Questions With Guides on the Recruiting Trail: Erik Richards & Carlos Younger
Two well-known men on the recruiting and exposure front took time from their busy schedules and gave their analysis on a few general questions that many fans often have. The two men happen to be Carlos Younger and Erik Richards. Before we hit the Q’s and A’s, let us take a look at who these guys are and what it is they exactly do
To start things off we will take a look at Carlos Younger. Carlos (@TNGridironScout), is the owner of TN Gridiron Scouting (www.gridironscouting.com). The brand name right away signals a base in the state of Tennessee, however via social media, Younger and company are able to reach and help many more athletes throughout the Southeast and into the nationwide realm. TN Gridiron Scouting headlines some of their camps, 7v7’s, other events, as well as covering other events scouting for talent.
Next up is none other than Erik Richards. Erik (@ErikRichardsUSA) is the National Recruiting Director for the All-American Bowl (@AABonNBC). While calling Georgia his home, Richards spends quite a bit of time on the road in various places while scouting talent. Richards puts in countless time working with the FBU (Football University) camp series and “Path to Naples” youth football tournaments. Also worth noting, he may have the best shoe game in the media, haha.
Now that you all have a little more information on the two men, don’t be afraid to follow them and check out what they do as well as their full backgrounds.
How have you seen the world of recruiting evolve over the last ten years with the help of social media?
Younger- “Social media has been a gamechanger, in terms of aiding in the recruiting process. It has sort of sped up the recruiting cycle somewhat because now coaches get a lot of information at the touch of a button.
The use of social media is even more important today, with the Early Signing Period. Social media also gives coaches other avenues to contact a prospect that move away from a traditional phone call. Social media is the easiest and cheapest form of marketing for a prospect.”
Richards- “The changes in recruiting in the last decade have amazed me. I believe that the explosion in smartphones & social media have been major contributors coupled with they’re so many more offseason events and 7v7 tournaments now.What would you say is the most beneficial part of the camp/7v7 season for a prospect?
Younger- “There are several beneficial aspects to camp/7v7. Getting work at an exposure camp can get you seen if it is the right one, but it allows you to fine-tune things going into the school camp season during the summer. It also gives you a chance to go up against some of the same guys you will see at the camps you may be attending in the summer. 7v7 is great for skill development. It also is a great environment for competition. In my eyes, the most beneficial part is taking advantage of opportunities that are given to you via camps/7v7 as a prospect and improve your game.”
Richards- “I believe if your a 2 or 3 star with 4-star capabilities those events give you a platform to let you and others see how you stack up against the competition. As far as the 7v7 world goes, I believe first and foremost it allows you to bond with other players from your area and work on your craft at the same time.”
In a day where so many fans follow recruiting, is there a ranking service you prefer/lean more towards?
Younger- “I am not a strong subscriber to rankings, because so much of it is subjective. As a scout, I am more concerned about player attributes like size, speed, etc and conveying those aspects of a prospects game, as opposed to rankings. However, they are fun for recruiting pundits and give each fanbase something to talk about during the offseason.”
Richards- “I mean I partial when it comes to 247, I believe Barton Simmons is the #1 evaluator I’ve ever been around. Couple that with he has the team of Wiltfong, Mansell, Huffman, Biggins, and Loy. It’s a machine over there. I am just a firm believer in you have to have bodies to cover all the showcases, combines & 7v7 events across the country and they have those resources especially since absorbing the workforce of Scout. Rivals is another good one and Farrell, Woody, Chad, Josh, Jake, & Gorney are very good at what they do. I can’t rely on the accuracy of ESPN simply because they just don’t have the bodies out there covering the events, as good as Gerry is, he seems to be a one-man show without much help.”
For a prospect and their guardians who may be new to the process, how would you elaborate the levels of offers such as verbal offers (committable and non-committable) and the official offers that come out senior year?
Younger- “Initially, that is all a school can do is give you a verbal offer. Some of those offers are contingent on if the prospect shows up for camp and works in front of the coaches. Every coach wants to see you in person at some point if they are going to invest in you with a scholarship offer. Where offers become committable vs non-committable is when schools start to get players committed, they may have put out 10 offers to a position but are only taking 4-5 guys. Prospects have to remember that you are not the only guy they are recruiting. Each program has a “recruiting board” and the level of whether you have a committable offer vs an uncommittable one depends really where you are seen as a prospect on that school’s board.”Richards- “I think the first thing a recruit should ask when extended an offer by a coach or university is this offer committable right now. If it’s not, no real need for tweeting you got 23rd offer from ‘said university'”
**Bonus Question For Erik Richards**
Is there a criterion or a process you would recommend in hopes of reaching an All-American game?
Richards- “When setting a goal for receiving an invite to either of the two major bowls out there realize that there will be over 250 four stars that don’t even get that call. They both are very hard games to get an invite and limited spots available for either. Just to be considered and on the watch list for either the UA (Under Armour) or our game is one heck of an honor!”
In summary, the answers to these questions more than likely will vary depending on who is asked, as you have seen here. This should intrigue many of you who follow the off-season events, recruiting rankings and such.
Matt Ray is the managing content editor for VR2. He founded VR2 in November of 2017. He is an FWAA Member and covers Tennessee prospects across the country from the Opening Regional Camp series to Under Armour All-American game and everything in between.