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Some comments on recruiting

  • Guys, let's put an end to the personal bickering going back and forth. There's some very good discussion going on in this thread - no need to ruin that.

  • One thing I want to add is that I'm not sure Iowa's overall approach to recruiting is the problem. The one caveat here is that, as I've said before, I think it's a big mistake not to have the coordinators on the road at least as much as every other school does.

    But other than that, and potentially targeting some areas more (Ohio), I don't have a major problem with the kids Iowa is going after. I honestly think there are a lot of schools that completely miss on recruits because they don't know what they're doing from an evaluating standpoint. With that in mind, you can field a championship level program without consistently reeling in 4/5 star talent every year, as long as you know what you're doing from an evaluating standpoint.

    I understand the desire a lot of Hawkeye fans have for Iowa to pursue those elite level recruits. However, from talking to recruits across the country, including a number of prospects that had offers from everybody, the vast majority won't even give Iowa any consideration at all at this point. I'm just being honest here. So pursuing those kids is honestly a waste of time, and that's what I think Ferentz means with some of his comments in the past. There are only so many coaches available to recruit, and only so many hours in the day. You can't afford to waste any of that time, so it's not efficient for Iowa to pursue those kids.

    I hate to beat a dead horse, but the only way for Iowa to be more relevant with those elite recruits is to regularly win 10+ games per year and be a legitimate part of the national college football conversation. Of course, it's not easy to become that type of program without having those players in the first place, but that's the way it could happen. Entering the 2010 season, there was a ton of hype on a national scale surrounding the Hawkeyes. If Iowa had been able to capitalize on that hype and win 10+ games that season, then maybe there would have been more star power in the past few classes. That was definitely a missed opportunity for the program to take the next step.

  • Iowa had a lot of coaching blunders during that 2010 season which really killed the momentum from the 2009 season and BCS Bowl win.

    -clock management
    -special teams being not so special
    -conservative play calling
    -predictable play calling
    -getting burnt by fake punts and not being ready for fake punts
    -unwillingness to take chances (such as blitz Pryor on 4th and 10)
    -unprepared at the end of the game with the 2-minute offense

    I don't need to go any further. This past season was no different. With a team lacking talent, the coaching staff did nothing creative to at lease attempt to make up for it on offense.

    While recruiting plays a major factor in how good a team COULD be, coaching IS the major factor if you do have the talent, and 2010 proved that.

  • No where else to post this but I really think y'all need to see it.

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  • My opinion is Meyer wants the B10 to do a better job of recruiting as it draws more attention to the conference. More attention generally means easier access to better players since kids notice successes on the field of play and want to play in those venues. Bowl game success and national rankings open doors.

    Great coaches thrive on the competition. Losing to a great team in a great game is much better than losing to a poor team in a poorly played contest.

    I am still not convinced that Iowa's recruiting philosophy is very well defined.

  • Good idea.., this has been a profoundly interesting thread. It is always nice to read varied opinions that recognize the complexity of the Iowa recruiting problems, rather than espousing some simplistic answer to the issue. There are those out there who simply want to fire KF, Gary Barta, Sally Mason and Gary Dolphin thereby solving all of Iowa's problems.

    As to the issue of expanding the budgets to allow for a professional recuiting staff expansion, I have serious concerns. And, frankly, I think Todd Worly only wants to keep this discussion alive because he has a secret plan to apply for the position on Iowa's football staff.

  • I wasn't covering Iowa that season, so I won't comment on the specifics that you pointed out. I agree with you to an extent that the coaching has to be at a certain level in order to make the most out of the talent on the roster. However, on the other hand, I don't think it's necessarily true that whoever wins the most games has the best coaches. Talented players can make coaches look much better, so I'm not sure I agree that coaching is the biggest factor. In a lot of cases, if the roster is good enough, a coach can sort of take the "don't mess anything up" approach and be extremely successful.

  • He can move for a kid his size! I'd like to see what he looks like playing in the trenches on either side of the ball.

  • lol You figured me out!

  • I think it's important to keep in perspective basically two different discussions. Why Iowa struggles to bring in upper level recruits is a distinctly different discussion from why Iowa struggles at times on the field with those recruits. The two discussions aren't mutually exclusive, however, as one certainly affects the other.

    The point about being efficient in terms of time allocated is a good one. It really doesn't make sense for the Iowa staff to spend an inordinate amount of time recruiting a 5-star athlete that has little chance of coming here, only to miss out on some upper 3-star guys due to the missed opportunity. In the end, you may end up with neither. It's a bit like gambling: you may hit on one of 50 5-stars, but is that worth missing out on several less advertised players? That said, if programs like Michigan St., Missouri and Kansas St. can do it, there is no reason to expect that we can't either.

    It's up to the coaches to put it all together. That means being more creative, outworking your opponents, and always being a step ahead, and, as U2 pointed out, putting a better product on the field never hurts.

  • So Meyer creates a "full time recruiting coordinator" (professional staff of 1) but is apparently opposed to rules changes that make it open season for recruiting.

    The Irony.


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  • How is that ironic? Not agreeing or disagreeing with you - just a little confused by your statement, so I was hoping you could clarify.

  • That's exactly my point. There may be certain situations where Iowa has a realistic shot to land an elite recruit, and in that situation, Iowa needs to do everything in its power to land that prospect. But if there isn't a realistic chance, then you're just spinning your wheels, and likely costing yourself some very good players that you could have had in the meantime.

    Michigan State and Mizzou are a little different, as they both generally have a lot more high school talent in their state than Iowa does, so it's not as big of a stretch for them to land those prospects. Mizzou also had the benefit of the hype surrounding the move to the SEC. I'm not as familiar with Kansas State's recruiting hauls, but I assume most of the elite prospects they land are junior college guys.

  • Seriously, a guy that big who can move that well, put him at DT/NG. That's "SEC-like" interior DL speed and mobility! Hawaii just signed him yesterday.

    Assuming he qualifies academically, he's projected to play...DL.

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  • Glad he'll get a shot with Hawaii. Thanks for the info.

  • It's a reasonable expectation to believe of anybody that doesn't agree with the rules changes, that they would be opposed to those rules that promote the formation of professional recruiting staffs--which these changes supposedly do. So Meyer states he is against many of the rules changes but already has implemented something the new rules would allow.

    Does that help?

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Truthhurts 17 months ago

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  • I'm still a little confused. A lot of college teams have already had someone on staff whose sole role is to handle recruiting. Eric Johnson is currently very close to that with Iowa. The new proposed rules will make college football recruiting even more like the wild, wild west than it already is.

  • Except...only 3 of the 18 that MSU signed are from Michigan. If you exclude the Michigan kids who signed with non-AQ schools, only 20 signed with schools in BCS conferences. Iowa had 8 high school seniors sign BCS LOIs, 40% of what Michigan produced. But Michigan has nearly 10 million people, while Iowa has only 3.1 million. So while Iowa doesn't produce a lot, it indexes a lot higher than the Mitten State.

    There are only 14 states that produce enough talent to fill an in-state BCS team's roster (much less two or more)--Texas (212), Florida (206), California (138), Georgia (121), Ohio (80), Pennsylvania (46), North Carolina (45), New Jersey (43), Virginia (43), Illinois (37), Maryland (35), Alabama (35), Louisiana (34), and Tennessee (31). According to Rivals, 1,374 players signed LOIs with BCS schools and these 14 states accounted for 1,106 of them. That's exactly 80%, which means recruiting's just another application of the 80/20 rule--28% of the states are supplying 80% of the talent.

    Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Kansas, Kansas State, South Carolina, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota, Nebraska, West Virginia, Wisconsin...every one of those schools is forced to rely on OOS talent just like Iowa does. So if a kid's looking at going away to school--and that's a high probability for all but the very best--why not Iowa?

    DieHardHawk makes a great point about hedging bets. It's a strategic choice between the bird in hand versus the two in the bush. The same theory applies in terms of talent density--if Missouri's only producing a couple dozen BCS recruits a year, are Ferentz's odds better going head-to-head with Mizzou or going into Texas or Florida where there's a lot more talent to go around? In that respect, if I'm Kirk Ferentz, I'd go where the players are, which is also where football's going to be a lot more popular, which means the competition's going to be tougher, which means the players are going to be better. And the majority of the 3-stars, at least, are going to have to go out of state for college. So maybe it's not 5-stars. But getting a handful of selected 4-stars and lots and lots of talented 3-stars is not at all out of the question.

  • Great discussion here. We've really enjoyed your contributions to our site.

    Regarding MSU, Mizzou and Kansas State, my post was in reply to a post that was referring to elite-level recruits, which I took to mean high four stars and five-stars, so the figure of 18 wouldn't apply there. I was pointing out that areas such as Kansas City, St. Louis and Detroit have historically produced more elite recruits than the state of Iowa has, and those two programs will have a better shot with the local prospects, which probably makes them more likely to land a recruit like that than for Iowa to do so.

    I'm not convinced it's a good move for Iowa to increase its activity in Texas. I know there's a ton of talent there, but just about every BCS program is also recruiting there. I'm not advocating a complete abandonment of Texas, but the current approach that the Hawkeyes take in Texas makes sense to me.

    As I've said before, I'd increase the activity in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, and to compensate for that, I'd probably pull back a little from the East Coast.

  • First, Mark Pantoni worked for Meyer in the same capacity at Florida. He was OSU's Director of Player Personnel going back to when Meyer was hired. So he's been in the job long before these rule changes were passed. Other schools have full-time recruiting coordinators, not just OSU, and likely more will add them.

    And then there's this from the 2/12/13 Columbus Dispatch:

    Urban Meyer is relentless on the recruiting trail. If there’s an opening to win over a coveted prospect, he’ll take it. Well, the NCAA has passed measures scheduled to take effect this summer that will greatly reduce restrictions on recruiting. And Meyer is greatly troubled by them.

    “Bad stuff,” he said last Wednesday on national signing day. “Could you imagine what’s going to be rolling into kids’ driveways—Fatheads and magnets? It’s nonsense. I don't agree with that at all.”

    He vowed to write a letter to every coach in America explaining his disapproval. Yesterday, the Big Ten athletic directors and football coaches met in suburban Chicago, and Meyer’s opinion was clearly shared by the others present. Afterward, the Big Ten released a statement saying it was “very concerned” about three of the 25 proposals scheduled to take effect. The league asked the NCAA to table them for further discussion. The changes would eliminate the limits on the number of coaches allowed to recruit at a given time and allow for unlimited communication, both electronically and through regular mail.

    If I had to guess, the 28-person staff IamSparty alleges Saban intends to create would essentially be an in-house ad agency charged with creating, producing and distributing mountains and mountains of postcards and catalogs while monitoring recruits' Twitter and Facebook accounts.

    Everyone sees their school as a hero which means that in order to keep the world in balance, there must also be a villain. For many people, whether they're Michigan or Notre Dame or Iowa fans, that's Ohio State and Urban Meyer. They need an evil foil to parry their team's goodness, a ying to complement their team's yang. As Buckeye fans, we get it and actually revel in the "us against the world" backs-against-the-wall corner all the Ohio State haters want to put us in. But in this particular case, Urban Meyer is not the bad guy. As the Dispatch article noted, he'll take advantage of the new rules as long as they exist, just as Ferentz will (or at least should), but he's gone on record saying he'd prefer that some of them be repealed.

  • “Everyone sees their school as a hero which means that in order to keep the world in balance, there must also be a villain”

    That’s a glaring overstatement and belies the objectivity trying to be established in this response.

    The irony exists between what Meyer has recently state and what he has already done. And of course “he'll take advantage of the new rules as long as they exist,” but damn he sure is benevolent for writing to everyone to oppose them before they are reality. It’s fair to say Meyer is leading the curve with regards to implementing a staff to take advantage of the new rules. The NCAA probably sees the trend unfolding, and impotent to regulate all the available avenues of recruiting, opened the gates entirely.

    Meat is on the table, use whatever utensils you can to get your share; as irony has it, Ferentz hires a staff (or rearranges his current staff ) to analyze the table and it’s contents.
    They decide to bring a two-pronged fork, and knife to cut their share of the meat. When they go and sit down at the table, all they find is a cake with sparklers in it that says “Prim Rib, welcome to (fill in your choice)”.

    No Meyer isn’t the villain. Not in a Buck$eye.

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  • Interesting thread...thanks.

    I read somewhere the other day that "charm was the ability of one person to say something to another that made both parties feel they were a little more wonderful."

    I've heard KF say a couple of times over the years that "we're not sexy" and "we're not Michigan". As much as it might be true, it certainly lacks charm. What the recruit hears is perhaps, therefore, he's "not sexy" or he's "not good enough to play for Michigan". If charm is part of the recruiting process, then these comments can only be construed as a psychological mis-step.

    That said, I'm not sure it's in KF's dna to go about recruiting any other way.

  • I agree that talented players make a coaching staff look pretty good.

    That 2010 season there was a heap of national hype on the returning talent.

    Iowa's coaching really hurt that team. No coaching staff is perfect. But, a good coaching staff learns from mistakes and corrects mistakes, and I'm talking coaching mistakes.
    IMO had Iowa had a different head coach that season, that 2010 season would have been a special season and not disappointing. I'm not trying to bash Ferentz, but the same coaching mishaps (example: clock management) continue to be an issue and the head coach doesn't seem to be fixing it.

    That 2010 season, FOR EXAMPLE, Iowa was not ready for fake punts and onside kicks (aka Wisconsin and Minnesota).
    As the saying goes here in Texas: "Fool me once, shame on you.. Fool me twice, shame on me"

    This post was edited by u2Hawk 17 months ago

  • At $3 MM per year, he is ultimately responsible.

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  • He would also be responsible at $2 M or $4M. He makes what he makes. Get over it.