David Wilson, MSU's Coordinator or Football Operations, was gracious enough to take time out of his busy day yesteday to talk about the current recruiting phase Mississippi State is going through.

Are you and the coaches still looking at a lot of players or have you pretty much narrowed it down to the players you are most interested in?
David Wilson: "We are still looking at a large number of players. In fact, we are looking at about 100 per coach. When you say 100 per coach, you are talking about seven recruiting coaches, which means 700 kids. At the same time, about every two weeks I send out approximately 3,000 letters to kids."

Are those letters to both seniors and juniors?
David Wilson: "Those are senior high school players and junior college players all across the country. There are no high school juniors in that group. It is all seniors or junior college players."

I know you only have six evaluation days during which your coaches can go to the schools. What is the next step in the recruiting process after you have used your six evaluation periods?
David Wilson: "You have to understand that a coach has an area. With six evaluation days, you have to realize you can only go to four to six high schools that day. If a coach is going to four to six high schools a day and you have six evaluation days for that coach, you are only talking about 25 to 30 schools during those six days. That is just one coach. You multiply that by seven and you have 210 schools, at the most. Because of that, you have to keep all of your options open going into December when you are out during the contact period.

"When the NCAA cut us to six evaluation periods during the fall, it really hurt. We used to have nine."

Why did they cut you to six?
David Wilson: "It all centered around cost savings. However, I don't know that to be the case. I know that it puts more of a hardship on us to cover the areas that we need to cover.

"My recommendation to the NCAA is to have a three-member recruiting staff that recruits year-round, similar to the pro scouts. There would be less people on the road and you would spend less money. But we don't have that in place so you have to do the best you can.

"Because of the limited number of evaluation periods, you can't ever rule out anyone this early in recruiting. There are a lot of kids that we have heard from or heard about that we haven't seen."

Obviously, knowing that MSU recruits Arizona and Kansas junior colleges, how does the six days evaluation period effect that?
David Wilson: "What we have to do in that case is take advantage of an open week. We have to couple Thursday and Friday nights together. My guys have to fly out of here Wednesday and get to where they need to be and start recruiting on Thursday and on into Friday. When you make long trips like that, you have to take advantage of a two-day trip."

What that means is one of your coaches has to use two of his six days during that two-day period?
David Wilson: "No, I can't intermingle the coaches. All of the seven recruiting coaches have to go out the same six days.

"I want to build one Thursday in there where you can visit the junior colleges. I also want to be able to get Coach Tompkins in the Georgia area for a two-day span. He will spend all day Thursday visiting six or seven schools, then he will spend the next day visiting other schools. I have to build that two-day trip in so that they can spend an adequate amount of time covering their areas."

Going back to an earlier question, once the six evaluation days are over, what is your next step in the recruiting process?
David Wilson: "After the final Saturday in November, it becomes a contact period. The coaches are on the road all week long. You can only visit a school one time during that week and you can only visit a player one time at home during that week. At least you are out the entire week from Sunday through Saturday. You can plan your days so that you can cover a lot of ground during that week.

"However, the contact period has been cut down by the addition of dead days. Because of the time that has been taken away from us, we have to really make sure we are spending quality time in all phases of the recruiting process."

Thank you, Coach Wilson.

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is You can contact him by emailing

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