Listen Now to Episode 30 - Featuring Ethan Johnson
This week on Up Close In Personnel with Alex Brown, Liberty University DPP - Ethan Johnson steps into the booth to talk about the importance finding the right "fit" and projecting talent to the college game!
In this interview, Ethan talks through his personal journey in the recruiting world, what he's learned along the way and actionable advice for making personnel decisions in college football.
Liberty is one of the fastest rising programs in the country, so I had to make sure we got Ethan on the show to break down his process and how Liberty has performed so well on a national front.
The words "Process" and "Fit" are constantly used in this episode, and for good reason. You must be detailed and consistent in your approach, if you intend to learn along the way and continually improve as a recruiter.
Refining the Evaluation Process:
As a recruiting director, you have to train up your team of assistants and interns.
Defining the evaluation process with a series of benchmarks and checklists, creates a more refined attack. Don't just type in comments that pop into your head; hone in on what is important to your team, to that specific side of the football and position, so you bring players that fit what you're looking for as a program.
Understand that each year is different in terms of needs within your program as well. It's critical that you do an after action review of the class you are signing, what is returning to your team the following season and spelling out what it is that you need for the next cycle. This will get everyone on the same page and empower your full-time coaches to better mine their recruiting areas for talent.
Finding the "Fit":
The biggest takeaway from this episode comes down to the "fit". When it comes to finding the right "fit", college programs must be hyper aware of what makes their program unique - or as Ethan says, "What makes us, us?"
Factors that come into play go beyond the field and include things like region, location, academics, campus life, alumni, culture within football program, personalities on staff, etc. Each program has a unique selling point or collection of traits that set them apart, and targeting players that value what you have to offer creates a win-win scenario.
Bringing in student athletes that don't fit into your culture, or academic structure, or some other component to the school, is a huge disservice to both parties. It's our job in the recruiting process to be honest with recruits on what the program truly is like and for the recruits to be upfront about what they care most about.
Lastly, we talked about how research and development is how we as recruiting staffs get better. Take what you did in the past, break it down to its core parts and reassess the outcomes. What went well? What didn't go well?
From budget spending to official visits to national signing day to camps and recruiting travel, to player personnel there is always room for improvement. Being detailed in the documentation of evaluations, itineraries, calendars and other recruiting material, will allow you to go back and revisit those things.
On the player personnel side, recruiters must also be diligent in re-evaluating talent that is in the building and monitoring the development of players. Who's added weight? Who's more explosive? What factors in their makeup or physical traits has allowed them to develop? What are common themes in the progression of players in our program?
As always, if you enjoyed listening to Ethan, be sure to follow him on Twitter at @EthanJohnsonCFB!
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