Coaches Recap (Part 4)
Air Force - Central Florida
Air Force (Troy Calhoun): Leadership is the most vital thing we are looking for. We looked hard to find young people that we feel will become great leaders for our Air Force. We want to find guys that are going to fit in and excel here.
Interesting note - Due to the Academy appointment process, names of recruited student-athletes will not be released until they arrive on campus this summer. Air Force coaches and administrators are not allowed to comment about recruits due to the Privacy Act, therefore head football coach Troy Calhoun is not available to discuss any specifics about recruits.
Akron (Rob Ianello): We signed 23 players in this class and brought in 32 for official visits so our percentage is pretty high.
Alabama (Nick Saban): I think you guys get it just like everybody else. Is there anybody ever in college football that didn't have a good recruiting class that they didn't satisfy their needs and they didn't get somebody that's going to make an impact on the team next year? I don't want you to think I'm being glib in the way that I manage this.
Dr. Witt has always participated in our recruiting. Mal Moore always participates in our recruiting. The University community here does as fine a job as any place I've ever been or ever coached, in terms of John Dever and the academic people here contributing from an academic standpoint, as well as providing informative academic information about majors and spending their time on weekends to visit with players. That's always a significant part of what we need to do. I think the whole family and whole team here, including our fans and their support and passion that they show whether it's in support of the A-Day game, the great support that we get when we're playing on the road as well as when we play here in Bryant-Denny Stadium - all things that have a significant impact on being able to attract quality people in your organization.
(On recruiting rankings) - You guys know that I'm not really much into the ratings and really don't even know how we are rated, and really don't much care how we're rated. Every year I try to come up with some analogy to sort of put in perspective how you should rate recruiting classes. If we went out to buy a hunting dog and it was a puppy, we would buy it based on its potential, its lineage or whatever you want to call it in terms of breeding, and we would know probably when that dog grew up whether it was a good hunting dog or not. We'd never know until we put him out in the field and saw him actually go hunting, but we would buy it without knowing for sure what that result would be.
Arizona (Mike Stoops): I thought this was our best year in-state, with quality players we were able to get in-state. We wanted to get bigger and longer at a lot of positions. We wanted to longer at all positions. We wanted to gain some length.
Alabama-Birmingham (Neil Callaway): We didn't get everybody we wanted but overall I think we helped ourselves. I could live with what we got at everywhere except tight end. We got to find a tight end somewhere that we feel like can play. The other (additions) could really go anywhere (except) running back. I wouldn't want to sign another running back.
Arizona State (Dennis Erickson): This was a class that we recruited more for need, particularly junior college. As you look at our football team as it has progressed over the last three years. We've been awfully good on defense, as you can see. We're getting more athletic and faster all the time. We're a lot better offensively. As I sat back and looked at our team, where do we have to get better to compete for a Pac-10 Championship next year. We thought we need a couple junior college offensive linemen, which we did in this class. We need continue to improve our speed and skill at the wide receiver spot and at running back. The class has a lot of depth in it. We probably have more offensive guys than we have recruited in a while. That was our plan coming in, to build the defense and go from there. We fulfilled what we wanted to.
Arkansas (Bobby Petrino): First and foremost what we were looking for was some defensive linemen. They are always the hardest guys to find, they are very, very important in this (SEC) Conference. You have to be able to have big physical defensive lineman that help you stop the run and can put pressure on the quarterback. That was an area that we worked hard at, I thought we identified guys that could really help us there and then we closed very strongly in the defensive front.
When we go out and recruit, we basically look at three areas. Number one is character, attitude and intelligence. Those three things are very important to us and one of the things that we really value is how those three things add up in every guy we recruit.
The second area is what we call the measureables - their physical size, strength, speed and agility. That is something that we look into - whether they are the size that we want, whether they are the height that we want, the weight that we want, the length that we want, the speed that we want.
Then the third part is basically their football skill, football instinct and athletic intuition - how do they play the game. Those are the three areas that we look at.
Arkansas State (Steve Roberts): Didn't find any exciting quotes
Army (Rich Ellerson): There are opportunities all over the country. We're drawing bull's eyes on different regions. We've found that when we do a great job of telling our story and when we bring young men on post and they're experiencing the message that our football team and the Academy has, we're winning some of these recruiting duels on the right guys. We're not winning them all, and we shouldn't. But we're finding that even against other service academies where we have had a challenge, we're winning our share. We're not running the table, but we're winning our share and that bodes well for the future.
Football evaluations are the trickiest thing in the world because your're talking to young men and projecting them out physically a couple of years and for the vast majority of them that leaves a lot of question marks out there. But we're finding some young men that are exactly the right guys for the Academy. They'll develop physically and mature into players at some position. So it's going to be a great adventure as we go forward.
It's probably not quite as dramatic as it is some places because we're on signatories to the National Letter, but an awful lot of guys have that date as ‘zero hour.' They're going to sign something, even if it's just a certificate from us stating that they're going to attend West Point and we're glad to have them; but we can't release that. They can certainly release it. The young men can talk to the media and talk about their intentions. We're just not allowed to comment on it. But because the rest of the college football world is centering around that date, our guys do as well. Most of those decisions have been made well ahead of time, but there's still a sense of ceremony, still a sense of celebration at that moment.
Auburn (Gene Chizik): I've said this so many times, but it's not about getting the best player. We obviously want the best player, but he also has to be the right player. I think our coaches did a great job and we did a great job of evaluating not only talent, but the mark of a man that we wanted to bring in to represent this university, our football program and the Auburn Family.
One of the cool things about this class is that as the commitments were built behind the scenes. They stayed in touch with each other. A lot of them played in all-star games together and came on visits together. There was an uncommon bond between our guys. It seems like so many guys in this class have already played together for a year. They talk to each other and text each other. There is a cool line of communication in there that they've had and it's made it special. It was a fun class to recruit. They were a lot of fun from top to bottom with these guys and their families and I think that goes back to relationships.
Ball State (Stan Parrish): When you get a good quarterback, he's the centerpiece in that class. We're going to have tremendous competition and depth at that position that we didn't have last fall.
Baylor (Art Briles): We always start up front, that will never change. Defensively those guys are hard to find. You fight and scratch and you find guys that fit what you are looking for and we were able to do that. We were looking for guys that play with a fast motor and have the desire and ability to have what it takes to play in the Big 12 South.
Last year's recruiting class was kind of about the offensive line and the receivers. This year the strength of the class is definitely the defense. Top to bottom this is a class that really fills a lot of needs for us.
(On recruiting rankings) What it says is that we have a staff that understands recruiting, relationships and perception, which is vital in the recruiting world. We also have a staff that knows how to evaluate talent or lack thereof. What our University is doing and what we are in the process of doing is altering images and our image to the public and how the public perceives Baylor as a football program in the Big 12 South. As that image improves, which it is, it is only going to keep getting better.
Boise State (Chris Petersen): One of the best things about our coaching staff is the recruiting job they do. I don't necessarily mean getting guys to come to Boise State. I mean finding the guys that are the right guys for us.
Boston College (Frank Spaziani): Didn't find any exciting quotes
Bowling Green (Dave Clawson): We don't oversign. We wanted to recruit within a 5 hour drive of campus. 23 of 25 are within 5 hours from here. 21 of the 25 are captains on their high school teams. That didn't happen by accident. We wanted leadership.
BYU (Bronco Mendenhall): This was the first year in my coaching experience where the players maybe became more effective recruiters than the coaches. They aren't bound to NCAA rules and there's a lot of social networking that goes on between high school recruits with Twitter, Facebook, texting and the internet. We had recruits who had committed calling us about another young man they were in a camp with. They'd already talked to them about BYU and told them about our standards, and they had interest. The players became some of our most effective recruiters.
I do have a very succinct and long-running policy. When I present a scholarship to a young man in my office and in writing in front of a young man and his parents, I make it very clear. Please do not commit or accept this offer unless you don't want to be recruited anymore. Even if the Pittsburgh Steelers come after you, you will tell them, 'I'm not interested. I'm committed to BYU.
That's line for line, verbatim. I tell the young man, 'If you are not willing to commit under those terms, please don't tell me you're coming.' Sometimes the recruiting world views a verbal commitment like it's a game. I focus on the commitment part, not the verbal part. Parents get caught up in the idea that a verbal is not a commitment, when I told them very specifically at BYU, a commitment is commitment, no matter how it comes to me.
Buffalo (Jeff Quinn): As a group, this is a highly-competitive and physical group of athletes, and equally important, have been part of winning cultures throughout their football experiences. Five of our signees won multiple state championships during their high school careers and that is so essential to continuing to cultivate a championship expectation here at UB.
I called every single man that I knew was committed to the previous staff and I knew were guys that I wanted to secure a commitment [from] on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It paid off. We're certainly excited about these young men.
CAL (Jeff Tedford): (On how accurate he feels the recruit services' ratings are compared to his evaluations) - Some are and some aren't. Some of these receivers, like Kaelin Clay and Terrance Montgomery. I don't know if anybody ever watched them on tape because if you watch them on tape I don't see how in the world you could say that they were a two-star at some point. For Trajuan Briggs, I think, a three-star, maybe it was because he didn't play his senior year because he was injured, but you watch him on tape and he's as good as any back in the country.
Every year you go in thinking it's a great class. I would have to tell you, though, this class to me is one that from top to bottom is as solid as any class we've ever had here.
Central Florida (George O'Leary): We finished our recruiting class with 23 athletes mostly from the state of Florida. We had 16 from Florida, five from Georgia and two from South Carolina.
We've always been down in [South Florida]. I think good news traveled and people have had exposure to UCF on television, coming on campus for visits, coming to home games to see the facilities and what UCF has to offer. It really sold itself because kids didn't know it was up here. I think the only thing we're lacking is tradition, only playing Division I football since 1996. Now alumni are spreading enough and the more you travel the more you see more UCF merchandise. I think it's not hard to have this place just take off and really dominate areas because of the size of the school.
I'm disappointed we didn't approve the early signing period. That's something that is needed and has to get done because there are over a thousand kids that we're verbaled before the month of December and we're still spending the same amount of money for six weeks recruiting these kids even though they've been verbaled elsewhere. That sends a bad message I think. The early signing period approval could have saved us a lot of money.