"Recruiting is going exceptionally well," Berry said Thursday night on his weekly radio show. "This staff and our players have worked hard to make sure that we're recruiting the right guys. When they come on campus, they're given a good look at what the university is all about."
Recruiting is a part of every working day for ULM coaches, even during the season. Berry said time is dedicated daily to call high school coaches, secure high school transcripts, watch tape on recruits and to write personal letters.
"We have time blocked off that's just about recruiting," Berry said, "because if you don't do it then it's very difficult to get done. Then every night, we call recruits. So once we finish all our preparation for our upcoming opponent, then in the evenings we're on the phone with recruits."
Under Berry, ULM is focusing on more than athletic excellence when evaluating recruits.
"The first thing is to see if they're academically qualified – not just from an NCAA standpoint but if they actually want to go to college and get a degree," Berry said. "There's such a fallacy that you can't do both. That you can't be a great football player and be a great student."
Berry said when he was coaching at Illinois State, his team not only had the best record in school history but also broke the GPA record there for the football team.
"You can do both, but you've got to recruit the right people that want to get a degree," Berry said. "The second thing is character. I feel strongly about the chemistry of our football team. The young people that we bring in, I want them to fit in with the great group of young people we already have."
After those questions are answered Berry said, "Now you ask, can the guy play?" Berry recalls a time when players made their official visits in November and December and made their decisions in February. Not anymore.
"Nowadays as you look around the country, we've certainly got a lot of verbal commitments already," Berry said. "A lot of universities are getting close to being full with their verbal commitments. Things are speeding up, so consequently we have to have some official visits when the young person and parents both come in."
Pulling off a good recruiting weekend isn't easy when the focus must also be on the game itself. ULM plays host to four-time defending champion Troy on Saturday with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Malone Stadium.
"We've got some official visits and a lot of unofficials coming in also," Berry said. "It's great for them to have the opportunity to see the university, to see a game, to take all that in and watch our team prepare. They can do some things with our team because it's an official visit. It gives them a unique official visit."
Warhawk Nation has confirmed nine commitments, including the most recent from cornerback Allen Tatum of Warren (Ark.) High School. The first commitment to the class was from Texas prep quarterback Earnest Carrington on May 30.
"We're hopeful that by December we'll be full," Berry said. "That's a little abnormal, but that's the process we're going through right now."