This time of year, a college football head coach sends his staffers out to a place he cannot go: the recruiting trail.
He might tour his state, talking with fans and making other stops. But his assistants are in high schools, watching and evaluating prospects, making sure they and the school’s logo are seen and remain a presence for in-demand recruits.
And while someone like Will Muschamp can’t be in those buildings, he keeps his finger on the pulse in a big way.
“I’m in the office every day,” Muschamp said. “Our coaches are calling every day to update me from a practice evaluation standpoint, from a basketball evaluation standpoint, from a track meet evaluation standpoint, what they like, what they don’t like.”
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Head coaches stopped being able to hit the road for the six-week evaluation period in 2008, a change often called the “Nick Saban rule,” as Muschamp’s former boss was tireless in that situation.
During the evaluation period, coaches have a number of days in which they can drop in at high schools, chat with coaches and those who work on the academic side with prospective student athletes and often watch prospects go through some athletic work.
This time of year, it can be a spring football practice, but sometimes the evaluation comes off track or basketball (as Muschamp referenced) or even a workout in the weight room.
And with much of the staff driving their recruiting territories, dropping in at high schools, building relationships, gathering intel and being seen, Muschamp remains the central hub, coordinating and organizing, keeping the whole operation in motion.
“I’m watching anywhere from 35 to 45 guys a day,” Muschamp said. “Multiple guys that I’ve seen multiple times to go back to continue to see the mistakes you may have made before, to go back to your notes, to go back to our evaluation sheets to look at and to continue to re-rank the board of where we feel like the best players that we can get.”