- Jeremy Crabtree, RecruitingNation
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Tim Brewster has a reputation for being one of the nation’s best recruiters, going back to his time at North Carolina, Texas and even Minnesota, when he was able to lure quality prospect to the Golden Gophers. Brewster is now in his second recruiting class as Florida State’s recruiting coordinator, and he's played a key role in helping the Seminoles land the No. 3 class in 2014 and get off to a fast start with the 2015 class.
Brewster visited with RecruitingNation to talk about what it’s like to recruit when you’re the defending national champion, the challenges of building for the future and other national recruiting issues.
How excited are you about the start of the 2015 class?
Tim Brewster: It's extremely important we seize the momentum the national championship created. You're the national champion. There's one team that has that title, and that's Florida State. We need to build on that. We need to seize the moment. We need to spread our brand, and that's exactly what we're doing. At the end of the day, this 2015 recruiting class is going to go down in history as one of the great classes at Florida State. We're on an amazingly high caliber of kid in this recruiting class.
How do you juggle building the national brand without getting away from the Florida talent that helped FSU win the national title?
TB: You'll never want to forget for one second about what made you great in the first place, and that's our home state of Florida. To us, we're the state champions in Florida. As the NFL draft dictated, far above other states, Florida produces NFL football players better than any state in America, and it's not even close. We understand very, very clearly that the best football players in America, the elite players, more than anywhere come from the state of Florida. First and foremost, we're always going to take care of the home state. We understand where our bread is buttered. The truly elite player nationally, we're going to get involved with, but we're not going to forget what made us great.
What do you see as the biggest needs that FSU needs to fill before signing day?
TB: I would say corner for sure on defense is a big priority. Defensive tackle would be a close second, maybe defensive end. On offense, we're going to lose four out of five starting offensive linemen to graduation after this season. Last season, we had a phenomenal offensive line recruiting class, and it's just really critical to address that each and every year. We have to do well at those positions the rest of the way for our class to reach the type of success we expect.
Has the dawn of the College Football Playoff altered the way Florida State has had to recruit in any way?
TB: I don't see it changing much of anything from a recruiting standpoint. Regardless of whether there's a playoff or whether the bowl system remains in place, you're going to need a certain amount of depth. Football is a 13-, 14-game season right now. It's not an NFL season, but it's considerable. Injuries are a big part of the game. The key is not having ups and downs in recruiting. Recruiting is a 24/7, 365-day lifestyle. It is a lifestyle. It is who you are. The minute you deviate from that lifestyle, it's going to bite you right in the ass.
In today’s fast-forward world of recruiting, is the one phone call allowed in the spring evaluation period even important anymore?
TB: It's totally changed today with social media. You're talking to kids by direct message. You're talking to kids on Facebook every week. To me, kids don't enjoy talking on the phone. Kids don't communicate on the phone. They're socially inept. I think social media has truly lessened the value of that one phone call. I don't think that one phone call means near as much today as it meant five years ago when you weren't in such direct contact with recruits on a regular basis.
Is the call then more important for the parents than the recruits?
TB: To be honest, that one phone call is more important to speak to mom than it is the kid. I really do think that. To me, the key to the one phone call is making sure you're having a great conversation with particularly mom. My experience is that you win mom, you have a whole lot better chance to win dad and the son. So mom having a level of comfort is a key. When their baby says, "Mom, I want to go Florida State University," how does mom respond? Mom needs to be extremely positive, and the only way she's going to be positive is if you've gained her trust through the process. Recruiting mom is absolutely huge.
10hTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney