Samsel Understands The Recruiting Process

Olive Branch High School's head football coach Scott Samsel, over the course of two-plus decades, has seen the recruiting process first-hand. And to his credit, he has developed a plan for his players that allow them to handle the process in as smooth a fashion as possible.

Samsel has been coaching high school football for twenty-five years. He understands the battles a coach goes through each Friday night during football season. There are the highs you receive when you win and the lows when you lose. Another aspect of being a high school head football coach is recruiting. And like those Friday nights, there are highs and lows. Samsel has seen both many times.

"After twenty-five years I have dealt with (recruiting) a good bit and at times it can be a very unpleasant process," said Samsel. "We have kind of settled on the fact in our society that maybe the ends justifies the means in recruiting. And I'm telling you when you are dealing with young people's lives you probably should rethink that a little bit. What I try to do is help manage it as much as possible to keep it from getting out of hand."

And he tries to manage it in a way so that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

"We try to make sure the process is clean and manageable for the player and the parents so that they can make an educated choice and a sound choice," said Samsel. "The choices are up to these young men and their parents. And a lot of these guys had some great schools to choose from. Choosing between good and bad is not that hard of a choice, but when you have five good choices then you can't really go wrong with any of them. And at the end of the day, once the opportunities are out there for the guys, it's the players and parents who make the decision.

"And we are under the assumption here that these young men and their parents have perfectly good sense to choose where they want to go. And I'm satisfied today that that has happened with these young men because they have told me that and their parents have told me that."

Fans of schools that lost out in several of the Olive Branch recruiting battles might dispute that statement, but based on the applause and cheers from the family members in attendance at the press conference when several of the kids announced their school choices (Mississippi State and Memphis were the two that drew the loudest cheers), you see first-hand that Samsel's statement is correct.

Despite those cheers, there are still going to be some fans that just don't get it. Samsel, however, the veteran coach that he is, does get it.

"Sometimes, when someone doesn't get what they want, they think there must be some underlying cause why they didn't get that player," said Samsel. "We don't steer them or direct them to or away. The bottom line is it's up to the parents and player to decide. And we are of the opinion they have the good sense to make that decision."

And in my opinion, Samsel, after talking to him one-on-one and seeing the joy in the eyes of the players and their parents during the press conference, has perfectly good sense enough to manage the recruiting process, contrary to posts made on forums by folks who don't appear to have that same good sense.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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