The Wild and Wacky World of Recruiting

As many of you know, i am a huge fan of the art of recruiting.  Being on the sidelines for most of it, all I have to go on are the recruiting resources available.  Whether it is reading the latest recruiting reports at BeaverBlitz, or perusing other recruiting sites for other market information, I am always amazed at how much info is out there, but also at how unreliable it is.

Today, Oregon State welcomed 3 new commits.  Isaiah Miller, a fast, powerful and elusive running back from Baldwin, FL (a town of 2000+ people) was the first to commit.  His film is impressive, looking every bit as good as any back OSU has gotten in the last 4 or 5 classes.

Then came two back to back commitments from Kaleb Hayes, a San Bernardino, CA defensive back (though his film is all QB) and defensive back Justin Gardner from Snellville, GA.

These players are under the radar talent with speed and agility that are ready to come in and compete for the Beavers.  But to look at the recruiting services, it is like they are ghosts.  In some cases it might be financial, and the cost of getting access to quality film can be tough. In other cases it might be that their coaches are not able to, or just not willing to promote their players and help them.  I have no idea, and the circumstances for players that run reported 4.4 40’s to get overlooked seem incredible, when all this information is at our finger tips.

Unfortunately, the problem with the services is that, like news and media and all the rest of the world, it is easier to get noticed if you live in an urban setting.  Just like it is easier for USC and UW to get recruits from big cities, big cities promote their own. In many cases, a lot of recruiting services have gone to holding camps to evaluate players.  I know Rivals does, but how much does that detract from actual film study?  Do players at camps get rated higher because you have actually seen them play?  Yes, yes they do. And that is natural.  But what happens is that players who are not able to find their way to Elite 11 or Openings or the 5 Star Challenge, are left to local camps, letters and word of mouth to get their name out there.

Fortunately for guys like Justin or Kaleb, Coach Andersen and his staff went to them and they felt that these players were going to help them win championships.  Some players will never get that.  Some will never see the light of day on a Power 5 campus or in the minds and notebooks of ‘recruitnik’ nerds like me. Which is too bad, because it sure if fun to cheer for the overlooked players like James Rodgers or Mike Hass.

3 thoughts on “The Wild and Wacky World of Recruiting

  1. Andy Wooldridge (@AndyWooldridge1)

    Unfortunately, the only thing sleeazier than college recruiting is the industry that has grown up around reporting on it. Because of the keen interest in all things college football, and to a degree, college basketball, there is an appetite, and a cut-throat industry has grown up around it, with the pay-to-be-promoted services a key component. It’s also become a key component of some newspapers and other outlets’ coverage plan, again to the point of ruthless & unethical practices, all because there is interest, and therefore value to be gained.

    Given the tens of thousands of high school prospects out there, its understandable that not all of them can be reasonably evaluated; the logistics of getting anyone competent to look at everyone are enormous. And not a lot of people writing on the subject are necessarily competent to give an evaluation. Not even all coaches are.

    And coaches have a vested interest in not having others necessarily pick up on someone they have found.

    The result is there is a close correlation to the coverage and the stars assigned with who offers a prospect. They can go from no star to 3 star overnight, as soon as a service finds out some notable Power 5 conference program extended an offer. Or drop 1+ stars when an offer gets withdrawn for any number of reasons.

    The wildly uneven efforts of coaches and high schools that you allude to in terms of their promotion of their athletes, the quality of development they provide, and even the exposure and variance in rules from state to state that they compete under further complicates the problem.

    1. Peter Riley Osborne Post author

      I agree 100%. You also have to realize that the difference in talent in many cases is minuscule and completely impossible to truly evaluate. Who are they playing against? What offense or defense do they run? What is their job on said offense or defense? Who are they playing with? What is their value to their team? If the same kids are getting rated high from the same schools every year, how much of that is the actual talent of the player and not the talent of the coaches? How much will the coaching they received in High School effect their transition to college.

      Which is why I love the idea of satellite camps, and the ability for coaches to go into new areas, without preconceived notions, and see if they can find players that may not have had any other options but fit perfectly with the staff at a camps team. Yesterday for Oregon State was a good example. No idea how well any of those guys will be, or if they even end up at OSU, but they have a shot that they would not have had without it. Of the three, only one had a single offer from another Power 5 conference team. So this opens a door to them that was closed for the time being.

      Championship players don’t always have stars by their name, but the usually have rings on their fingers and that is what matters.


Let us know why you think we are a bunch of crap sacks... or if you love us. Or just want to say hi.