Felker Talks Recruiting

Mississippi State recruiting coordinator Rockey Felker talks recruiting.

Coach Croom said MSU recruits two years ahead. What does he mean by that?
"Right now, we are finding sophomores and juniors in terms of who is coming up in different programs, what kind of students they are and what kind of future they might have. We are limited as to when we can go out recruiting. So, mainly, the important time for us is when we go out in December for three weeks and go out in January for three weeks. And we not only use that time on the recruiting class that we are working on right now, but also next year and two years down the road."

"(Part of the reason for that is) it seems like young men are making their minds up a lot quicker than they have in the past. More players are making up their minds in the springtime and summer before their senior year.

How does the internet factor in recruiting?
"There is no doubt that it's not a secretive business any longer. Not just the coaches, but everybody, including the fans, are aware of who the top players are. Recruiting is publicized by the media a lot more than ever before. (Even) we learn things on the internet. We look at the internet, too, whether it be articles that we read or something else."

Is the internet a positive or a negative when it comes to recruiting?
"I used to think it was a negative. But I like the way recruiting is now because I think the rules are good for college football. I have been in this business a long time, and I think recruiting, now-a-days, is better than it has ever been in terms of what you can and can't do. It used to be where you could recruit year-round. Now, there are certain times of the year you can go out. And you can only see so many kids once a week. I think getting out of the text message business has helped coaches and recruited athletes as well. You are home at supper more often and can enjoy your kids."

The MSU coaching staff recruits talented players but you also put an emphasis on high character kids. How difficult, in this day and age, is it to find out about the character of kids that you are recruiting?
"It's a lot harder to get to know a recruit than it used to be. Back in the 80's and 90's you could pretty much go visit a kid and see them play every Friday night and really get to know them. Now, you are limited to seeing them play one Friday night during the year. So, you don't know as much about them - you have to rely on information you get from coaches and teachers. And certainly academics are a big part of it now due to the APR. We are always dealing with all of our players in terms of making sure they are going to class and that they are doing good in school. So, it's important that we continue to bring in young men who are not only serious about playing football but are serious about school.

"The toughest thing to do when you see a talented player is making a decision on him as far as weighing what kind of chance he has to quality and then how well he will do in college."

How big has recruiting become?
"There's football season, then there's recruiting season. Signing Day is coming up. When it's over, then everybody will be interested in next year's recruiting season. So, it's a never-ending business."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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