Over the years as I have worked in the football recruiting business, I have always thought the key was to build relationships. Those relationships can be with high school players, high school coaches, and college coaches. Obviously, I still do believe developing a communication is huge.
Over the course, I have really enjoyed working with the kids. I use the same basic rule that I followed in teaching and coaching. Get to know them. Get to know their strengths and weaknesses. Get to know what makes them “go.” But do not be his or her’ buddy.
In this business, you cannot get too close to a young man who wants to be a college football player. I believe in building a college prospect “up.” But I also believe in “constructive criticism.” The closer that I get to a high school player, the harder it is to be objective. I do not have that problem.
A prospect needs to know what he needs to work on to get better and better. Sometimes he has a tough time with that, because he has always been “the guy.” Nobody wants to be critical. Actually, parents, mostly dads handle it worse than the player. Recruiting writers are really cautious. The larger the profile, the less criticism.
Honestly, there are very few players that I do not for clap as they “buy” into a program and become very college football players. “Buying in” is really important to the success of a player.
Jornell Manns from Mansfield Senior is headed to Minnesota this summer. He is a “Gopher.” Could have graduated early, but chose to stay and finish basketball, and (hopefully) run track and long jump this spring. Jornell has been a favorite of mine, since his freshman year.
Watched him in a junior varsity basketball game and what a “dog.” I mean with all of the condiments. Only a 9th grader, but talented.
Watched him play football as a sophomore. It was during the winter, before a basketball game that I had a chance to speak with him. Told him that he was a huge talent, but too much showtime his 9th grade year. Told him that he was not good enough to act like that. Told him that I hoped that he just played the game.
Now it was not me by any stretch. But as I have watched him over the years, I have never seen the “me-me” attitude. He plays hard, but works harder. Last Saturday, he hustled and was aggressive. Now he is not going to drain 3’s, but he makes his teammates better.
Jornell was not born with a “silver spoon” in his mouth. I am guessin that he made some bad choices, along with some good ones. In fact I know he did, but we all do.
I am excited for Jornell. Hope they play him at “slot receiver.” Get the ball in his hands. Let him make plays. He will get bigger/stronger and faster at Minnesota. Not a giant physically, but fast, quick, and tough. Two other players from Ohio have committed to Minnesota. An OL from Toledo St. Johns and a LB from Marysville. All three are very good prospects.
I have been doing with recruiting “stuff,” for a long time, in fact I am slowing down. But I still enjoy communicating with kids better. Somehow, I hope I make the Jornell Manns of Ohio better.