If you were a big time recruit?

Submitted by Hugh Jass on February 2nd, 2014 at 10:45 AM

With NSD nearby and coaches scrambling to get the last remaining recruits safely tucked away - I wonder what I would do if I were a four or five star recruit?  Thinking about Mr. McDowell and his process and waiting until the end of the recruiting season, I wonder what I would have done as a 17 / 18 year old?

With the twitter and social media, plus the army of coaches recruiting with the plethora of tactics......what would you do if you were in those 4/5 star shoes?  Think about being 18 again and going through the process as it is today.  Would you commit early?  Would you take every visit possible?  I know my parents would have had a profound influence on my decision.  What about you?



February 2nd, 2014 at 11:18 AM ^

I completely agree with both you, UM would be MY dream school if I were a recruit. However, I do sometimes ask myself why out of state kids, who did not grow up Michigan fans, would want to come here. 

I don't mean to troll, just genuinely wondering what Michigan offers that the other perennial college programs do not. UM has great academics and rich history, but so do many other schools (where it is warmer). Why Michigan over a coastal state, such as Florida or California?


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:41 AM ^

As a coach, the recruiting process is quite interesting. As a 17/18 year old, you better have been getting your name out there early and often. You don't hold all the cards, they still hold many of them. Often, a recruit becomes more desired as more schools start to get to know them. Their ability might not have improved, but one of the big rules of recruiting is - if you lose, you better lose with the guys everyone else wanted, not the guys no one else wanted (you'll get more time if you demonstrate you're a good recruiter than if you don't).

As a kid, I'd really have to put down my goals and objectives and find out what's important to me in a school. It's important to eliminate schools and programs you wouldn't fit with. If you have academic interests, don't go to a school without that program. And as you eliminate those schools be honest with them. I would NOT take all my officials unless I really was interested in those schools. Your senior year is already filled, you would hate to visit somewhere that you ultimately know you would not be happy at, and it's just wrong to waste coaching staff's time on you. Remember, they have a job to do too, and time wasted on you hurts their chances with others, and could affect their job.

Finally - private social media to everyone, and completely scrubbed of anything that reveals too much about me. Recruiters are now asking for social media passwords - keep it clean and classy.

j.o.s.e maizenblue

February 2nd, 2014 at 2:38 PM ^

The thing I dont understand is if a kid grew up loving a program, it offered everything they needed and they had the opportunity to play in that uniform and stadium, why would they all of a sudden decommit or consider someplace else? Seriously, I want to hear about kids are kids and its different these days (we were all 18 at some point). If your favorite program gave you everything you needed (academics, playing time, facilities...) why would need to reconsider? That's why I love kids like Morris and Ferns who appreciate the opportunity they have.

I Like Burgers

February 2nd, 2014 at 2:50 PM ^

As young impressionable kids, they are easily influenced.  So just because they grew up liking one thing, it doesn't mean they'll go with that in the end.  And often, the thing they grew up liking was the only thing they really knew.  The recruiting process opens up their mind to newer possibilities.

I grew up a huge Michigan fan, and wound up going to Michigan.  But if I was a highly recruited athlete and had the chance to go to some other places like UCLA (awesome campus), Texas (great town), or pretty much any southern school (the women) there's a really good chance I'd have gone elsewhere.

You can always visit home and enjoy the things you loved as a kid.  But you can't always go someplace new and different.


February 2nd, 2014 at 3:53 PM ^

Not saying this is the case at Michigan, but if I had a dream school, loved everything about and then found out I really didn't click with the coaching staff, I would really have to consider opening my search up to a broader list. That would then take time and I would always be in conflict because I still love my dream school but don't like the most important people that will influence me over the next 4-5 years.

j.o.s.e maizenblue

February 2nd, 2014 at 4:31 PM ^

Its true kids are impressionable and other schools may challange their paradigms, but if your program has it all vs all the others, does it really take a great sales pitch to sway you away from your dream?! Especially, when you consider kids these days have so much more information at their finger tips and are influenced by media than many of us were? 

No question theres so much to consider, which is why I enjoyed reading some of the comments on this thread.


February 2nd, 2014 at 8:25 PM ^

As fans, I think we hear most of the sensationalized parts of recruiting (hello Cam Cameron). At the end of the day, it's the relationship the coaches build with the players. That's almost always first and foremost. So if your dream school has everything except coaches you connect with, I think that is probably the true reason when a kid decides to go somewhere other than his dream school. That's also something most recruits will not disclose publicly. Instead you hear things like playing time, chance for championships, etc. No matter how good of a sales pitch, I would never have decided to play for a coach I didn't respect and trust.
Specific to Michigan, it's great Hoke, Mattison, et all constantly get praised for their ability to build relationships with recruits. It's the reason they are such strong recruiters. That said, their personalities will not jive with absolutely every recruit. That's just human nature.


February 2nd, 2014 at 10:52 AM ^

All the chips are in your hands...the coaches/programs have to come to you.  You just sit back, take it all in, and try and decide where you see yourself being happy and successful.  The question is what do the coaches do?  But, I get the feeling one of the reasons UM doesn't do great on NSD is they don't want to have to oversell it...they want kids who want to be there.  The UM coaches just seem to have a more honest, straightforward approach that keeps the kid's best interest at heart.  Which is great for the kids, but may mean we don't close on some higher rated kids sometimes because we don't chase them as much.

Hugh Jass

February 2nd, 2014 at 10:53 AM ^

and have seen the process in action.  Players constantly get notes in class that so and so is on campus and would like a few minutes.  They have to decide whether to leave class and talk to them or stay put.  When I talk to them at the end of class in general, they really do not know what to do - it is interesting to know what finally sways their decision one way or another.


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:00 AM ^

Care to elaborate on some examples (of course leaving out kids names, but maybe include what level prospect and maybe some of the schools that have recruited the student)?

I'd love to know what type of input and suggestions you normally give as well.  It definitely irks me that the players can leave class to talk with coaches.  I get that coaches may be on tight schedules when the come to a student's school, but I would hope that they coaches would work around the student's schedule while, you know, he's in school.


February 2nd, 2014 at 4:00 PM ^

I had this conversation with a friend whose son is being recruited the other day. Not wanting to call you out Hugh Jass (never thought I'd type that), but how much effort do you make to tell the college coaches that the kids class time is important and they need to wait to visit the high school until after the school day is done, or at least only during lunch time? I find it ridiculous that kids get called out of an academic class to meet with a college coach. In the case of my friend, her son's coach texts him when coaches are on campus. How is a kid supposed to pay attention after that? Why can't the high school coach tell the college coaches to schedule in advance durning non-academic hours if you want to talk to my kids?


February 2nd, 2014 at 10:56 AM ^

Make an early silent comittment to Michigan, then go "play the filed" and go on OV's to interesting/fun/exciting places and let myself be wined and dined.

The Michigan coaches would be OK with this because I would provide them with recon on how top prospects are being recruited by the competition. 

When it was all over I would write a tell-all book about it.



February 2nd, 2014 at 11:38 AM ^

I have pondered this question before and came to a similar answer except that I would verbal to OSU early and sign with Michigan on signing day.

Then I got to thinking about the ethics of it all and realized that as fun as it would be it is just not who I am so I would just commit early, or take all officials and then commit to Michigan.

814 East U

February 2nd, 2014 at 10:58 AM ^

I would visit everywhere and then be like sorry Bama and LSU academics are important. Take my 5 officials to Stanford NW ND Vandy and Michigan. Finally commit to the good guys and recruit other top players.


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:00 AM ^

High school me: I would take all my officials: Michigan, Stanford, UCLA, and then two schools with the hottest 'hostesses'

Old (current) me: Michigan, Stanford, UCLA, NW, UWash.


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:01 AM ^

I've never been a big time athlete, but I figure it's probably a lot like picking a residency program. You go to all these places, you hear all these sales pitches, and everyone shows you around facilities that look pretty similar for the most part. You don't know what questions you should be asking until you're most of the way through the process. You try to come up with a unified ranking schematic, but it's impossible because factors don't always correlate between programs, and intangibles like whether or not you dislike faculty/residents/the city factor in. At the end of the day, they all blur together except for a couple, and the reason some of those stood out is more likely to be a gut feeling, specific person, or great dinner than it is some marvelous point from a power-point slide. I always wanted Michigan, so I went into the whole thing a bit biased, but Michigan had the prestige and proximity I wanted so it wasn't a tough choice, but I still had to go through the process. I went on every interview I could bc how can you really say yes or no if you're uninformed? I definitely would've taken officials (or I guess in my example, second-looks that would've been free). I would've brought my parents because they are more experienced and might know some of those right questions to ask.

Ultimately, you're basing 4-5 years and possibly your future on a handful of visits, which really isn't enough to ever feel 100% confident. I don't envy these kids. It was very difficult for me to make a rank list at 28, I don't know how I would've picked at 18 beyond "I always wanted to go to Michigan, so that's where I'm going".


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:01 AM ^

Me personally, I don't like being sold to.  So when someone says, "gee, why wouldn't you take all five official visits, free trip, food, girls, etc. etc." I'm always thinking "because there's few things I like less than being on the receiving end of a sales pitch."  I usually just want to say No and be done with it, which would not be possible on an official visit.  Because thinking back to my own experience of visiting schools, I liked what I saw nearly everywhere but made up my mind within five minutes of arriving at UVA.  I knew what I was looking for and when I found it, I knew it.

So really, the plethora of tactics isn't something I would've liked very much.  It's hard to say "this is what I would've done" without it being colored by a decade and a half of extra experience, but I know that much.  The other thing I know is that I wouldn't have responded very well to a Frank Martin coaching style, so I'd've been looking to see if the coach was a screamer or a teacher.  Beyond that I hope I'd be smart enough to know I'm committing to a school, not a coach.  Chances are I would've committed before my senior year began, because in a way I did by applying early decision, and then I spent a nervous few months on the deferral list when I would've preferred to just know.


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:06 AM ^

Take all my visits and take my time in deciding what school (i.e. location, campus, academic and athletic facilities) I could see myself being happy at for 4-6 years.

So many people overlook that biggest factor, IMO: Where are you going to be most comfortable?


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:14 AM ^

Of being recruited, the scramble before signing day with visits and calls is unbelievable. Even though I'm not a football player, it was crazy for me. You don't have time to take a breath until it's over. I panicked like 40 times in the week leading up to committing and then signing. You second guess yourself until you sleep on it a few times, take a long walk, and go with whatever school felt best in your gut. Also the schools that felt the best had the nicest coaches. Not necessary the best, but the nicest. That sticks with you


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:15 AM ^

I would have taken my officials to far away schools then visited MSU and UofM on unofficials. I am a very decisive person and choose my college rather quickly so I suspect I would choose quickly as well.

One other thing: I detest sales pitches. I can tell when people are not genuine (I especially hate dealing with sales people at work). If I sensed that from a coach, they would automatically be on my shit list. As Peppers said "real recognize real"

Ps- if Cam Cameron followed me on a visit I would involve the police or some pranks at his expense.

Jack Daniels

February 2nd, 2014 at 11:21 AM ^

I would take all five officials, to schools in California and Florida. It would come down to mostly academics.

In regards to social media, I'd create a public Twitter for football recruiting and then have a private one on the side that people could only access with my


I'd probably end up choosing between UM, Stanford, and Cal.


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:27 AM ^

I gave my verbal to michigan immediately. I haven't actually been offered yet, and Hoke isn't returning my calls, but it's pretty much going to happen. The recruiting process isn't that bad, I mean I haven't been receiving any calls or letters from other schools. I guess my verbal scared them of...

Shorty the Bea…

February 2nd, 2014 at 11:32 AM ^

It's the highest bidder with some measure of academics, and if the minimum is not met it's off to the Ivy Leagues!


Yes I'm talking about money.  


Do you know what the difference is when investing $50,000 at 18 years old as opposed to even a young 25??  Fuck the NCAA.


February 2nd, 2014 at 3:33 PM ^

1)  Silently commit to Michigan.

2)  Contact Dateline and ask if they wanted to secretly record my official and unofficial visits to MSU, Ohio, and several SEC schools.


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:35 AM ^

I'm with those who say they'd take all of their official visits; if I am a high school kid, I want to see as much as possible.Knowing myself, I would definitely take a look at at least two or three schools in warm-weather states.

Coaching would probably be the most important to me (not just head coach, but coordinatopr and position coaches, as well).  Academics probably second (i'd be too scared of what might happen if I couldn't play pro ball to go to a school just for the football).  Facilities or stadium size wouldn't be a huge deal.  Tradition would be big, but not at the top.  I'd take a place that would allow me to play earlier and longer, rather than a team that won a lot of games already.

I'd certainly give Michigan a look (I grew up in AA and graduated from UM), but, as a football player, it might not be my top choice.  I'd probably give Stanford the most benefit of the doubt due to location, and maybe UCLA.  Michigan would probably be the only Big ten school I'd look at.  I would not go south except maybe to Florida.

Perd Hapley

February 2nd, 2014 at 11:45 AM ^

I would tell coach hoke that I will commit no doubt In my mind and that I am going to tell OSU I am committed to them to mess with there recruiting numbers and switch to UM on signing day. I can help my team before even joining them by doing this.


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:42 AM ^

As a 4/5* recruit I would take all of my official visits and choose a school based purely upon the state of the football program. Being a star athlete academics would not be the highest priorty on my list because at that age I'm thinking NFL or bust. I would wait until NSD to do the hat trick, then I would go check the forums of the other teams I didn't choose and enjoy the fallout.


February 2nd, 2014 at 11:50 AM ^

Michigan is my team but why does everyone always think that Michigan is the best? I have a few friends that went to Michigan and even more that went to MSU. Student life at MSU is more fun than at Michigan by far in my opinion and I can see why McDowell, who is probably planning on just going to the NFL because that's what a kid who is touted as one of the best football players in the country and who thinks hes one of the best players in the country plans on doing, could care less about academics and would rather go to State seeing as how he is just flat out having more fun when he visits. He seems to flat out be happier there, good for him. Parents don't always know best.

If i were 16/17/18 and a recruit. I'd be taking my officials to places like FSU right now for the weather mainly and it would not be hard to not be persuaded by some of the coeds down there. 

Education really doesn't matter. If you're a 6'6 300 pound black kid, no offense, but you tend not to be who the business world wants to hire no matter where your degree is from. If you're a football player and you want to go somewhere and teach and coach football, well you'll probably just be given those jobs regardless where your degree is from. 

I find Ann Arbor and the people to be a little too snobby and nerdy imo. It would be the only place I would ever want to play football but as far as environments, a Clemson crowd, an FSU crowd or an Alabama crowd would be much bigger draws in my opinion. Old white people who don't stand or cheer doesn't create the enviroment 120,000 should in the Big House like it should.


February 2nd, 2014 at 1:08 PM ^

Excerpts from Past posts by Nowicki who claims: “Michigan is my team”

why does everyone always think that Michigan is the best?

Education really doesn't matter.

If you're a football player..you'll probably just be given those jobs regardless where your degree is from.

Ann Arbor and the people (are).. snobby and nerdy

Old white people who don't stand or cheer (don’t) create the enviroment 120,000 should

best players in the country (REFERENCE: McDowell)…could care less about academics and would rather go to State

Our defensive ends (REFERENCE: the position that McDowell plays), I don't think any of them scare anyone

Stauskas is as good as gone.

Let's be real though. Little brother has grown up and gotten bigger than us ever since that comment was made.

None of the recruits care about the winged helmet.

It's not like we have been a huge powerhouse the last 10 years…(UM) sucked.