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While I do my best to stay informed these days (thanks to the great staff we have here on BOL and 247sports.com), I do not miss covering college football recruiting.
Oh, I fully grasp the significance of the process as it relates to the sport I regard as the greatest in the world (even as it becomes more and more like the NFL). I can also appreciate the King Kong-sized industry college football recruiting has ushered in. Hey, if not for the need to know about Dee Liner's latest thoughts, you probably would not be on the Round Table right now.
Now for some personal background: I got started in the business with a regional publication while attending UA in 1993. Twenty years ago, it was all about working the (land line) phones. Between contacting prospects, coaches and sources; loading up the old 1-900 number; and sending out subscription faxes at 2 a.m., I spent a lot of quality time with that phone/fax machine combo.
Fortunately, my wife was more than understanding. In fact, she was a staff member -- and a committed one at that. Never was that more evident than eight months into her pregnancy with our first child.
In the days leading up to Signing Day 1996, she contacted the Jacksonville, Fla., golf club where I was doing a sports talk radio appearance to deliver some urgent news.
After being informed that my wife was on the line, I grabbed the phone fully expecting to learn that she was calling from the hospital. Instead, she dropped some recruiting scoop on me: "Your friend in Georgia called and said that (prospect whose name I’ve since forgotten) just committed to Michigan!"
Not that I wasn't already sure, but that kind of effort reaffirmed that she was, indeed, the woman for me.
Seven years later, I went to work for BOL. At the time, the full-time staff on this site was a mere skeleton of what it is now. The clearly defined separation between team coverage and recruiting coverage didn't exist then as it does now. Basically, it was me and Tim Watts with some Lucky – somewhat (and understandably) pre-occupied while building an internet empire at the time -- mixed in.
It quickly became clear that the internet game was nothing like the world I was previously accustomed to. Still, the biggest difference between 2003 and 1993 did not have as much to do with how news was gathered as it did how it was being delivered.
Ten years ago, news gathering was largely about networking via the phones. From a fan standpoint, however, accessing that same news was becoming entirely different. My days of faxing and cramming 50 pages of recruiting profiles into a 32-page publication were over. Getting the word out had become as easy as a couple of clicks of a mouse.
Keep in mind, combines and seven-on-seven events were still a few years away. A decade ago, summer camps weren't the source for news like they are today. A Junior Day like the one UA just hosted prior to the signing of a senior class? Yeah, right.
All of those things are in play now. And did I mention the need to keep up with prospects on the social media front? Simply put, guys like Tim, Charles Power and Trevor Hewett are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
It used to be a process that never ended for coaches. Now the same can be said for those in charge of covering it. I can appreciate what goes into not just doing the job, but, more importantly, doing it well.
There was a time when I could count on that semi-migraine headache that accompanied Signing Day. I don’t miss that either.
***Seeing as how I'm among Michael Williams' biggest fans, it was great to see the big tight end make some plays in the passing game in Saturday's Senior Bowl. Thinking back to Williams' top assets as a high school prospect coming out of Pickens County High School in 2008, it's interesting that the biggest question when looking ahead to the next level is his ability to contribute as a receiver. Watching him during his senior season of prep football, if there was one thing I was certain of it was that Williams would be a more than serviceable pass catcher for the Crimson Tide. Five years later, is he Rob Gronkowski? No, but he's not the extra offensive tackle some have made him out to be, either.
***The source of frustration from Alabama’s 54-53 loss to Tennessee over the weekend isn’t the result of a close (and perhaps controversial) conference loss on the road. Instead, it stems from last month’s home losses to the likes of Mercer and Tulane, which, from an NCAA at-large standpoint, have put UA in a near must-win situation every time out. If Alabama comes up a few wins short of a Big Dance invite, December home losses will have more to do with it than January road losses.
***We're constantly being alerted to the relationship between brain injuries and the NFL but what about guys whose careers ended on the collegiate level? How long before those stories start cropping up and what kind of legal recourse will ex-college players have available to them? In other words, who will get sued: the NCAA, the conferences, the schools, equipment manufacturers, all of the above?
***If you don't like the brand of football played in the Pro Bowl, you really won't like the NFL in five years. Here's guessing that by 2018, every game will look like what we saw last night.
This post was edited by Travis Reier 15 months ago
New Member of The 247 Crew!
"***If you don't like the brand of football played in the Pro Bowl, you really won't like the NFL in five years. Here's guessing that by 2018, every game will look like what we saw last night."
Travis. At least the acting was better last night than it was last year.
1984 300ZX Anniversary Model, 1970 Olds 442 W-30 & Pepper Bird
Last year was so bad that Lennay Kekua was credited with four tackles.
Good stuff TR.
Follow me on twitter @TrevorHewettBOL. https://twitter.com/#!/TrevorHewettBOL
Thanks, Travis. For a new kid on the site like me, it is good to get the back story on you and BOL. I don't blame you for being thankful to get out of the recruiting side of it. BTW, What IS Dee Liner thinking today? (g)
Old Soldiers never die...
Well played. I DO THINK every beat writer should cover recruiting at some point. It teaches you how to be resourceful like nothing else. It's not for those who don't like to compete.
Solid my man, thanks for all y'all do do keep us crack heads semi level haha!
i remember a few years ago scoring was down and they were instituting changes in the pass interference rules to be pro receiver
wish we could go back now
As far as "air all" goes, college is pretty much the same way the further you get away from the South. One of the few reasons I still respect some Big 10 schools.
I don't think last night's game is really a clear picture of the future. The teams in the Superbowl play a brand of the football we love down here in the south. The "hurry up/air game" that NE has gone to failed miserably.
Was referring more to the lack of physical play than the passing game. It's being litigated out of the game.
You know you're covering recruiting when you report Chris Keys' flip from LSU to Alabama on Christmas night. That was me in 2004.
My name is Travis and I'm a recovering recruiting analyst.
Good stuff Travis, couldn't agree more on NFL.
I remember following Keys' updates on BOL, hoping Saban would go to the Dolphins so Keys would flip. Seems strange now with how everything unfolded a couple years later.
As usual, thanks Travis. You are one of the main reasons we are so addicted to all this stuff. See what you have done?
Oh well. RTR!
Great read, TR. Btw, I first remember you on a then brand new site in the nineties. At that time it was free...for a few weeks. Anyway you were giving us the scoop on your brother's recruitment, as well as two of his fellow classmates in HS that would eventually also sign with Bama.
Been reading your posts and articles ever since. :)
Great stuff TR! I really hate to think about football being 'two-hand touch' in a few years...
Sometimes I wish we'd go back to the old days of recruiting where the recruits weren't rock stars like they are today with everybody over analyzes what they say on Twitter and a bunch of grown men PMS about a recruit tweeting some vague message that they take to be against their school.
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