ST. LOUIS- June could not come soon enough for college football programs across the country.
After more than a year of functioning under a so-called “Dead-Period” for recruiting that banned in-person contact for potential Division I student-athletes because of the coronavirus pandemic, June 1 saw that restriction fall by the wayside. Schools and student-athletes aren’t wasting any time.
St. Mary’s receiver Kevin Coleman, considered the top-ranked high school player in the state of Missouri’s class of 2022, was at a “Midnight Madness” event at Florida State as May turned into June earlier this week.
Schools are hosting individual recruits and holding camps for high school squads, just as they did before.
Starting Friday, as many as 60 college football programs, including Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Florida, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas State and others, will converge on Lindenwood University for a two-day “Mega Camp”, to scout future recruits. The camp was not held last year due to coronavirus concerns. This year, with the pandemic waning, the sessions will be broken up a bit differently, including new sessions to include current college players in the transfer portal, junior college players, and players from the class of 2021 who remain unsigned.
Student-athletes from around the region and around the country have been posting on social media about their plans to attend. Roughly 1800 are expected.
“Especially with the growth of the transfer portal, a lot of colleges have to replace kids that have left and that opens up opportunities right here on Friday and Saturday because if they’ve lost 2 or 3 kids in the transfer portal they’ll be able to look at some (class of) ’21 kids who haven’t signed and 22 and 23 prospects,” Lindenwood Head Football Coach Jed Stugart told FOX2. “Absolutely, a lot of kids will get scholarships out of this camp.”
After a year where some recruits were unable to take official visits to their chosen college or university due to the pandemic, or arranged their own visits to see schools without being in contact with a school’s coaches, or just did the whole recruiting process via Zoom, coaches are relishing the return to in-person recruiting.
“Recruiting is all about relationships,” Stugart said. “Yes. Zoom can pass the time. It was the next best thing to at least have some interaction but there’s nothing like prospects being here, physically getting to see the location of Lindenwood, the recruiting part of it is just so valuable that it’s not even close. It’s been such a great last few months that we’ve been able to recruit still safely, but a little bit more in person there’s nothing like it. So it’s nice to feeling a little bit back to normal from a recruiting standpoint.”