The Sky is the Limit: College Football's Newest Recruiting Tool
You are the big man on campus.
The once-in-a-lifetime, blue-chip recruit who walks around school as if Zeus himself was walking through high school hallways. It's Friday and that means one thing in your mind—game time.
You walk onto the field, looking up into the bleachers. On one side, you notice your family, your uncle in the press box with his famous video camera so he can post your latest highlights on YouTube, and your posse of underclassmen females who drool at the thought of your name.
On the opposite side, you see rows full of serious looking men, decked out in apparel representing their various programs. Even with all the scouts present, clipboard in one hand and pen in the other, this is no new scene to you.
As you stand on the ten-yard line waiting for the opening kickoff, you hear a distinct sound coming from the forest next to the stadium. Everyone in the area turns their attention to a sound that seems rather unfamiliar to a football game setting.
The sound gets louder and the heads turn as a black and red helicopter hovers over the field and makes a dramatic landing in your school's parking lot.
As Brian Kelly and his staff step out of the helicopter, your fellow classmates began a chant: "Brian Kelly, clap, clap, clap clap clap ."
This is a brand new scene to the world of college football recruiting—but a real one.
Cincinnati isn't the only partakers in the newest form of transportation from local game to game. Many others, including LSU, Rutgers, UCLA, Missouri, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Maryland have all have joined the party in the air.
Head coaches and staff members are taking advantage of this technique by visiting multiple games each day, each visit consisting of an entrance that is bound to make an impact on everyone in attendance.
For schools like Rutgers and Maryland, this is an extremely effective recruiting tool. Generally recruiting in local areas surrounding their schools, Greg Schiano and Ralph Friedgen can now make their way from one game to another and watch multiple recruits each day.
Schiano explains the importance of his newest toy in the garage: "A lot of coaches across the country, their universities have private planes and they recruit nationally, and that makes sense. We recruit more in the State of Rutgers, so it helps us get anywhere we need to be when we have to be in multiple places in the same day."
For a school like UCLA, this new way of travel means eliminating a very stressful part of Los Angeles-traffic. Thanks to their new aircraft, "Air Bruin," Rick Neuheisel and his staff can now make it to around five games on a Friday night.
In comparison, the staff would be lucky to make it to two games while traveling on the road.
While the NCAA doesn't have any rules on helicopter travel in recruiting trips, it is only a matter of time before they crackdown on the limits of the new means of travel. But for now, expect coaches to take full advantage in order to drop in on every game within reach.
After the news of the helicopter visits hit the Internet, some are questioning whether it is good or bad for the recruiting trail. Whether you agree or disagree, there is no denying the fact that there are more advantages than disadvantages.
Making a lasting impact on a five-star recruit is sometimes hard to do, and even harder when a school's head coach isn't able to make an in-person appearance to a recruit's game. Now, seeing famous faces of head coaches will be a more common trend across the nation.
Yes, it might be a little too Hollywood-like for the high school football scenery. It might even feel a little bit too presidential in some ways.
However, there is no question that college football's newest recruiting tool is making a lasting impression on everyone every time it hits land.
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