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How recruits are adjusting and trying to stand out during NCAA dead period

Dead period implemented due to COVID-19 pandemic

Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photogprapher
Holy Family High School left tackle Cord Kringlen poses for a portrait on Tuesday in Erie.
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For each sport at the NCAA level, there are guidelines for what type of recruiting is allowed by universities. Different periods during the calendar year dictate when coaches can meet a recruit and their families away from campus, watch them play in person or restrict how much they can initiate contact.

Normally all sports have dedicated periods in the calendar to follow when it comes to recruiting, but that recently changed for a brief period when the NCAA announced that all sports would undergo a dead period in recruiting back on March 13 that would go at least until April 15. This period halts in-person and campus visits with recruits and was initiated in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

For a sport like football, the recruiting calendar was scheduled to be in a quiet period from March 1 through April 14, meaning there would be no in-person contact outside of the university with a recruit, but many recruits could use the time to schedule visits to a university and meet with coaches on campus. Now that the NCAA has deemed it a dead period, no visits at universities are allowed and many visits that were scheduled for that time period will either be postponed to a later date or canceled.

“I had about six or seven visits that got canceled,” Holy Family’s Cord Kringlen said. “I really hope that I’ll be able to schedule all the visits at a later date, but if not, I’ll definitely do some research on places that I would visit.”

Kringlen is listed as a three-star offensive line recruit by 247Sports.com and has received a handful of football offers so far. He is one of many football recruits who was looking to use this time to take visits but will now have to adjust.

The change to the recruiting calendar may change taking visits, meeting coaches and touring a potential university, but it does not stop recruiting from happening entirely. Coaches can still contact potential recruits, but all communication must be done with phone calls or electronic communication, including social media.

“The communication has definitely picked up,” Kringlen said. “I’m getting more phone calls than usual per week, and there is more interaction on social media.”

The change in the recruiting period, however, has forced many potential recruits to be more hands-on with their recruitment and to stand out to potential universities they want to play for.

Genevieve Gudino helped the Erie girls basketball team reach the Great 8 round of the Class 4A state basketball tournament at the beginning of the month and turned in a junior year where she averaged 14.2 points per game and career-high averages in rebounds (4.8 per game) and assists (3.3). At the end of the season, she jumped straight into training for club and AAU basketball, even going to a tryout to make a roster. She was set to play in some tournaments that would have coaches in attendance to get a look at her play, but before she could step on the court in the spring, tournaments were postponed for the foreseeable future because of the pandemic.

“The actual tournaments are still being decided,” Gudino said. “They were saying they were going to move them, and I’ve also heard that it was all going to be canceled. That would be very stressful, especially since it’s our year to be recruited. This is our year to make decisions on finalizing where we want to go. It’s really stressful. I’m sure it’s not only stressful for players, but for coaches as well.”

Gudino has now shifted her immediate focus in her recruitment to reaching out to coaches and universities that she is interested in, and to those who have already been in communication with her about their interest. One of her most recent posts on social media was shared to multiple schools about her being named First Team in her league with other players from her club team.

Another way that Gudino and other recruits are trying to stand out is by creating an online portfolio of highlights, film, statistics and more for coaches to examine and get an understanding of them. This is a common practice for many athletes, but having a profile online has become more critical during this time.

“I’ve been online a lot,” Gudino said. “I’ve been doing Twitter, and me and my mom put film together and put everything out there. I’ve been trying to bring as much attention about myself as possible, especially because we don’t know when we’re going to start playing again. It has been working because I’ve been getting a lot of replies.”

Broomfield kicker Matthew Eich released his own highlight package of his kicking duties during the high school football season on Saturday and shared it to social media. His package includes the game-winning 25-yard field goal he made versus Dakota Ridge in the semifinals of the Class 4A state football tournament, other made field goals and deep kickoffs from the 2019 season.

The package was made to go in part with camps he was scheduled to take part in, but now it stands alone with things still in the air due to the pandemic.

Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com
Broomfield’s Matthew Eich successfully converts a field-goal attempt in the first half of their game at Longmont on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo by Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

“There are no spring practices or anything like that right now, so almost everything that they are doing (with recruiting) is online,” Eich said. “It’s good to reach out with that right now.”

Uncertain times have forced many recruits to be creative and take more responsibility with their recruitment, and while they understand the changes to the recruiting calendar were made due to safety concerns, they are having to navigate through a unique time in recruiting and are trying to do everything they can to make it work.

“It has impacted us,” Eich said. “You just hope it doesn’t get any worse where you can’t go to camps and things like that this summer. This is one of the more important times for us (in recruiting), and this is impacting us more.”