Bank Blog: The Ultimate Recruiting Guide

Recruiting has to be one of the most misunderstood aspects of college football, with announcers, coaches, analysts and the players themselves only adding to the confusion. Want to understand it all? Read these rules.

1- If you believe nothing else from this point forward, understand this: Recruiting is ALL about comfort and relationships. If you don't have both covered with the player, he is at risk to flee. And comfort can be different for each kid. Your RELATIONSHIP with him tells you what is most important to him. 

2- I make a living off you all reading the recruiting updates, so please continue to read them. But realize they are worthless. Why? Because kids lie. I don't read them. Not anyone's, including my own and I write them. I just transcribe his words and laugh. You BETTER know what's going on after the recorder is shut off. You are either inside or you are outside. The updates tell you nothing.

3- Watch what the kids do. Ignore what they say. Little Jimmy's 14 visits to Florida probably trumps the recruiting article where he lists Georgia as his leader. 

4- Once the decision date is set, the decision has been made. Even if it's two months down the road and there are five visits left. Doesn't matter. The date gets set when the school has been found. 

5- Offer lists are basically worthless. Why? Kids lie about offers. Coaches lie to kids about being offered. Most "offers" are camp invites. 

6- The last official visit or the last home visit being a tip to where the player is going is dumb. This is not 1998, and this is no help today in guessing where a recruit is going to sign. This is an old recruiting axiom, and used by recruiting analysts that bat 50% with their predictions and think that's actually good.

7- "The winner of today's game means a lot in recruiting." We hear that every week in college football by announcers that are clueless about recruiting. This statement shows how clueless they are. One game, win or lose, means nothing in recruiting. If you don't have the comfort and relationship thing, you ain't getting Little Jimmy. Even if you beat your rival 56-2. 

8- An early commitment from a kid located in SEC country only means he might know what state your school is located. And it might not mean that. Celebrate the commitment, but be afraid. Be very afraid of losing him. 

9- Don't show your ignorance that you post you want a 65 degree day in January when Little Jimmy visits from Miami. Trust me, he has weather channel on his TV and the weather app on his phone. He knows it's cold in Ohio in January. A 65 degree day won't fool him into thinking Ohio weather is the same as south Florida weather. If he's visiting in January, he's already dealt with the cold facotor and he's OK with it. COMFORT AND RELATIONSHIPS trumps weather.

10- Never listen to the head coach talk about his class on Signing Day. Every kid is awesome. (See above video for a closer explanation). They have to say these things. The coaches can't help themselves. 

11- Star rankings matter. They only don't matter to head coaches who just signed a cruddy class, and again, this is something he HAS to say. Star rankings are the only difference between the rosters of Alabama and Akron. And the head coaches know this. There's a reason teams like Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State sign the top classes every year, and Eastern Michigan, Central Florida and Oregon State don't. See records and bowl appearances for each school, and it's amazing the connection between star rankings and sucking. (Or not sucking).

12- I must see the kid in person, or my evaluation should be taken a lot less seriously. I ALWAYS try to say whether I'm going off film (RARELY) or have seen LIttle Jimmy in person. The film-only folks should be ignored. The "I just went and watched his film. I LOVE this kid" take should be laughed at.

13- Beware of the "second team" popping up right before the announcement. It's usually a smoke screen, because to have a big announcement there MUST be a second team to create suspense.

14- The toughest positions to recruit are true defensive tackles. Next would be true offensive tackles. There are far more 5-11, 170-pound flyers than there are 6-3, 300-pound monsters. FAR MORE. Like 500-to-1 more. 

15- When predicting where Little Jimmy is going to college, you'd better know the decision maker. Parent. Girlfriend. Coach. Uncle. Mentor. The player himself can be helpful, but oftentimes you are the person he wants to fool the most. And I'm cool with that. 

16- In recruiting, when in doubt, you go with size. Little guys get hurt at the next level, and miss games and practice time. I rarely fall for the undersized dude at his position, even if he's "high school" good. Size is an equalizer. 

17- There is little difference for recruits in the Top-20 schools. They all offer the same opportunities. Hard to go wrong with a final five of schools in the top-20. 

18- There are very, very, very, very, very, few "MUST-GETS" in recruiting. Very few true difference makers. 

19- I worry about the smaller high schools in regards to competition and development for Little Jimmy. 

20- The first info you are told is often the truth in recruiting. It usually comes before the filter comes on, and the spin is under way. I always refer back to the beginning when looking at where I think Little Jimmy is going to go to college. 

21- Know your recruiting analyst. Most have an agenda, and that's to curry favor with the fans and coaches by proclaiming every player as the next Eddie George. If you want that, you have plenty of choices, because a lot of people fit this group. And I realize a lot of people DO want that, and that's cool. 

22- The bulk of recruiting happens within 250 miles from home. Now this rule is changing as our world gets smaller, but for the most part it remains true. Easier to get a kid down the road, than from 15 states away. Distance from home can be a factor I look at, and the kid usually reveals this without knowing he has. 

23- Runinngbacks cannot be identified at combines. They better be producing on the field at a high level, or it's a red flag. If they're hurt in high school a lot, they have no chance at the next level. Even if they look like a Greek God. 

24- Offensive line recruiting is so difficult, and it's more about numbers. I like 14 or 15. You need depth in numbers, but you hate tying up the roster with kids that cannot contribute anywhere else for the most part. 

25- I hate seeing kids switch positions in college. As a general rule, if you can't play your position, how can you play this guy's position? 

26- I want explosiveness more than the 40-times, which are mostly bogus anyway. True 40-times are big for WR's and DB's to an extent. For my RB's, I want explosion in the first 5 yards and the ability to make the first guy miss. Like vertical and broad jump numbers a lot for every player. 

27- One injury in high school or college is an accident. More than that and I start to become very concerned it might be a trend. 

28- Quarterback evaluating is about accuracy, decision making and being quick with your reads to me, if you're a pocket passer or dual threat. It's hard to make guys good that process things slowly. Your camera in your head better be taking pictures at warp speed, and you have to know instantly what you're seeing. 

29- With big guys, I love seeing guys that LOVE TO PLAY FOOTBALL. This isn't easy to see either. Has the guy been playing all his life because he's the biggest guy in the school? If so, life gets tough when he gets to the next level. 

30- You must recruit each position group in each recruiting class. A MUST. Otherwise, you are forced to play catch up. It's easier to recruit over Little Jimmy than it is to skip him. There's always the chance that he works out for you. 

31- Lastly, football is a tough game played best by bad-azzes. I love toughness........ with the requisite athletic ability and size. You don't see this in running 40's or doing drills. You see this in game action for the most part. Toughness carries these guys through injury, going against a talented player, killing themselves in the weight room, and when they're down 14-3 in the 4th quarter. 

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