’t ever recall him phoning in from a golf course or lake house or whatever. Kirby always seems “on point” when he does a phone/radio/tv interview. It always seems he takes time out of his day to fit it in. Mullen on the other hand has to take time out of his leisure activities in order to do the same…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. SoCalDawg

    Great topic. Super important. Hadn’t thought about it that much. Yes, very glad we have a roster master at the helm. I really hope the NCAA comes up with a plan over 4 years to phase down rosters after the covid year exemptions instead of jump back to 85 after just one year. But I’m not holding my breath.


  3. Munsoning

    Mullen is one sneaky dude. He’s Facetiming croots, as J.R. Clark said above, with Lake Oconee at his back, hoping they’ll think it’s in Hogtown. Hell, he’s probably telling croots with a Clemson offer that Florida has a lake, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    Scuse me being snide and profane, but Saban’s ten thousand person staff has been ‘blow job testing’ coeds all during the lock down. The winners are tanned, siliconed, rested, and ready for when the doors open again.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. TN Dawg

    The Roster Master had us playing a walk-on at quarterback for half the season.