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How hosting the HS state title game changes recruiting

Starting in 2013, Northern Illinois will host the state football championship games every other year, and head coach Dave Doeren is excited about having NIU as the final football destination for every high school program in the state.

"For us, our mission is to go to Detroit. So now, you're going to have high schools talking about, 'we want to be in DeKalb [Thanksgiving weekend],' It's going to be a conversation piece for all these championship level programs, for the goal of their season will be to end up here."

That type of buzz and excitement will end up helping the Huskies once Doeren and his assistants get the communities and players on campus.

"Their parents are going to have a lot of dead time while their sons are doing what they do, and they'll come in our building and check it out, and they'll see all the things going on as well. They'll be in there. So now, when we reach out to recruit that student athlete, it's not going to be, 'we haven't been up here in 15 years.' Mom and dad are going to be the ones talking to their son about how great the place was when they were here."

Doeren has plenty of first hand experience on the scenario since serving as an assistant on staff up at Wisconsin, where the state title game has been played at Camp Randall each season since the early 80's.

"Thousands of conversations that 'yeah, coach we were here in the playoffs, or we were here in the whatever.' You'd watch their film and you'd see the W on the field and be like 'hey, this kid played in the playoffs,' and it was just, our home field was their destination. You can bring a kid in your office, and they look out the window 'I remember being out there, we beat so and so.' "

However, hosting the state title games also has its complexities as well. For example, if the staff watches a player during the state title game on campus, it is counted as an official evaluation. So the questions becomes whether they should watch a player earlier in the year, or wait and see if they have a chance to see them on campus in the state championship game.

As Doeren explains, "There's going to be a lot of, really, looking at who you think might make it during the year. Should we go see them in September when they're probably going to be here in November?...You'll have to be smart about who you go see"