3 Recruiting Q&As: Alabama, Duke, Idaho

Posted Jan 20, 2014

3 Recruiting Q&As: The Scout publishers from Alabama, Duke and Idaho

3 Recruiting Questions With Scout Publishers
- Auburn, Hawaii, Illinois
- Arkansas, Ball State, Boise State, Florida, Georgia Tech

For more, go to TheDevilsDen.com

1) How much did the great run in 2012 matter – is it translating into recruits?

John Watson, TheDevilsDen.Com - There is certainly a palpable sense of change and validation among the recruits who have committed, and for the few remaining spots in the class the recruits are talking about Duke being a legitimate football program now. I think we'll see the success translate over the summer when the Blue Devils are able to recruit with a number of open scholarships. Currently there are only one or two spots available in the class of 2014, and the class has been largely committed for a while - well before the team ran off the long winning streak with the big victories.

2) Are rumors of David Cutcliffe possibly being up for another job coming into play? Turning 60 this year, is age a factor in any way?

There will always be rumors. He has won several national coach of the year awards and so his coaching stock is understandably and deservedly high. That being said, Cutcliffe is in a situation where he is building a program that was pretty much a blank slate. He's happy and has established himself as quite a hero around campus and the school is truly supporting him and his program. So long as that continues, I don't expect Cutcliffe to leave

3) What's the No. 1 need the team needs to fill?

The team needs to absolutely improve the talent level and athleticism along the defensive line. If Duke could generate continued pressure on the quarterback, it would allow the team to take another big, big step.

For more, go to GoVandals.net

1) Has the coaching change at Boise State helped in any way with instate recruiting?

Larry Johnson, GoVandals.net - It is too early to tell if there is any significant impact on football recruiting within the State of Idaho. But, Idaho's recruiting efforts will face slightly less competition for in-state D-1 players only because part of the BSU staff is brand new. We must remember that Idaho is a sparsely populated state so the base of potential D-1 players is rather small anyway; and, in some years that base is even smaller. So, in summary, it is too early to tell if Idaho's in-state recruiting would benefit from any changes or instability at Boise State. Idaho had 16 in-state players on their 2013 roster of 98 and BSU had 20 players from Idaho on their roster of 102 players. Both programs rely on out-of-state players to fill their ranks; so, any impact on in-state recruiting from a coaching change could be minimal.

2) Does moving back to a conference from independent status do anything? Is there a sense now of more stability?

Pat Hauge (govandals.net) recently interviewed Rob Spear, the Idaho Athletic Director, and this very issue was discussed where he stated that conference instability had some impact on recruiting. Yes, there is a sense of stability in that Idaho will return to conference play this fall (Idaho will be a football-only member of the Sun Belt Conference) with the usual goals of playing for a league championship and a bowl berth; plus knowing that the conference is not going in the direction of the WAC. Again, according to Dr. Spear, the move to the Sun Belt Conference will improve recruiting for Vandal football. But, in that same interview Dr. Spear makes it clear that conference re-alignment is not over - that more changes are probably coming - and it will impact more universities than Idaho. Link to the interview

3) What's the No. 1 need the team needs to fill?

Idaho needs to add experience and most, but not all, of that experience is needed in the trenches. At the start of the 2013 season Idaho's had 49 freshmen on a 98 man roster, which was probably a record of sorts. So, the 2014 season means the team will remain young, unless more experience is added right away. And that experience must come from the JC ranks and Idaho is recruiting junior college players to fill in key spots on the team. Like any team the Vandals are looking for speed in a few areas. This is no surprise as head coach Paul Petrino has made it clear he will go to the junior college ranks to fill his immediate needs while some of the recruits from his 2013 and 2014 classes mature and develop as players.

For more, go to BamaMag.com

1) Is Nick Saban changing anything about his recruiting style after his defenses struggled so much against spread attacks and quick quarterbacks?

Kirk McNair, BamaMag.com - Yes, and the change has already begun. Saban is looking for what he calls "quick twitch guys" on the defensive line, and he brought in A'Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen last year.

Saban's recruiting style hasn't changed, but he has adjusted his priorities within the class of 2014. Mid-way through, offensive line was the clear No. 1 issue, but over the last month or two the focus has shifted to the defense almost exclusively. Of course, that was after getting commitments from a handful of outstanding offensive linemen – top-ranked tackle Cameron Robinson , top-ranked center J.C. Hassenauer, five-star junior college tackle Dominick Jackson, fourth-ranked center Joshua Casher, fourth-ranked guard Ross Pierschbacher, offensive guard Montel McBride.

Alabama is targeting the nation's best pass-rushers, it landed the nation's top cornerback in Tony Brown while having another five-star corner in Marlon Humphrey high on the list, as well as notching three safeties in the class. Alabama also added a pair of junior college transfers on the defensive line, where it is looking for at least one more commitment down the stretch.

2) How much did his recruiting ability help Lane Kiffin get the Alabama OC gig?

It certainly didn't hurt, but no one goes to work for Nick Saban who isn't a top recruiter. More than that in this case, I would say that Kiffin's style and scheme was the bigger part of it. Kiffin has already spoken to at least one offensive commitment, quarterback Ricky Town, about speeding up the tempo just a bit while maintaining the identity of a pro-style offense. Saban has long been a fan of Kiffin's ability, and even brought him in as a consultant late in the season to brainstorm certain avenues. On the recruiting front, there's no denying Kiffin's ability to sway a prospect, not that Alabama has had a hard time doing so of late anyway. His recruiting prowess helped, but it wasn't the primary reason he's now on Saban's staff.

3) What's the No. 1 need the team needs to fill?

As pointed out above, until the names are on the dotted line the top need has been and remains along the offensive line, the result of graduations and early defections to the NFL. Alabama lost a trio of starters - D.J. Fluker, Chance Warmack, Barrett Jones - to the NFL after the 2012 season, and the 2013 group has already lost left tackle Cyrus Kouandijo, along with senior three-year starting guard Anthony Steen. Replacing five NFL prospects in a one-year span is tough for any team, and Alabama will have plenty of youth up front beginning in 2014, led by the nation's top offensive line recruit, Cameron Robinson.

At the beginning of the recruiting season (whenever that is these days), cornerback would be listed as a close second, followed by edge rusher, linebacker, and interior defensive lineman. Things have gone well with the number one cornerback in Tony Brown (who has already enrolled) and Bama thought to have the edge for five-star Marlon Humphrey, the son of legendary Tide running back Bobby Humphrey. The Tide also brought in a couple of junior college defensive linemen, including D.J. Pettway, back from a one-year dismissal at Bama. DaShawn Hand is ranked the number three defensive end and Christian Miller the number five outside linebacker.

3 Recruiting Questions With Scout Publishers
- Auburn, Hawaii, Illinois
- Arkansas, Ball State, Boise State, Florida, Georgia Tech