Power Ranking Characteristics Recruits Care About Most When Picking a School

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IJanuary 30, 2013

Power Ranking Characteristics Recruits Care About Most When Picking a School

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    Many factors play into a recruit's thinking when he makes a decision on a school. Some recruits pick a school because they have friends on the team, others may pick a school because it's the school they grew up rooting for, while some may choose a college because they figure they can get early playing time.

    Aside from the different factors that play into the choice, some recruits prioritize one factor above anything else. Some recruits value academics more than others, while other recruits simply want to stay close to home.

    For this read, we'll use common sense to look into a recruit's thinking as he considers the important characteristics in his choice of schools.

10. Uniforms

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    Uniforms don't play a huge role in a recruit's thinking. Many people think it does, but a lot of recruits will tell you that while it's a cool aspect to a team, they have far more important things to look at and think about when picking a school.

    While it may get the fans riled up and the players on the squad dig it, a recruit is not going to choose a school solely on it having cool uniforms.

    If that were the case, Oregon would have the No. 1 class every year.

9. Tradition and History

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    School tradition, history and mystique will play a role in a recruit's decision. If a school has a history of winning like Florida, Alabama, Notre Dame and USC, chances are it will attract more prized prospects.

    Winning attracts more talent, which equals to more winning, one reason why winning is so important in college football. 

    Having a rich tradition is also attractive, but I think as we continue to move forward, recruits won't put as much stock into this as they may have done in the past.

8. Academics

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    It's a bit disappointing to see this factor ranked this low, but it's the truth. Unless a recruit is headed to schools such as Stanford or Notre Dame or Cal, he's not likely to put a high emphasis on academics.

    Academics is often secondary for recruits. Once a school can sell the football side of things to a prospect, then recruiters can use "great" academics to seal the deal.

7. Head Coaches

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    Recruits always weigh who the head coach is, and the more stable a head coach's job is, the better. This category is at this spot because while it is important, recruits know that the coach they will spend most of their time with will be their position coach.

    Position coaches are the coaches that the recruit will talk to every day in meetings and be coached and developed by on the field. They, not the head coach, pretty much become a father figure to the recruit during his time at school.

6. Facilities

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    Facilities come into play for recruits because they want to know the digs of where they will be spending most of their time.

    From the stadium, the locker room, the meeting room, the practice fields, the academic rooms at the football offices, the campus and more, facilities are important.

    Some schools have gotten by with average facilities and still recruited well, yet if you notice, you'll see that many schools are always in the midst of some sort of upgrade to their facilities.

5. Scheme Fit

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    If you don't think that recruits pay attention to the offense and defense a college runs, then you're mistaken.

    Look at Adam Breneman and Christian Hackenberg. Breneman knows that Bill O'Brien's offense features the TE position, and Hackenberg surely likes that he'll be learning the offense that Tom Brady has played in.

    Scheme fit is huge, and recruits really value this characteristic. This is why you hear a lot of recruits say that they had a chalk talk with coaches on their visits to go over how they fit in the scheme.

4. Distance

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    If a school is close to a recruit's home, chances are it already has a good shot with him. Yes, some recruits do like to go away for college, such as Robert Foster this year, but many like the idea of staying close to home.

    Recruits grow up rooting for their hometown and regional and in-state favorite schools. What  better way to look cool in front of your family and friends than going to "ball" for the school they watch most on TV.

    Plus, staying close to home keeps recruits in familiar territory and in a familiar culture. Distance is huge in recruiting.

3. Relationship with Recruiting Coach and Position Coach

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    In recruiting, schools assign coaches territories. So just because Doug Nussmeier is the QB coach for Alabama doesn't mean he will recruit only QBs.

    Coaches have to recruit all positions in their territories and strike up great relationships with all players. This is so vital in recruiting because the recruiting coach is the coach that represents the school in the initial stages of recruitment.

    If the recruiting coach doesn't have a good relationship with the prospect, it doesn't matter if the school has won a BCS title that year. The prospect won't be interested.

    As the recruitment wears on, the recruiting coach will begin to sync up the prospect with the school's coach at the prospect's position. Again, this is vital because the position coach has to develop a good relationship with the player.

    I can go on and on about this but to sum it all up: Relationships with coaches is of maximum importance.

2. Chances of Early Playing Time and Depth Chart

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    If a school is stocked at a prospect's position, I'm not saying they can't still land him, but it'll be more difficult.

    For the most part, recruits want to go off to college and play right away. They study depth charts harder than many think, and this is a bigger factor in their thought process than it's given credit for.

    If a recruit has a chance to play early at a school he likes, you can bet the school will be in contention until the end.

    An example this year is Matthew Thomas' recruitment. Thomas knows at some point Miami will get hit hard by sanctions but the fact that it's close to home, has a history of winning and he could get a ton of playing time as a true freshman has many people feeling that is where he will end up.

    A counter-argument can be made for the trio of RBs committed to Alabama but see my No. 1 characteristic on the next slide.

1. NFL Development

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    Today most recruits (if not all of them) have the goal of getting to the NFL as soon as possible. They want to be three and done players and be off to the pros.

    If a school has a history of putting out good players every year in the draft, then recruits are going to be interested. Alabama, USC, Florida, Miami, Florida State, Texas and others have this reputation. It's not a shock that these schools are routinely among the best in recruiting every year.

    Recruits will tell you about how they like a school and its academics, facilities and all the other stuff. Yet the coaching staff that best convinces a recruit that it can help make him a high draft pick puts itself in the best position to land him.

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.