What was college football recruiting like a century ago? It was entirely different, and in some ways exactly the same.
Below you see a recruiting letter written Aug. 20, 1919, by Texas A&M head coach Dana X. Bible to a player named "Chicken." Right off the bat, it's interesting to see how much dialogue has changed one hundred years, though the tone remains exactly the same.
Case in point:
- "Everyone is expected to put politics, business and even their, best girl aside to report September 15th, for duty at College Station."
- "The old stars among the Alumni have promised to come back from time to time and give us systematic help. A re-birth of college spirit has come into the hearts of every A. and M. man, and I am convinced that the team that beats us will be the champion of the Southwest."
- "Let me have a letter at once stating you will report September 15th, ready to fight for victory, fair and square, hard but clean."
Actually, come to think of it, I can absolutely see Jim Harbaugh writing this exact letter today.
Now let's compare that letter with a letter from then-Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins:
While we don't know what become of the man they called "Chicken," we do know the 1919 season treated the Aggies kindly. Texas A&M finished the season undefeated and un-scored upon. The Aggies recently began claiming a national championship for that season.
As for Bible, he stayed another nine seasons in College Station, posting a 72-19-9 overall record, before leaving for Nebraska and later Texas. He compiled a 198-72-23 career mark and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.