How nutty are you?

Are you a recruiting nut? Are you hooked to the recruiting process like me? There's lots of us out there and it's the ONLY good addiction!

There are three seasons to college football - the regular season, spring football and recruiting.  We all know how big the first two are and recruiting is becoming bigger and bigger from a fan perspective each and every year.  Recruiting is the lifeblood of all college programs and these passionate fans want to know who's coming to their schools.  Recruiting coverage is big, very big.

For me, it started in the early 1990s.  I was living at the time in St. Petersburg, Florida and one season two great linebacker emerged from the state of Florida – Marvin Jones and LaTiff Travis.  Jones went on the Florida State and Travis signed with the Gators, although he never made it to campus because he failed to qualify.  But I was hooked.

I was always a big NFL draft guy.  Growing up in the Tampa/ St. Pete area I was a die-hard Tampa Bay Bucs fans.  We had season tickets since the birth of the Bucs in 1976.  They showed some signs of life in '79 and a few other good years but as a fan, all I had to look forward to was the NFL Draft every April.  For me, the draft provided hope as a Tampa Bay fan.

Just like recruiting.  Recruiting provides a sense of hope to fans who have a favorite team that may be struggling as it replenishes the football program.  Recruiting for other fans is way a team just re-loads as their program is a consistent football power.

I got hooked unconditionally back in 1992 when I moved to Atlanta and began my work on SportSouth's Countdown to Signing Day.  That first season as I was a production assistant on the weekly recruiting show, a first of its kind.  It was love at first sight.  I got sucked in like everyone else.  Following recruiting was like a drug for me and I quickly became an addict. 

In 1996 I started my own service, Border Wars.  My wife thought I was crazy.  She knew the success of the TV show but never imagined I could make a full-time job of just covering recruiting.  I knew the demographic because I was part of that demographic.  I was a recruiting junkie.  A year later, I quit my full-time job with Fox Sports to be a full-time recruiting analyst covering the South, doing the show, a magazine, web-site and 900-line.  The rest is his history.

Over the years, recruiting has become more popular each and every season.  It's almost a sport within the sport of college football, especially with the daily coverage you can find with the Internet.  And for the fans, the Internet and recruiting are a perfect marriage for each other.

Back in 1998, I sold BorderWars, Inc. to the now defunct Rivals Networks.  In 2001, before that company filed for bankruptcy, hit close to 2 million page views on Signing Day alone.  Recruiting is big and getting bigger.

As we approach 2004, more fans than ever are following the recruiting process for their favorite teams.  Florida obviously has a huge fan base and Gator fans are at a all-time high as recruiting fans.  A lets face it, there is no better passion in sports than what see in college football, especially in the South.  And these fans that follow recruiting for their beloved programs are the most passionate of all.

As continues to grow, the fans get more and more excited when it comes to recruiting.  And they have a lot to be excited about with Ron Zook at the helm of the University of Florida football program.  Zook and his staff are some of the best recruiters in the business and last season they reeled in the nation's No. 3 rated last season.

So who are some of the biggest recruiting nuts and junkies on and why?  I asked that question and we got a lot of great responses.

  • The reason why I am a big recruiting nut is that I am 16 years old and I have been following UF recruiting passionately for more that 6 years now. I am proud to say that I know more about recruiting than anyone my age. From the day after the FSU game till signing day I live for recruiting. At my school (Jesuit High School) I wait around the football locker room just to see if any coaches will show up. I can name every player the Gators have signed with Florida since I was 10 years old, my father trained me well. To top it off I pay for membership for with own money, for the best recruiting info! cruzgator
  • Florida recruiting is more important than ever.  In order to stay at the top of the SEC and compete at the national level, you have to get the best players.  I really feel that our former coach let us down in that respect.  I can't help but be passionate and excited about what Florida has to offer, not only athletically but academically as well.  All we have needed was someone as our ambassador to sell this institution nationwide in order to attract the best players, Ron Zook is the man to do it.  I think I am also excited because there are a lot of nay-sayers who don't think our coach can get the job done.  I figure with every top notch commitment, we are one player closer to proving them wrong, and more importantly, establish ourselves back at the top nationally where we belong. And we both know that with each commitment, that could be the one that gets the ball rolling and leads to another highly ranked class. Tommy 
  • I'll tell you why I'm a Gator recruiting nut.  There is nothing better to get the blood boiling than knowing that you are battling top schools for high school kids that will bring you a national championship.  Then of course, there is the in state bragging rights in recruiting.  How could you not get excited about recruiting?  Just thinking about those young men who will join the team getting on the field and making a difference.....that's a good feeling.  Recruiting also gauges the prestige of your program as well to me.  And seeing that you sign a top 5 class really gets me going.  But I'm basically a recruiting nut because I'm greedy and want all the best players in the country on my beloved Gator squad. Jamie S.
  • Hi, my name is Jay4Gators and I am an addict.  For me "It" all started a couple of years ago.  At first, I was very embarrassed.  Sneaking around in the wee hours of the night or first thing in the morning when everyone was sleeping. I had urges and desires and no matter how much I had it wasn't enough to satisfy my hunger.  Sure it felt like I was standing on some street corner at times trying to find my next fix but I couldn't go without "It". It was all about that high, I use to go three to four days at a time without coming down, especially around the first week in February!  The road to recovery comes from within, I can see that now. "It" has sucked  me in.  I am a full blown 100% addict that is in as deep as one could possible imagine.  I have been trying to learn to harness "It", but once your in its grasp your quickly consumed by the madness.  I cant get my computer to refresh fast enough to give me what I need, what I want, and what I must have to satisfy my illness.  The day after signing day "It" all comes crashing down!
  •   Am I am recruiting nut?  I hope not, but I fear I am.  I have followed college recruiting very closely for the past 14 years (since 1989).  With my wife and I having two girls ( 2 1/2 & 1), now I focus mostly on the prospects UF is recruiting.  Heck, our first girl was born on Feb. 2nd 2001 right before National Signing Day!  I wanted to call her Allie Gaster (like Alligator), but my oldest brother already took that name for one of his girls.  Florida Gaster was a little over the top and my wife would not accept that name.  However, I did have her OK on Flabber if we had a boy! 

There are two (2) main reasons I love to follow college football recruiting:

It is the lifeblood of the program for all college teams.

UF has so much to offer, I want to learn more about the guys we are looking at.  That starts when we begin recruiting them.It seems to me that all teams win on signing day.  I am not a believer in the "we lost that guy" or "we beat your team for this guy" yndromes. I simply believe that all of the schools have great products to sell.  Everyone wins on National Signing Day.  However, our product at U.F. is better!  I want to follow the process of our annual recruiting class from start to completion, not just the aftermath of the process.  The recruiting process is really a "post in the road" that all college football teams continually struggle with: every day, every week, every month...  So I have an unquenchable thirst to learn more about the prospects in our pipeline.  Jim G.

  • I am a certified Recruiting Nut just to send this e-mail . I am a Corporate time stealing weazel, on the computer day and night refreshing the latest news and updates.  The rumors, the smack, the lies from opponents post make my day. Signing Day is better than Christmas. You get the presents but not the bills. My favorite all time recruiting moment is when Jeff Bowden said they were Zookified.  BocaGtr66
  • Being passionate about Florida recruiting is more than the just being "psyched" about the incoming talent into the University of Florida. It is all about wanting the best possible young men and women to represent the finest University in the nation. As a current UF student, I want the entire nation to see what this University has to offer and the most conveinient manner of doing so is on national TV wearing the Orange and Blue. When those young men or women run out onto the hard wood or out onto the field, it sends tingles down every Gators' spine, but it should also show the Nation that this University is second to none. Recruiting the best athletes promotes and maintains the level of excellence that the University of Florida has shown for 150 years. Bringing home national titles, having Gators named to All-American teams, and winning personal awards proves that the athletic department is an extension of prominence and prestige that represents the University of Florida. It is vital to me and Gator fans alike tha these trends do not stop or become diminished. Therefore, recruiting must never become something taken for granted for it is the source of the pride this University exemplifies  Mattyboy88
  •   I am UF's biggest recruiting Nut... There is no doubt about it, I am the Gators biggest recruiting nut... I'm on alert all season long when it comes to recruiting. I love updates on prospects that the gators are in on and I usually check other boards of rival fans if they are in on the same prospects to see if they have anything updated on them. Recruiting season for me can be very up and down. I know how much these recruits mean to the University of Florida's football team and to their future. Therefore I take it hard when UF loses a recruit to another school. I order anything from different gator recruiting sites, to different recruiting videos. I can't seem to stay away from the computer during this time of the year. I usually check updates on recruits and visit Gators Growl board early when I wake up, all day at work, when I get home for work, and once before a go to bed.... That's usually an everyday thing for a recruiting nut like myself. I wish I had time to write more Jamie, but I gotta check the boards out to see if any new updates or any new info is up on recruiting... :)     Justin R.
  •   Well, I can't really say that I am the biggest nut because I am not sure how much everyone else out there follows recruiting. I know the Gator nation has been enamored with the recruiting process and has become even more so since the arrival of Coach Zook. All I can tell you is that I check out the recruiting sites somewhere between 5 and 10 times a day. It has gotten to the point of pitiful now because I check on the recruiting more often than I check on the current players. It has now turned into a family affair for me as me and my brother (23 senior at UF) talk everyday about UFs prospects and about recruiting in general, We have both subscribed to several different services so that we can stay as informed as humanly possible (without doing what you do!). We also have a couple of Noles in our family (they married in and we couldn't stop them) and so I have to check in with those guys a couple times a week to compare possible classes and to talk a little bit of trash about who's guys are going to be stars and who's are going to be duds, It is a passion and I really can't remember what I did with my time (I guess I played even more golf) before I got this into recruiting (about 4 years ago). I think my law school professors would be displeased if they knew that I was scanning recruiting info while they were giving their "scholarly lectures." In the last two years it has resorted to the point of me calling friends who live in different places to find out about different local recruits and how they stand. Point being, the only time of year that I get more excited about than football season is recruiting season (and recruiting season isn't very far behind). Take it easy and keep up the good work. You are keeping us junkies going and we appreciate it more than you know. Thanks a lot.  Fred

Thanks for the response guys.  I know there is a lot of recruiting nuts out there. Just remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!   I hope you enjoyed the article and continue to enjoy the coverage by and

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