Coach's Corner

College Footballs' recruiting pressure cooker takes a break for the next few weeks due to both the holidays and the National Football Coaches Convention. It is a time when you are restricted to writing cards and letters and making phone calls. No in-person contact is allowed even if the prospect initiates the meeting.

A "Dead Period" is that period of time when it is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or OFF your campus, or to permit any official or unofficial visits by prospects to the institution's campus." This includes bowl practices or games on the road. You can't see them in-person, period!

There are actually four different and distinct periods in recruiting and they all overlap. Besides the "Dead", there are Quiet periods, Evaluation periods, and Contact periods.

Seems pretty easy so far. But, you know the NCAA can't make everything so easy. Here is how they specifically refer to this time period we are just entering.

The following contact and evaluation period shall apply to football:
- "The last Sunday following the last Saturday in November through the Saturday prior to the initial date for the signing of the National Letter of Intent. Six in-person off-campus contacts per prospective student-athlete are allowed during this period of time with not more than one permitted in any calendar week."

This is the Contact Period For Football. It changes when Christmas break starts.

The Sunday after the third Saturday in December will be a QUIET period, meaning that you can see a prospect but only when he officially visits your campus. This is the rule the Neuheisel staff broke right off the get go. They had kids in for visits but then took them home and saw other kids when they did. When it becomes "Quiet", you can't be off your campus.

Another DEAD Period starts the third Monday of December through January 1st.

Any Weekdays during the first week of January are also DEAD, if the first Monday in January is not a contact period. Getting interesting, huh? Basically over the Christmas Holidays, in-person contacts come to a halt.

That essentially covers the next two weeks.

Consequently, outside of personal phone calls (that are also limited), there is not much going on in Football recruiting.

Except of course the JC signing period that just kicked in. Even that period is flexible in that it is not necessary to sign a JC in December unless you want to transfer him into your school immediately in January.

It appears the Huskies are going to sign their highest number of JC transfers in many years. You can bet they are still in the running on at least 3-4 other JC kids besides the three they just signed. Signing 6-7 JC kids makes a real statement as to urgency to win now and not wait for the future.

It also reflects on the personnel that were left when Coach Willingham took over.

The "dead" period just took on a significant twist because "signing" periods also bring about their own sets of rules regarding contact. This is what specifically happened to Oregon when they flagrantly cheated on JJ Arrington's recruitment when he went to Cal. Of course they didn't come clean until after a year and a half later and Jeff Tedford was nice enough not to press the issue because he used to coach at Oregon.

Realistically the Huskies could use a JC kid at every position area. They already have a linebacker/pass rusher, a specialist, a wide receiver, and a corner that they locked up almost immediately. They lost another corner to OSU on a decommit, but that happens.

Interesting that they are bringing in mostly defensive players from the JC ranks. One would still think another good OL or TE would help the depth. Taking a proven long snapper is a very heady and logistical move that can only help improve the kicking game. Finding a great kick returner would really help as well. Hopefully, Marlon Woods will return to full strength from his broken leg. His speed can really help and he showed one of the only good returns vs. USC.

You see balance in the class to this point, so finishing strong with some quality offensive linemen plus another pass rusher will make this a solid class. Of course that is assuming they don't lose any more coming down the stretch which is always a possibility.

A lot of ground can be made up in the month of January but because of the dead period, basically you only have three weeks left in which to get it done.

Keeping on a kid's radar before he visits your campus is really a difficult job. Especially when you record is as weak as the Huskies. I'd sure like to see the Huskies closing with about 8-10 more kids. I really think 22 is a great number for the Huskies to end up with. 16 high school kids and 5 to 6 JC's would be about right, but don't be surprised if they push to 23-24 if the right kids are still available.

I personally never went to the National Coaches Convention because I figured I could gain an edge by staying home and concentrating on recruiting when they were all playing. It worked for us because the first open weekend in January was always our very best in terms of commitments. Our own kids were fresh back at school from a break and always eager to help in recruiting. Based on what I'm hearing and the marvelous recruiting coverage on Dawgman.com, the older Huskies are recognizing the importance in recruiting and are doing a great job of showing recruits around.

A lot of people take it for granted what a beautiful city Seattle can be on a clear cold winter weekend. Cold and sun are always good. Rain and snow just feed into the prejudice that already looms over Seattle. Surely the success of the Seahawks is showing the country some great shots of the Seattle. Selling Seattle is one of the easiest parts of recruiting because it sells itself. It is a modern, clean, hi-tech, musically hip, and beautiful place to spend your 4-5 years of college. Seattle is paradise for city kids. I always found that the kids want to know about culture, music, and job opportunities that bigger cities can offer. So, here is to three good weekends in January. Let the Huskies rise from the Dead ( period that is) and finish off the recruitment of the future of the program.

I have always felt the schools who don't go to a bowl game usually have better recruiting classes simply because they don't have to worry about preparing for and playing a game. Jeff Tedford turned around a 1-10 Cal team because they didn't go to a bowl when he first arrived and he went out and got some key JC transfers.

Let's hope that Tyrone Willingham has similar success.

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