College Football recruiting is a never-ending process. Teams are always looking for an upper-hand to get the best prospects for their school. BYU might have different things to offer recruits compared to everyone else around the country, but the goal is still the same; get the best athletes possible to make your team a winner.
Bronco Mendenhall is entering his 10th season as head coach at BYU (time flies doesn’t it?). Since Mendenhall took over in 2005, recruiting is a different animal than it was 10 seasons ago. So many dynamics go into recruiting now. Recruits and their families are more informed than ever on how the process works. Back in the day, Lavell Edwards would have to sit with a top Utah County prospect to tell the kid and his family how everything works. Kids didn’t know they had five official visits, and they definitely didn’t know coaching salaries or depth charts. Things have changed, everything is available to these recruits now. With all the change around college football’s lifeblood, programs and their coaches need to get creative with how to stand out from the crowd.
Later this month, BYU will be participating in a football camp at the University of Redlands. Redlands is located in southern California, an area that BYU is focusing their recruiting efforts towards moving forward. This will be a chance for BYU coaches to show off their brand to recruits in a setting that isn’t against NCAA rules. It’s a great opportunity to evaluate prospects and build those relationships that are always critical to the recruiting process.
Love that BYU is doing this. Same thing that James Franklin is doing up at Penn State. Keep building relationships. http://t.co/yD8XSi5l4F
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) June 2, 2014
You watch, this will be the trend in college football moving forward. College coaches from around the country will be participating in these off camps to build relationships at an early age with future college football stars. James Franklin from Penn State and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly are already doing this, and it will continue to grow. Mendenhall is being proactive as he realizes BYU heads into an era that needs elite talent to compete with the nation’s best if they want to reach their goals as a program. It’s what he has always done.
When Mendenhall came to BYU he changed the way the Y. would approach recruiting. BYU was going to evaluate prospects sooner, and get them to commit earlier than ever. That was unheard of back in 2005. Nowadays, schools are done with evaluating their top prospects when players complete their junior years of high school. The senior season for a high school kid doesn’t play a huge role in the evaluation process like it used to. BYU has already identified who their top 2015 kids are. But Mendenhall has also realized that you can’t have your entire class tied up in the summer before signing day. Doing that led to many recruiting blunders. Hello, MTV star Ryan Kessman! Mendenhall has realized that and found a nice balance for early commits and those diamond-in-the-rough prospects like a Jaterrius Gulley, or a heralded transfer like Devon Blackmon that falls in BYU’s lap.
Mendenhall has been labeled as someone that’s unwilling to change. With recruiting his tenure at BYU has been anything but. From being a defensive coordinator who wouldn’t travel to see recruits, to setting up off campus camps in recruiting hot beds for the program, Mendenhall has came a long way.
BYU used to be a program that was primarily focused on local Utah kids. Trust me, BYU still wants the top local talent. But BYU is looking to spread their recruiting wings wider than ever. From southern California to Florida, BYU wants elite talent from the south. Mendenhall, Geoff Martzen, and this staff realize BYU has a lot to offer and they are utilizing all their resources to get the best of the best.
There’s so much uncertainty about BYU’s future in the College Football world right now, but fans can take solace in the fact that the recruiting efforts are certainly stacking amongst the big boys in college football.