Anderson Gearing Up for Recruiting

It was Thursday that new Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson took the day off and took the family skiing. He remembers the event with a smile, but the days of the week are all blurs now.

"I really don't know what day of the week this is, but I do know the date," he said on Friday. "I turned the phone off yesterday and when I turned it back on last night it was like a video game going off. It was ridiculous."

The last eight days have been a whirlwind, no more like a hurricane, for the Red Wolves' new coach. He has been wrapping up things at North Carolina, where he is not part of the Tar Heels' bowl preparations, putting together a staff and doing what he can on recruiting.

"I have been in touch with all of the commitments and assured them they still have their scholarships," he said. "They all told me they are solid. I just wanted to have a chance to talk to them and get to know them. They all seem like good kids. I have seen them on film and they can all play."

Arkansas State has 14 commitments and signed two junior college transfers last week. That leaves nine spots open to complete the class.

"I wish we could count the junior college guys back (to last year's class) but I don't think we can," he said. "They will count this year. If we could find a way to count them back that would be great."

Anderson has also started recruiting the current team.

"You can't forget about those kids," he said. "I have been calling them, trying to get to know them and assuring them that the sky is not falling. The current players are important. We just can't forget about them. You can't forget about them and just go chasing recruits. You have to take care of the kids who are on campus."

He plans to return to Jonesboro this week to watch bowl preparations on campus but said he has no plans at this time to attend the practices in Mobile. The Red Wolves play Ball State in the GoDaddy Bowl on Jan. 5.

When the new staff members start arriving (on Jan. 2) they will start working toward recruiting "and we will turn them loose on the very short list we have that the school has been working with. We will roll it over very quickly. We have some guys who have done this before so we know what to do. We did it at Southern Miss and at North Carolina."

He also said he will consider some players who North Carolina had recruited but could not take because the Tar Heels filled their obligations.

"I will not recruit any guys who are committed to them," he said. "But there are some guys who were fallbacks or that we did not have a spot for that we will talk to."

While at Southern Miss, Anderson recruited the South Alabama area that has been so vital to the Red Wolves' success.

"I was down there and in the Florida panhandle. We know that area well. I also went wherever there were quarterbacks and I worked in the junior colleges in Mississippi, Texas and Kansas."

As he said his introductory press conference, the recruiting area will be a 500-mile radius of Jonesboro.

"We will also hit St. Louis and Miami and the Houston area where there are 80 schools within a 20-minute drive where you can get a lot of bang for your buck," he said.