After A Losing Season, What Do Recruits Think?

What do recruits think when a team loses?

After BYU lost to everyone from Nevada to Georgia Tech to Air Force to Utah, recruits from here on out will not consider the Cougars as a desireable program. Or will they? How does a losing season color the attitudes of prospects? The answers may surprise you...

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There's no other way to paint it: the 2002 season on the field for BYU was not good.

But the plus side was it won't have that big of a dent on recruiting, this year certainly because the numbers are so small. If BYU had 25 scholarships to give, and went head-to-head with a USC for some players it would've been a different ball game.

Before I got into recruiting I used to think a big rivalry game would have a lot of pull in how recruits would lean and eventually sign.

I was surprised, however, to learn that was rarely the case. Look at the Utah win this year over BYU; it didn't affect Soi or Reynolds, Van Sweden and certainly not Speredon, who was looking closely at both schools.

Recruits generally have the mindset that, "If I'm not there, it doesn't matter too much... It'll be different when I'm in uniform."

Granted there are times when a player is on the bubble between two teams and a big, impressive win convinces him that the victor is headed in the right direction and he wants to be part of that.

But that is rarely the case. A funny example happened this year: Louis Irizarry, a tight end from Youngstown, Ohio, committed to Ohio State and you'd think the exiting title win over Miami would solidify his decision, right?

Nope, the fact OSU didn't throw to the tight end and the Canes went 11 times to Kellen Winslow Jr. led him to decommit and verbal to Miami!

The danger for BYU is next year. It's easy to dismiss one year as an anomoly; two years of losing and it's a trend, and you can bet rival recruiters pick at that ad nauseum.

The coaching changes also helped BYU this year as it tells recruits the program isn't standing pat, but is making corrections to fix mistakes.

So next time you're sweating BYU play a tight game and fret a recruit will lose interest if the Cougs lose, don't worry about it, that is very unlikely.

In fact, unless they're at the game, most high school ballers probably aren't watching; they've played the night before, no doubt, and want to spend their Saturdays running around with friends!

We as fans tend to make more of the wins and loses impacting recruits than they do.

And remember the great thing about recruiting: win or lose, you can sell it either way.

If you win, the mantra is, "We need you, Johnny, to keep us at an elite level, on TV and in big bowl games."

If you lose, it's "We're weak at your spot, son, and you can get on the field right away with us."

After all, recruiting is just sales... it's all how you spin it.

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