Recruiting responsibilities shifted among UW staff

With a larger than usual turnover in the UW coaching staff this season, recruiting responsibilities have been divided up differently this season. The UW coaches are recruiting the areas they know best, hoping to parlay long-term relationships into recruiting success.

Along with the turnover in the UW coaching staff this offseason came a series of changes in recruiting responsibilities. Offensive Coordinator Brian White, who spent the majority of his time in California in recent years, will now primarily handle the East Coast. With the arrival of Secondary Coach Ron Cooper, the Badgers will attempt to break some new ground in southern states, while assigning two coaches (Cooper and Quarterbacks Coach Jeff Horton) to Texas.

There will be several other minor changes in the staff's responsibilities, trying to take advantage of each coach's roots and relationships with high school programs nationwide.

"I think the biggest thing, and the best thing we've done as far as recruiting goes, is just developing a sense of trust," said new UW recruiting coordinator Jeremy Sinz. "You have to do that with the high school coach, with the kids, the kids' parents, and where the most trust comes is in familiarity with the person. So what we've tried to do this year is basically dividing our recruiting areas, putting guys in areas they know and understand. We're not sending guys out cold trying to go make new relationships."

Cooper's arrival could provide a huge boost to the Badgers' recruiting efforts. He has coached for many years in a region that Wisconsin has hardly touched.

"He's been in the south, he worked in the Texas area for a while, he worked in Atlanta, he went down to Alabama," Sinz said. "Consequently, he speaks well to those people. He understands that recruiting area. Those people trust him….these little changes we've made, we're going to put guys in areas where they can be the most successful."

Horton, who has handled Texas single-handedly, suggested another coach help recruit Texas because of the enormous amount of talent available.

"For one guy it was too much. I could get places, but you really need (two coaches) to (recruit) both Dallas and Houston," Horton said. "There are so many good players down there, I felt it was crucial to get two guys down there. (Cooper) is going to take Houston, and then I'll take the rest of the state. We're concentrating 90 percent on the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I think that will really help us, because there is some tremendous talent down there, and our name is out down there. There are a lot of kids, and Texas and Texas A&M can't take all of them, so we have a good shot to get some really good kids."

One misconception is the Badgers have scrapped recruiting in California. White visited California during the May recruiting period, and will continue recruiting the state this season. But the emphasis will be placed on East Coast athletes.

"We're still definitely going to hit some areas," Sinz said. "And I wouldn't say we've been grotesquely unsuccessful. I think we could have been more successful in that area, but we've got some kids in this program that are going to contribute to this team and are doing some great things for us from California as well.

"I think maybe it's easier to convince kids from the East Coast, and the best players from the East Coast, to come to Wisconsin as opposed to the West Coast. Of course, the biggest factor is climate. The climate is much more similar on the East Coast. Those kids are used to having a snow season and cold weather and things like that. Sometimes that's a tough sell for a guy coming from LA or San Diego or an area like that."

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