One aspect of Randy Ross' responsibilities is his work as On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator, but the various assistant coaches assigned to specific recruiting areas are the ones that interact with the players.
As Ross put it, "A lot of people think the Recruiting Coordinator is up there saying ‘We're going to take this one. We're not going to take this one.' But that's not the way it works."
Recruiting has always been the lifeblood of college sports, but for a long time fans really didn't follow it that closely. That has changed in recent years, with numerous recruiting outlets providing countless updates to fans.
Continuous reading of the various stories make it seem that each school offers hundreds of prospects. In fact most big-time programs are relatively conservative with their offers, including Alabama.
"The decision on who will be offered is a total staff deal," Ross explained. "Usually the offense will look at prospects to play on their side of the ball. The defense will look at theirs. It's a staff decision.
"Of course Coach Shula will have the final say on all offers. But it's a cooperative effort, involving everyone's evaluations."
And when it comes to evaluating prospects, actually meeting the athlete in person and (if possible) watching him perform is essential.
That's one reason why assistant coaches are relatively well paid. Aside from their duties actually coaching the team, they log more road time than the average computer software salesman.
"Each coach will rate the kids in his area or his position," Ross said. "We'll rate them by offense or by defense. The coaches give me a list of priorities. I coordinate the recruiting, helping to schedule travel."
Of course with talented recruits spread across the Southeast (and the nation), organization is key. When it comes to in-person visits the staff carves up the various state maps, assuming responsibility for specific territories.
That process obviously allows the staff to take advantage of contacts a given coach would have in certain areas. Plus, it's key in providing extra time to develop personal relationships with the various high school coaches in the territory.
The division process isn't necessarily complicated, but communication is key. "We spend a good amount of time dividing the recruiting territories up," Ross explained. "You go around the table getting input. ‘Who has the best contacts in Nashville? Atlanta? Etc."
NOTE: Although Joe Kines played a key role this past spring while Mike Shula was completing the staff, normally the offensive and defensive coordinator are not on the road nearly as much as the other assistants and are not assigned specific recruiting territories.
Territory Assignments:Buddy Wyatt
Northeast Florida, to include the cities of Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Daytona Beach. Southern Mississippi, including Natchez, Hattiesburg and the Gulf Coast. Lower Southwest Alabama, including Butler, Grove Hill, Camden, Monroeville, Mobile and Bay Minette. Wyatt will also recruit the cities of Houston and New Orleans.
Wyatt has ties to Texas, most recently coaching at Texas A&M.
Southeast Florida, to include the cities of Fort Pierce, West Palm Beach Fort Lauderdale and Miami. West Central Georgia, including Atlanta, Douglasville, Carrollton, Newnan, Greenville, LaGrange, Barneville and Thomaston. East Central Alabama, including Prattville, Hayneville, Wetumpka, Montgomery, Tuskegee, Union Springs, Phenix City, Opelika and Clayton.
Randolph has extensive ties in Georgia, especially in the Atlanta area.
East Central Florida, to include the cities of Gainesville, Ocala, Orlando, Kissemmee and Titusville. Middle Tennessee, including Nashville, Lebanon, Fayetteville, Clarksville and Waynesboro. North Alabama, including Guntersville, Decatur, Moulton, Russellville, Fort Payne, Florence and Huntsville.
The Florida Panhandle, to include the cities of Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee. South Georgia, including Macon, Columbus, Warner Robbins, Valdosta, Albany, Bainbridge, Waycross and Brunswick. Lower Southeast Alabama, including Greenville, Evergreen, Brewton, Luverne, Andulusia, Elba, Troy, Geneva, Ozark, Abbeville and Dothan. Connelly will also recruit the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas.
Connelly is a native of Texas.
West Coast of Florida, south of the Panhandle, to include the cities of St. Petersburg, Tampa, Cedar Key, Spring Hill, Bradenton, Sarasota, Naples and Fort Myers. North Georgia, including Marietta, Buchanan, Canton, Cumming, Gainesville, Athens, Lexington, Washington, Rome and Dalton. Northeast Central Alabama, including Oneonta, Ashville, Columbiana, Clanton, Rockford, Lafayette, Dadeville, Talledega, Wedowee, Ashland, Anniston, Heflin, Gadsden and Centre.
East Tennessee, to include the cities of Knoxville, Chattanooga and Johnson City. West Tennessee, to include Jackson, Union City, Huntington, Dyersburg and Memphis. Northern and Central Mississippi, including Vicksburg, Jackson, Meridian, Greenville, Columbus, Oxford and Corinth. West Central Alabama, including Tuscaloosa, Reform, Aliceville, Eutaw, Greensboro, Livingston, Linden, Marion, Selma and Centreville. Woods will also recruit the states of South Carolina and Kentucky.
Woods is a native of Tennessee. He was head coach at South Carolina. Most recently he coached at Mississippi State.
East Central Georgia, to include the cities of Lawrenceville, Decatur, Jonesboro, Fayetteville, Augusta, Savannah and Statesboro. Northwest Central Alabama, including Cullman, Birmingham, Bessemer, Jasper, Double Springs, Hamilton, Vernon and Fayette. Harbison will also recruit North Carolina.
Harbison is a native of North Carolina.
For targeted athletes living in the rest of the country, they will be assigned according to the athlete's position.