Recruiting hits many facets

Recruiting is never far from a college football coach's mind.

It can't be.

As soon as the players they spend months courting arrive on campus, they're gone.

To the NFL. To graduation. To off-field-issues they didn't see coming.

It was evident last week during Big Ten Media Days, too.

Numerous coaches broached the all-encompassing topic that is recruiting. Some without being asked a direct question without the word recruiting in it.

"For me, it's two things when I hire an assistant coach," new Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said. "Number one, take care of kids, and number two, you've got to be able to recruit."

All Big Ten teams can recruit nationally.

The appeal of playing big-time college football is enough for top players to come from all corners of the country.

"The Big Ten, it's a very, very powerful conference," said Andersen, who honed his head coaching skills at Utah State. "It's very recognizable and people understand you're going to play at the highest level and on the biggest stages. (Wisconsin is) a place where we should be able to recruit throughout the country."

Player discipline was a hot topic last week in Chicago, mainly for Urban Meyer and his Ohio State team.

Every football coach in America, at some point in time, has to deal with player discipline.

"I think discipline begins in recruiting," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "If you look at our history in recruiting, we're typically a day late, a week late, a month late in potentially offering a young person, and I know sometimes it frustrates our fans, but we're going to make sure when we offer a young man, that's someone we truly want to be become a part of our football family. And that character evaluation takes a little bit longer."

Even when it comes to stadium renovations, recruiting matters.

Not only does it enhance the game-day viewing experience for fans, but it's an issue coaches will tout to potential blue-chippers any chance they can.

Like at Minnesota, whose TCF Bank Stadium is entering its fifth season of use, but coach Jerry Kill's program is lacking in terms of practice facilities.

"This is a critical project for us," Kill said. "Our plan's to have one of the best indoor facilities (in) all (of) college football, and we don't want to do it halfway. We're excited about it. It's great to be moving forward and it certainly helps you in the recruiting process."

And, like Meyer said himself, not every recruit pans out.

For every five-star recruit that thrives, there's one that doesn't live up to expectations.

For a multitude of reasons.

"When I started going through my mind starting to do some research on my own," Meyer said, "every three recruits across the country that come down the aisle of your team meeting room, one gets maximized, one either usually disappears or doesn't make it, and then one's very average."

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