Welcome New Subscribers! Now It's Time To Indoctrinate You.
First and foremost... a Tuesday afternoon newsletter?!?! Yep! Because so many new folks are here with us today, we deserve this. A Tuesday letter.
We've had a flurry of new subs, both of the free and VIP varieties. To all of you, please accept this hearty welcome from me on behalf of the entire GEHB community. We love you (though, admittedly, we love you VIPers just a little bit more - come on, we all have favorite children).
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It's essentially our live chat. Discord is a server that is a lot like Slack, but has a little more of a traditional 'message board' feel to it than Slack. Think of it as a more organized Twitter that is constantly happening all of the time. If you're not careful, you can spend hours on Discord mucking it up with BYU fans and hardly notice the time tick by.
The non-VIP Discord is good. Game chats are ELITE as football season approaches. By and large, your non-VIP Discord experience will be fine. (Let's just call it what it is - it's fine. Not great, certainly not bad - just fine.)
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If you think I'm joking, I'm sadly not.
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So thanks to all of you for joining. A little more thanks to those of you who joined VIP. And a strong nudge from me to the rest of you non-VIPs. You won't regret it (and if you do regret it somehow, cancel after a month and you're only out like $7.)
And now for the indoctrination!
BYU has seen a flurry of commitments over recent weeks so now feels like a good time to talk about recruiting. We're not going to talk about specific players or anything like that - those updates are out there and easy to find AND it's kind of slow period anyways so I don't have a ton of information that will truly knock your socks off anyways.
Today, we're going to draw back the curtain a little bit and expose the wizard pulling the strings. Because that little bastard is there and the recruiting world is vastly different than offers and Twitter. The strings are being pulled all over the place!
Chapter 1: What does mean offer?
I served my mission in Madagascar. Like many of you folks who served in foreign countries can attest, people loved to try and convince me to teach them English. When they would approach me, Malagasy people all said the same phrase, "What does mean, 'hit me baby one more time?"
Ladies and gentlemen, what does mean "offer?"
There are stages of offers. There are verbal offers and there are official offers. Basically, all offers are verbal offers until August 1 before a player's senior year of high school. Until August 1, a school cannot officially recruit anyone. It's a stupid argument of semantics, but such is life with the NCAA.
So when you celebrated the commitment of Jackson Bowers in July only to see him tweet that he had officially been offered by BYU on August 1, don't fret. He always had an offer from BYU, it just wasn't official until August.
That's not how it always works, though. Let's take Amare Ary as an example. He reported an offer from BYU many, many moons ago. On August 1, there was no official offer. What can he read into that? Unfortunately, if there hadn't already been some sort of communication between Ary and the coaches, he can conclude that he has been removed from BYU's recruiting board and his 'offer' no longer stood.
This is where 'uncommitable offers' come in.
Yes, that phrase is stupid.
No, there is no amount of English that will make that make sense.
But yes, they are a thing. Sometimes, BYU (and literally everyone else) will extend scholarship offers but not allow a player to commit.
Now, I don't KNOW that this situation directly applies to the players I will mention, this is purely hypothetical so don't read into it too much. The timing just works and the names are fresh on our minds - Walker Lyons and Matthew Frederick.
BYU pursued Lyons hard. They wanted the Folsom product badly and that wasn't a secret to anyone. BYU had also offered Fredrick back in June, another tight end that they really liked.
For funsies, let's say that BYU had one spot for a tight end. If they had Lyons higher on their board than Fredrick, who do you think they were going to reserve that spot for? Lyons, of course.
What if Fredrick would have tried to commit to BYU in early July, prior to Lyons pledging to Stanford? Well, in that case, BYU would have had to make a choice. Do they fill the spot with Fredrick and cut Lyons loose? Or do they gamble and tell Fredrick no, hope he's still willing to commit later if they need him as a backup, and continue to go all in on Lyons.
Folks, that is a non-committable or uncommitable or non-offer offer. It happens ALL THE TIME.
Offers aren't binding until a player signs a Letter of Intent. So, when see a player decommit from BYU and commit to a Mountain West school or a C-USA school, you can go ahead and use your deductive reasoning skills to figure out what happened.
I once had a conversation with a coach who is now in the PAC-12. I brought up a certain player who had just backed off his pledge to USC. I asked if this particular coach was considering getting involved when he said that the player wasn't good enough. I was taken aback and said, "Uh, USC thought he was..."
That's when I learned.
"Kids don't decommit from USC. They are told they are decommitting from USC. There is a difference."
While there are plenty of players who do back away from BYU on their own accord, there are plenty who don't have much say in the matter.
Not all offers are created equal and that's important to know.
Chapter 2: Package Deals
"Walker Lyons and Hunter Clegg are friends and want to play together! Can't get one without the other!"
Just as false as saying black bears are the best kind of bear.
In almost every case, package deals are make believe. Sure, you'll find exceptions to that rule, but generally speaking, there are no such things as a package deal in recruiting. Case in point - the McKenzie brothers.
Both Marcus McKenzie and Dom McKenzie signed with BYU, so that worked out for the Cougars. But both had to come to that conclusion on their own. Initially, the brothers were very frank with me, playing together would be cool, but if they both felt strongly about other schools, they'd just Facetime.
It's the same way with friends too.
Think of your own job. Would it be nice to work with your best friend? Sure! It'd be fun and lunches would be great. But are you going to base whether you take the better job down the road on the fact that you want to work with your friend? Almost certainly not.
Neither do recruits. It's all make believe.
Same goes for players recruiting other players to their school. It's nice to have a quarterback like Jake Heaps who commits early and starts trying to bring others to BYU with him. But, the odds that the player doing the recruiting is what actually makes a difference in the end is nearly zero.
Player relationships are nice to have.
Chapter 3: The Role of the Head Coach
Bronco Mendenhall was criticized for his recruiting strategies. Kalani Sitake was expected to sign every Polynesian player ever. In the end, neither of these two men had THAT big of a role on the recruiting trail.
Let's add some context before you tell me that I'm a moron and cancel your subscriptions...
Head coaches set the phone and develop the KPIs to ensure that recruiting is humming along like it should. But, when it comes to the actual player being recruited? It's almost always the assistant coach who moves the needle.
The head coach can't visit a kid on their high school campus. They can't spend time with them on an in-home visit except the one visit that is allotted to them. Operationally, the head coach can't invest the time into 60-70 possible recruits and build strong relationships with each of them. No, it's the assistant coaches who do all of these things.
The assistant coaches rely on the recruiting staff to help them out. The recruiting staff builds, schedules, and usually sends the graphics and the letters. The recruiting staff sifts through thousands and thousands of highlight film and acts as the first layer of quality control before passing anything onto the assistant coaches. The recruiting staff coordinates and plans the on-campus visits, and they work with the parents to give them everything they need while visiting Provo. The recruiting staff does the due diligence when it comes to academics and anything ecclesiastical that BYU requires. The recruiting staff is critical, and they never get the credit they deserve.
They queue things up for the assistants and the assistants drive it home. The assistants paint the vision of how a player would be used and help build a relationship of trust between recruit and university.
The head coach? He's usually the closer who spends a little bit of time with each recruit right before Signing Day. Now, Kalani and most head coaches will get involved (cough or their interns/assistants will cough cough) when it's high-priority targets. The head coach plays a huge role in the transfer portal as well.
But the traditional high school recruit? Assistants, baby. Their teamwork makes the dream work.
Recruiting is a complex game. Each recruit comes from a different background and has different needs. Different messages will resonate with each of them and they all hope to find something different than the recruit the year before them. There is no single-recruiting pitch that works every time. Things must be customized and tailored to the specific need of every recruit. It's a wild, wild game.
We'll keep adding to our recruiting chapter book as time goes on.
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