Today's recruiting roundup covers the latest NCAA rulebook changes, a change in plans for Durham Smythe, a possible 2014 commit, and more.
NCAA Deregulation: All Of The Text Messages
Kelvin Sampson, presumably after hearing about the latest NCAA rule changes
On Saturday, the NCAA approved several rule changes that will have a major impact on recruiting. As part of an ongoing effort by NCAA president Mark Emmert to slim down a bloated rulebook, the changes are largely of the deregulation variety. To wit:
Proposal 13-3 "will eliminate restrictions on methods and modes of communication during recruiting."
Proposal 13-5-A eliminates restrictions on mailing printed recruiting materials.
That means, starting with the class of 2014, coaches can call, text, tweet, facebook, snapchat, or use whatever other form of communication they so desire to contact recruits as often as they want (recruiting dead periods aside, of course). It'll be open season on snail mail, too.
On the positive side, this means the NCAA can stop paying investigators to tally phone calls, and coaches can no longer get a recruiting edge by ignoring limits on communication (looking at you, Mr. Sampson). The negative is obvious: big-time recruits, already inundated with calls and texts from coaches and reporters alike, now must brace themselves for more of the same—especially with the potential for a recruiting arms race as coaches fall over themselves to make sure they're recruiting a prospect the "hardest".*
The other notable changes to recruiting involve the NCAA removing limits on which staff members can recruit. The Bylaw Blog's John Infante outlined the ramifications for Proposal 11-2, which eliminates the rule that recruiting functions must be performed by a head or assistant coach, in conjunction with deregulated communication with recruits:
The potential model of recruiting that develops is very clear. A general manager/director of player personnel will have a staff of recruiting coordinators who do much of the early grunt work in recruiting. They’ll watch film, gauge interest, rank prospects, and evaluate needs. The coaching staff will go see top targets in person, invite prospects on visits, and go see recruits at home or at school. The player personnel staff and the coaching staff will then meet to make decisions and send offers.
That would free coaches from much of the busy work of recruiting and let them focus on coaching their current teams. Player personnel will become the major track for aspiring coaches as well as a career path in its own right. Recruits may see more sophisticated and intense recruiting from a dedicated staff.
If Infante is correct—and you can bet he is—this means we'll start seeing separate player personnel staffs at the schools that can afford to create them. This is good news for Michigan and other big-budget athletic departments, and unlike the deregulated communication measure there isn't an obvious downside for the recruits themselves. The impact from a competitive balance standpoint is clear: the rich will get richer unless the Indiana States of the world successfully push for staff limits on these new player personnel departments.
*It's not hard to imagine Lane Kiffin screaming at his recruiting coordinator, "Mr. Orgeron, we must not allow a Snapchat gap!"
[Hit THE JUMP for Durham Smythe's visit plans, potential commitment watch for a 2014 in-state four-star, and more.]
Smythe Changes Visit Date
Michigan has two major targets left in the 2013 class. The first, VA RB Derrick Green, will make his decision on Saturday afternoon between Michigan, Auburn, and Tennessee. The second, TX TE Durham Smythe, originally planned to visit Ann Arbor on Friday, but per 247's Clint Brewster there's been a change of plans: he'll visit on February 1st instead ($).
The Wolverines are one of Smythe's three finalists along with Notre Dame and Stanford; he was slated to visit Oregon last weekend but eliminated them after Chip Kelly left to coach the Philadelphia Eagles. Stanford is his presumed leader after a good visit there two weekends ago, but both Michigan and Notre Dame have upcoming official visits to make their final impression befoe he decides on signing day.
Two prospects who won't be in the class: five-star AL LB Reuben Foster, who mentioned interest in a Michigan visit at the Under Armour game but has neither followed through on those plans nor mentioned the Wolverines in subsequent interviews, and FL DB James Crawford, who had interest but no offer and committed to Illinois this week.
Grand Rapids Christian OL Tommy Doles has already visited campus four times and now, according to 247's Steve Lorenz, will be back again this weekend—intriguingly, Doles didn't rule out the possibility of a commitment ($):
"I wouldn't rule it out at this point. I wouldn't say I am in a rush to make a decision, but you could say Michigan is the leader at this point. I want to make my choice when I'm comfortable though, so I don't know if anything is concrete right now, but I wouldn't rule it out."
Doles, a four-star who projects to the interior of the offensive line, should end up in the class sooner or later. With this visit, it could very much be sooner.
The top overall prospect in 2014, Da'Shawn Hand, has already named Michigan to his top five. While the Wolverines still need to get him on campus, an interview with ESPN's Dave Hooker reveals that the coaches have already made quite an impression ($) [emphasis mine]:
"I like all the coaching staffs of each school (among his finalists), but Michigan has my favorite coaching staff," Hand said. "Virginia Tech has my favorite coach -- [defensive coordinator] Bud Foster. But as a staff, Michigan, they have character. You can tell everything is smooth. There's a lot of team chemistry. The coaches get along. But when you've got to get the job done, you've got to get the job done. It's not all fun and games. But at the same time, they're not like robots."
Per The M Block, top-ranked 2014 TE Tyler Luatua has Michigan in his top five with Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC.