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Non Texas Recruiting 2025: Look at the poors trying so hard

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Bama hires Eron Hodges from Tcu as associate director of player personnel



Eron Hodges has developed a reputation as a top figure in recruiting and personnel over the last several years.

He was at Purdue as the director of player personnel while new Tide head coach Kalen DeBoer was at Indiana as the Hoosier's offensive coordinator.

Now the two are set to work together in Tuscaloosa.  Sources confirm to FootballScoop that Hodges is joining the Crimson Tide staff as associate director of player personnel.

Matt Zenitz has shared the same.

Hodges leaves a role at TCU, where the position was designed to help him get more involved on the coaching side of things, as he held defensive analyst control responsibilities in addition to being the recruiting coordinator for the program.

Before leaving for the TCU opportunity, Hodges helped the Boilermakeres pull in the highest rating recruiting classes in decades.

Prior to landing the Purdue job, Hodges was assistant director of player personnel at Ohio State, where he quickly worked his way up in one season after starting as a recruiting staff analyst.

He brings coaching experience at Kent State, Valpo, and Saint Joseph's (D-II - IN) with him to the role.


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On 2/5/2024 at 3:13 PM, texifornia said:

Oh look, Pedo Day offers and gets yet another DB. Tom Herman weeps at how proud he is to devote so much time to getting DBs, WR'S, and QBs, and neglect other positions. Maybe aggy can hire Day when he's fired after the season 

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Heartbreak on the Recruiting Trail: The pain of missing out on a top target

More entertaining than informative - Come for Switzer crying about Earl, stay for Matt Rhule's recollections of "one of the greatest restaurants in North Jersey ever".  (Includes former Texas WR, Jaden Alexis)


Heartbreak on the recruiting trail: The pain of missing out on a top target
Audrey Snyder and Grace Raynor
Feb 14, 2024
As the great philosopher Ricky Bobby likes to say, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

That’s true in the world of race car driving and recruiting.

“You never want to finish second,” Arkansas State coach Butch Jones said.

But even the most successful coaches are forced to deal with failure on the recruiting trail. Some are able to compartmentalize and move on.

“I was pretty good at forgetting the ones we didn’t get,” former Georgia and Miami coach Mark Richt said.

For others, the one who got away can be hard to forget.

The Athletic spoke with numerous college football coaches past and present to ask about their biggest recruiting heartbreak.

‘Pontificate on the possibilities’
One night in early June 2017, Joe Moorhead received a phone call just as he sat down for dinner with his family. Justin Fields was on the line.

“Justin was like, ‘Coach, do you have a second to talk?’” Moorhead said. “Obviously when you hear that, generally the following statement is not good news.”

Moorhead, currently the head coach at Akron, was the offensive coordinator at Penn State at the time. Fields committed to Moorehead and the Nittany Lions in December 2016 as a talented but still unproven quarterback prospect. By February, he was on everyone’s radar and quickly emerging as one of the most sought-after prospects in the country.

Justin Fields went 2-0 against Penn State in two seasons at Ohio State. (Jamie Sabau / Getty Images)
He eventually signed with the home-state Georgia Bulldogs but transferred to Ohio State after his first season. Fields went 2-0 against Penn State, combining for 506 passing yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions in the two wins. Moorhead, at this point, was no longer at Penn State, but that didn’t lessen the sting of losing one of the top quarterback recruits of the past decade.

“Any time you look at a generational player of Justin’s caliber and you have him committed for a very long time and he goes on to accomplish great things in college and then have a nice pro career, you’d be remiss if you didn’t kind of pontificate on the possibilities of coaching him.”

‘We’ve got Danny Wuerffel’
It might be a stretch to call this one a heartbreaker, but Steve Spurrier and the Florida Gators were in the hunt for Peyton Manning in the early 1990s.

“Peyton came in and … in fact, he came in the same weekend Kirby Smart came in. They sort of palled around together, I learned later. But anyway, so then the next, oh, Tuesday or so, our recruiting coach came in and he said, ‘Coach, Peyton Manning’s going to Tennessee.’ And I looked at him and I said, ‘You know what? Tennessee is probably the best place for him to go because we’ve got Danny Wuerffel, and we had another kid here named Eric Kresser.’

“I’m glad it worked out that way because Peyton had a great career. And I’d say Danny Wuerffel had a pretty good one, also.”

Wuerffel, now a College Football Hall of Famer, won the Heisman Trophy in 1996, joining Spurrier as the program’s second winner. He led Florida to its first national championship when the Gators beat rival Florida State in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2, 1997. And it wasn’t just on the field where the two Sunshine State teams competed. The Gators and Seminoles had some pretty epic recruiting tussles in Spurrier’s day, too.

“When we were going up against them, they were an independent school so, I hate to say it, but nobody was looking over their shoulder about the rules and all this, that and the other,” Spurrier said of recruiting against the Seminoles. “We’d bring some recruits in and their moms would say, ‘Coach, your parking lot of cars don’t look near as good as those up at FSU.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I know. That’s just the way it is right now. That’s all right.’ So they probably out-recruited us a little bit back in the ’90s, and of course Miami was down there recruiting very well back then, also.

“But we got our share. We had a good bunch of guys.”

‘It’s one thing to recruit. It’s another to close’
Jones was hired at Tennessee in December 2012, about two months before national signing day. The new staff made Vonn Bell priority No. 1. Bell spent his final two years of high school in Georgia but was born in Tennessee and played his first two years of high school football in the Volunteer State. Jones and his staff viewed him as an in-state prospect.

“He was one of the top safeties in our state,” Jones said. “So we tried to make up lost time, lost ground so to speak, and we felt we had a decent opportunity to land him.”

On the day of Bell’s commitment, which was televised nationally, Jones gathered his entire staff to watch the announcement live. When Bell pulled out a Tennessee hat from his bag, linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen had an uneasy feeling.

“He was saying, ‘This isn’t good. They always tell you when they’re coming, If you’re getting ’em, they’re telling you they’re coming. If you’re not getting ’em, you never know,'” Jones said.


'Alabama wants you. Ohio State needs you': Why Vonn Bell was Urban Meyer's biggest recruiting win

Sure enough, a few seconds later, Bell took the Tennessee cap off and pulled out an Ohio State hat. He signed with the Buckeyes and eventually became a second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He now plays for the Carolina Panthers.

“I called a staff meeting right after that occurred and we talked about never forgetting how we felt and about closing in the future and how this would propel us for many years to come,” Jones said. “And it did.”

Jones and Tennessee signed a top-10 class in 2014 and a top-five class the following cycle, in 2015.

“It’s one thing to recruit,” he said. “It’s another to close. I still remember that day. I still remember that feeling. I still remember that — even recruiting here at Arkansas State.”

‘My wife brings him up every time’
Longtime Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio tends to focus not on the players who spurned the Spartans, but rather the ones he opted not to recruit — or recruit hard enough — who went on to big things.

“My wife reminds me of this all the time. We had Marcus Hyde playing for us, Micah Hyde’s brother. Marcus started for us and was a good player for us and then along comes Micah. He played quarterback in high school in Fostoria (Ohio). We had him in our camp. But we were late on him and didn’t offer him early enough. He went to Iowa on a visit and committed to Iowa. He’d been up plenty of times and knew us, but he’s the one that got away. My wife brings him up every time she sees him on the field.

“There’s been a lot of guys like that. Guys that we haven’t recruited that really then become great players. … The wide receiver at Penn State, (Allen) Robinson. Same thing happened on that one. He wanted to come to Michigan State and we sort of slow-played him a little bit because his 40 time wasn’t as quick on that particular day. Every time we played against him, every time I watched him I was saying the same thing, ‘How can that happen?’ And there are others, believe me. There are a lot of others. … Johnathan Hankins is another.”

‘It was not a great day’
While the head coach at Temple, Matt Rhule believed the Owls were in a good spot with a three-star tight end in the Class of 2014 named David Njoku. Rhule headed to Cedar Grove High School in New Jersey with three assistant coaches to get a better idea of where the recruitment stood.

“We went to school, saw him high jump at practice, went to the house and met with his mom and him. At the end of the meeting, he was like, ‘You know what coach? I feel really good about this. I just want to sit down with my family and then I’ll give you a call tomorrow and we can all celebrate.’ I was like, ‘Great! I love it! Take your time and I’d love to have you call me tomorrow.’

“So we left. We went to this restaurant there, Osteria Giotto, which is now closed but is one of the greatest restaurants in North Jersey ever. I had three coaches with me so the four of us, we blew it out to celebrate getting who we thought was a generational talent. The next day, he calls and he says, ‘Coach, I’m gonna go to the University of Miami.’ To add insult to injury, (Miami head coach) Al Golden and (defensive coordinator) Mark D’Onofrio had been the coaches at Temple and I had worked with them. I guess they woke up that morning and decided they had a scholarship and could take David. … I ended up with no generational talent at tight end and a big bill that I had to explain to (my wife) Julie. It was not a great day (laughs).

“David was a unicorn. You see it, but you still can’t believe what he could do physically. It’s funny because then when I was in the NFL, we were working on a trade for David. The GM came to me and said, ‘Hey, we’re trying to trade for David Njoku.’ I was like, ‘I would love to do it, but I doubt that it works out because the last time it didn’t work out.’ And you know what? The same thing happened. It just kind of fell through.”

‘That’s what NIL stands for: Now It’s Legal’
Barry Switzer won a lot more recruiting battles than he lost as the head coach at Oklahoma from 1973 through 1988. But there were two notable misses that Switzer will never quite get over.

“I came back from watching high school football in Texas and I told my staff, I said, ‘I saw a kid last night play football who without a doubt is going to make one of the 26 NFL teams.’ Of course, that’s back when we had 26 teams a long time ago in the 70s. I said, ‘His name is Earl Campbell.’ When I saw him play it was like this: When the pile stopped moving, the referee blew the whistle and there were eight, nine, 10 people on top of Earl Campbell and he still wasn’t going down yet.

“I thought we were gonna get Earl Campbell. I already had Joe Washington and Billy Sims, Kenny King, all these good players in my backfield then, but Earl was gonna fit in there perfectly. I thought he was coming. He committed to me, but his mother, she was a maid for someone who was a Texas graduate and a big Longhorn fan so I knew that was gonna be hard to overcome. That’s the one who got away.”

According to Barry Switzer, Earl Campbell came close to crossing the Red River to play for Oklahoma. (Rich Clarkson / Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
Later that decade, there was another running back out of the state of Texas who Switzer coveted.

“I really thought we were gonna get Eric Dickerson too, but we were out of state. The kid then called me when he was a freshman at SMU and wanted to transfer. … He calls me and tells me he’s coming! I said, ‘I’ll tell you what, I’m gonna hang up the phone, I’ve gotta call my athletic director and tell him you called me wanting to transfer. Then all of a sudden, he’s gonna pick up the phone and he’s gonna call your athletic director and he’s gonna be told what happened and he’s gonna tell the coach. The head coach is gonna be told what you did and you know what’s gonna happen? You’re gonna get recruited again!’ (Laughs). That’s exactly what happened! Now, it’s legal. That’s what NIL stands for: Now It’s Legal (laughs).”

Switzer did, however, win the battle for arguably the most highly recruited prep running back of all time. But Marcus Dupree, from Philadelphia, Miss., left Oklahoma during his sophomore season and never played another down of college football.

“Marcus Dupree was the best that I’d ever seen. He really was. He had the speed and the size. … He was truly — I regret the things that happened when Marcus was here with me. It really kept him from being the player (we thought he was). If he would’ve stayed with me for four years rather than being the best that never was, he would’ve been the best that ever was. He was really special. … We’ll never know how it would’ve gone because he didn’t stick around long enough.”

‘I can’t remember who we took that year’
San Diego’s Helix High School was flooded with college coaches in the early 2000s eager to get a glimpse of Reggie Bush. Mark Helfrich, an assistant coach at Arizona State at the time, looks back and wishes he had extended an offer to the quarterback who was handing the ball off to Bush.

“It’s Alex Smith. … Reggie had the greatest recruiting film that I’ve ever seen. It was kind of like the quarterbacks who were throwing to Ike Hilliard and all those other greats at that time that were catch-and-run, 90-yard touchdowns. I can’t remember who we took that year. We had good quarterbacks. Utah was kind of the only team to go in on Alex. We were debating (offering Smith) constantly, but we never ended up offering him. I remember on more than a couple of occasions other coaches on staff watching something else from Reggie Bush and it was like we gotta watch this again! This was in the days of VHS cassettes so it wasn’t like you could just email it to somebody and click it. Reggie’s tape got worn out for sure. But, it all worked out for Alex though.”

‘You oughta just skip college’
Clemson was in the running for Herschel Walker out of Johnson County High School in Georgia in the Class of 1980. But it wasn’t meant to be for Danny Ford and the Tigers.

Walker told a story in 2019 about first flipping a coin to help him decide between joining the Marines or playing college football for Georgia. The coin landed in Georgia’s favor. He then flipped another coin, this time to help him decide between playing at Georgia or playing for Clemson. Georgia won again. Finally, he put three team names into a hat: Georgia, Clemson and USC. When Georgia came out the winner for the third consecutive time, Walker made up his mind and went on to become one of the greatest players in college football history with the Bulldogs.

Ford laughs about it now, but once Clemson was eliminated, the Tigers didn’t stop pitching Walker. They simply changed their tune.

“He wanted to be a Marine and an FBI agent. That was one of his goals,” Ford said. “So when he committed to Georgia, we tried to talk him into joining the Marines so we wouldn’t have to play against him.

“(We’d say), ‘You oughta not go to Georgia. You oughta just skip college, go ahead and join the Marines if that’s what you want to do anyway.’”

How’d that go for the Tigers?

“He didn’t buy that either.”

‘Why are you mad at me?’
USF head coach Alex Golesh was recently at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Fla., the scene of a memorable recruiting miss in a previous lifetime. But in Golesh’s case, the one who got away came back in the end.

“When I got to UCF in 2020, our top receiver on our board was a kid named Jaden Alexis from Monarch High School,” said Golesh, the Knights’ co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach that season.  “And when I tell you, I would text and DM and reach out to Jaden for a solid year, Jaden would never hit me back, literally. Like, virtually, never would hit me back.”

Alexis, a four-star prospect in the Class of 2021, eventually signed with Texas and spent two seasons with the Longhorns.

“Then, Jaden last spring went in the portal and called,” Golesh said. “And literally, the first thing I said to Jaden was, ‘Man it took you three years to call me back.’ And we still joke around about it.”

Alexis signed with USF last spring and played in all 13 games with five starts, finishing with 23 catches for 280 yards and two touchdowns. He admitted to seeing Golesh’s messages during his initial recruitment but had an explanation for why he ghosted his now-head coach for so long.

“He was like, ‘Coach, I didn’t want to go to UCF. … Why are you mad at me?’” Golesh said laughing. “That one is a funny one. It can always come back around. But I think just in general, how you treat people matters.”


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Guess this is best thread for this...

Commissioners working to move up December signing period

December may not be any less busy, but it could be more organized.

ZACH BARNETT         FEB 22, 2024

The most popular day for high school recruits to sign their National Letters of Intent could move forward two weeks, as leaders from across college sports work to sort out college football's hectic December.

The Collegiate Commissioners Association, which runs the NLI program, has informed The Athletic it is having "advanced discussions" about pushing the December Signing Day to the Wednesday before FBS conference title games, which this year falls on Dec. 4

The NCAA created the December signing period -- the third Wednesday of the month -- in 2017, and it instantly overshadowed the traditional February date. The advent of the Transfer Portal and liberalized transfer rules have since created a chaotic stretch of the calendar in which coaches are tasked with securing their high school class, sorting through the Portal, and preparing for postseason games all at once.

Moving Signing Day forward would allow college football to, in effect, hold its draft before free agency instead of trying to do both at the same time. If the current calendar were to carry forward to this year, eight teams would have to lock down their signing classes on Wednesday and then go coach College Football Playoff first-round games on Friday and Saturday.

The concept of earlier fall signing date has the support of the AFCA, in part because it would it would prevent high school players from losing their scholarships to portal recruits.

“The biggest reason we’re doing this is to clear up the football recruiting calendar so the signing period and the transfer portal don’t overlap,” Big Sky commissioner Tom Wistrcill, who chairs the CCA's NLI committee, told The Athletic. “The feedback we’ve received from all coaches is that December is a mess. Especially with the expansion of the CFP coming next year, that just creates more chaos in December. This should help.”

The CCA also discussed the possibility of adding a third signing date, which would actually be the first on the calendar: in June or August. 

June is now a crucial month in recruiting, and the thinking is that a signing date there would be supported by recruits and coaches who are looking to get the recruiting process over with before their senior seasons. The fear of a summer signing period has always been that recruits would then let up on the field in their senior year, if not take the whole year off altogether, with their college future now secured in writing. 

In a story published by Yahoo, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, citing Texas high school coaches, came out against a summer signing period.

"No one has done any work on what that means for high school football," he said. "We have a responsibility to listen to the high school coaches. What we’ve heard out of the Texas group is that they do not at all support that. Everybody has to be attentive to that.”

The SEC was in favor of an early December signing period, however, and is also pushing to make the entire month a dead period. 


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1 hour ago, texifornia said:

Akylin Dear's tape is incredible, but the risk there is that he's too rocked up and inflexible to avoid injury without retooling his body. Basically Jordan Whittington at RB with unknown intangibles. Idk if we keep pursuing, but he doesn't feel like a risk we needed to take. 

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Rick Cantu with the latest on nutgate


Former Lake Travis football parent sues school district over peanut allergy incident

The family of former Lake Travis High School football player Carter Mannon has filed a lawsuit against the school district alleging officials failed to address an incident last fall in accordance with bullying and discrimination laws after two of Mannon's teammates stuffed his gear and shoes with peanuts before a game last fall.

In the lawsuit, the family alleges the district failed to take any action to prevent bullying against their son and that the teammates knew Mannon was severely allergic to peanut products. The lawsuit was filed Saturday by Shawna Mannon, Carter's mother.

"There's no rhyme or reason to the timing (of the complaint)," she told the American-Statesman on Tuesday. "We had exhausted our resources. We had done our due diligence. We're going the legal route because we didn't get what we wanted."

The October incident that started it all
The Oct. 5 incident garnered significant attention and outrage in the community.

Shawna Mannon testified at a school board meeting in November that her son had been bullied by two players from the Cavaliers' football team. At the time of the incident, head coach and athletic director Hank Carter suspended the players for two games, a penalty some parents felt was too lenient.

The district later ruled that the incident didn't meet "the legal definition" of bullying, according to the lawsuit.

Lake Travis football coach Hank Carter is listed as one of four defendants in a lawsuit against the Lake Travis school district for its handling of an incident last fall where football players stuffed peanuts into the gear of a teammate who suffers from severe peanut allergies. The players were suspended for two games, and the district did not classify the incident as bullying.
Carter, along with Lake Travis superintendent Paul Norton, Lake Travis High School principal Debbie Garinger and assistant principal Sandy Surdy are named as defendants. The Statesman reached out to the defendants on Tuesday for comment.

The Lake Travis district takes allegations of bullying and harassment seriously, the district said in a statement.

"We responded immediately when we learned of this situation, conducting a thorough investigation," the district said in the statement. "We disagree with the allegations contained in the lawsuit, and we look forward to responding through the appropriate legal channels. The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority."

Family wants changes to be made at LTISD
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Texas, seeks $1.5 million in damages. The lawsuit also asks that a judge compel the school district to implement training for staff and students about harassment based on disability, adopt policies to deal with student complaints about disability-based discrimination, and modify programs to stop "engaging in unconstitutional and unlawful acts."

The lawsuit alleges the district failed to follow state law about stopping ongoing bullying, addressing cyberbullying or adequately disciplining the students involved.

The lawsuit also alleges the district only investigated the incident after Shawna Mannon's November testimony to the board and that the investigation drew an "erroneous conclusion" that "simply contradicts the legal definition of bullying."

Carter Mannon, who recently transferred to Vandegrift, "endured persistent disability-based harassment, bullying, and assaults from teammates due to his life-threatening peanut allergies, with one perpetrator referring to the actions as 'attempted murder,'" according to the lawsuit.

"Despite (Carter Mannon's) efforts to seek help from school authorities, LTISD was deliberately indifferent to the ongoing bullying, failing to intervene or provide accommodations, properly supervise students, and staff, or enforce disciplinary measures mandated by state law for students committing assault," according to the lawsuit.

According to Shawna Mannon, her son told his teammates he could die from exposure to peanut products. He developed hives on one arm but was able to play in a game that night.

How food allergies are classified by the U.S. Department of Education
On Tuesday, Shawna Mannon said this was not the first time her son had been exposed to peanuts at the school. When Carter Mannon was a freshman, he bit into a cookie that had peanuts in it. It was labeled "Big Cookie" but did not list ingredients and did not have a bar code.

According to Shawna Mannon, her son went into anaphylactic shock. He felt his airway closing. He ran to the nurse's station and an EpiPen was used before he left in an ambulance for a nearby hospital.

In March, several students on the football team spoke at a school board meeting that they didn't think any bullying had happened and that Carter Mannon hadn't needed medical attention after finding peanuts in his locker.

The U.S. Department of Education classifies food allergies as a disability covered by Section 504 if the allergy limits one or more of a student's major life activities, such as walking, breathing or learning. Section 504 is a federal designation that protects people from discrimination based on their disability and requires schools to provide free and appropriate public education.

Carter Mannon will have two years of eligibility at Vandegrift.


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