Recruiting Tales

College football recruiting is almost its own sport. It provides excitement for fan bases, recruits and coaches across the country, and always provides great stories, not only for the recruits, but, for the coaches as well.

At the annual Arkansas State football recruiting round-up assistant coaches Dan Dodd and Trooper Taylor shared some of the craziest and funniest stories that have occurred during their years of recruiting.

‘We were in a home, just a few nights ago” said Dodd, who also serves as the Red Wolves’ recruiting coordinator. “We were grinding away and working hard, and all of the sudden we hear gun shots (ta, ta, ta, ta, ta as illustrated by Dodd.). It stopped everything for me and Coach (Blake) Anderson. The young man (we were recruiting) gets up, and walks to the door, and looks out like “oh, this stuff happens all the time.”

But, that wasn’t the only time Dodd and Anderson heard gun shots that night. A few minutes later a few more shots rang out. Dodd said it was “kind of scary”, but later added “We had a good laugh after…but, that’s what we go through all the time.”

Dodd also heard of another crazy event that happened to a coach while on the road a few years ago.

“(The coach) shows up in the morning to pick this kid up,” he said. “He calls the kid and gets no response, so he climbs over the chain link fence (at the kid’s house), and he soon finds out he is in the middle of a junk yard. So, he turns the corner and he sees two Dobermans. So, he turns back round, and hits the chain link (fence) wide open, just as the Doberman bites him in the butt.”

The coach went on to get out, and run to the car safely. When he got in the car, Dodd said his only thoughts where to lock the door so the dog couldn’t get in.

Dodd’s final story capped them all.

“This same coach is driving, and he gets pulled over, because of expired tags on a university car. So, he reaches into his wallet to show his ID, and just like the car, it is expired. They take him and the vehicle to jail. They give him one phone call, and he calls the recruit to tell him he will be late.”

Those seem tough to follow, but the comedian of the bunch, Taylor, who charmed the crowd last year, had no trouble following up Dodd’s story with a few of his own.

“(Brian) Early takes me with him to recruit.” said Taylor “I fly to Atlanta, mind you; I get up at 3 a.m. to get on a 6 a.m. flight. Once I get there, (Joe) Cauthen tells me to jump in with Brian (Early) and go see this kid whose house is 6-and-a-half hours away from Atlanta. We get to the kids house, and mamma has some Kool-Aid, that I am chomping at the bit to drink.

“She comes out, and (it looks like) she has put this Kool-Aid in a flower vase. Early and I are sitting on the couch…and Brian Early volunteers “ole Troop Doggy Dog” for some (Kool-Aid.) I get a cup, and take two little sips…the worst Kool-Aid you’ve tasted in your life, I had bitter beer face.

“It’s hard to mess up Kool aid” he said between laughs.

Trooper said he tried to play it off, and went on to ask the mom what she put in the Kool-Aid and found out she didn’t use sugar.

“Pump your brakes, who doesn’t use sugar in Kool-Aid?” said Taylor “Mamma had used a big ole can of pineapples. She took the pineapples out, and poured the pineapple juice (into the Kool-Aid) as sugar.”

The dad, who had not spoken all night, left for nearly 10 minutes, and came back with a big dusty Cowboys cup. The mom filled it up, and then “presented it to me like it was Heisman.” said Taylor. “When we finally get to the car, Early is talking about eating, and I said I could care less where we eat, as long as that place has a bathroom.”

Taylor added he would get her son back in two-a-days.

That wasn’t the only story Taylor shared. After the event was over, Taylor told me a few more stories.

“I go to this kid’s house, and I know his family really well. I pull up, and as the garage opens; I see it has been turned into a work-out facility. The kid (we were recruiting) is in there doing an icon cross and shaking, and his muscles where popping out and all of his family was out there spotting him. That was a first for me, but, I felt pretty good about his athletic ability after that.

“Another time, I had to drop a rental car off. When I got there, the rental car place kept saying they had no record of the car. The lady said “sir, you can’t leave without the car. And I said I have to leave; I gotta catch a flight, this is y'all’s car. As I was leaving, she was chasing me down, and then I remembered I dropped the car off at the wrong dealership. I rented national and dropped off at Enterprise. Thankfully, she took care of it, and got the car back to National.”

Lastly, Taylor recalled of a time when he was visiting a high school in Auburn. “I go in, I go see the principal, the coach, and then the kid. After a little bit, I go back outside and I can’t find my car. I’m putting the key in a car, and it won’t work, the car won’t unlock. I forgot I had rented a different car, but the one I was putting my keys in looked just like mine from 3 days ago. Same type of car, same color, same year model. A school bus driver finally came up and said “coach, you’re putting your key in the principal’s car, I think yours is on the end of this row. I completely forgot.”