The top out-of-state coaches come up with creative ways to lure Georgia’s elite football talent to their schools.
And Virginia’s coach? Mike London scored major creativity points with the recruiting tactic that helped lure Georgia’s No. 1 prospect at QB, Greyson Lambert. He signed with the Cavaliers over Alabama.
Virginia’s coach made a big impression with a recruiting video.
Here’s the story: When Lambert visited Virginia’s campus last summer, London couldn’t be there in person because he had a previous engagement. But London was there on a TV screen. He had a video made for the star quarterback. Here’s Lambert’s comments about it:
“They showed me a team video and at the end of it, there was a 10-minute segment that started out with Coach London sitting at his desk, saying ‘To Greyson and the Lambert family.’ … He talked about his philosophy and the team rules, why he came to Virginia, what his players had learned from his coaching staff both on and off the field, and how thankful he was to be at Virginia.
“It was like he was talking to me in person. I just felt like for him to take the time out and do that, it was pretty special. My dad asked the coaches to rewind the video so he could tape it on his phone and show it to my mother. It meant a lot.”
The video meant so much that it sealed the deal between Lambert and Virginia. Now that Lambert is officially signed – and actually enrolled early in college – it was permissible to talk to London about his recruiting creativity. We asked about the video:
“The story is basically you can put any kind of videos together as long as those videos that you put together are available and accessible to the general public, or you’ve got them on your website,” London told the AJC. “We were trying to be creative.” [Note: They succeeded]
“Knowing Greyson was a quarterback, we put some quarterback clips in there. Knowing he was interested in our school’s academics, we put some clips in there to talk about our graduation rate, the school, our school president … we put some life after football things to talk about after you graduate, whether you earn the letters ‘NFL, Phd, CEO, CPA’ or whatever it is. You earn those things, then the opportunities present itself.
“We talked about the football family, coaches and other players. And we had kind of talked to Greyson over the phone before he visited … and we had an idea what he was looking to align himself with for a college. I think we did a good job of striking a chord with what his family was looking for.”
It was one of the best recruiting strategies of the year. You don’t come down to the Southeast and beat mighty Nick Saban head-to-head for a quarterback without being aggressive, creative or, well, lucky.
Before we move forward, let’s step back and think about this: What college head coach has the time to make a recruiting video for a kid that may never return his call again? I mean, there were no certainties that Lambert would commit to Virginia, or even seriously consider them. That’s an awful lot of work for a “maybe” situation.
“What we have is a great video guy,” London said with laugh. “He can take parts you show online and that are available to anyone but curtail it to whether football is more important, the academics, whether you want to show the campus here, or whether you want to talk about coaches and players.
“A lot of [Greyson’s] video had to do with knowing him, talking to him, and figuring out who he was before he even got here. If you do your homework and spend your time knowing who the individual is, you can craft your message, especially to those things he’s interested in – academics, athletics, social activities, life after football, a chance to play, parents feeling good about sending their kids to Virginia, etc.
“You have to do that. With competitive as it is with recruiting these young men and vying for their time, you better have a message that they can identify with.”
Props to UVA for being on the cutting edge of recruiting. We had a few more questions for London:
Now it’s YOUR turn. What is the most creative recruiting tactic you’ve ever heard a college using to recruit a prospect? Please post below.
My all-time favorite was then-Arkansas coach Houston Nutt sending the Batmobile to pick up DB Ahmad “Batman” Carroll out of Atlanta.
FROM OVER THE WEEKEND …
IT’S RAINING RECRUITING STORIES
IT’S NEVER BORING IN THE WACKY WORLD OF RECRUITING
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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