Here are Urban's top 11 recruiting tips for fellow Big Ten coaches. I hope you dig.
11. Don’t reinvent the wheel. If ESPN says he’s a good player, why waste your time and resources to confirm what you already know? Look—I’ve met a lot of these recruiting guys. The ones from Scout, from 24/7, from Rivals. Are they geniuses? No. But think about the alternative. It’s not like the wide receivers coach at Minnesota is any secret genius either. It’s not like the linebackers coach at Iowa is all great shakes. Is some guy on your staff going to do a better job evaluating a prospect than the regional guy from Rivals? On our staff, maybe. On Brady’s staff, maybe. On anyone else’s staff, let’s face it: probably not. And even then, is the difference worth sinking the resources into sending your guys out to do those evals themselves? Opportunity cost, men. Don’t overlook what else you might be getting out of that time and money.
10. Now, lots of you guys may think, “well, this kid is only a 2-star, but he fits our system. He plays hard and has a good head on his shoulders.” Better not offer that guy a scholarship, because you know what? Rivals.com doesn’t care if he fits your system. Scout.com doesn’t care if he has a good head on his shoulders. It’s all about perception, gentlemen. If you want to catch the SEC, it’s gotta be 3-stars or bust.
9. Look, I know they can be a little unwieldy. They get in the way when you’re trying to eat, you don’t want to get them dirty, all that. But you just absolutely cannot be leaving your national championship rings at home when you go on these recruiting visits. It’s just plain dumb. I don’t care if it was way back in 2006. That’s not the point. These kids want to see the rings. You want the kids, you got to give them the rings. And that’s just common sense.
8. I see a lot of you guys out trying to sign offensive linemen, or giving scholarships to kickers—and even long-snappers. This has got stop. Nobody gets excited about linemen. A defensive end, maybe, but not some plain old guard. Specialists are even worse—the highest they can get on Scout is three stars, so they are just about guaranteed to bring your average down. Image is everything. If people see you bringing in an average of 2.65 stars, then guess what? Your name is “Johnny Two-Star.” The four stars aren’t even going to think about you anymore. The three stars? Maybe. But you’ll get all the two-stars you can handle. You want to be Indiana freaking University? Just keep giving scholarships to long-snappers, and you can be Indian—oh, sorry Kevin. But yeah, just keep giving scholarships to long-snappers, you can be the Mid-America Conference if you want to. You want to be Big Ten? You save those for playmakers.
7. You know, back when I was at Utah, I noticed a recruit’s mother seemed a little worn out because she was at work all day, the recruit had a little brother she was taking care of, it was late, you know. So I reached over and started giving the recruit’s mother a foot massage. Now you might think, “that’s really not appropriate,” but I assure you our compliance people checked the NCAA rulebook and there is absolutely nothing in there that says giving a recruit’s mother a foot massage is a violation. Now, sometimes a foot massage isn’t going to be enough. But I think you get the point, gentlemen.
6. So, I know that some of my players were previously committed to other coaches in this room and maybe a few of you might be a little disappointed about that. I just want to come right out and address it. No need to beat around the bush. See, when a player makes a verbal commitment to, say, the University of Illinois—what that really means is he’s committed to Illinois or Ohio State. It’s like he’s both of ours, you see? Now maybe it will come to pass that the Buckeyes don’t need him in our class, and then he’ll go to Illinois. But to go and use words like “poaching?” “Snake oil?” Well, that’s really not necessary. And really not accurate, to be perfectly honest.
5. Don’t cuss at the recruits. Yeah, this may sound funny, like “what, I can’t cuss at the recruits?” But seriously—kids these days don’t want to play for some purple-faced asshole. I know, I know—you all want to just ‘be yourself’ with the kids. Well, ‘being yourself’ got you the number thirty-fuck-what recruiting class on Scout, Bo. ‘Being yourself’ got you a class about as good as Middle-fucking-Tennessee, Mark. You don’t see the great recruiters out there screaming at kids. Lane Kiffin doesn’t do it. Kevin Sumlin doesn’t do it. Fred Jackson doesn’t do it. So get it in check, people.
4. I know most of you guys take junior college transfers, prep school guys. Some of you don’t. I can see if your institution doesn’t really accommodate that, but otherwise you’re killing yourself turning them away. And look—juvenile halls? Some of my best players at Florida came out of ‘the system.’ You want to recruit like the SEC? You can’t afraid to get down and dirty like the SEC.
3. Hand-timed 40s are sometime inaccurate.
2. Now, recruiting is hard work. It’s a difficult business. It can take a lot out of you. And some of you may have some health issues that you think might stand in the way of really getting on the recruiting trail. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can’t let that be an excuse. Look, Mark—I know you’ve got that heart thing. Jerry. Hey—I know exactly what it’s like. I’ve had my own “health issues” too—that Nick Saban, he’s a real pain in the ass. But you’ve just got to keep on. Perseverance. You can’t just take a year off in this business. You can’t just go do color commentary for ESPN and expect your dream job to fall into your lap. It’s rough. It’s a grind. But you just have to keep at it. ABR, gentlemen. Always be recruiting.
1. No matter what, make sure you don’t come across as a patronizing jerk. Recruits can see right through that. Parents too. Just never a good idea.