While the false prophets of college football (AKA recruitng analysts) expound on the performance of the latest batch of recruits in attendance at Michigan football camp, many people miss the true importance of what’s happening this week.
Ocasionally a kid will come out of no where and eventually land a scholarship at Michigan but this is the exception rather than the rule. The function of the camp is not to find players per se. 99% of the top players are already identified prior to camp.
Football camp provides the following opportunities for Michigan coaches.
- An opportunity to extend their recruiting network. Over a thousand kids will participate at the camp this summer. Michigan brings in a number of college and high school coaches to work with the players. This provides the coaches an opportunity to learn from each other and most importantly helps the Michigan coaches create relationships with the high school coaches who can give them a heads-up on a potential recruit. You wonder how Michigan indentifies the top recruits prior to camp? They certainly don’t give a rip about what the recruiting “experts” say.
- A chance to identify top coaches. Michigan gets a chance to observe the best young coaches at the high school and college levels and tag them for future opportunities. Many jobs come about as a result of coaches working these camps, not necessarily at Michigan but the opportunities that these camps create help extend the reach of Michigan throughtout the entire nation. This network feeds the Michigan recruiting effort.
- A chance to evaluate player who have already been indentified as prospects. No hitting takes place at these camps. Players only where their helmets. Translation- it’s hard to gauge what you’re really seeing from these players. It’s a perfect environment for a work-out wonder to emerge. For these reasons on-the-field performance doesn’t play a huge factor. What is important is seeing how potential recruits interact with other recruits and handle themselves throughout the week. Potential recruits work with their position and conditioning coaches and you can be sure that they are evaluated at every turn.
- The camps create create buzz among top players who further extend the reach of Michigan. Players who were fans prior to attending the camp become bigger fans. Many players who were indifferent to Michigan prior to camp leave as fans. The camps allows players who have no chance of ever playing at Michigan get a little taste of what it’s like to play there. When Ron English declared that Michigan would be back on Sunday evening every camper knew that they had a gottent a little taste of how what he was instilling in his players.
- Current and former Michigan players get a chance to learn the coaching profession. Many players work at these camps and get a chance to see if coaching is for them.
- A chance to seal the deal. Once the Michgan coaching staff decides to offer a recuit a scholarship the show begins. The player and his parents are invited to Schembchler Hall to a room surrounded by Michigan Big Ten Trophies and photos of All-Americans. Lloyd Carr and a position coach will usually have a conversation about how player X would be great fit here at Michigan, talk about the academics, and how ask the player if he’s up to the challenge of being one the leaders and best. Don’t discount the lure of this meeting.
Michigan camp is extremely important to the recruiting process. But discount the breathless reports of how recuits perform in drills. The drills are just a distraction to the real work that’s being done