NCF On The Trail: 130510 pitches

Recruiting pitches: Big 12

May, 10, 2013
Inspired by Florida's "#ComePlayWRFortheJoker" campaign, our recruiting writers looked at other ways schools can sell themselves on the trail. Here's a look at recruiting pitches for the Big 12:

Baylor Bears
What they’re selling: The new 45,000-seat, $250-million on-campus stadium that will open in 2014. Recruiting is an arms race, and players like fancy stadiums and locker rooms, and Baylor’s upgrade puts them finally on the same level playing field as everybody else in the Big 12.
What they're missing: Help on defense -- specifically at defensive line and defensive back.

Iowa State Cyclones
What they’re selling: Paul Rhoads. He grew up miles from the campus and has helped turn around Iowa State with a physical and fundamentally sound style of football.
What they're missing: A true home-run threat at receiver.

Kansas Jayhawks
What they’re selling: Charlie Weis. He’s taken risks (juco infusion), repaired relationships with area high school coaches and widened KU’s recruiting pool.
What they're missing: Wins. When you’ve won only one conference game in three years, a little bit of everything is missing.

Kansas State Wildcats
What they’re selling: Bill Synder. The plan has worked for years in Manhattan. K-State doesn’t care how many stars a player has attached to his name, a player only earns an offer from K-State unless Snyder personally signs off on it after a lengthy review. It’s a plan that produced a No. 1 BCS ranking and a Big 12 championship in 2012.
What’s missing: I’ve been told by coaches for years that the most difficult position to recruit is defensive tackle. That’s why you often see even average defensive tackles rack up double-digit offers, and finding good depth at defensive tackle has been very difficult to do at K-State.

Oklahoma Sooners
What they’re selling: Oklahoma is proud of its football tradition, and few schools can match the Sooners’ track record for success, facilities and ability to prepare you for the next level.
What they're missing: A renewed focus on evaluating players. It’s what differentiated Bob Stoops’ staff when they started, and it’s how they found players like Sam Bradford, Josh Heupel, Juaquin Iglesias and Donald Stephenson. All at the time were considered to be three-star recruits but wound up being impact players for the Sooners.

Oklahoma State Cowboys
What they’re selling: Their ability to evaluate and develop offensive talent.
What they're missing: Elite players in the Lone Star State. With the best facilities in the conference, it might be just enough to get kids to visit.

Texas Longhorns
What they’re selling: Few in the nation can offer up the type of atmosphere, fan base, tradition and total student-athlete package like Texas can.
What they're missing: A true a difference-maker at quarterback. The last two Heisman Trophy winners have come from Texas high schools, and the Longhorns didn’t recruit one heavily and recruited the other as an athlete.

TCU Horned Frogs
What they’re selling: The Horned Frogs recruit to their style of smash-mouth play on both sides of the ball and don’t care how many stars a recruit has. It hurts them some in the recruiting rankings, but it helps them win a lot of ball games.
What they're missing: BCS conference depth. Heading into their second season in the Big 12 after a 7-6 season, the biggest thing the Horned Frogs need to do is to build the roster to be able to compete year in and year out in the BCS conference.

Texas Tech Red Raiders
What they’re selling: The Red Raiders went through a transition that brought Kliff Kingsbury to Lubbock, and the early reception has been nothing short of positive.
What they're missing: The Red Raiders have never had issues putting up points on people, but under Tommy Tuberville and Mike Leach there was little defense being played.

West Virginia Mountaineers
What they’re selling: WVU is a force in the Atlantic region, can recruit well in Pennsylvania and is arguably one of the best schools at identifying offensive talent in the JC ranks.
What they're missing: The 2014 class will have to be all about rebuilding in Morgantown, as the needs are mounting while several impact players have moved on.

Recruiting pitches: Big Ten

May, 10, 2013
Inspired by Florida's "#ComePlayWRFortheJoker" campaign">Florida's "#ComePlayWRFortheJoker" campaign, our recruiting writers looked at other ways schools can sell themselves on the trail. Here's a look at recruiting pitches for the Big Ten:

Illinois Illini
What they’re selling: A chance to rebuild a program from the ground up, beginning with four-star quarterback Aaron Bailey, who signed in 2013.
What they’re missing: Just about all of the top prospects from their own state.

Indiana Hoosiers
What they’re selling: Indiana coach Kevin Wilson embraces the idea of a college spring break and is ready to head to Cancun with some of his players.
What they’re missing: Wilson looks like he might hold the group up in Mexico, however, as he still needs the assistance of a flotation device. Points that it is in the shape of a turtle, though.

Iowa Hawkeyes
What they’re selling: Iowa boasts one of the few staffs that can say they will be there all four years of a recruit’s career and has the history to back it up. Kirk Ferentz is the longest tenured coach in the Big Ten and it’s not even close.
What they’re missing: Out-of-state prospects tend to think Iowa is all cornfields, leaving the staff to battle that misconception countless times throughout the recruiting cycle.

Michigan Wolverines
What they’re selling: Michigan coach Brady Hoke looks like an outlaw patrolling the sideline on Saturdays without a headset.
What they’re missing: The player who graces the NCAA Football 2014 cover Denard Robinson. "Shoelace" was one of the Wolverines’ best recruiting tools.

Michigan State Spartans
What they’re selling: Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is the man behind Little Giants, one of the greatest trick plays of the last few decades.
What they’re missing: A trip to a Rose Bowl under Dantonio would put Michigan State over the top when it comes to recruiting. There is already a significant difference in the caliber of player the Spartans are now getting compared to just a few seasons ago.

Minnesota Gophers
What they’re selling: The Gophers boast the biggest locker room in college football.
What they’re missing: They have not had a winning season since 2008.

Nebraska Cornhuskers
What they’re selling: Bo Pelini whipped out “The Bernie” in the Huskers’ Harlem Shake video. Harlem Shake equals instant credibility with recruits.
What they’re missing: A lack of a strong base of in-state talent makes it tough to recruit at Nebraska, and a Harlem Shake video can overcome only so much.

Northwestern Wildcats
What they’re selling: The new facilities are right near Lake Michigan, which, as assistant Bob Heffner is telling recruits, is a great spot for fishing.
What they’re missing: Not too many high schoolers in New Jersey have taken up fishing as a hobby. At least not yet.

Ohio State Buckeyes
What they’re selling: Urban Meyer is bringing SEC speed to the Big Ten.
What they’re missing: Has anyone actually clocked Meyer in the 40-yard dash? How fast is he really?

Penn State Nittany Lions
What they’re selling: Beaver Stadium fits more than 106,000 on Saturdays, making it the second largest stadium in the country. Inside is also one of the country’s most passionate fan bases, and ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit once listed Penn State’s student section as “simply the loudest, most supportive student section in college football.”
What they’re missing: A full slate of scholarships and a chance to play for a Big Ten title the next few years.

Purdue Boilermakers
What they’re selling: Few programs have the history Purdue does at quarterback, and former Boilermakers Drew Brees, Kyle Orton and Curtis Painter are all on NFL rosters. The Boilermakers just signed ESPN 300 QB Danny Etling, too.
What they’re missing: Brees, Orton and Painter.

Wisconsin Badgers
What they’re selling: The Badgers have been to three straight Rose Bowls.
What they’re missing: The coach who took them there.

Recruiting pitches: ACC

May, 10, 2013
Inspired by Florida's "#ComePlayWRFortheJoker" campaign, our recruiting writers looked at other ways schools can sell themselves on the trail. Here's a look at recruiting pitches for the ACC:

Boston College Eagles
What they're selling: B.C. has a metropolitan area to sell prospects. There are several top professional sports teams to enhance the college atmosphere.
What they're missing: Other than Matt Ryan, B.C. hasn't had great success and they were only marginally successful when he was there. Also, the professional sports teams in the area limit exposure for B.C.

Clemson Tigers
What they're selling: Clemson sports a beautiful campus in a picturesque area of the country. Head coach Dabo Swinney's public demeanor must appeal to prospects as well.
What they're missing: Other than enjoying college life, there's not a lot to do nearby. Despite high expectations, Clemson still hasn't produced championship results.

Duke Blue Devils
What they're selling: Education, first and foremost. Quarterbacks should also appreciate the chance to be tutored by head coach David Cutcliffe, who has coached Peyton and Eli Manning.
What they're missing: Because of academic requirements, there will always be a ceiling of success at Duke. Also Duke football will always play second fiddle to Duke basketball.

Florida State Seminoles
What they're selling: Florida State has a brand that is known nationally. They also have the ability to win at a high level thanks to nearby talent.
What they're missing: Other than a refurbished stadium, facilities at Florida State aren't great. The Seminoles also have the tough challenge of recruiting against nearby SEC schools.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
What they're selling: Tech prospects often laud Atlanta and its big-city feel. With a campus downtown, there's plenty to do. Sports-wise, there are plenty of professional teams to enjoy.
What they're missing: Exposure is the toughest challenge for Tech. Georgia Tech is overshadowed by local pro teams and nearby Georgia.

Maryland Terrapins
What they're selling: Since Randy Edsall took over as head coach, the Terrapins have had good success wooing local prospects. Under Armour has helped. Following the Oregon model, Maryland has won prospects over with flashy uniforms.
What they're missing: Winning is the biggest knock on Edsall's regime at Maryland. Despite all the hype, he has posted two losing seasons.

Miami Hurricanes
What they're selling: Coral Gables isn't a bad place to live. Miami's educational offerings are a plus too. Miami's greatest advantage is the local talent who grows up rooting for the Canes.
What they're missing: The continued wrangling between Miami and the NCAA about possible improper benefits to players has to scare some prospects. Miami also has struggled recently. They're not the high-flying team that was once so dominant.

North Carolina Tar Heels
What they're selling: Coach Larry Fedora's offense has excited prospects. It seems to sell well to skill-position players. Yet offensive linemen have also been enticed since they can perfect pass-blocking while still being physical.
What they're missing: Fedora will have to prove he can win at a high level to convince nearby prospects to stay close to home. North Carolina basketball will always overshadow North Carolina football.

North Carolina State Wolfpack
What they're selling: The Wolfpack have been selling early playing time to prospects recently. That always resonates with high school players.
What they're missing: The Wolfpack have so much nearby competition that it's tough to see them recruiting at an elite level. North Carolina is the state school. Duke and Wake Forest can offer elite educations. Where does N.C. State fit in?

Pittsburgh Panthers
What they're selling: Pitt has a metropolitan city with several professional team to sell. Coach Paul Chryst also relates to prospects well.
What they're missing: Competition for media coverage in Pittsburgh can be tough.

Syracuse Orange
What they're selling: Syracuse offers prospects from a talent-rich area the opportunity to stay close to home. There's also the Syracuse basketball team that keeps the school on a national sports stage.
What they're missing: Just when it seemed like Syracuse was up and coming, it lost coach Doug Marrone to the Buffalo Bills.

Virginia Cavaliers
What they're selling: Virginia coach Mike London has done an incredible job of relating to prospects. He's tapped into several talent-rich areas in Virginia and nabbed top prospects.
What they're missing: Winning. At some point, London and company will have to prove they can win on Saturdays to continue to nab top prospects in February. If he can do that, watch out.

Virginia Tech Hokies
What they're selling: As always, Tech sells a kind of toughness that appeals to some prospects. It may not be for all but it tends to resonate with some. Tech has built a successful program on that. Coach Frank Beamer's stability helps the Hokies recruit as well.
What they're missing: Tech has slid recently. It once was playing for national championships. That time seems to have passed. Tech needs to land a star player to achieve a higher level.

Recruiting pitches: SEC

May, 10, 2013
Inspired by Florida's "#ComePlayWRFortheJoker" campaign, our recruiting writers looked at other ways schools can sell themselves on the trail. Here's a look at recruiting pitches for the SEC:

Alabama Crimson Tide
What they are selling:
What's not to sell? Alabama is coming off back-to-back national championships, and the Crimson Tide had nine players taken in April's NFL draft, including three in the first round. For the critics who say you won't play early at UA, ask T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper how much they contributed as freshmen.

What they are missing: Although they won a national championship, the Tide didn't generate much pass rush last fall, and they had trouble containing freshman sensation Johnny Manziel. Also, they need to rebuild the offensive line, a unit that anchored the offense last year.

Arkansas Razorbacks
What they are selling:
New head coach Bret Bielema runs a completely different offensive system than the previous two Arkansas coaches. The Razorbacks are selling an opportunity for freshmen to come in and earn playing time early in their careers.

What they are missing: The Razorbacks signed only one offensive lineman, Denver Kirkland, who was rated a four-star prospect or higher last year. In this run-heavy system, look for Arkansas to focus on landing talented players along the offensive line.

Auburn Tigers
What they are selling:
It's a new regime for Auburn, but there's a familiar face running the show. New head coach Gus Malzahn knows the program from his days as offensive coordinator. He's already shown the ability to recruit, stealing ESPN 150 linebacker Tre Williams away from the Tide. There's a sense of excitement on The Plains again.

What they are missing: Malzahn filled out his first recruiting class with playmakers, but Auburn needs to build up front on the offensive and defensive lines. No matter what offense you run, if you want to win in the SEC, you need to be able to compete up in the trenches.

Florida Gators
What they are selling:
With no proven wide receivers on the perimeter, Florida is attempting to sell early playing time at the position. A chance to play for one of the best defensive minds in college football in Will Muschamp is another selling point to defensive prospects.

What they are missing: Production on offense. After finishing 114th nationally in passing offense, it will be hard to sell playing time to wide receivers without an explosive passing game in place.

Georgia Bulldogs
What they are selling:
Freshmen, if they're good enough, play early at Georgia. From running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall to offensive tackle John Theus to defensive end Jordan Jenkins, several freshmen Bulldogs made major contributions on a team that was a few yards away from making the national championship game.

What they are missing: Georgia has brought in four top-12 recruiting classes in the last four years. Depth might become an issue for some recruits, but Georgia has certainly shown a willingness to play younger players.

Kentucky Wildcats
What they are selling:
After finishing 2-10, Kentucky fired coach Joker Phillips. New head coach Mark Stoops is offering a fresh start and a chance to help build Kentucky in to a contender in the SEC East.

What they are missing: Plain and simple -- tradition. Sure, Kentucky is full of basketball tradition, but the success on the hardwood completely overshadows the football program. A record 50,831 fans attended the Wildcats' spring game, so the interest level is certainly headed in the right direction.

LSU Tigers
What they are selling:
An unprecedented 10 underclassmen declared for the NFL draft. LSU is selling the opportunity, not only for early playing time because of the departures, but a chance to make it to the NFL in three years.

What they are missing: Because of all the departures, there are some holes on both sides of the ball. Depth is now an issue at running back and LSU will need to replace Eric Reid, Kevin Minter, defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, defensive tackle Bennie Logan and linebacker Kevin Minter.

Ole Miss Rebels
What they are selling:
Ole Miss landed the No. 5-ranked class in the country, including No. 1 overall player Robert Nkemdiche and No. 1 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Look for Ole Miss to sell recruits on the opportunity to help build something special under head coach Hugh Freeze.

What they are missing: Freeze brought a creative and innovative offense to the SEC, but the defense is still a work in progress. Ole Miss finished 12th in the SEC in pass defense and will need to continue to build depth in order to compete for the SEC West championship.

Mississippi State Bulldogs
What they are selling:
Only 11 of 22 starters return for a team that finished 8-5 last year. The Bulldogs offer recruits a chance to play early and play in the best division in college football.

What they are missing: Mississippi State returns its starting quarterback Tyler Russell, but who will he be throwing to? Last year's four leading receivers, including Chad Bumphis, are gone. Look for the Bulldogs to focus on offensive weapons in this recruiting class.

Missouri Tigers
What they are selling:
The Tigers return 14 of 22 starters on a team that went 5-7 in its first year in the SEC East. Missouri runs a fun and innovative offense that is sure to attract recruits, and there is certainly an opportunity to play early.

What they are missing: The defensive line is probably the most critical area on any defense in the SEC, and the Tigers lost their best lineman in Sheldon Richardson. Mizzou must find a viable replacement for Richardson and linebackers Zaviar Gooden and Will Ebner.

South Carolina Gamecocks
What they are selling:
The Gamecocks have been dominant on defense over the last few years, and a strong line is a big part of their success. South Carolina is selling an opportunity to be the next Jadeveon Clowney and be a part of one of the top defenses in the SEC.

What they are missing: Hard to believe, but head coach Steve Spurrier needs help at wide receiver. The Gamecocks signed only one wide receiver in their 2013 class. They have young bodies, but not much depth or production from the returning group.

Tennessee Volunteers
What they are selling:
A fresh start under new head coach Butch Jones. Since 2011, Tennessee has finished with the No. 13, 21 and 29 recruiting classes in the country. There plenty of holes to fill, and any incoming freshman will have plenty of opportunities to earn a starting spot.

What they are missing: Tennessee lost wide receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson to the NFL draft and must replace their production on the outside. The Volunteers are also thin in the secondary and will look to recruiting to plug some key holes on defense.

Texas A&M Aggies
What they are selling:
There is a lot to sell a recruit on at Texas A&M right now. An explosive offense which led the SEC in total offense by more than 100 yards a game, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and a team that went into Tuscaloosa and handed Alabama its only loss last season.

What they are missing: There are still some holes to fill on defense. The Aggies finished with the No. 8-ranked defense in the SEC and the No. 10-ranked pass defense in the league. They also need to replace talented defensive end Damontre Moore, who is now in the NFL.

Vanderbilt Commodores
What they are selling:
Head coach James Franklin has taken Vanderbilt to a bowl in two consecutive years, and the Commodores are bringing in a solid recruiting class. Selling recruits on an opportunity to play at Vanderbilt during one of the best eras in the school's football history is enticing to high school recruits.

What they are missing: Vanderbilt is not yet on par with other SEC schools as far as facilities. The Commodores, though, are certainly headed in the right direction. A new indoor practice facility is being constructed, and stadium renovations are in the planning stages.