The recruiting calendar is made up of many different periods that govern what coaches can and cannot do on the recruiting trail. Monday kicked off one of the most important periods of the recruiting cycle, the evaluation period. The NCAA defines the evaluation period as
One hundred sixty-eight (168) evaluation days (216 for U.S. service academies) (see Bylaw 13.02.7.2) (excluding Memorial Day and Sundays) selected at the discretion of the member institution and designated in writing in the office of the director of athletics [as provided in (1) below]:
(1) An authorized off-campus recruiter may use one evaluation to assess the prospective student-athlete’s athletics ability and one evaluation to assess the prospective student-athlete’s academic qualifications during this evaluation period. If an institution’s coaching staff member conducts both an athletics and an academic evaluation of the prospective student-athlete on the same day during this evaluation period, the institution shall be charged with the use of an academic evaluation only and shall be permitted to conduct a second athletics evaluation of the prospective student athlete on a separate day during this evaluation period.
In not so fancy terms, it means coaches can now visit recruits in person at their high schools to evaluate them athletically and academically. It’s important to note that coaches can’t visit prospects at their home, it has to either be at their high school or on an unofficial visit to campus. This is an important time for both coaches and players. For players that are still looking for offers from their dream schools, this period could give them a chance to impress coaches and finally land that offer. For coaches, this period lets them reevaluate their recruiting board and maybe find a player they didn’t really have on the radar or it lets them finally pull the trigger and offer a recruit they have been eyeing for some time.
Most high schools haven’t started spring practice so coaches haven’t been as busy on the trail but that will change in the coming weeks and I expect Auburn to pass out plenty of offers the next two months. Don’t be surprised if some new names that haven’t really be mentioned start popping up. Also, this is not limited to just 2018 kids. I suspect you will see even more 2019 and 2020 offers go out during this time as well.
New Recruiting Rules
Some pretty big changes are coming to the world of recruiting. Last Friday the NCAA announced they were adopting a new recruiting model. Included in this new model is an early signing period, a 10th assistant coach, official visits starting in April, two-year ban on recruiting high schools where you hire a coach for an off the field role and limitations on summer camp. SBNation recruiting master Bud Elliott has some good thoughts on the winners and losers under the new system.
Personally, I have mixed feelings on a lot of these changes. Early signing period can be a good thing but it could also trap recruits with a school who undergoes a complete coaching staff change which could usher in a new system that the recruit is not a good fit in. I get the reasoning behind the high school coach restrictions but it damages future job prospects for coaches at successful high schools. No program is going to want to hire an IMG Academy staffer as an off the field analyst knowing they can’t recruit that school for two years. Overall I think this is a good first step of modernizing the recruiting process. We will see what bumps come along the way and how these changes affect Auburn’s recruiting strategy namely when it comes to kids that are committed but don’t sign early.
Unfortunately, I don’t see any mentions of banning fax machines...
It was a pretty quiet week for offers. I track offers via Twitter so there’s always a chance I miss something but here are the two new prospects that reported landing a Tiger offer.
- 3* DT Jalen Cunningham - Earlier this week one of Auburn’s top DT targets in Breiden Fehoko committed to LSU. I speculated on some options AU might pursue. I failed to mention one other instate option and that is 6’6" Cunningham. Honestly, the reason I didn’t bring him up is it appears he is a lock to Alabama. I don’t see that changing with AU offer but we will see.
- 2019 CB Jalen Perry - Perry is absolutely blowing up this week. The 6’0" 170 lb DB out of Dacula, GA landed offers from Auburn, Georgia, and Iowa State this week. Definitely, a name to track in next year's class.
- Coaches aren’t the only guys on the road checking out prospects, plenty of AU recruiting writers are hitting the trail as well. Unfortunately, most of Keith Niebuhr’s work is behind a paywall but there is some great free content available at SECCountry. The Alabama and Auburn recruiting guys are on the road together visiting plenty of top targets. Here’s their recap for Monday, Tuesday and yesterday. Highly recommend checking them out.
- This is weird to type out but AL.com has a good Auburn story out. Some Auburn coaches share their thoughts on life on the recruiting trail along with some stories. Very entertaining read.
- One of Auburn’s top targets this cycle and former teammate of Big Cat Bryant, 4* LB Quay Walker, released a top 5 this week.