Friday, January 15, 2016

Building the Foundation

One thing you may have noticed about the four best recruiting classes of the last 30 years that I identified last week is that fact that they were two sets of two consecutive years.

That’s not a coincidence.

Great recruiting classes don’t happen overnight. They rely on momentum and build up over time.

So no matter how many great-looking commits we see in this year’s incoming class, we have to remember that a huge part of their purpose is to attract even more excellent recruits for next year… and so on and so on.

Obviously, the influential impact of getting a top recruit to publicly commit can help more of his peers decide to join Columbia in the same year. For example, it really looks like a number of incoming freshmen and current varsity players put some good natured pressure on Hunter Lunsford to commit by using Twitter and other social media.

Some fans, however, are worried that if potential top players see too many Tweets and posts about great players at their position committing to Columbia, they will be discouraged to enter such a crowded field. There may be some truth to that, but I’ve always believed that the best players are usually at least very privately cocky about their abilities and chances to stand out among even the best competition. In fact, many of the best athletes crave the toughest competition just to get on the field. Otherwise, working just to compete 10 days out of the year for Ivy football would simply not offer them enough of a challenge.

But this year is very much about building. Columbia needs to create a pipeline of talent and right now we’re just digging the holes to put that pipe in the ground.

This weekend is another big recruiting weekend with players visiting campus. They’ll meet a number of varsity players who will talk to them about what they hope to accomplish this coming season and all the seasons they have left at Columbia.  More importantly, they’ll find out what their rest of their lives can be like if they decide to choose this university and join its unique group of football and non-athlete alumni.

And if Head Coach Al Bagnoli is able to keep doing the work he’s started at Columbia for another 4-5 years, there’s a great chance the kids visiting campus this weekend will be the true foundation of a major turnaround for this program not unlike the JunctionBoys under Bear Bryant at Texas A&M.  


alswingman said...

Having an embarrassment of riches at every position is where the program wants to be. If recruits shy away from competition or feel a sense of entitlement as incoming freshmen then they are not a good fit for the program. That is exactly what the top programs at all levels go through every off-season.

oldlion said...

Apparently we just got a commit from a tremendous TE recruit from NJ.