Home games represent a chance for college football teams to roll out the red carpet for recruits. But not in 2020.
The NCAA has extended the recruiting dead period through Dec. 31, meaning there can be no official visits or in-person contact on college campuses between coaches and recruits.
“It’s such a unique conversation and topic because when people are traveling from all over, dealing with distancing, the different protocols of what has to go in place,” FSU coach Mike Norvell said. “I do think that there’s some extreme challenges. … Obviously, I would love to get recruits here, I’d love to have the opportunity to find a way to do that the best way that we possibly can. But I also understand the concerns that are with that.”
There’s no rule preventing a high school football player or his parents from buying a ticket and sitting in the stands at Doak Campbell Stadium. But coaches can’t leave tickets for players or high school coaches. And prospects certainly can’t be on the FSU sideline, whether it was for the opener against Georgia Tech or at Miami.
Norvell said Wednesday he did receive texts from prospects who said they attended the Georgia Tech game. “We’ll have prospects that buy a ticket, that come to see the game because they want to see the experience,” Norvell said.
The NCAA is pushing forward with an early signing period, beginning on Dec. 16. Norvell sees the NCAA keeping that window open despite the prolonged dead period.
“I don’t foresee them changing it because there are some kids that are committed right now that either without a visit, or maybe they’ve already seen the university or the opportunity they have, they know that’s what they want to do,” Norvell said.
The possibility arises that FSU will sign a player, whether it’s in December or February, who has never made an official visit to campus. FSU’s staff did what it could to bring prospects in for the 2020 or 2021 class in January and March before the sports world shut down and the NCAA put the dead period in place.
FSU has 16 commitments for the 2021 class, with prospects like quarterback Luke Altmyer, offensive lineman Bryson Estes and defensive end Joshua Farmer among those who are expected to sign early and enroll in January.
FSU was without defensive end Joshua Kaindoh and safety Hamsah Nasirildeen for the game at Miami. Safety Travis Jay and defensive tackle Robert Cooper also suffered injuries against the Hurricanes.
Norvell didn’t go into specifics about players but was optimistic about a few returning against Jacksonville State on Saturday.
“I feel good about the direction we’re heading, hopeful we’ll be able to have a good number of guys out there returning on Saturday or putting themselves in a position to at least take a great look at it,” Norvell said.
Graduate transfer defensive back Meiko Dotson has not played in FSU’s first two games but Norvell said he got some work in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It’s been a process as he’s gone through fall camp and I’m liking what I’m seeing. So if he’s available that definitely brings another top-quality defensive back that’s going to be able to work into the rotation especially on top of what he does in the return as well.”
Good practice day
On Monday, Norvell challenged the players and said: “There’s a sense of urgency and in every position room because we got to improve, we got to get better, and we got to go apply it there throughout the course of the game.”
On Wednesday, Norvell remarked in his opening statement that he was pleased with practice. “One of the best practices we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Norvell said. “Guys that are really challenging themselves.”
Cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. said he agreed with Norvell’s assessment of practice. “I feel like we responded very well to the adversity that has been brought to us,” Samuel Jr. said. “But we still have a lot more games to go and we still are just trying to climb and get better every day.”