Stories like this — Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini wrestling a potential recruit — are more than just a bit entertaining. Social media, getting to know today’s kids… the coaches will to take even just a tiny step out of their comfort zones are going to get an edge. The ones who sit in their box and expect kids to come to them on the coach’s terms… sorry, but this isn’t 1975 anymore.
I’ve come to learn, in a quickly-moving 24 years of covering preps, that kids don’t need a lot. But they need something more than a couple of phone calls. A few years back, an island recruit told me about how impressed he was that during his official visit, the special teams coach and head coach were sprinting downfield on the sideline next to the kickoff coverage team.
He ended up going there. Every recruit has to build a relationship with his or her coach, especially a position coach. If it’s not a good one at the start, it is unlikely he’ll sign that dotted line on letter-of-intent day. There’s a reason why June Jones appealed to so many quarterback prospects during his years at UH. He understood these aspects. He never (to my knowledge) went negative, wouldn’t even acknowledge those times when receivers were dropping passes.
He kept moving forward. And then some. But that’s another story.