The 2008 Recruiting
Q&A With Scout.com's Jamie Newberg
2008 Recruiting ...
What You Need To Know
What's happening in the recruiting world? What do you really need to
know? Here to answer some key questions is Jamie Newberg, one of
Scout.com's recruiting gods/national scouts to make sense of it all.
Outside of QB Terrelle Pryor, who are the three other major
make-or-break recruits the average fan should care about?
WR Julio Jones, RB Darrell Scott, S Will Hill, DE Daquan Bowers, WR
AJ Green, OT Mike Adams... now there are a bunch of kids that should
make a big splash as true freshmen, but these guys, plus Pryor,
could make an immediate impact at their respective schools. I see
ryor getting a Tim Tebow role (like when TT was a true frosh sharing
time with Leak) at whatever school he picks (likely Ohio State, but
it's still way up in the air). Scott is good enough to push for
immediate playing time at Colorado or Texas; I think he picks
between those two. Hill has great range and is tough in run
support, and with Florida having a glaring weakness at safety, I
could see him having the same impact for the Gators as Eric Berry
had for the Vols. Bowers is this year's Everson Griffen (USC) and
he should at least get into the Clemson rotation. Barring injury, I
would think Green sees immediate time in Athens and could start
early for the talented Dawgs, while Adams will be another great OT
How much was LSU helped by getting the Miles thing settled, and are
things better, worse, or the same recruiting-wise than they were
under Saban? (Subquestion, was Ohio State hurt at all by the last
two national title showings?)
JN: It certainly helped that
Miles squashed those rumors early (on the morning of SEC
Championship game) and elected to stay in Baton Rouge. LSU winning
the SEC and National Title will obviously help the Tigers and they
will close well. Their recruiting really hasn't dropped off at all
since Saban departed and Miles took over. One thing people have to
understand is the state of Louisiana is usually loaded, and I mean
LOADED, with talent. So who does LSU have to compete in-state wise
for those top end kids? Tulane?! No disrespect to the Green Wave,
but I've only seen them beat LSU once for a big time in-state
bluechipper (WR Roydell Williams) in the 16 seasons I've covered
recruiting. LSU owns Louisiana, and as long as it does, it'll
always be a contender. Sure they have to fend off the likes of FSU,
Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Alabama, etc., but they typically win
on a ton more kids than they lose. Then LSU spot recruits Texas,
Florida and some other areas. Bottom line, they have a great recipe
for recruiting success, and Miles is really cooking right now.
Does a one-year boom really help recruiting in the
long run? Will Kansas and Missouri start getting the top shelf guys?
JN: To stay a national power you
have to recruit consistently well. While one very good class will
help in the foundation, you need several back to back to back big
years to truly be a contender and power each and every season.
Consistency in recruiting is the key.
Do Michigan, Arkansas, UCLA and West Virginia, places
with a major last second coaching change, really have a chance to do
Any time a team goes through a coaching change,
recruiting is a struggle because that team has a short window, a
mere six to eight weeks, to get a class together by National Signing
Day. Think about it, regardless of what school you are, you make a
coaching change (let's say) and make a new hire in mid-December.
That means you have less than two months to assemble a staff,
identify needs after evaluating what's already on campus and then go
get those players. You have to do in less than two months what your
rivals have had all recruiting season to do. In many cases, these
kids are recruited for 12, 18 and 24 months by other schools and you
have a few short weeks. Remember, recruiting is about one word -
RELATIONSHIPS! That's why it's so hard for a new regime to do
well. However, if there is a coaching change at a good school who
was putting together a good class before that change then all they
need to do is hang on tight with those players. A&M is a good
example of that with what Mike Sherman has done. But more times
than not, teams struggle in relation with what they normally do in
recruiting. If you can sign a top 20-25 class, you did well.
Does the succession thing really
help? Is Florida State going to do better now that the
pass-the-torch to Fisher happened, and is Penn State getting hurt by
not doing this?
JN: FSU naming Jimbo Fisher
certainly helped the Noles in recruiting after getting hammered in a
negative way in recruiting over the years in terms of Bobby Bowden's
future. Teams would hit them with "you won't play all four (or
five) years with Bowden and you don't know who the next guy will
be." Now that's answered and it has helped. Penn State keeps
plugging along in their situation and they have always seemed to
recruit pretty well.
Which schools have the best reputation for developing
talent as opposed to, say, USC, which gets the ready-made stars?
JN: I was a huge fan of Bobby
Petrino at Louisville while he was there because I thought he did
just that. I think Virginia Tech has consistently done that as well
as anyone in terms of development. Wisconsin too. I think you can
make a case for Missouri and Kansas based on what they did this past
Why isn’t more made of the schools that recruit to type? It seems
like all the recruiting gurus spend so much time focusing on the
superstars that they neglect to give enough analysis to the teams
that get guys who fit. For example, West Virginia and Wisconsin are
never on the top of the recruiting rankings.
JN: Very true. Nebraska used to
be like that, too. I think Virginia Tech does that as good or
better than anyone. Obviously, teams recruit to their needs and
schemes. Terrelle Pryor would not have been a good fit in the old
Michigan scheme, but he's perfect in the current one with
Rodriguez. On one hand you see Ohio State, USC, Florida, LSU and
some others always find themselves atop the recruiting rankings, but
teams like Virginia Tech, the old Nebraska, West Virginia and
Wisconsin are rarely that high. Why? I think it stems a lot from
several things. You have to get those kids in school, and then you
have to coach them up and develop them. Plus, you need that one
player to make it happen. Like a Pat White at WV. Had he signed
with LSU (he's original commitment) then would have WV seen the same
success the past three years? Slaton was headed to Maryland...
etc. Sometimes you get lucky (Slaton) and sometimes the persistence
pays off (White). Wisconsin is more of a system recruiting team.