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National Personnel, Recruiting Symposium set for Nashville return with elite guests, panels

National football figures, reps from dozens of FBS Power 5 programs and more are expected on hand in Music City

The COVID-19 pandemic might have waylaid the burgeoning start for the national conference of one of college football’s most critical and evolving positions, but as the sport evolves at breakneck pace in unprecedented fronts, that event is making its critical return.

The 2022 Player Personnel & Recruiting Directors Symposium is scheduled for August 3-4 next month in Nashville, Tennessee, after a two-year hiatus and following the first two years of its existence in 2018-19 – the latter event of which included representatives from more than 60 Football Bowls Subdivision programs and 300-plus attendees.

“We’re excited to get this back on after a couple-year hiatus,” said Ohio State’s Mark Pantoni, an industry-wide leader and a pioneer in college football personnel departments since he joined Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes’ staff in 2012. “From Year 1 to Year 2 we had almost double the amount of attendees, and we’re hoping here three years later to double what we had from Year 2.

“With staff sizes growing, there’s a lot of young and new people out there that this will be beneficial for. I think it’s always good to get everyone in one room.”

Too, said Pantoni, it’s good to convene like-minded, if otherwise rival, people for this event during a time where training camps are traditionally opening to ever-so-briefly place recruiting in perhaps a 1B position and as the sport is changing in unprecedented manners.

“It’s changing every day,” Pantoni said. “For us to 1, I think most important thing we can do being in the trenches is helping figure out what’s best for the sport and coming up with ideas beneficial to everybody. We all share a lot of headaches, and if we can collectively come together and discuss how to maybe fix or have things be changed, I think it will be good to bounce stuff off of each other on what we’re experiencing and share frustrations.”

As in the past, this year’s symposium will include national figures from some of football’s highest levels; previous guests include Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy, current and former NFL general managers, lead NFL scouts, national media experts and additional figures.

This year also will again include multiple panels for group discussions, and Pantoni is particularly glad to see the event cast a growing light on a key demographic in personnel and especially recruiting departments throughout college football: female leaders.

“What really excites me about this is there are so many bright females in this profession,” Pantoni said, “and while they are a minority in it, they are integral and vital to help the machine run. It’s really just a chance to learn a lot from everyone.”

Expected panel topics this year are projected to focus on the NCAA Transfer Portal, Name Image & Likeness topics, evolving elements in the recruiting and personnel landscapes – including the trend of growing staff sizes in both departments – and additional topical items.

“When I look at going back 10 years when first got to Ohio State in 2012, there was only two of us full-time in the recruiting office,” Pantoni said. “Most staffs on average now have a minimum of five full-time people in personnel and recruiting, and obviously the bigger schools maybe even double that.

“There’s more of that transition to the NFL model, which as a sport we’ve kind of had running for a few years now. This is just a great chance to learn and share with others who face the same challenges day in and day out.”

For more information on the event, or to register, full details are provided here via this Web site