Football RECRUITMENT has different look
Edward Rudman – Sports Writer
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to get creative when it comes to regular, daily parts of life, and this includes Southern’s athletic programs recruiting high school players to attend and represent the university.
Football head coach Tom Godek announced the Owls’ initial recruiting class for 2021 on February 5. There are 19 future student-athletes who committed to Southern during the early-signing period, with more to follow in the coming weeks, according to Southern’s athletic website.
“With all the high school teams not playing in the fall, we were able to get a lot of guys earlier than we normally would’ve, so that’s a bonus, and have a chance to get some guys up earlier to see campus, which was really helpful,’ said Defensive Coordinator Rob Eggerling. “I think we had a good amount of guys come to visit
, under the circumstances. Not your ideal visits, but still having the chance to see campus was the number one thing.”
A challenge that was presented by high school teams not having the ability to play in the fall was the lack of recent film and the chance to go out and watch a potential recruit during their senior year.
Eggerling said that only looking at junior film is not the best because high school players can mature dramatically in the span of one year, especially going into their senior year, but they did their best to project what would’ve happened.
Godek added that the act of recruiting itself looked vastly different in comparison to before, COVID-19, but it presented some advantages.
“It definitely was different, but a lot of thanks to our admissions staff, our financial aid staff and our campus police, none of this would’ve been possible without their help through Teams, Webex and campus visits, it definitely made the process much more, in some ways difficult but in some ways easier,” said Godek. “We were able to get in peoples living rooms by these video meetings and not have to travel at night or leave your own home. You can be in the own comfort of your home and be talking to people at 10:30 at night or 7:00 in the morning.”
Godek called last year’s recruits and this year’s current and future recruits the “Super Class” because no competitive season was played in the fall, meaning the football program will see a massive number of first year players on the team next season.
When the 2021 fall season starts, the Owls will have two full classes of players who have never played a snap of NCAA football, as will all the other Northeast-10 football programs, and it’s something Godek is preparing for now.
“You would hope that on February 22, if everyone continues to do the right thing in the athletic department and on campus, we’ll start training again for the fall 2021 season,” said Godek. “You know, bringing back what was introduced to them in the fall with the small groups and social distancing. It is a good time to learn, it usually is slower paced in the spring anyways, but I think it’ll be a chance to really digest what we’re trying to accomplish offensively and defensively.”
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