HUNTINGTON, W.Va.– It has been a busy spring and summer for the Marshall coaching staff answering phone calls, checking tweets and travelling around the country searching out the next class of prospects who will be part of the 2014 recruiting class. So far, the hard work is paying off with eight verbal commitments. To put that in perspective, at this point last year Doc Holliday’s staff had only received two verbal commitments.
First-year recruiting coordinator Todd Hartley and the rest of the Marshall coaching staff reevaluated the recruiting process this year in an effort to more clearly define which players they wanted to pursue before hitting the road.
“We have to be able to separate ourselves from these ‘BCS’ schools and sometimes that difference is Marshall was the first to offer.” — Todd Hartley
“We got more involved in the evaluation of players and prospects on the front end,” explains Hartley. “It used to be in the past, when we would go out to Florida and Georgia and all these high schools we were trying to find prospects at that point.
“What we did this year, we found the prospects before we went out. We changed out evaluation process, how we evaluated film, how we looked at the kids. We did a lot of film evaluation and talking to high school coaches before we went out in May.”
Instead of travelling to states such as Florida and Georgia to look for prospects, the staff already identified the targets they wanted to sign and it was a matter of confirming if a player was up to Marshall’s standards. The film study and emphasis on the frontend of the recruiting process has allowed Marshall to make contact with prospects earlier than other schools and that has turned out to be an advantage for The Herd.
“I really think that’s why we’ve had an early little run of success with some verbal commitments,” insists Hartley. “We feel like if we can be there first or the first to offer there’s a sense of loyalty there. Hey, we didn’t have to wait for somebody else to offer and we’ve given you our commitment by offering a scholarship. We want to offer the best in the country.”
Being there first made a difference for at least one of Marshall’s verbal commitments. 3-star quarterback Cole Garvin says Marshall was the first school to offer him a scholarship and that definitely played a factor in his decision to commit.
“I wanted to be loyal since they were my first offer,” says Garvin. “Other people came in, my next one came in the week after that. But since they were my first one they had my loyalty from the beginning.”
Hartley understands Marshall must find ways to distinguish itself from other schools, especially major programs that may come in and offer a recruit late in the process.
“We have to be able to separate ourselves from these ‘BCS’ schools and sometimes that difference is Marshall was the first to offer.
“It shows loyalty, it shows we we’ll stepped out on limb, bent over backward and took a chance to offer a scholarship early. Sometimes, that really means a lot to the kid and a lot of times, it means a lot to the parents as well.”