On Feb. 6, all NCAA football programs anxiously awaited the official commitments of their recruits for the incoming freshman class.
National signing day is an important day for programs across the nation. It was also an important step for the University of South Dakota, coming off a last-place finish in year one in the Missouri Valley Conference.
The coaches were happy to announce their signees and felt a good vibe coming from the next generation of Coyotes. Head coach Joe Glenn got his first full year to recruit the kids he wanted to represent his football team, which paved the way for 32 commitments, a big jump from last years 24.
“Bringing in some good football players was very important for us this year,” Glenn said. “I believe we are bringing in the necessary players to be successful on and off the field.”
National signing day is much more than an event held on ESPN, attracting fans and gaining excitement for all college football fans. It’s a way to build a foundation for success in the long run. Glenn said there are two main factors in being a good football team.
“For any team to be good, they have to be good at two things,” Glenn said. “First, you have to bring in good talent, and secondly, you have to coach them up. I believe this class solidifies the first area, and now it’s our jobs as coaches to help them improve.”
National signing day may only last for one day, but it takes full commitment 365 days a year.
Glenn said coaches are constantly on the road, visiting recruits and becoming comfortable with who they are.
He said has always had a catch phrase for recruiting.
“Recruiting is like shaving, if you don’t do it everyday you’ll look like a bum.”
He has been in the business for a long time and understands the ins and out of recruiting, but besides the newest technology, Glenn says the game has stayed the same.
“Recruiting has gotten crazy over the years. You see big programs offering scholarships to ninth graders. Kids are developing so much quicker these days,” he said. “Everyone understands that, but really it all comes down to the basics, earning kids trusts and selling the program to them.”
Thirty-two recruits in any class is large. All teams affiliated with FBS conferences, such as the Big Ten, are given 85 full-ride scholarships to fill their roster. USD on the other hand, is given 63.
The way the Coyotes work around this, as well as many other teams, is to split those scholarships up. If a recruit is getting recognized by many schools, USD is usually forced to offer them one of their full rides, but most scholarships are split in half, with the opportunity to earn the prestigious full ride. Glenn believes this can help players play with a chip on their shoulder, something important for a team coming off a nightmarish 1-10 season.
Glenn said this class can be the stepping stone for winning seasons.
“We brought in some tremendous talent. Now we don’t want to rush anyone into action, many of them may be redshirted,” Glenn said. “We want everyone to have the attitude that they are coming into the program as if they will be the starter. If we can get that mindset, I believe this class could set a nice foundation.”
When it comes to USD, Glenn said it is easy to talk about the great features in the university’s program.
“I tell kids about how great the Dome is, about the academic strength at USD and about how much each coach cares,” Glenn said. “I really enjoy selling this school to them, but at the end of the day its going to be up to them.”
Incoming recruit Miles Bergner, a kicker from Longmont, Colo., expressed the off-the-field features that lured him into committing to USD.
“The community seems passionate about the team and coach (Glenn) really made me a believer.”
In the end, the South Dakota Coyotes received commitments from 32 players, ranging from 11 different states and filling out numerous positions, including 11 on offense and 20 on defense, as they continue to try and shore up their defense.
At first glimpse this recruiting class seems to pass all its tests and be strong, but as we all know, only time will tell.