Everything moves at a faster pace these days – including football recruiting.
More and more players are making decisions early, and with NCAA legislation passed in the past five years, college coaches now are able to speed up the evaluation process.
College coaches can evaluate prospects from April 15-May 31 and they can make phone calls to prospects starting April 15.
While there has been plenty of recruiting news already for the class of 2009, the green flag officially was waved at midnight and spring definitely has sprung.
Joe Hornback offers some suggestions to players on what type of questions they should ask a coach:
Ask what his players are doing right now.
Ask what the best part of his program is.
Ask about the academic program the school offers.
Ask how many games his program will win this season.
In addition, players should turn off the TV, PlayStation or X-Box and have a conversation with the coach.
NCAA rules say a school can use four weeks – excluding Memorial Day and Sundays – to make two trips to gather more information on a prospect. One visit by an authorized recruiter may be used to assess the prospect's athletic ability; the other can be used to assess the prospect's academic qualifications.
By rule, college coaches aren't able to talk to the prospects in person or arrange a meeting with a player, but what often happens is that coaches ask the high school coach if they can "accidentally" bump into a prospect. When that happens, the bump rule comes into play.
"I've been coaching for a long time, and I've only had one college coach ever tell me that they'd not like to bump into one of my players," Rivals.com Five-Star Academy keynote speaker Joe Hornback said. "What they like to do is come into the school, watch some tape or possibly watch a prospect in track, baseball or spring football practices. Then the coaches like to 'bump' into the player. When they accidentally bump into a player, all they're allowed to do is say 'Hello' and 'It's good to meet you.'"
Hornback, who has written a book called "The Next Level: A Prep's Guide to College Recruiting," does have some advice for players during the spring evaluation period.
"The biggest thing I suggest is to be in school and to be in your right class," Hornback said. "Nothing is more embarrassing for you as a coach and for your player than if you take a college coach to 'bump' into a prospect and he's not where he's supposed to be.
"I also suggest wearing nice clothes because this is like a job interview for you. Also, carry a book and show the coach that you're there to get an education. Stand up straight and look the coach in the eye and tell him it was really nice to meet him. The coaches are trying to see how tall you really are and they'll appreciate somebody saying thank you."
College coaches are allowed to place one call to a prospect during the spring evaluation period; they're not allowed to call again until Sept 1. After that, coaches can make weekly calls.
After May 31, the process heads back to a quiet period until Sept. 1. During the quiet period, colleges can contact prospects only through written forms of communication.
Some people view that as a slower point in the process, but as the spring evaluation period is about to prove, there's nothing slow about recruiting anymore.
Jeremy Crabtree can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org