Georgia finished first in the recruiting rankings in the 2018 class. Expect the Bulldogs to be near the top in 2019, too. DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell will answer a UGA recruiting Question of the Day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can ask him your questions on Facebook Live, Twitter or the DawgNation Message board forum. Previous QODs can be found on our question of the day archives page.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
The QOD comes from DawgNation message board forum user coastaldawg with his 350th post: When do our summer camps start this year? Do recruits have to be invited in order to attend camps? Do you expect more offers and commitments to come from the camps?
Coastal brings up a good topic. It affords the chance to discuss a revamp of a lot of the ways UGA used to go about its recruiting. Dawg Night is now in mothballs.
Why? Because it is not the way a top-tier program should recruit its elite targets.
Kirby Smart’s football camp was chock-full of eager prospects last summer. (Jeff Sentell/SECcountry.com)
More than a few prospects, especially the younger ones, left those old UGA Dawg Night camps with a bad taste in their mouth.
They didn’t get good reps or exposure. The face time wasn’t attainable with the coaches as a part of a horde.
That’s not the way to woo potential future players on campus. That time should be maximized for impact, not minimized by the campers and their families outnumbering the UGA staff by a 30-to-1 margin.
Think about this for any industry or slice of life for a second.
- Gather together your top people, clients, friends and family members.
- Populate the event with so many folks that it is hard to get 1-on-1 time.
- The lack of real 1-on-1 time limits the ability for the program to create lasting memories in a hyper-fast recruiting culture.
- The more players who show up, the less important those on hand actually feel.
- Think about a family reunion that swells to 75-100 folks. How hard is it to get time to meet with every family and their children?
- Who remembers the concert better? The folks in the upper row? Or the lucky ones who got the backstage passes and got to meet and greet the band?
Kirby Smart’s Georgia program prefers to host 15-20 targets (tops) on a weekly basis. That way the coaches can connect with each prospect for some quality time. That goes for the prospects themselves and their extended families.
Of course, there are still evaluation camps during the summer. UGA will invite a lot of the players it is interested in to attend those. It is a great time to get to know and work with the prospects for 2020, 2021 and 2022.
A lot of prospects tell me they like going to those “work” camps because it gives them a teaser trailer of what it is like to get coached up by the UGA staff.
The tweet below, shared by Alabama offensive line target Javion Cohen, is an example of a prospect who is starting to draw a lot of looks. This is his time to establish himself as a bona fide player on offensive line coach Sam Pittman’s board.
It also seems like a nifty outlet to share a visual of the UGA recruiting summer calendar.
Look for UGA to host several high-profile unofficial visit weekends in June and July.
The recruiting calendar also features a drastic change this summer.
- Key reminder 1: The recruiting calendar for NCAA Bowl Subdivision football changed up this year. Prospects can now go on official visits beginning April 1 of the junior year through the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June.
- Key reminder 2: The new NCAA recruiting model also calls for a new dead period for Bowl Subdivision football. It runs from June 25 to July 24. What is a dead period? That means a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with any potential recruits or their parents. They cannot watch them compete or visit their high schools. Coaches can still write or talk to prospective recruits on the phone. The reality here is it allows college coaches to actually spend some time with their families on something called a “vacation” during July.
The summer months also will be a prime showcase season with the Elite 11 national quarterback derby starting June 1. The month of June also will feature the Rivals 5-Star Challenge and it will close out with the Nike The Opening Finals in late June and early July.
That event will move this year from its traditional home at Nike headquarters in Oregon to Texas.
I do appreciate the question.