Incidentally National Early Signing Day lines up with the end of regular season and CFB playoffs. With this comes the “Coaching Carousel“. This is when coaches far enough along in their contracts with consecutive losing records and consecutive poor recruiting classes (not enough highly rated players- see “Stars” below) are fired and hired by various colleges in various conferences. Its nauseating. Usually in good faith a school will announce their change in coach before early signing day so that athletes have an opportunity to back out of their verbal commitment if they want. In other cases schools wait to fire their head coach (which usually wipes out the entire coaching staff) until after early signing day. This is why it is important to love the school, the town, the program, the team, the campus, the tradition, the education (all the constants) more than its coaches. However that is difficult when the connections we make are with the people. Not to mention the X’s and the O’s of the coaching change and the possibility of a new offensive or defensive scheme. Depending on your son’s position this could change things drastically.
There will be another shift in coaches after bowl games and the CFB championship games. If coaches do well they may look to move up the ladder, some position coaches will follow newly appointed head coaches to new programs. Its hard for the athlete to understand but as the parent you see this coach moving up or getting canned and you understand it on more of an adult level. We know if we’re not good at our job we will be
replaced and if we ARE good at our job we’re probably trying to advance our careers. This is how I explained it to my son and once again, at the end of the day College Football is a business.
Keep in mind that no matter how well you think you know a coach and his staff, you never REALLY know. I supported my son in his decision to go to the University of Maryland, under DJ. Durkin (head coach) and Rick Court (strength
coach) who were fired after an incident resulting in the death of an athlete. Yes, someone died. A mother lost her son. Our worst fear. I had no idea who these people truly were. (google it) My point is, even if you think you’ve done all your research, you still may get it wrong. *I will touch on this more as the season progresses as we are going through a change in coaching staff in real time.
Will your son play? You will need to understand what it means to redshirt . Depending on your sons position, the depth chart, the type of system the coach is running, and your sons GPA. In some cases a school will take someone with a lower GPA with intentions to Red shirt their freshman year to get their GPA up. All of these factors need to be taken into consideration when picking a school. I advise doing your research before asking a coach these questions. Just because they will usually be vague because they don’t think you know any better. If you already know the type of offensive system ( Spread, Pro Style, etc..) they are running and how deep at your sons position they are on the depth chart you will be able to have a more educated discussion with the coach. Also he will be less likely to be vague because it will be clear you know what you’re talking about.
You will hear talk of a kid being a “3-star” or a “4-star”. The “oohs and ahhs” of 5-star! But what does that mean!? Stars are a ranking system based on physical size and stature, ability, potential, offers, and lastly social media presence. Who gives the rankings? The recruiting sites. Seriously, the guys behind the computer screen. Yep, the guy in the floppy hat doing interviews with his Iphone after 7-on-7 tournaments. But if you use the recruiting site “analysts” and your social media as a tool these two can help with your sons star ranking. However, they only matter to the kids themselves and lazy recruiters (that will recruit a kid on stars alone without even knowing anything about them) oh, and recruiting class rankings. When you hear of a “Top 25 recruiting class” this is based on the number of star rated players a school has signed. Don’t get too caught up in this. Honestly, stars mean NOTHING!!
As it gets closer to signing day you will start to see your twitter feed filled with pics of coaches doing “In-home visits” -this is when coaches come to your home to talk
about your son, their school, their program and get to know your family. For us moms this is obviously nerve racking to have guests in our homes especially after you’ve already visited their (beautiful, extravagant, perfectly decorated) homes on your official visits. Just know they
have seen much worse than your messy/small/old/ (insert insecurity here, I listed mine) house. My house was built in 1958 and is barely 1000 sq. ft. Or what I like to call “cozy”. Don’t feel pressured to feed them dinner either. In our case, we had 3 and 4 coaches and staff visiting in one night. They were literally like ships passing… at, well…the front door. My son would run in his room and quick change from one school’s shirt to the next. This is not necessary but he wanted to be respectful and represent since they went so far as to come across the country to visit. We would sit around my little living room and just chat. It was my chance to ask any questions and for them to get a feel of where my son came from. I would usually put out some finger foods and bottled water. You DON’T have to feed them. Don’t pressure yourself to impress the coaches. It is their job to impress you and your son, remember that.
The process is almost over. Stay strong. Good Luck
Next Entry I’ll talk about preparing yourself and your mid-year son for his departure. Keep breathing.
Vocabulary to know
Coaching Carousel– When coaches move from one school to another due to poor performance or career advancement.
Redshirt- Your son will not play at all or only play in up to 4 games due to injury, grades, readiness or need and will still have 4 full years of eligibility to play.
Stars– The way players are ranked by recruiting sites based on their size, ability, potential, offers and social media. Ranking go from 2 stars – 5 stars.
IN-Home Visit– Like an unofficial or official visit but the coaches come to your home instead of you going to them.