Even by the usual non-stop demand of college football recruiting, next month is going to be intense.
The dead period that began with the coronavirus shutdown last March will finally be over.
“We know it’s going to be a 27-day sprint,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “We’re looking forward to every second that we get.”
Here’s what you need to know about what should be one of the busiest and most important recruiting months in recent history.
What’s the background?
Since March 2020, campuses have been closed to prospects — no facilities tours or face-to-face meetings with coaches. In-person evaluation was eliminated, too. There were no camps last summer for college coaches to check out recruits, and they weren’t allowed to hit the road to see players during the 2020 spring, the fall season or this past spring.
The NCAA is ending its dead period. Schools will be able to host recruits starting Tuesday.
Why is that so important?
Two reasons. For soon-to-be seniors, the biggest change will be the ability to take official visits.
“It’s going to be a mad race for schools just to get guys on campus,” said Antez Brinson, director of football operations for Unsigned Preps, a non-profit that helps local players through the recruiting process.
Coaches value these visits because they allow a team to pull out all the stops as prospects see the facilities with their own eyes. In the 2021 recruiting class, both the Gators and Seminoles stressed how many of their signees visited before the shutdown.
Players are looking forward to visits so they can get a fuller picture than what they’ve seen on Zoom. Face-to-face interaction reveals more about a person than a FaceTime call.
“The main thing is seeing who coaches really are in person,” said Greg Gaines, a four-star 2022 receiver from Tampa Bay Tech. “Anything could be sold to you over the phone or through a screen, you know?”
What’s the other reason this matters?
Schools will be able to hold camps, providing in-person exposure and evaluation to prospects for the first time since the 2019 season.
“These kids have been so limited,” Norvell said.
The limitations have important consequences. Teenage bodies change quickly, so recruits look much different now than they did the last time college coaches scouted them in person. Some have gotten bigger, stronger and faster. Others have stagnated. That’s one reason why Miami coach Manny Diaz said in December he expected “great volatility” for the ’22 class.
Though some soon-to-be seniors will see their stocks rise or fall with camps, younger recruits will probably be the biggest beneficiaries. The camps will give prospects in the 2023 and ’24 class a chance to land scholarship offers once coaches can judge them with their own eyes.
What will this look like for colleges?
The Gators have camps scheduled on the month’s first two Mondays and first three Wednesdays, plus another June 25. FSU’s offerings include a June 6 mega camp that’s expected to include coaches from dozens of other schools, including Oregon, Penn State, USF and Florida Atlantic.
That doesn’t include the flood of visits schools are expecting, often over weekends.
What will this look like for players?
Gaines has official visits lined up every weekend: Iowa State, Kansas State, Maryland and Indiana.
Andre Greene, a four-star receiver from Virginia, has an even more ambitious schedule. He told Rivals he plans to take three official visits in June plus at least five unofficial ones (including a stop at FSU).
Zuri Watson, a 2024 athlete from Northside Christian, is planning to attend camps on three consecutive days (at USF, FSU and Georgia Tech from June 5-7) and another at Valdosta State on the 11th.
“I have the film,” Watson said, “just need the opportunity!”
When the dead period ends Tuesday, he’ll finally get one.
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