Recruiting 101: Expansion Helping Everyone

<b>GREENSBORO, N.C.</b> – When the Atlantic Coast Conference decided to add Miami, Virginia Tech and next year Boston College, oddly enough one of the happiest coaches in the newly formed league was Wake Forest's Jim Grobe.

One might think that he might not have favored expansion because it would make coaching the Demon Deacons to a successful season, which was already very difficult, that much harder.

And while that may be true, Grobe, as well as most of the other coaches, is looking at the positive effects the additions it will have in recruiting.

"With the expansion, the ACC gets football talked up all the time and the advantage to that means that Wake Forest gets talked up a lot, too," Grobe said Monday at the Annual ACC Media Days. "What happens for us, we got a couple of Florida kids that we probably would not have gotten because if they can't go to Miami, they want to play Miami. If they can't go to Florida State, they want to play Florida State. And what that did for us was when they added Miami, it gave them two opportunities to come to Florida and play football. I think that helped us a lot.

"And with Virginia Tech, I think we got a couple kids out of Virginia that maybe we don't get if Virginia Tech's not in the league."

Such seems to be the case with all the schools. New recruiting territories have opened up that were once taboo because coaches knew they stood little to no shot in signing the prospect.

Virginia Tech, which is one of only six schools in the country to have gone to 11 straight bowl games, is a prime example of how expansion has helped its program.

"Actually, we've entered North Carolina more," Hokies head coach Frank Beamer said. "It's so close to us and we've been very, very well received by a lot of good players here. I just generally believe that the closer you recruit to your school, the better it is. "It's been our philosophy before that there was no need in coming down here because you had to ride by three or four schools to get to our place and your percentages weren't very good. So unless it was a special situation, we wouldn't come down here. But now that the location is there and you're playing schools that are close to them, I've been amazed at how well we've been received down here with some really good players."

The new schools means that Clemson will also expand its recruiting base. As of now, the Tigers only have four players from the state of Virginia.

"Boston College won't be that big of an addition because I'm not going to go way up there," Tigers head coach Tommy Bowden said. "Now, we go into Virginia a little bit and we go into Miami a little bit, but now we're going to intensify efforts and I'm sure our response will be better.

"Now if I go up there and Virginia Tech has signed three offensive linemen and there's a fourth one up there, and he says, ‘Gosh, I can come back and my parents can see me play at Virginia and they can see me play at Virginia Tech. I can go to Clemson and it's away from home, but my parents can still see me.' So, it opens up a whole new scenario with prospects and it just takes you one notch closer to Virginia and Virginia Tech up in there."

Bowden also added that he and his assistants will concentrate more on players in Broward and Dade counties, which is where Miami is located. However, it's not just the schools trying to get better that the expansion has helped. Powerhouses Miami and Florida State also benefits from the expansion.

"I think it may help us in recruiting more than maybe some of the other schools because now, when you're recruiting against the Southeastern Conference, you don't have anything to take a backseat to because I think our league is as good as any … maybe better."

That's certainly not good news for the rest of the conference.

"See the thing I like the best about Miami getting in there… Florida State and Miami, both, have always been behind the University of Florida (in recruiting)," Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden said. "It's Florida and then there's little ol' Florida State up yonder and little ol' Miami down there, but we're Florida. That's a stepbrother up yonder and a stepbrother down there, but we're Florida.

"Well now, you've got Miami and Florida State, that's two ACC teams. So now, the state of Florida is going to learn about the ACC, because it's going to be from coast to coast. Now we can double-team that other school.

"Now, the stepbrother's down in Gainesville." Regardless of what school you hate or love, it's quickly becoming obvious the schools in the SEC are going to have a harder time getting all the top talent.

As far as Beamer and the other coaches are concerned, there's a new sheriff in town.

"I think every school will benefit from this league getting stronger," he said. "There's every indication that this league is bigger and better than it has ever been. And that's where kids want to play. I've learned that the best players want to play in the best leagues." Top Stories