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Nebraska Recruiting: Getting Creative in the World of College Football

March 30, 2020

Recruiting never stops and it's easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

Making the most of an unprecedented situation is at the front of every college football program’s minds right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most players to leave their campuses and return home. Coaching staffs are used to giving players guidelines on working out or studying the playbook while away from the team. Yet with most gyms closed around the country, it adds a wrinkle to working up a sweat. There is a difference between getting a nice workout in and replicating what head football strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval provides. 

The timing when spring football was canceled left teams in a tought spot. Recruiting was thrust into a dead period. Coaches have been left scrambling to meet with each other, their teams and recruits. When the health risks related to the pandemic have subsided, teams will return to normal operation. In the meantime, schools are finding ways to safely interact. There are many creative ways of communicating that we have seen pop up.

Virtual recruiting visits have been deployed by Minnesota and Kansas. Many schools are sending videos of buildings for virtual tours. That way prospects and their families can get a feel for campus. FaceTime and Zoom have been getting a lot of use around the country as coaching staffs talk to recruits. Still, the level of detail in what Minnesota and Kansas are doing seems to be different. Kansas hosted a group Junior Day with 10 hours of activities. 

Minnesota’s visits have been more one-on-one. It seems like they've taken a more personalized approach for each potential student-athlete. Both approaches have merit and are creative ways to get your school out there. 

Many schools have turned to Zoom to be able to meet as a staff. There are even ways for strength coaches to put together personalized workouts for the players while away if they have access to equipment. But I’ve not seen many schools go all in with it like SMU has, providing an entire week of online workshops. 

Nebraska has done a version of this by doing some virtual clinics by using remote technology. As we move through and past the COVID-19 restrictions, could any of these ways of recruiting and communicating stick around? There isn’t a substitute for getting players on your campus for a visit. It is also different when hosting a large-scale coaches’ clinic—Nebraska's yearly clinic is quite popular—some of these workarounds could continue to be beneficial once things return to normal. Strength coaches could still provide virtual tips to other coaches around the country. There could continue to be value there for idea sharing. The virtual ‘chalk talk’ events could be useful too. Let's say Nebraska’s coaches wanted to connect more with high school coaches from far away. Why not use technology to bridge the gap? 

Virtual recruiting would be tricky. It could be a tool to get guys interested in visiting your campus but it won’t ever fully replace getting a prospect and his family on your campus. There is a different feel that you can get for a place by visiting it in person. 

There is rightfully a lot of concern over what can be lost as we try to push through to return to normal activity. But from all this, teams could emerge with new tools in the bag that were previously not used as much.

Recruit Watch

>> Kamonte Grimes, a 4-star athlete from Florida, picked up an offer from the Huskers. 

>> St. Louis outside linebacker target Travion Ford continues to receive offers from around the nation. Miami became the latest school to offer him on Sunday. 

>> Huskers quarterback target Peter Costelli picked up another Big Ten offer, this one coming from Indiana. 

>> Nebraska offered another 2022 quarterback on Monday. Texas signal-caller Alex Orji announced it on social media.

>> The Huskers are in the top 6 for Alabama defensive lineman Anquin Barnes.


>> In his latest column Derek Peterson explores the idea of how Nebraska football used its time wisely this offseason. 

>> Mike Babcock is taking a stroll down memory lane by looking back at Nebraska baseball’s glory days.

>> The latest Moore To It Podcast is here and Jay spoke with Darin Erstad about a variety of topics.

>> Nebraska basketball announced a three-year series with old rival Kansas State. 

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