MSU Coordinator of Recruiting Operations

Ryan Hollern, Mississippi State football's Coordinator of Recruiting Operations, gives us a little insight into the world of football recruiting from the perspective of someone who deals with it on a daily basis, not as a coach but more from the administrative point of view.

Talk about your duties as MSU's Coordinator of Recruiting Operations?
Ryan Hollern - "Obviously, the first thing is the recruiting end from the homebase. That pretty much means taking care of all the prospect tapes, DVDs, highlights, checking the internet for prospects, getting high school coaches names and numbers, and home addresses. I want to have everything organized and correct so that it is easy for our coaches to get in touch with any prospect that they may recruit."

How do you come up with the names of possible recruits?
"It comes from numerous areas. The first one is the guys who go on the road recruiting, our coaches. They are always recruiting for next year's class, but, at the same time, they are recruiting for future classes."

How far ahead do they recruit?
"Usually, a year ahead unless there is a sophomore that you know will be a highly recruited guy. But usually it is a year ahead."

What is the most difficult thing for you to obtain in regard to a prospect?
"I would say getting film is the most difficult. But in today's recruiting, the internet makes it a lot easier due to all the highlight film that is out there. Getting home addresses and phone numbers is second."

What are some ways you get information about kids
"We always try to get recruits on campus as often as possible because we can visit with them per NCAA rules. That allows us to get film a little bit better. We also have online questionnaires that they can fill out that allows us to get information. We also have questionnaires that we mail to prospects."

How do you come up with a list of players that you invite to such things as MSU's Junior Day and summer camps?
"Each coach will give me a list of players in their recruiting areas that they want to invite. I also try to gather as much information as I can from the internet, from recruiting databases that we may purchase from different companies. I also look at players' film and players that high school coaches may recommend to us. The coaches will then figure it out from there."

What are the benefits the internet provide you?
"Definitely first is the film highlights. Ten years ago, you had to request film, mail film out, and hopefully have it sent back to you. Then we cut it up into highlights. Today, you can go on the internet, search different sites for film that is out there, and take a look at them. That allows coaches to evaluate kids faster. I think that is part of the reason kids are committing earlier."

Do the combines such as the ones Scout.com puts on, help you as far as finding out the true heights and weights of kids?
"It does, but we trust ourselves more than anyone. That's why we love to get kids to our junior and senior camps so that we can get their heights, weights, verticals, forty, bench. That way, we have the information right in front of us. As for the combine times, heights, weights and speeds, they are unbiased. It's give you a little more concrete information that you can use in recruiting."

Take me step by step from the time that you learn about a prospect to the time that he receives his MSU offer?
"It starts with prospects that have had a pretty good junior year, using databases that we purchased, using internet services, and gathering information from high school coaches that is mailed to us. We then start mailing information to prospects that we feel are good enough for us here at Mississippi State and good enough for the SEC. That normally starts in their junior season. And that list continues to grow. Then, after their junior year, you get their film and start evaluating them. After that period, you are trying to get them on your campus, so you invite them to your Junior Days, your camps, and as many of your football games as you can. Our coaches also go out in the spring and evaluate them during that time as well."

When they are on-campus for an official visit, are you involved in that?
"Absolutely. I help come up with the itineracy for the 48-hour weekend when the kids are on our campus for their official visits. We make sure they see what they need to see, talk to who they need to talk to from the academic standpoint to the athletic standpoint, everything like that. You make sure they see the key points that they need to see and make sure they have a good time doing it."

Are you actually with the recruits during the day when they are on their official visits?
"I kind of lead the tour through the weekend, but, obviously, at Mississippi State, our coaches are right there with them as well. And our coaches like that because they enjoy recruiting. That's big part of why we have had success in recruiting."

Leading the tour for upwards of 20+ prospects and their families appears to be a big job. Do you have people,other than the coaches, who help you during the recruiting weekends?
"Yes, all of our graduate assistants are there to lend a hand. Our recruiting secretary, Susan Simmons, does a great job and is also there. The help is there from Coach Croom to the graduate assistants."

Does recruiting stop anytime during the year?
"There is never an off day in recruiting. There are slow periods and fast periods, but there is never an off day in recruiting. But for me, I really love doing it, so it's more like a hobby for me and not a job."

You are a long way from your home, Pittsburgh, PA. How did you wind up at Mississippi State?
"I applied and got into graduate school at Mississippi State. I packed up my car, drove to Starkville, Mississippi, and didn't know a soul when I got here. The second day I was in Starkville I walked up to the football office and asked to volunteer. I volunteered for two semesters. Coach Croom came in the second semester and put me on as a graduate assistant starting that summer. I was a graduate assistant for two and a half years until he created this position. I'll be coming up on my sixth season next year with Mississippi State football."

So, I can assume you are now a Bulldog?
"I'm a Bulldog."


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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