April 29, 2007

From the boards: Textbook recruiting

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Rivals.com national writer David Fox keeps an eye on message boards acorss the network looking for material for From the Boards, but he can't catch everything. If you see a topic generating great discussion among fans, send it to him at dfox@rivals.com.

With their rabid interest in recruiting, Rivals.com readers are always thinking about the future.

That's why this week in From the Boards we'll highlight a couple of threads from the message boards about the future of major programs.

We'll also mention the future of recruiting now that the text messaging honeymoon has come and gone.

C-YA Text Messaging

The hot-button issue in recruiting this week was the NCAA Board of Directors banning the use of text messaging in recruiting.

Posters on the football recruiting message board discussed who would be hurt the most by the ban other than the cell phone companies, of course.

Many pointed at Florida coach Urban Meyer, whose text messaging prowess became notorious among coaches and fans. Meyer didn't have an edge for very long, because most programs around the country adopted text messaging. Unlike in-person or phone contacts, text messages were not limited by the NCAA.

"Meyer lost his advantage in texting a long time ago," poster skerplunky said. "Almost every big-time program got on the ball with it. He didn't want to see it go. But it doesn't affect Florida that much more than anyone else."

Other posters agreed:

"I don't think it hurts Florida that much," fsufsu said. "It's going to go back to who can make the most out of each phone call. Urban is still young and a great recruiter, the kids relate to him. He will do very well. That said, Urban was definitely VERY disappointed when this was levied down."

Meyer was far from the only coach who employed text messaging. Coaches and assistants all over the country used it to keep in touch with recruits.

"I would say that ND will also be negatively impacted," PatND3 said. "In most of our recruiting articles many of the kids talk about texting, and in particular our new DC Corwin Brown seems to keep in touch with the kids through texting. Obviously we recruit nationally, and this will really hurt us because it will make it even harder for us to keep in contact with the kids from around the country."

Who is built to last?

Poster bayoubengal08 started a thread on the college football board asking fans, "What CFB programs are currently in the best shape for the future?"

In other words, which programs are built to last for the next few years? Posters pointed at recruiting classes and coaching stability as the primary factors in programs that will be healthy over the next few years.

"UF is about as good as any," poster bonggon said. "Even in Urban (Meyer)'s first year, our recruiting class was ranked 15th. Add an SEC title, a national title, and two top-rated classes to go along with it. I would have to say UF has some bright years ahead."

Across the Florida state line is another program that looks like it will be a contender for years to come.

"I'd say Georgia is in about as good shape as any school can be," poster DawginSC said. We have a good young coach who isn't going anywhere ... isn't even rumored to go anywhere ... and has a ridiculously high buyout if he were tempted. We've had a string of very good recruiting classes that shows no sign of abating (last time we weren't in the top 10 was pre-Richt). We are in a talent-rich state where there is only one other in-state IA school."

Many posters picked SEC teams including Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and LSU, but some expect those conference teams to beat up on each other.

"The SEC pie is only so big," poster btlvr said. "It could have the top 12 teams in the country and several of them would still finish the season unranked with losing records."

That poster also begrudgingly noted Notre Dame's ability to continue its momentum with Charlie Weis:

"As for Notre Dame, as much as I hate to admit it, they are definitely in good shape," btlvr said. "They are on fire with recruiting and they have a coach with the right attitude."

Beyond the SEC, a West Virginia fan pointed at his hometown team and two others with bright futures.

"We're beginning to pull in some big-time talent, we're getting facility upgrades, and our coaching staff is solid," MoTown'eerssaid. "USC is another, those guys just keep reloading over and over. I do think 'Bama will be back, with the recruiting background they have, tradition, and new staff in place I would be shocked to not see them back in the next few years."

If not your team, then who?

Poster jsouch on the football recruiting board posed this question for other users, "If your team didn't exist, who would you cheer for and why?"

Maybe it's just the people who posted on this particular thread, but many of these posters broke with family tradition to go to another school or root for a different program. If their favorite programs didn't exist, they'd rejoin the family tradition.

"If FSU didn't exist it would be UGA for me," MarketNole said. "Grew up in Atlanta, and all my family still there are 'Dawgs."

Said Audrew, an Auburn grad: "Probably Mississippi State. Not sure why, but it might have something to do with my mother and father, sister, grandfather, and 5 cousins went to school there ... and my uncle taught there for a long time."

Said Seminawls898: "U of Iowa. It's the state I'm from. I've had many friends play basketball and football there. My whole family is black and gold. I just decided to change the black to garnet. Best decision I've ever made in my life."

For psychogator11, he couldn't imagine rooting for one of the other major programs in Florida Florida State in Miami instead he opted for South Florida.

"Maybe USF ... the in-state rivals are too deeply embedded as "enemies," psychogator11 posted. "With USF, if they ever get really good I can say I was there before the winning started."

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.


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