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Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Camps opportunities for recruits, coaches

By Corey Dowlar

Florida State signee Ryan Hoefeld didn't really know what he was about to get himself into.

With a summer schedule of camps packed to the brim, the interior offensive lineman was going to get to some schools, but the others would have to be sacrificed. And one of them in particular was pretty important.

Hoefeld was supposed to be in another college town that started with a "T", but it wasn't Tallahassee.

"I was supposed to go to Alabama instead," he said. "They talked to my cousin, who was working at the camp, that I needed to go the camp. He told me I had an opportunity here. I skipped Alabama and came to Florida State."

On the way from New Orleans, Hoefeld experienced some mixed emotions.

Ryan Hoefeld
Florida State's summer camp last year changed the course of Ryan Hoefeld's recruitment.
He knew there was something at stake. Perhaps an offer. Perhaps the chance to put himself into a position for one later on in the process.

But he also knew he was heading to a camp with Rick Trickett, whose ruthless style preceded him.

"I was a little bit at first -- excited and nervous," Hoefeld said. "I was excited because they wanted me to go up there pretty bad after they saw my film late. They said if I worked, I could possibly get a scholarship. I was nervous when I heard stuff about Coach Trickett. But that turned out to be a positive for me."

The rest became history, of course. Hoefeld was dominant despite being undersized and earned an offer. Soon after, Hoefeld committed.

There was more value to the offer than a college education and a future in football. He was now set up to succeed and thrive in his upcoming senior season.

"I thought it was really important," he said. "One, probably one of the best techniques I learned all year and used it in my football season. And second, another huge thing, if I didn't go to that camp, I wouldn't be going to Florida State right now. I know it sounds cliche, but I probably changed my life."

And for the coaches, it gives them a unique opportunity to evaluate in real time.

They see the accolades and highlight tapes that are attached to the players, but what happens when the pads come on and the hitting starts?

In Trickett's case, that becomes evident immediately.

"He gets to find out," Hoefeld said. "He gets to see what is behind the five-stars, the four-stars and the three-stars. He gets to see if they are a head case, or what kind of actual player is behind all that. Who is a football player and who is a movie star."

Sure, evaluations are of the utmost importance. That's where the success of recruiting classes usually hinge.

But at some point, coaches have to sell their program, too. These camps give coaches the chance to recruit live and in person.

And the players take notice.

"I think that is huge for any camp," Hoefeld said. "If a head coach pulls you into their office, that is a huge sign. [Jimbo Fisher] interacts more than normal head coaches do. Normal coaches might not be out there the whole time. The majority of the time, they are in their office or something and then, at the end, they will come and say a little speech. Then they will leave and look at the film from the camp. I think he is a little more hands-on, which can show recruits he cares more about you."

Hoefeld said he'll be reporting to Florida State later this week, and if he makes it in time, and has the chance to head over to the practice fields to watch camp, he will.

After all, that was his launch point.

And you can bet he won't forget about it any time soon.

"That's where I found out what kind of player I can be because being with Coach Trickett for a day and a half and doing drills and stuff, learning new techniques -- stuff I didn't even know I could do," he said. "I think that it was an eye-opening thing that I really can be something special. I saw that I am going to a place where I can be something special if I work at it."