The in-person recruiting process is essentially dead until further notice. Actually, scratch that — it is actually dead, in the NCAA’s terms, until at least July 31. And even if recruiting returns to normal beginning Aug. 1 (a prospect that seems unlikely as we sit here in mid-June), by that point programs will be in the full swing of preparing for the upcoming season.
Perhaps there would be time in the day to host the players already being recruited by a given school, but it leaves zero chance to attract and evaluate the next crop of recruits through the most popular, effective means: camps.
Camps are a crucial part of the process, as coaching staffs get to evaluate a prospect in the flesh — to see his demeanor in a competitive environment, to look him in the eyes, to see him with the ball in his hands, and to verify his measurements.
With the camp season shut down for 2020, one program has come up with a creative solution.
Penn State has produced a 38-minute video with detailed instruction for prospects and their high school coaches to take accurate measurements of his height, weight, hand, arm, wingspan, bench press, broad jump, triple broad jump, 40-yard dash, pro agility, and flexibility.
“The best way for college coaches to evaluate prospective student-athletes is to see them perform live and in-person, but often times this is not an option,” Penn State’s Virtual Combine landing page reads. “Our goal here is to provide prospects with detailed instructions on how to best showcase their talents to college coaches when in-person evaluation opportunities are not available. In this instructional packet and accompanying videos, we demonstrate how prospects and high school / junior college coaches can work together to properly film prospects performing measurements, testing and drills that college coaches value in the evaluation process.”
Penn State even created a Twitter account specifically for its 2020 Virtual Combine.
As you’ll see, the level of detail explaining how to properly film and mark each measurement is extremely precise, but it has to be when an eighth of an inch of distance between the tip of the pinky and the thumb, or 0.1 second on a 40-yard dash can be the difference in whether Penn State recruits an athlete or not.
For instance, Penn State’s director of performance enhancement Dwight Galt III even instructs coaches/parents which finger they should use to clock their prospect’s 40-yard dash (it’s the index finger, not the thumb).
This is an excellent public service not only for its own coaches and recruits, but for every coach and prospect that’s been knocked sideways by the pandemic.