One of the most important aspects in the world of college football recruiting is a head coach's in-home visit with a prospective recruit.
Many times the in-home visit can be a make-or-break experience that sways a target to a school or away from a school.
AuburnUndercover spoke with a few former coaches to get a better understanding of what all goes into that one in-home visit.
Tommy Bowden: Former Clemson University head coach
One thing that I found out is what a player called their parents. He fills out a questionnaire and says his parents are Robert and Patricia, well his mother doesn't go by Patricia she goes by Pat. You better know that going in there, you better not go in there calling her Patricia. And when that official visit comes, you better spell that name right. One thing about going into a home visit is you better know who is going to be there and you better know their names. Attention to detail when you go into a home visit and of course you want them to feel comfortable. You just have to go in there and be yourself. I always felt like when I was going in there against my father(Bobby Bowden) at Florida State and Urban Meyer was at Florida and Pete Carroll was at Southern Cal that you better go in there as a head coach and do something different. You don't want to come out of that weekend feeling equal. I would always try to do or say something different to separate myself. I would promise them the first play of the game like I did with C.J. Spiller and James Davis. I would tell them everybody wants to know where you are going to go and you are going to come here. Those are the things that you build up in that home visit.
Gerry DiNardo: Former LSU & Vanderbilt University head coach
It depends on when you go and what school you are at. For instance, when I was at Vanderbilt -- our best kids I may have had to visit them just to get them to visit meaning that I wouldn't have another home visit again. At LSU or a place like LSU you let the family come to campus first and then you try to go and close the deal and make sure that everything is ok in January. It's all about relations. The family wants the child to be happy and you have to lay out why the child is going to be happy at your place. Is the kid academically inclined or have a special program that he wants to go in to? Does it have to do with offense or defense? Every single thing is about what's this environment going to be like for the child and make sure you communicate that to the family. No two home visits are the same. You may talk about the same thing but every single visit is different. You just have to make sure that you know what's important to the family and the prospect and you have to touch on those things.
Mike Bellotti: Former University of Oregon head coach
That's on your assistant coaches. They have to set you up for success. What you have to know is, what are the hot buttons? What is this young man interested in and what is going to help him make a decision? The second thing is, who is the person that is going to help advise him to make the decision. You have to never ignore anybody. You have to make sure the appointed questions are at the young man and the person is going to help him make that decision. Knowing the hot buttons, knowing what makes him tick, knowing what he's looking for -- I also think about asking the right kind of questions. You have to have a plan going in about what you know and what you don't know. You want to know why he's interested in your school. What does he want to do? Is he an offensive or defensive player or is he a two-way guy? Is there a role in your program where he can flourish? "This is the position we want you to play. This is where you will fit. This is where you'll live and who you'll live with and these are the people who are going to surround you. This is the program for you for the next four years to help you become the best that you can be." So it's a complete presentation, but the focus is different for each individual. Literally, you tailor, but it's all about having knowledge from the assistant coaches and learning about the family; learning about the hot buttons for each young man and who is going the most influential person in helping him make the decision. I think you have to be honest about what you want for your program and what your vision is for the program and how that young man is included in that vision.
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