Recruiting has been altered forever after the last year. We went through an extremely slow period followed by a rush of commitments. Schools had to adjust how they recruited as well. There were no game day visits or unofficial visits. College coaches were not allowed to do in-home visits or go to high school football games.
What has that been like from a high school coaches’ point of view?
Bellevue West coach Mike Huffman spoke with Hail Varsity about that topic. What’s interesting is that NAIA schools and Division II schools’ coaches could still come out to schools. That’s if the school district would allow it. Bellevue West had a handful of those schools come in throughout the fall, then once again during their winter recruiting period. As we know, a Division I coach in FCS or FBS couldn’t.
Colleges had to adjust and find a way to see prospects. Those prospects are still growing through their formative years.
“I had to take so many videos of these guys standing on a tape measure for their height,” Huffman said. “They don’t want pictures because you can doctor pictures. They want videos and they go toe all the way up to their face. Show the scale, show the tape measure, show the arm span, the hands. That’s what a lot of these schools went to.”
Huffman has a pair of tight ends, Kaden Helms and Micah Riley, who have blown up to be national recruits over the last year. Normally Huffman would have had Lincoln Riley, Herm Edwards, Mack Brown and others roaming his hallways over the last year. Now he’s gotten to know these coaches via FaceTime just like his players have.
But these coaches also haven’t seen prospects like Helms and Riley in over a year.
“Here’s what these coaches cannot believe,” Huffman said. “Iowa State was the first to offer Kaden and Micah. Kaden was 6-foot-3, 180 pounds. He is 6-foot-6, 220 now. You know Micah was 6-foot-4, 200 pounds as a sophomore. Now he’s 240 pounds and 6-foot-6. Some of my other boys they haven’t even seen. They were just little kids coming off their sophomore year.”
What Huffman said there is why camp season will be so important this summer for so many players. Things have already blown up for prospects like Helms and Riley. They are surefire Power Five prospects. There are players around the country not in that situation. Those guys are worthy of getting scholarship looks.
“I tell my guys if they if they think they’re Division I football players they need to go to that Lindenwood Mega Camp,” Huffman said. “Because there’s 10 to 13 FBS schools and another five or six FCS schools plus a lot of Division II schools there. So, you need to go and be seen.
“I was talking to the new staff at Kansas yesterday. They wanted to know about Henry Rickels and LJ Richardson. They’ll both be at Lindenwood and Kansas will be there to evaluate them. After Lindenwood these kids can see who is seriously recruiting them.”
The last year has made everyone involved with recruiting adjust. Prospects, parents, college coaches and high school coaches have all gotten used to a new world. Now as we prepare for the next phase the mad dash to make up for lost time will begin.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.