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Nebraska coach Mike Riley gave a little insight on Wednesday as to what the new department entirely dedicated to recruiting will do for the Huskers.
Riley told the Portland Tribune last week that Nebraska was in the process of opening the department to help Nebraska recruit 24 hours a day.
Specifically, Riley told the Tribune: “With the advent and use of social media in recruiting, we need somebody doing something 24/7. We’re in the process of putting that together to help us in the acquisition of talent.”
Riley clarified what he meant during a news conference Wednesday, essentially saying the department wouldn’t be a Twitter night watch department, but rather a department dedicated to figuring out how to acquire recruits, not just evaluate them.
“People, when you use that word ‘recruiting,’ like the coaches going out to recruit a player, it kind of morphs into the whole idea about, ‘is the guy recruiting or evaluating?'” Riley said. “If a coach goes out in May, it’s illegal to go recruit. It’s evaluating. So there’s two separate entities that everyone lumps into one word: recruiting. It’s evaluation, which is really important. It’s the acquisition, the recruiting, that’s important.”
So the goal is to essentially have an entire department dedicated to the acquisition of talent, rather than a recruiting department that does both acquisition and evaluation.
“Those people that might be designated in that recruiting department as opposed to the personnel-evaluation department, that’s their thinking process 24/7. That’s where their energy is. That’s what they’re thinking about all the time. The way to acquire,” Riley said. “And I think it’s a great thought and it’s really just common sense.”
In forming the department, Riley said he had input from: athletic director Shawn Eichorst, associate athletic director of performance & strategic research Steve Waterfield, associate athletic director for football operations Dan Van De Riet, and executive director of player personnel/special assistant to the head coach Billy Devaney.
Riley gave an example that he or another coach could go out to see a 5-star recruit, then come back to Lincoln and say that’s who Nebraska needs to now focus on. That’s when the wheels in this new acquisitions department would begin to churn.
“We can’t draft that guy. We have to recruit him,” Riley said. “We’ve always had to have a recruiting plan and the thoughts about the official visits and what this all looks like and to contact these players, letters, social media stuff. I mean we’ve always done that, we just want an emphasis on it, and somebody that’s thinking about it as their career.”
We’ve written extensively about how serious Riley has been in revolutionizing the way Nebraska recruits. He’s fired and hired coaches because of their recruiting results. And now with the formation of this department, it’s worth noting that this could end up being the legacy that Riley leaves behind.
With this new department, Riley would change the way Nebraska approaches recruiting for the foreseeable future. He clearly saw an issue with the way Nebraska was recruiting before; now he is taking what he has seen that works for other schools, and on top of that is being transparent about it.
The department is not up and running yet. Some details are still be iron out, including the size and staffing of the department and other logistical issues. But it’ll be interesting to see the actual impact this department has on recruiting, particularly in actually acquiring top talent.