First-year Syracuse running backs coach Mike Hart took the podium recently for the first time this year since arriving from Western Michigan, where he spent the past two seasons as a part of PJ Fleck’s staff.
About halfway through the interview, Hart was asked about what he learned from coach Fleck, who is widely regarded as one of the most respected recruiters in college football, during his time rebuilding the program into a MAC contender in Kalamazoo.
“PJ taught me a lot of stuff,” Hart responded. “PJ taught me a lot about just how to get to know kids, and the questions to ask, and to make sure guys are right for your program. That’s one thing here is that we’ve got to get guys that are right for our program. The biggest thing right now that we need to get is guys that want to be at Syracuse, that are ready for the challenge that we have before us, that love football. As long as we get guys here that love football, we’re going to do a tremendous job.”
Hart was then asked to expand on those questions he learned to ask while working with Fleck.
“One of those questions is does the guy love football? Everyone does a good job with the recruiting sites and articles and all those things, but all kids don’t love football. A lot of kids love attention. They like the attention more than they actually like football.”
“So, with work ethic questions like, ‘Does a guy love the weight room? Is the guy a leader? Is the guy always at workouts? Is he in front? What is everyone else saying about him? What are the teachers saying about him?’ Because those are the types of guys that we need, especially because of the academic institution that we have here, we need guys that can do the work.”
“You get those guys by doing your due diligence. By giving them more than one phone call. ‘You don’t just marry your wife’ is something that I like to tell recruits. Everyone wants a ring, but at the end of the day you want to be married. We have to make sure that guys want to be married here and want to be in it for the long haul.”
Hear more from Hart below.