Les Miles, a coach who had an excessive obsession with Gunner Kiel during the 2012 offseason, has rebounded in a big way in 2013. The head coach of the LSU Tigers is back on the positive side of the "handling recruiting" news, as shown by the Tiger Bait look into his most recent moves.
Miles and his staff are doing it big in recruiting by doing it small.
The recruiting headlines have been dominated by big production efforts. Kentucky's 115 handwritten letters to a recruit. Ole Miss and its 54 letters to a recruit. Joker Phillips' #comeplaywrforthejoker campaign of tweets. Larry Fedora and his Fedora's Freak Show.
As well as the other code words, hashtags and what not, as Andy Staples at Sports Illustrated is cataloging.
Miles and his staff are doing a little bit of the opposite. The staff spent some time reaching out to recruits at the Rivals100 5-Star Challenge by getting handwritten noted delivered to their hotel rooms. It was a personal touch and the kids like that, as evidenced by corner Adoree' Jackson, guard Demetrius Knox and linebacker Clifton Garrett, who told Tiger Bait.
"My first thought was that I had arrived, but it was time to do work," Jackson said. "I was appreciative because it was the only one just sitting and waiting. I liked that."
"It was great," Knox said. "It shows they really think a lot of me. It really meant a lot. You always want to go somewhere you're wanted."
"It was a pretty good feeling knowing that they were thinking about me enough to have a letter at my hotel waiting for me," said Garrett, a Rivals100 member and four-star recruit. "That really shows how much they really do want me."
Kids want to feel wanted, and more importantly, they want to know that schools are doing more than canvassing the nation. Players want to feel like they have a special place on that school's board. When a school calls and sings "Happy Birthday" to your mother, odds are they are doing more than just throwing things out there and hoping it sticks.
Recruiting is about relationships and while the volume recruiting looks good in an effort to get in the game, it takes more to win the hearts of the players and their decision-makers. LSU is making a step a strong step in that direction with the more personalized approach to recruiting.
Props go to Miles for the recent moves. Dialing it down can have just as big an impact as cranking it up, sometimes even more so.