One-on-One Part 3: Evaluating Recruits

GSN interviewed Michigan State tight ends and recruiting coordinator Mark Staten who gave a look into how MSU's staff operates, how their summer camp work and what a player can gain from attending a session. In part three of this three part series, Staten gets down to the brass tacks of recruiting

EAST LANSING - GSN interviewed Michigan State tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Mark Staten who gave a look into how MSU's staff operates, how their summer camps work and what a player can gain from attending a camp session. In part three of this three-part series, Staten gets down to the brass tacks of recruiting.

GSN: How many offers will come out of a typical one-day camp?

STATEN: "After both camps, after the entire camp process, really it depends (partially) on who comes and who shows up. We also realize its a one-day stamp on a kid, it's not an entire total product of a kid, its just one day. Maybe the kid was sick yesterday or something happened in his family and his mind isn't right."

"It varies, depending on who shows up it could be as few as two and as many as a dozen. It depends on how they're out there moving around how receptive they are. The key is it's a great way for them to get to know us as coaches because we're coaching them. Is this a place they want to make home for their lifetime ... because once you're a Spartan you're always a Spartan? They want to know that this is a place, not only are they going to elevate my game and give me, as long as they have the ability, the best that they can be on the field as well as off the field."

GSN: What about the kid who has the NFL as his goal?

STATEN: "Everybody wants to play on Sunday, we wouldn't recruit a kid if he didn't want to play on Sunday, but on the flipside at some point in time everybody has to go to work on Monday. So we've got to get them ready for that as well.

GSN: Does MSU worry about getting players to commit early, especially when rival schools may have more verbal commitments early on?

STATEN: "No, we don't pressure kids. You'll see about 20% of these early commitments, they change, for whatever reason they change. That's because a lot of these kids get pressured. A lof of these kids are told 'hey, you'd better commit now or it might not be there. Where in reality, that kid has never gotten to learn about that coaching staff. That kid has never gotten to learn about that university and he panics. They're are 17-year old, 16, 18-year old kids, they panic. They don't have the guidance to tell them 'hey hang in there.' If they want you, number one, they're going to tell you they want you."

"There's a difference when we at Michigan State say 'hey, we've got two defensive linemen committed, we're going to take one more, if you want to be it, you're going to need to let us know.' That's different from what some of these teams do when they say 'hey, you'd better take the scholarship now or its not going to be there.'"

"There's 20% movement (player decommitting from original commitments and going elsewhere) at the end. Our history at Cincinnati and here at Michigan State, is not 20% with us. It's far, far lower than that because we're not going to put that pressure on a kid. That kid's going to have enough pressure on Saturdays. He's going to have enough to worry about to balance getting that exam done, going home to see mom for Mother's Day and doing what he's supposed to do in the weight room. That pressure will come, let these kids make a decision that's going to last a lifetime."

"So many people, including the recruiting sites, get so worked up on 'COACH!! WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS RIGHT NOW! WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS RIGHT NOW!!!!!' It's like, the numbers will be what the numbers need to be. We're not going to put a kid in an adverse situation to make him maybe spit out 'yeah, I'm coming' and then four months, five months, he's not coming anymore."

GSN: How important is it to really know a kid's character?

STATEN: "We want to a kid to know us and we want to know them. That's important, because if you don't know them, if you don't truly know them, you're going to lose scholarships on down the line with the APR. You're going to have a kid come and he's going to put a bad blotch on the program because you didn't know them. You don't want that."

GSN: What will be this staff policy regarding junior college players?

STATEN: "I think junior college has its place of course and I think junior college will have a bigger place in the landscape just because of the new NCAA rules. The new NCAA rules for a young man, a student-athlete has to have a 16 core, instead of now the 14 this new upcoming class. There's going to be kids that have a harder time becoming eligible. So you're going to see a lot of these top-notch kids that 'boy they just barely made it at 14 core, they're going to not make it now and it's going to be large numbers."

"I think the junior colleges are going to play out a lot more prominently in the future. It has its place, the one thing when you look at junior college players, maximum they have three years if they redshirt or if they're a three-to-play-three type kid. But on the flipside, the kids you bring in as freshman they're bleeding, sweating, living, loving the way of your university, where ever that is, for a minimum four years, whereas on the flipside, junior college, max playing time is two (years).

[Junior college has] got it's place, but I just think the kids don't feel as connected."

"Sometimes, the right (junior college) kids feel as connected as somebody who's been there five years. I think junior colleges have a huge place, they're important in recruiting, but likewise you'd like to take that kids as a young 18-year old and mold him into the Spartan way."

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