In past years, Will Muschamp didn’t have as much to look forward to on weekends this time of year.
His coaches were out, crisscrossing the country to evaluate recruits near and far. He couldn’t, courtesy of a rule that came about because of his old boss, Nick Saban. This year, he had something to prepare for at week’s end, and it’s a bit of a difference.
“A lot different,” Muschamp said. “Especially all those coaches that are on the road all week. I don’t get to go on the road. I’m waiting on them to come back. I’m excited about an official visit. They’re dragging.”
He said that last part with a grin.
“No, they did a great job,” Muschamp added.
This year is the first time college teams can host players on official visits during the spring (starting April 1). It’s part of a slate of NCAA rules that accelerated the recruiting cycle.
Historically, players could take their official visits only during their senior years. Between the players’ high school seasons and everything coaches have on their plates in-season, official visits were usually in December before a dead period or in January. Some prospects take officials during home game weekends.
The NCAA created the early football signing day, now set for late December, so it made sense for official visits to be earlier as well.
Last weekend, USC hosted its first batch as part of a Spurs Up Cookout weekend. Notably, quarterback Ryan Hilinski came out from California, and he reportedly helped the staff recruit the likes of five-star defensive end Zacch Pickens and others. Center commit Vincent Murphy also took his official.
In coming weekends, USC will host players such as five-star defensive back Chris Steele, four-star end Savion Jackson and four-star Georgia athlete Jammie Robinson.
And Muschamp came away pleased with the early results.
“It’s just a little different,” Muschamp said. “A little different time frame and what’s going on on campus. We made the proper adjustments. I thought we had a good weekend.”