LSU-turned-Arizona State recruiting wizard Sherman Morris (technically his official title is assistant athletic director for recruiting) penned a guest column for Bleacher Report yesterday and, if you ever wanted to know how to become a better recruiter without so much as a click of a mouse, here’s your chance. (And, if nothing else, Morris is a much better writer than most of Bleacher Report’s “staff”.)
Recruiting is a labor of love… “If you don’t love this—recruiting and changing lives—you can’t work in today’s recruiting environment. It’s long hours, a lot of travel and a lot of sleepless nights. Ultimately, those individuals who succeed as recruiters have a purpose.”
It all starts and ends with the head man… “At the end of the day, recruiters and recruits must believe in the the vision and direction of the head football coach. A lot of guys commit to programs because of him. Prospects like assistant coaches, and assistants play an important role in recruiting, but that stability of the head coach is the key.”
You won’t win big until you secure your home state… “For us to be successful at Arizona State, we need to win here in the state of Arizona more than anything. History has taught us that ASU has won when we’ve been able to capture this state. We need the best players in the state of Arizona to play at ASU. Period.”
If you aren’t on Twitter yet, the time to start was yesterday… “To build relationships with prospects and earn their commitment, we have to be where they are. Social media is where the prospects are now. What we need to take into consideration as college football professionals is that prospects don’t view recruiting like they did 10 years ago. They aren’t worried about how many times you call them. People don’t really talk on the phone as much anymore. It’s more about text messages, tweets and video conferencing.”
Foot soldiers win wars…. “What you find in players who are successful is character, discipline, desire to get better and willingness to work. Do you want that high-profile guy? Sure. Everybody does. But the 2- or 3-stars, those are the guys who change your program. Those are the guys you need to do the most assessment work on.”
In case you’re wondering, there is no magic formula… “We discourage falling in love with the idea of a 5-star prospect—it means nothing at all. A 5-star defensive end in a 3-4 is not a 5-star defensive end in a 4-3. He’s a tackle. If he is not in the right program, how is he a 5-star? I have visited with a variety of NFL and college coaches, and I can assure you that there is no magical formula for talent evaluation.”
The SEC isn’t the best at everything…. “Our coaches are in contact with our players on a daily basis. The level of player interaction I have seen at Arizona State is even more impressive than what I saw in the SEC.”
Ultimately, by far the most important line that young coaches need to read and take to heart is this: “I don’t recruit. I help individuals change lives.” At its core, Morris’ success as a recruiter all circles back to that belief.
Read the full column here.